EMDEN, city in Germany. The first authentic reference to Jews in Emden dates from the first half of the 16th century. David *Gans mentions Jews of Emden in his Ẓemaḥ David. A Jewish cemetery is mentioned in 1586. In 1590 the citizens of Emden complained to the representative of the emperor that the Jews were permitted to follow their religious precepts openly and were exempted from wearing the Jewish *badge. Marranos from Portugal passed through Emden on their way to Amsterdam, and a few settled in Emden and returned to Judaism. Moses Uri ha-Levy (1594–1620), a former rabbi of Emden who settled in Amsterdam, officiated there as the first ḥakham of the Portuguese community. The city council of Emden discriminated between the local Jews and the Portuguese, encouraging the latter to settle in the city, while attempting to expel the former. Their attempts, however, were unsuccessful, since the duke intervened in their favor. The judicial rights of the Portuguese Jews were defined in a grant of privilege issued by the city council in 1649, and renewed in 1703. In 1744, when Emden was annexed to *Prussia, the Jews there came under Prussian law. In 1762 there was an outbreak of anti-Jewish riots in Emden. In 1808, during the rule of Louis Bonaparte, the Jews in Emden were granted equal civic rights. There were then 500 Jews living in Emden. The rights of the Emden Jews were abolished under Hanoverian rule in 1815, and they did not obtain emancipation until 1842. Noted rabbis of Emden were Jacob *Emden (1728–33), and Samson Raphael *Hirsch (1841–47).
The community numbered 900 in 1905, and 1,000 in 1930. Nearly half left with the advent of Nazi rule and another quarter through 1938. The synagogue was burned down on Kristallnacht and most of those remaining were later deported and perished, including at least 150 on October 23, 1941. Community life was not resumed after the Holocaust.
Lewin, in: MGWJ, 2 (1890), 27–32; H. Kellenbenz, Sephardim an der unteren Elbe (1958), index; M. Markreich, in: Jahrbuch der juedischen Gemeinden Schleswig-Holsteins, 5 (1933/34), 24–36; PK Germanyah; Germ Jud, 2 (1968), 208–9; A. Cassuto, in: Juedische Familien-Forschung, 2 (1926), 289. ADD. BIBLIOGRAPHY: J. Lokers, Die Juden in Emden 1530 – 1906 (1990); M. Claudi, Die wir verloren haben. Lebensgeschichten Emder Juden (1991); M. Studemund-Halévy, in: Aschkenas, 7 (1997), 389–439.
Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.