Bookstore Glossary Library Links News Publications Timeline Virtual Israel Experience
Anti-Semitism Biography History Holocaust Israel Israel Education Myths & Facts Politics Religion Travel US & Israel Vital Stats Women
donate subscribe Contact About Home


FRIEDBERG, town in Hesse, Germany. A community existed there by 1260 when a Gothic-style mikveh was constructed. About this time the community had a well-developed organization and tax system (Responsa of Meir b. Baruch of Rothenburg (1891), no. 187, pp. 204–6). In 1275 Rudolf I of Hapsburg granted a charter to the Friedberg community. The Jews there suffered persecution in 1338 and following the Black Death in 1349, the property of those who had been killed or fled was sold to the city by the imperial bailiff in 1350–54. Jews had been readmitted to Friedberg by 1360. The charter of 1275 was confirmed by successive German emperors. The right of the Jews in Friedberg to engage in the retail trade was upheld by the burgrave in 1623. In 1603 the Friedberg bet din was declared one of the five central Jewish courts. Between 1588 and 1640 the community was administered by six to ten parnasim and from 1652 the community elected an electoral committee of nine from which the parnasim and a taxation committee were elected. The Jews of Friedberg lived in an enclosed quarter near a square below the castle. In the late 18th century the gates were closed on Sundays. Jewish residence in Friedberg was subject to permission from both the burgrave and the community, and by around 1600 was restricted to persons owning 1,500 guilders. Exemptions were made during the Thirty Years' War, and after the expulsion of the Jews from the towns of Upper Hesse in 1662. In 1540 the Jewries of 14 villages and towns formed the community of the Land (Kehillat Friedberg). Its rabbinate had jurisdiction over Upper Hesse and the adjoining principalities as far as Westphalia, and over Hesse-Kassel from 1625 to 1656. *Ḥayyim b. Bezalel, the brother of *Judah b. Bezalel Loeb of Prague, was rabbi there in 1566. Elijah b. Moses *Loanz (d. 1636) also officiated there. A ḥevrat gemilut ḥasadim (charitable institution) was founded in 1687. There were about 16 Jewish families in 1536, 32 in 1550, 107 in 1609, 99 in 1617–24, 72 in 1729, 42 families in 1805, 506 persons in 1892, 491 in 1910 (5.17% of the total population), 380 in 1925 (3.44%), and 305 in 1933. The community had a very active cultural and orthodox religious life. The synagogue was burned in November 1938 and the Nazis initiated a pogrom. By summer 1939 only 58 Jews were living in Friedberg; those who did not subsequently emigrate were deported. In 1967 there were 21 Jews in Friedberg. The medieval bathhouse was restored by the municipality in 1957–58, as a historical monument, and various memorial plaques were put up in the town in subsequent years.


A. Kober, in: PAAJR, 17 (1947/48), 19–60; Baron, Social2, 13 (1969), 200f.; Wagner, in Jeschurun, 2 (1902), 437–9; Germ Jud, 1 (1963), 110–1; 2 (1968), 260–3 (incl. bibl.); W.H. Braun, in: Wetterauer Geschichtsblaetter, 11 (1962), 81–84; 16 (1967), 51–78; F.H. Herrmann, ibid., 2 (1953), 106–10; H. Wilhelm, ibid., 11 (1961), 67–85; B. Brilling, ibid., 14 (1965), 97–103; FJW; PK; S. Goldmann, in: Zeitschrift fuer die Geschichte der Juden, 7 (1970), 89–93; E. Keyser (ed.), Hessisches Staedtebuch (1957), 163f., 166. ADD. BIBLIOGRAPHY: C. Kasper-Holtkotte, "Juedisches Leben in Friedberg (16.–18. Jahrhundert)" (Kehilat Friedberg, vol. 1; Wettauer Geschichtsblaetter, vol. 50) (2003); S. Litt (ed.), "Protokollbuch und Statuten der Juedischen Gemeinde Friedberg (16.–18. Jahrhundert)" (Kehilat Friedberg, vol. 2; Wettauer Geschichtsblaetter, vol. 51) (2003); H.-H. Hoos, "Kehillah Kedoscha – Spurensuche," in: Zur Geschichte der juedischen Gemeinde in Friedberg und der Friedberger Juden von den Anfaengen bis 1942 (2002); idem, "Im Vordergrund steht immer das Sichtbare." Aspekte zur Rekonstruktion der Geschichte der juedischen Gemeinde und der Juden in Friedberg," in: Wetterauer Geschichtsblaetter, 38 (1989), 201–255; A. Maimon, M. Breuer, and Y. Guggenheim (eds.), Germania Judaica III 1350–1514 (1987), 407–413; F.H. Herrmann, "Die Friedberger Judengemeinde waehrend des Dreissigjaehrigen Krieges ," in: Wetterauer Geschichtsblaetter, vol. 34 (1985), 53–77; H.H. Hoos, "Zur Geschichte der Friedberger Juden 1933–1942," in: M. Keller (ed.), Von Schwarz-weiss-rot zum Hakenkreuz. Studien zu nationalsozialis tischen Machtergreifung, zur Judenverfolgung und zum politisch-militaerischen Zusammenbruch in Friedberg (Wetterauer Geschichtsblaetter, Beihefte, vol. I) (1984).

Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2007 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.