FULDA, city in Hesse, Germany. Jews are first mentioned there in 1235, when 34 martyrs were burned to death following a blood *libel. Emperor Frederick *II, after inquiries, refuted the charge in his judgment of the case. The martyrs were commemorated by Pesaḥ ha-Kohen, a relative and friend of some of the victims, in three seliḥot. In 1301 King Albert I pledged the taxes of the Jews of the diocese to the abbot of Fulda. In 1310 Henry VII transferred full authority over them to the abbot. In 1349 they fell victim to the Black *Death persecutions. Jews had been readmitted to Fulda by 1399. By the 16th century Fulda became the seat of a rabbinate which extended its jurisdiction over the entire region, for some time as far as *Kassel. At the Frankfurt *synod of 1603 Fulda was made the seat of one of the five Jewish district courts in Germany. Aaron Samuel b. Moses Shalom of *Kremenets taught at the yeshivah from 1615 to 1620, and Meir b. Jacob ha-Kohen *Schiff (Maharam Schiff) from 1622 to 1640. Judah b. Samuel Mehler, who studied in Fulda and left the city in 1629 at the age of 20, wrote an informative autobiography. Jews of Fulda dealt in wine-retailing but were opposed by the burghers. Regulations restricting Jewish trade were issued in 1699, 1739, 1788, and 1792. There were 75 Jewish families living in Fulda in 1633 (compared with 292 Christian households). The whole community, apart from five families, was expelled in 1677. By 1708 their number had increased to 19 taxpayers. The community had a well, and owned houses, homesteads, and stables in the Jews' street (first mentioned in 1367); by 1740 some lived outside this area. The synagogue and bathhouse were located on the "Jews' Hill" near the community's hospital, and the cemetery in a suburb. A Jewish school was established in 1784. The community numbered 321 in 1860; 675 in 1905; 957 in 1913 (4.26% of the total population); 1,137 in 1925 (4.44%); and 1,058 in June 1933 (3.8%). Under its rabbi, Michael Cahn (1849–1919), Fulda was a center of Orthodoxy. Its yeshivah remained open until 1939. The synagogue was set on fire in November 1938, destroying its Memorbuch, which dated back to 1550, and reducing the synagogue to rubble. In 1940 the cemetery was destroyed. Four hundred and fifteen Jews remained in Fulda on May 17, 1939; 131 of those unable to leave were deported to Riga on December 12, 1941, 36 were sent to the Lublin district, and an additional 76 in September 1942 to *Theresienstadt and unknown destinations in the East. The few Jews who survived the Holocaust and returned to Fulda after the war turned their cemetery into a paved courtyard to protest against the frequent desecrations there. There were 17 Jews living in Fulda in 1967. The new Jewish community center and synagogue was inaugurated in 1987. As a result of the immigration of Jews from the former Soviet Union the number of Jews increased to 500 in 2005. Almost all activities of the community werre focused on the new immigrants. There are commemorative plaques at the former and new Jewish cemetery and near the site of the destroyed synagogue.
Germ Jud, 1 (1963), 113–4, 2 (1968), 267–8; G. Kisch, Jews in Medieval Germany … (1949), index; Bloch, in: Festschrift… Martin Philippson (1916), 114–34; Baron, Community, 1, 341–43; Baron, Social2, 9 (1967), 143f., 311f.; 10 (1967), 146f., 359; 13 (1969), 201f.; Salfeld, Martyrol; M. Stern, in: ZGJD, 2 (1888), 194–9; L. Loewenstein, in: ZHB, 19 (1917), 26–37; A. Schmidt, Fuehrer durch Fulda (19553), 35; A. Jestadt, in: Veroeffentlichungen des Fuldaer Geschichtsvereins, 38 (1937), 55, 62–70; 40 (1950), 59; S.M. Auerbach, The Auerbach Family: The Descendants of Abraham Auerbach (1957), 78–80; FJW, 86, 200, 318; P.N. Emeking, Das Hochstift Fulda unter seinem letzten Fuerstbischof (1935), 119f.; E. Keyser (ed.), Hessisches Staedtebuch (1957), 174–76; PK. ADD. BIBLIOGRAPHY: M. Imhof, "Legalisierter Raub," in: Fulda. Die Entrechtung und Ausraubung der Fuldaer Juden im Nationalsozialismus. Dokumentation (2004); H.-J. Hoppe, Das juedische Fulda. Ein historischer Stadtspaziergang (1999); G. Renner, J. Schulz and R. Zibuschka (eds.), "… werden in Kuerze anderweit untergebracht …". Das Schicksal der Fuldaer Juden im Nationalsozialismus. Eine Dokumentation (19922) (Regionalgeschichtliche Schriften der Geschichtswerkstatt, Hessisches Institut fuer Lehrerfortbildung, Aussenstelle Fulda); K. Krolopp (ed.), Der juedische Friedhof in Fulda (19872) (Fulda imformiert. Reihe Dokumentationen zur Stadtgeschichte, vol. 2); P. Horn and N.H. Sonn, The History of the Jews in Fulda. A Memorial Book (1971).
Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.