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Goslar, Germany

GOSLAR, city in Lower Saxony, Germany. Jewish merchants from *Worms are mentioned there in 1074 and 1114. In 1252 the city demanded the rights to the taxes from its Jewish settlement for itself, opposing the royal prerogative on the Jews as *Servi camerae ; royal taxes were levied on them through the municipality from 1274. In 1312 the community paid a direct tax identical to that paid by Christians. The city council intervened on behalf of the community against the exactions of Emperor Louis IV in 1336 and 1340. The community of Goslar did not suffer persecution even at the time of the *Black Death , and the local form of the Jewish *oath was relatively free of degrading formulas. Problems of residence rights ( *ḥerem ha-yishuv) gave rise to bitter quarrels between old and new settlers, which the municipal council was often called upon to arbitrate, and resulted in a split in the community in 1331 which lasted for seven years. At that time there were approximately 30 Jewish taxpayers.

From 1312 the city council issued an increasing number of Judenbriefe conferring rights and obligations on individual Jews, so that by 1340 at least half of the Jews in Goslar were not included in the community for taxation purposes. This process continued in the latter half of the 14th century, accompanied by increased taxation and decline of the community. By 1400 not even a minyan could be organized, and in 1414 several Jews secretly left for Brunswick to evade a heavy imperial tax. A *blood libel about 1440 contributed to the decline of the community. A community in Goslar is mentioned in 1615, when a parnas was installed and took the oath of office. The pinkas registering a community of nine members was begun in 1677. A synagogue was built in 1693.

The community numbered 43 persons in 1871 and 38 in 1933. On *Kristallnacht , Nov. 10, 1938, the synagogue (consecrated in 1802), and Jewish shops and homes were attacked and looted. The well-preserved community archives were destroyed. Twenty-two members of the community perished during the Holocaust. A new community was organized, with 46 members in 1948, but declined soon afterward.


Germ Jud, 1 (1963), 117f.; 2 (1968), 283–95; M. Stern, in: Israelitische Monatsschrift (supplement to Die Juedische Presse), 40 (1909), 41–42, 45–47; 41 (1910), 6–7, 10–11; idem, in: Israelitischer Lehrer und Cantor (supplement to Die Juedische Presse), 31 (1900), 17–18; 32 (1901), 38–39; D. Loehr, in: Friede ueber Israel, 47 (1964), 147–9, 167–70; H. Fischer, in: Zeitschrift der Savigny-Stiftung fuer Rechtsgeschichte, Germanistische Abteilung, 56 (1936), 89–149; L. Rabinowitz, in: HJ, 2 (1940), 13–21.

[Henry Wasserman]

Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.