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Halle, Germany

HALLE, city in Germany. Although Jews may well have been present in Halle at the end of the 11th century, the first definite information on their settlement in the city comes from the second half of the 12th century. Then under the protection of the archbishop of Magdeburg, they were hated by the burghers: in 1206 their houses were burned or looted – some Jews were killed and the rest expelled from the city. However, in the mid-13th century there were again Jews in Halle, living in a special quarter, and mainly engaged in moneylending. in 1261, most of their property was confiscated by the archbishop, serving as a cause for a two-year war between the archbishop and the burghers. During persecutions accompanying the *Black Death (1350) the community was destroyed, but in the 14th and 15th centuries Jews returned once more to Halle. The renewed community existed until 1493, when the expulsion of the Jews was decreed. It possessed both a synagogue and a mikveh, and a cemetery existed long before 1350. Toward the end of the 17th century the elector of Brandenburg allowed several Jews to settle in Halle, to the dismay of the burghers. In 1693 a Jewish cemetery was officially designated and a synagogue dedicated in 1700. The government recognized the community in 1704. About 1708 a Hebrew printing press was set up in Halle by J.H. Michaelis, for whom the wandering proselyte printer Moses b. Abraham and his son Israel (of Amsterdam) printed a Hebrew Bible (1720). With the help of generous patrons, in 1709 Moses himself began to print some Talmud tractates.

The number of Jews in Halle increased from 12 families in 1700 to 50 in the middle of the 18th century. They were emancipated in 1808 and the community, numbering 150 persons, was given a constitution. In 1840 there were 167 members of the community, 443 in 1864, 660 in 1900, 1,902 in 1920, and 1,300 in 1933 (0.5% of the total population). The April 7, 1933, expulsion of Jews from the civil service resulted in the dismissal of 6 Jewish professors, 13 lawyers, and 41 Jews in public service. Zionist activities increased. After the Nazi rise to power; they won 4 of 10 seats on the community council. On Nov. 10, 1938, the synagogue and communal center were demolished. Two hundred men were arrested and sent to *Buchenwald ; three of them lost their lives. In all, 584 Jews emigrated; 17 committed suicide. The rest were concentrated in "Jew houses" and used for forced labor. In 1942, 262 Jews were deported to the East; only 43 survived. On July 1, 1944, 92 were still living there protected by their non-Jewish spouses. The community was renewed after World War II and numbered 50 in 1966 (.02% of the population). A new synagogue was consecrated in 1953. Between 1953 and 1962 Halle was the seat of the Association of Jewish Communities in the GDR. After 1990 the membership, which had fallen to just five in 1989, increased due to the immigration of Jews from the former Soviet Union. In 2004 it numbered 731. In 1996 a liberal Jewish community was founded in Halle. It numbered 32 in 1996 and 200 in 2005. It is a member of the Union of Progressive Jews in Germany.


Germ Jud, 1 (1963), 124–30, 508–12; 2 (1968), 319–22; S. Neufeld, Die Halleschen Juden im Mittelalter (1915); S. Schultze-Gallera, Die Juden zu Halle im Mittelalter… (1922); G. Kisch, in: Sachsen und Anhalt; Jahrbuch der historischen Kommission fuer die Provinz Sachsen und fuer Anhalt, 4 (1928), 132–66; 5 (1929), 332–46; 6 (1930), 306–36; idem, in: ZGJD, 2 (1930), 166–8; H.D. Friedberg, Toledot ha-Defus ha-Ivri… (1937), 74–75; T. Tykocinski, in: MGWJ, 57 (1908), 32–43; S. Stern, Der preussische Staat und die Juden, 1 (1962), index; 2 (1962), no. 513–67. ADD. BIBLIOGRAPHY: C. Zimmermann, "Juden im Wirtschaftleben der Stadt Halle im 19. und 20. Jahrhundert," in: Menora. Jahrbuch fuer deutsch-juedische Geschichte (2000), 369–376; V. Dietzel (ed.), 300 Jahre Juden in Halle. Leben, Leistung, Leiden, Lohn (1992; Dokumente und Beitraege, vol. 1); S. Spector (ed.), The Encyclopedia of Jewish Life Before and During the Holocaust (2001).

[Zvi Avneri / Michael Berenbaum and Larissa Daemmig (2nd ed.)]

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