MEMMINGEN, city in Bavaria, Germany. Jews were present in Memmingen by the second half of the 13th century, since the city statutes of 1270 contain references to Jewish moneylending activities. In 1344 the bishop of Augsburg excommunicated the city for nonpayment of its debts to a Jew; the burghers thereupon threatened to bury their dead in the Jewish cemetery. The Jews made their living in the city in 1373. By 1500, however, there were no Judengasse. The community was destroyed during the *Black Death persecutions of 1348, but Jews were again living in the city in 1373. By 1500, however, there were no longer Jews there. The privilege of Judenfreiheit ("freedom from Jews"), granted in 1541, was renewed in 1559. Many Jews who had formerly lived in Memmingen concentrated in Fellheim, a nearby village, and maintained a settlement there numbering 379 persons (63% of the population) in 1810 (during World War II it again served as a center for refugees). Jews from Fellheim often visited Memmingen for trading purposes during the 17th and 18th centuries. In 1862 the first Jew received citizenship in Memmingen. A community comprising 100 members was formed in 1875, and 20 years later it had grown to 231. A synagogue was dedicated in 1909. The community subsequently declined: from 194 in 1900, to 161 in 1933, and 104 on Jan. 1, 1939. The Jews, who were mainly textile manufacturers and livestock merchants, were severely hit by the Nazi boycott of Jewish business establishments, and considerable numbers emigrated despite the many obstacles they encountered. In 1938 the synagogue and Jewish homes were looted and destroyed, and in the spring of 1942 the community was liquidated. In 1947 some 125 Jews lived in Memmingen, but they later emigrated. In 1968 there were two Jews in the city. There are memorials to commemorate the former synagogue, the former Jewish community, and the Jewish citizens of Memmingen who were killed by the Nazis. In 2000 the museum of Memmingen set up a permanent exhibition on Jewish life in Memmingen.
J. Miedel, Die Juden in Memmingen (1909); FJW (1932–33), 304; W. Rapp, Geschichte des Dorfes Fellheim (1960); D. Linn, Das Schicksal der juedischen Bevoelkerung in Memmingen, 1933– 1945 (1962); Germ Jud, 2 (1968), 534–6; PK. ADD. BIBLIOGRAPHY: A. Maimon, M. Breuer, Y. Guggenheim (eds.), Germania Judaica, vol. 3, 1350–1514 (1987), 858–60; C. Engelhard, Erinnerung stiftet Erloesung. Gedenkheft fuer die juedischen Frauen, Maenner und Kinder aus Memmingen, die zwischen 1941 und 1945 verfolgt, verschleppt und ermordet wurden (Materialien zur Memminger Stadtgeschichte, Reihe B, Materialien, vol. 3 (1999)); P. Hoser, Die Geschichte der Stadt Memmingen, vol. 2: Vom Neubeginn im Koe nigreich Bayern bis 1945 (2001), 203–40, 339–46. WEBSITE: www.alemannia-judaica.de.
Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.