MINDEN, town in Germany. Jews are mentioned for the first time in 1270 as being under the bishop's protection. After 1336 the town agreed to recognize the bishop's prerogatives over the Jews provided that they paid municipal taxes as well as protection money to the bishop. Moneylending was the only authorized Jewish occupation at the time. The small community numbered no more than 12 families in 1318 and ten in 1340. They were expelled in 1350 following the *Black Death persecutions.
Jews did not settle in Minden again until the 16th century. In 1571 the council granted them residence permits of 12 years' duration and allowed them to engage in commerce and moneylending and to hold religious services. From that time Jewish settlement was continuous, even after the town had come under the rule of Brandenburg, whose authorities claimed all prerogatives over the Jews. After 1652 no Jew was permitted to settle in Minden without permission from the elector; the numbers of "tolerated" Jews were ten in 1682 and 12 in 1700. In Prussian Minden, the Jews engaged not only in moneylending but also in commerce and the slaughtering and sale of meat. Between 1806 and 1810 Minden belonged to the kingdom of *Westphalia, where the Jews received equal civil rights. After emancipation, when Minden reverted to Prussia, the small community grew steadily, from 65 in 1787 to 81 in 1810; 193 in 1840; and 267 in 1880. Their numbers later decreased to 192 in 1933 and 107 in 1939, when there were 228 Jews in the district of Minden. In October of 1939, there were 54 Jews in Minden. During World War II, 179 Jews were deported from the town and district. The *Memorbuch of the synagogue from the 17th and 18th centuries has been preserved. The synagogue built in 1867 was destroyed in 1938. After World War II a small community was reconstituted, which had 44 members in 1962. A new synagogue was consecrated on June 15, 1958. The ethnologist Franz *Boas and the astronomer Philip S. Wolfers were born in Minden. The Jewish community numbered 43 in 1989 and 113 in 2005. The increase is explained by the immigration of Jews from the former Soviet Union.
Germania Judaica, 2 (1968), 542–3; B. Brilling and H. Richtering (eds.), Westfalia Judaica (1967), S.V.; M. Krieg, in: Westfaelische Zeitschrift, 93 (1937), 113ff.; L. Loewenstein, in: ZGJD, 1 (1887), 195ff. ADD. BIBLIOGRAPHY: K. Rueter and C. Hampel, Die Judenpolitik in Deutschland 1933–1945 unter besonderer Beruecksichtigung von Einzelschicksalen juedischer Buerger der Gemeinden Minden, Petershagen und Luebbecke (1986); Germania Judaica, vol. 3, 1350–1514 (1987), 874–76; H. Nordsiek, Juden in Minden. Dokumente und Bilder juedischen Lebens vom Mittelalter bis zum 20. Jahrhundert (1988); B-W Linnemeier, Juedisches Leben im Alten Reich. Stadt und Fuerstentum Minden in der Fruehen Neuzeit (Studien zur Regional-geschichte, vol. 15 (2002)).
Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.