NORDHAUSEN, city in Thuringia, Germany. The earliest documentary evidence for the presence of Jews in Nordhausen dates from 1290, and by 1300 a Jewish community had come into being. Shortly thereafter a Judenstrasse, mikveh, and synagogue were established. A Jewish well is noted in records dating from 1322, and a cemetery is mentioned in 1334. During the course of a disturbance in 1324, the community's synagogue was destroyed. The Jews of the period made their living primarily through moneylending, and their sound economic position brought more Jewish immigrants into the city. In 1333 the municipal council agreed to the adjudication of all disputes between Jews by the rabbinic court. During the course of the *Black Death persecutions of 1349, however, a number of Jews suffered martyrdom. Frederick the Brave was partly responsible for deaths of Jews during this period. (A legendary account published in a Worms prayer book indicates that the entire Jewish community went dancing to its death, willingly submitting to the funeral pyre.) Although refugees from the persecutions fled to *Erfurt and *Frankfurt, by 1350 at least one Jew had already returned to resettle in Nordhausen. Abandoned Jewish property was transferred by King Charles VI to Count Henry von Hohlstein. Despite the upheaval and loss of life and property, by the end of the century a small Jewish community had reestablished itself in Nordhausen, holding its religious services in a private house. In 1391 King *Wenceslaus released the burghers from their debts to the Jews on payment of a fee to the royal chamber.
A small number of Jews continued to live in Nordhausen during the 15th century. In the 16th century they were subject to increasingly restrictive legislation, and they were finally expelled in 1559. They settled in the surrounding towns, however,
Germania Judaica, 1 (1963), 247; 2 (1968), 590–3; H. Stern, Geschichte der Juden in Nordhausen (1927); S. Neufeld, Die Juden im thueringisch-saechsischen Gebiet waehrend des Mittelalters (1917), passim; E. Carmoly, in: Der Israelit, nos. 4–8 (1866); Der Orient, 9 (1848), 48, 80; AZJ, 37 (1873), 127–8; A. Lewinsky, in: MGWJ, 49 (1905), 746–51; FJW, 118–9. ADD BIBLIOGRAPHY: Germania Judaica, vol. 3, 1350–1514 (1987), 994–1000; M. Schroeter, Die Verfolgung der Nordhaeuser Juden 1933 bis 1945 (1992); J.-M. Junker, "Vom Schicksal der Nordhaeuser Synagoge nach dem Pogrom 1938," in: Beitraege zur Heimatkunde aus Stadt und Kreis Nordhausen vol. 18, (1993) 62–66; M. Kahl, Denkmale juedischer Kultur in Thueringen (Kulturgeschichtliche Reihe, vol. 2) (1997), 112–15.
Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.