Bookstore Glossary Library Links News Publications Timeline Virtual Israel Experience
Anti-Semitism Biography History Holocaust Israel Israel Education Myths & Facts Politics Religion Travel US & Israel Vital Stats Women
donate subscribe Contact About Home


OETTINGEN, town in *Bavaria, Germany. Jews were to be found in Oettingen from the second half of the 13th century. The Jewish settlement suffered in 1298 during the *Rindfleisch persecutions, and during the *Black Death persecutions of 1348 almost all the Jews were massacred. Emperor *Charles IV then transferred their property to Duke Albrecht of Oettingen. A new Jewish community, consisting mainly of money-lenders maintaining strong commercial and familial ties with *Noerd lingen, was soon reorganized. Privileges were issued for 1383–88, and a Judenstrasse was mentioned in 1457. The community absorbed an influx of refugees after clerical agitation resulted in the expulsion of the Jews from Noerdlingen and other Bavarian cities in 1507. Oettingen was the capital of the rival duchies of Oettingen-Spielberg and Oettingen Wallerstein and had two synagogues (a "Catholic" and a "Lutheran" one, so named after the two branches of the Oettingen ruling house) and separate district rabbinates and communal organizations. There were many rural Jewish communities in the villages and towns of the duchies of considerable economic importance; their members were engaged in livestock dealing, peddling, and even farming. The duchies were incorporated into *Bavaria in 1806.

In the 17th and 18th centuries, the Oettingen communities benefited from the patronage of several influential *Court Jews, including Hirsch Neumark, David Oppenheim, and the *Model family, who originated in Oettingen. A pogrom resulting from a *blood libel was narrowly averted in 1690 when the murderer of a young child was discovered to be a Christian; the event was commemorated by a fast day each year thereafter on the 17th of Iyyar. The most distinguished rabbi of Oettingen-Wallerstein was Asher Loew (1789–1809), later rabbi of Metz, who opposed Moses *Mendelssohn's proposal to use a burial hall in the cemetery in order to comply with government regulations requiring corpses to be buried three days after death. Of comparable distinction in Oettingen-Spielberg was Jacob Phinehas Katzenellenbogen (1764–95). The Jewish community of Oettingen numbered about 300 in the 18th century (about 10% of the total population). A cemetery was opened in 1850 and a new synagogue built in 1853. The rural community declined from 430 persons (13.4%) in 1837 to 102 in 1910 and only 66 in 1933. On November 10, 1938, Jewish homes and shops were demolished and the synagogue sacked. The rabbi was beaten and hospitalized and all Jewish men deported to *Dachau. Ten of the 11 Jews still living in Oettingen in 1942 were deported. In 2005 the former synagogue was used to house a medical practice. There are commemorative plaques at the building of the former synagogue and at the Jewish cemetery.


Germ Jud, 2 (1968), 633–5; L. Lamm, in: JJLG, 22 (1931–32), 147–59; J. Mann, in: ZGJD, 6 (1935), 32–39; L. Mueller, Aus fuenf Jahrhunderten (1900); S. Stern, The Court Jew (1950), index; PK, Bavaria. ADD BIBLIOGRAPHY: B. Ophir and F. Wiesemann (eds.), Die juedischen Gemeinden in Bayern 19181945. Geschichte und Zerstoerung (1979), 489–90; Germania Judaica, vol. 3 1350–1514 (1987), 1061; Die Juden in Oettingen. Ein Beitrag zur Heimatgeschichte (Oettinger Blaetter, vol. 2/1989) (1989); T. Harburger, Die Inventarisierung juedischer Kunst- und Kulturdenkmaeler in Bayern, vol. 3 (1998), 636–41.

Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2007 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.