VILLINGEN, town in Baden, Germany. The first documentary evidence for the presence of Jews in Villingen dates from the beginning of the 14th century; in 1324 Emperor Louis IV, the Bavarian, granted to the dukes of Fuerstenberg the revenues from his Villingen Jewry in recognition of their service to him, reserving the right to repurchase them for 50 silver marks. The Jews lived in a quarter of the upper part of the town, where a synagogue was also located, mentioned for the first time in 1379. In 1342 some Jews of Villingen, together with Jews of *Freiburg and *Schaffhausen, were denounced for stealing church objects. During the *Black Death persecutions (1348–49) Jews were martyred and the community destroyed. In 1464 their moneylending activities are noted. In 1504 all the Jewish men were temporarily imprisoned in the town's tower because of the *Freiburg blood libel. In 1510 all Jews were expelled, after Emperor Maximilian I accused Jewish doctors of mistreating a sick old man, one of his veteran soldiers. Thereafter Jews could enter the town and trade only when accompanied by the town servant.
Jewish settlement in the town was not renewed until 1862; it grew from 20 in 1875 to 60 in 1933. Of that number, 42 managed to emigrate after the Nazi rise to power. The prayer hall was demolished on Nov. 10, 1938. On Oct. 20, 1940, 11 Jews were deported to Gurs; two returned at the end of the war from Theresienstadt. The building that housed the prayer hall still exists. A plaque commemorating the hall was consecrated in 1978. In 2002 the Jewish community Rottweil/Villingen-Schwenningen was founded. It numbered 179 in 2004. Most of the members are immigrants from the former Soviet Union. The community's prayer hall is in Rottweil.
M. Ginsburger, in: REJ, 47 (1903), 125–8; F. Handsnurscher and G. Taddey (eds.), Die juedischen Gemeinden in Baden (1968), 242–3; Germania Judaica, 2 (1968), 854–5; 3 (1987), 1536–40; PK Germanyah. ADD BIBLIOGRAPHY: K. Engel, K. Hauser, and T. Kzimann, Judenschicksale in Villingen (1994) (Blaetter zur Geschichte der Stadt Villingen-Schwenningen, vol. 1, 1994); A. Faustein et al., Juden in Villingen im 14. und 15. Jahrhundert (1997) (Blaetter zur Geschichte der Stadt Villingen-Schwenningen, vol. 2, 1997). WEBSITE: www.alemannia-judaica.de.
Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.