MUEHLHAUSEN

MUEHLHAUSEN
MUEHLHAUSEN, city in Germany. Though the exact date of the earliest Jewish settlement in Muehlhausen is unknown, there was certainly a Jewish settlement there c. 1300, and a synagogue is mentioned in 1311. The relationship between the town and the community ("universitas Judaeorum") was regulated by the municipal council in 1311. Jurisdiction over the Jews of Muehlhausen and the income from them was contested between the municipality and the landgraves of thuringia , who during the Black Death persecutions advised the burghers to massacre the Jews; this occurred on March 21, 1349. Among the martyrs was a scholar, R. Eliezer. Many of the exiles settled permanently in Erfurt and Frankfurt. The property of the deceased Jews was the object of bitter contention between Charles IV and the city. In 1374 Jews were again present in Muehlhausen, and the townspeople were released from all debts owed by them in 1391. In 1433 the Jews had to pay 200 florins as a coronation tax; throughout the 15th century they were taxed heavily by all governmental authorities. Regulations of 1472 ordered the Jews to stay out of the homes of Christians and to wear the yellow badge ; the women had to wear two blue stripes on their head coverings. In 1543 all Jews were expelled. Jews originating from Muehlhausen were living in Cracow, Poznan, and Lissa in the 17th century. The first schutzjuden returned to Muehlhausen in 1643, and in 1692 there were four Jewish households, rising to 14 families around 1781; 144 persons in 1843; 180 in 1907; and 170 in 1932. On the eve of the Nazi rise to power, the community possessed a synagogue, religious school, and three philanthropic organizations. Repressive measures resulting in emigration brought the number of Jews down to 70 in 1939. In 1942, only 19 Jews remained. The community was annihilated during World War II. After 1945 a small Jewish community was reestablished. It numbered 19 in 1946. Many members emigrated or moved to other places, and by the 1980s the community no   longer existed. In 1985 a plaque was dedicated to the city's victims of the Holocaust. The synagogue, consecrated in 1841/42 and desecrated in 1938, was restored with public funding in 1998. It serves as a cultural and educational center and houses a small exhibition about the history of the Muehlhausen Jewish community. -BIBLIOGRAPHY: Denkschrift zu dem Entwurf einer Verordnung die Verhaeltnisse der Juden betreffend (1847), pt. 1 B, 26; P. Wertheim, Kalendar und Jahrbuch (1857); A. Jaraczewski, Geschichte der Juden in Erfurt (1868), 2 n. 2, 25 n. 2, 72; L. Lewin, in: JJLG, 5 (1907), 109–10; MGADJ, 3 (1912), 164; 4 (1913), 179; 5 (1914), 26, 114, 188; U. Weinberg, in: JJLG, 16 (1924), 275, 278, 280, 283, 287–8, 294–6; S. Neufeld, in: MGWJ, 69 (1925), 287, 291, 293; Handbuch der juedischen Gemeindeverwaltung (1907), 53; (1924), 45; S. Neufeld, Die Juden im thueringen-saechsischen Gebiet waehrend des Mittelalters (1927) passim; FJW, 118; Germ Jud, 2 (1968), 550–2. ADD. BIBLIOGRAPHY: Germania Judaica vol. 3, 1350–1514 (1987), 885–93; C. Liesenberg, Zur Geschichte der Juden in Muehlhausen und Nordthueringen und die Muehlhaeuser Synagoge, Muehlhausen (Muehlhaeuser Beitraege, vol. 11) (1998); S. Litt, Juden in Thueringen in der fruehen Neuzeit (1520–1650) (Veroeffentlichungen der Historischen Kommission Thueringen. Kleine Reihe, vol. 11) (2003), 77–82. (Larissa Daemmig (2nd ed.)

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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