SAXONY (Ger. Sachsen), state in Germany, formerly an electorate and kingdom. Information about the first Jewish settlers in Saxony dates back to the tenth century. During the rule of the German emperor Otto I (936–973), Jews lived in the towns of magdeburg , halle , erfurt , and merseburg , among other places. Up to the end of the 12th century they were able to earn their living, primarily as merchants, without interference. In the 13th century, following persecutions during the Crusades and accusations of ritual murder (see blood libel ), the position of the Jews deteriorated. According to the medieval German law code Sachsenspiegel (1220–1235; see germany ), Jews were not allowed to carry arms, build new synagogues, or keep Christian servants, nor could they hold any public office. They were not allowed to appear as witnesses or call Christian witnesses, and were thus entirely at the court's mercy. However, since the economic activities of the Jews were of interest to the margraves of Saxony, many of these restrictions were abolished as early as the middle of the 13th century and were replaced by more liberal regulations. Jews were allowed to have their tribunals and to be landowners. As may be gathered from the responsa literature and from the medieval chronicles, there was already a busy community life in those early days. The communities were collectively responsible to the authorities. A meeting at Erfurt in 1391 was attended by rabbis and community elders. Among famous talmudic scholars who resided in the communities of Saxony were asher b. jehiel (the "Rosh") and isaac b. moses of vienna ("Or Zaru'a"). During the rindfleisch persecutions (1298), Jews in the southern cities of Saxony were affected. The large-scale persecutions and expulsions from German cities at the time of the black death (1348–50) also affected the communities in Saxony. Community life in most cities was renewed, but on a diminished scale. Moneylending had become the main occupation of the Jews, who were hard hit by the debt cancellations of Emperor Wenceslaus (1378–1400). The 15th century witnessed the expulsion of Jews from most of the cities – Erfurt (1458), Halle (1493), Aschersleben (1494), and Torgau (1432). The expulsions of meissen (1430), and of the 16th century from Merseburg (1514), zwickau , Plauen, and muehlhausen (1541–43) were more strictly enforced, due to the militant anti-Jewish spirit of the Protestant Reformation in Saxony. However, a few Jews were tolerated – such as Meister Baruch, the physician of the rulers Ernst (1464–85) and Albert III (1485–1500) – who, together with his two sons, received special permission to engage in moneylending. In the 16th century there were complaints about the economic activity of foreign Jews, who were mainly attracted by the Saxon silver mines. The government and the municipal authorities took steps to ensure that the presence of Jews at the Leipzig fairs should be temporary and limited to the duration of the fairs. The first Jew to receive a Schutzbrief (see schutzjuden ) in Saxony was behrend lehmann , the court jew of Elector Frederick Augustus I (the Strong; 1694–1733); in 1710 Lehmann preferred to remain in halberstadt , while his cousin, Jonas Meyer, and his son settled as his agents in dresden , the capital. In 1723 they maintained households, numbering 30 and 40 respectively, to the annoyance of the burghers. The Jewish community of leipzig was founded in 1710 by Gerd Levi, court purveyor to the mint. Frederick Augustus II (1733–63) in the year of his accession abolished the leibzoll for the Jews passing through Saxony on business. His prime minister, Heinrich von Bruehl, was very partial to court Jews fulfilling various economic functions (military contractors, purveyors to the mint, etc.). As Frederick Augustus was, like his father, king of Poland as well, many of the court Jews originated in Poland. The kaskel (Kaskele) family, court Jews, bankers, and financiers, originally from Poland, played a central economic role in Saxony in the late 18th and 19th centuries. Frederick Augustus III (1768–1827), elector and first king of Saxony, promulgated a restrictive Judenordnung (regulation concerning Jews) in 1772. Saxon Jewry thus remained numerically static throughout the following decades; an increase during the Napoleonic wars proved to be only temporary. The number of Jews in Dresden in 1800 (1,031) was halved by 1815. In 1832 there were 852 Jews in the kingdom, 712 in Dresden and 140 in Leipzig. The struggle for emancipation was led by bernhard beer and W.T. Krug . In 1834 Jews were allowed to learn trades and live outside Dresden proper, while Jewish affairs were placed under the supervision of the ministry of religion and education. Further slight improvements were effected in 1837 and 1838. In 1840 the jewish oath was amended, partially due to the urging of the landrabbiner zacharias frankel (1836–1854). Full equality   was obtained during the 1848 Revolution, only to be repealed in 1851. It was not until 1868 and 1869 that Jews attained full legal equality. The number of Jews increased slowly from 1,022 in 1849 (0.05% of the total population) to 1,555 in 1861 and 3,346 in 1871 (0.13%). After emancipation their number leaped to 6,616 in 1880 (0.22%), 12,378 in 1900, and 17,587 in 1910 (0.53%). This increase, due in large part to immigration from Austria (Galicia) and Russia (Poland) and rapid industrialization in Saxony, had serious repercussions. Antisemites raised a cry against inundation by Ostjuden, while there was friction within the Jewish communities too. In 1925 there were 23,200 (0.46%, half the German average), with 5,120 in Leipzig, 5,120 in Dresden, and 2,796 in Chemnitz (karl-marx-stadt ). Rural communities were nonexistent. Anti-Jewish sentiment was expressed in anti-sheḥitah laws and the exclusion of Jews from the civil service. The only Jew elected to the Landtag was emil lehmann , leader of the Dresden community. In October 1938 thousands of Polish Jews were expelled; on November 9–10 the synagogues were burned down, and thousands more Jews emigrated after pogroms and arrests. The remainder were deported to concentration camps. After the war new communities arose in Leipzig, Dresden, and Karl-Marx-Stadt (renamed Chemnitz in 1990). In 1945 the three communities had 563 members. The membership declined continuously. They numbered 214 in 1969; 169 in 1976; and 106 in 1989. After 1990 the membership increased due to the immigration of Jews from the former Soviet Union. In 1992 the Association of Jewish Communities in Saxony was founded as an umbrella organization of the communities in Dresden, Leipzig, and Chemnitz. They numbered 232 in 1994 and 2,314 in 2004. The association employs a rabbi who officiates in the three communities. -BIBLIOGRAPHY: K. Sidori (pseud. of I. Kaim), Geschichte der Juden in Sachsen (1840); A. Levy, Geschichte der Juden in Sachsen (1900); S. Neufeld, in: MGWJ, 69 (1925), 283–95; idem, in: AUJW (Jan. 21, 1966); idem, Die Juden im thueringisch-saechsichen Gebiet waehrend des Mittelalters (1917–27); J. Segall, in: Zeitschrift fuer Demographie und Statistik der Juden, 10 (1914), 33–46; H. Schnee, Die Hoffinanz und der moderne Staat, 2 (1954), 167–292; Kisch, Germany, index; S. Stern, The Court Jew (1950), index. ADD. BIBLIOGRAPHY: Germania Judaica, vol, 3, 1350–1514 (1987), 2063–73; Juden in Sachsen. Ihr Leben und Leiden (1994); S. Hoeppner and M. Jahn, Juedische Vereine und Organisationen in Chemnitz, Dresden und Leipzig 19181933 (1997); U. Offenberg, "Seid vorsichtig gegen die Machthaber," in: Die juedischen Gemeinden in der SBZ und der DDR 19451990 (1998), 50–56; F. Specht, Zwischen Ghetto und Selbstbehauptung. Musikalisches Leben der Juden in Sachsen 19331941 (2000); C. Wustmann, "Geschichte juedischer Sozialarbeit in Sachsen," in: G. Stecklina (ed.), Juedische Sozialarbeit in Deutschland (2000), 49–99. (Reuven Michael / Larissa Daemmig (2nd ed.)

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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