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Nuremberg Receives Permission to Expel its Jews

On This Day in Jewish History: June 21, 1498

On this day, 1498, King of Germany and Holy Roman Emperor Maximillian I, Issue Decree; Permits the Citizens of Nuremberg to Expel the Jews.

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The latter half of the 15th century saw an increase in attempts to convert Jews to Christianity, further aggravating their place in society. Jews in Nuremberg were required to attend the sermons of John of Capistrano, a Franciscan preacher and now canonized saint of the Catholic Church, and they were also forced to listen to teachings of Dominican friars who would use Jewish texts to argue for the truth of Christianity. Though Jews obtained permission from Frederick III to continue money lending (one of their only permitted professions) in 1470, the city council of Nuremberg began calling for their expulsion three years later.

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In 1479, a new municipal code prohibited Jews from charging interest and instituted a Jewish oath that was required for certain interactions between Christians and Jews. The Jews in Nuremberg rejected these regulations from the council. In 1494, Anton Koburger printed and published “Fortalitium Fidei,” an antisemitic work which stoked hatred of Jews among the wealthy and educated. With hatred of Jews in Nuremberg reaching an apex, the council petitioned Emperor Maximillian I for permission to expel them.

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On June 21, 1498 Maximillian granted permission for the citizens of Nuremberg to expel the Jews. Maximillian’s decree justified the expulsion of the Jews with the following: 1) The numbers of Jews had increased significantly through immigration 2) They engaged in usury (money lending with extortionate interest rates) 3) They intruded into other people’s homes 4) They gave aid to suspicious peoples which increased crime and thievery. This decree also confiscated the Jew’s property and transferred it to the city, or more specifically to the Imperial Bailiff Wolfgang von Parsberg.

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The date of the expulsion was first set for November 6, 1498 but then pushed back to Candlemas, February 2. The date was finally changed to Lætare Sunday in March 1499, and an armed force escorted the Jews out of Nuremberg. Some settled in surrounding villages. Most settled in Neustadt, but some went to Frankfort-on-the-Main and even Prague.

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Jewish homes in Nuremberg were sold for 8,000 gluden and the synagogue and dance hall were sold for 350. Buildings in the Jewish cemetery were burned and destroyed, and a street was built through the cemetery using the tombstones as its foundation.

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The hatred of Jews in Nuremberg continued in the following decades, and unsatisfied with expulsion, the council wanted to forbid Jews from the surrounding areas as well. When a Jew was made a citizen of Fürth, the citizens of Nuremberg were forbidden from buying meat from Jews in Fürth. By 1533, all trade with Jews was forbidden. Jews did not begin to settle in Nuremberg again until the start of the 19th century.



 

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