Regensburg and its Jewish Community in the Middle Ages

Many places in Bavaria had Jewish populations in the Middle Ages. Alongside the ShUM communities of Speyer, Worms and Mainz, the Jewish community in Regensburg was one of the oldest in the empire. There are many German, Latin and Hebrew sources that record the history of Jews in Regensburg from the first mention of a Jew near Regensburg in 981 to the expulsion of the Jews from the city in 1519. They were citizens, neighbours, businesspeople, scholars and "kammerknechte" (serfs of the royal chamber) – and people of Regensburg.

Regensburg's Jewish community largely escaped the waves of persecution and expulsion suffered by Jews in Europe in the Middle Ages. When expulsion came in 1519, the Jewish community in Regensburg – unlike most other Jewish communities – had been established in the city for more than 500 years.

The leading Jewish scholars who lived and worked in the city in particular are still important today.

Through more than 60 fascinating and high-quality digitised exhibits, this exhibition explores where Jews lived and shopped, how they earned their living, and their constraints and freedoms in dealings with other Regensburg citizens and people from outside the city. It sets out the rights and obligations that the Jewish community and its members had as residents of the imperial city. A number of individual Jewish people are also presented in the course of the exhibition.

A map shows Jewish settlements in the southern German territory in the period from 1441 to 1480. Not all settlements had the same level of community facilities such as a synagogue, nor was every settlement classified as a community. The larger towns with Jewish communities included Nuremberg, Weißenburg and Landshut. You can see the many waves of expulsion of Jews even from smaller towns and villages.

About the exhibition