Interwoven relationships

Relationships between the Jewish population of Regensburg and their fellow citizens were many and varied. The Jews had links to all levels of society. They were highly regarded scholars, liked or hated neighbours, popular business partners, and scapegoats. Importantly, they were also citizens of the city, both legal entities and subject to the laws and rights of others, and actors in regional and national affairs.

The Regensburg community maintained its links to its protector, the emperor, to the dukes, the city council, the monasteries and the other residents of the city. All those relationships were shaped by the prevailing mood of the time. In the mid-14th century at the time of the Black Death, the Jews of Regensburg were protected by the city community, yet from the mid-15th century at the latest, the city council sought to restrict their rights and freedoms. This phenomenon was not specific to Regensburg: secular and religious rulers called for a separation between Jews and Christians with the ultimate objective of the Jews' expulsion.

Three years before the Jews were actually expelled from the city of Regensburg, the city authorities tried to get permission from the emperor to expel or at least to reduce the Jewish community to just a few families. Yet everyday life continued, despite the fact that the Jews were subject to more and more restrictions.

There were still relationships and points of contact in the private sphere: as neighbours, Jews and Christians in Regensburg inevitably came into contact with each other, as they did at market and in business transactions. As doctors, Jews were often trusted confidants who were consulted on matters medical and beyond even at court.

Numerous German, Latin and Hebrew sources testify not only to what freedoms and restrictions Jews in Regensburg had, but also with whom they were in contact. This included both Christian individuals and institutions and other Jewish communities. The mediaeval Jewish community was an important one, producing and welcoming many great scholars, and had ties to Erfurt, Cologne, Bohemia, Hungary, Upper Italy, Vienna and many other places.