When one now thinks of Jews and Germany the concept of the "Holocaust" quickly comes to mind. But it should be noted that Jews lived in what is now called Germany since around 300 CE. When much of Europe was killing Jews by inquisitions, crusades, pogroms, etc. the German lands were some of the only areas where Jews were tolerated or even wanted. Jews living in Germany developed a very sophisticated and rich culture and became part of the German culture in a greater degree than in most countries. While we must never forget the extremely heinous crimes of the Nazis and their supporters during the "Third Reich" period of history, it is also wrong to forget the contributions made by the Jews in Germany both before and after World War II.Anyone who has information about what happened from 1939-1945 please contact us and I will continue the timeline.
The following is a date line of how Jews lived in Germany.
321 CE Constantine summons Cologne Jews. This earmarks the earliest record of the Jewish community in northern Europe.
750 CE Charlemagne (Karl der Grosse) and successors friendly towards Jews of Rheinland and northern France, who came to be known as "Ashkenazim".
900 CE Jews prosper in cities like Mainz, Worms, Cologne and Speyer for more than a century through money-lending and other trades barred to Christians.
1095 Despite protective order of Emperor Henry IV, mobs preceding crusading knights overrun Jewish communities from Rheinland to Prague.
1100 Beginning of Jewish migration from Rheinland and France to the East.
1215 Pope Innocent III convenes 4th Lateran Council; Jewish rights severly restricted.
1236 Emperor Frederick II defends Jews against "ritual murder" hysteria; establishes imperial power to protect - and to exploit- Jewish communities.
1364 Poland's Casimir the Great extends Jewish privileges throughout the kingdom. Migration accelerates of Ashkenazi Jews from Germany who bring Yiddish eastward.
Other related worldly events: (1492 - Spanish Inquisition; 1517 - Martin Luther's 95 Theses; 1555 - Pope Paul IV directs Italy's Jews into ghettos; 1648 - Cossack rebellions in Poland; 1656 - Cromwell quietly allows Jews to return to England).
1670 Vienna expels Jews; 50 families allowed to move to Berlin.
1743 Meyer Amshel Rothschild born in Frankfort, founder of banking house.
1772 First partition of Poland between Germany, Austria and Russia. In 1791, Jews restricted to "the Pale" by Catherine the Great who withdraws privileges.
1780 Moses Mendelssohn translates the Bible into German.
1782 Austrian and Hungarian Jews benefit from Emperor Joseph II's Tolerance Decree.
1789 Due to the French Revolution, Jews declared equal citizens and ghettos abolished in France and areas all the way to Italy and Switzerland, including many areas now in Germany.
1818 First Reform Temple in Hamburg.
1848 Liberal revolutions bring down ghetto walls in Germany and Austria.
1851 Zacharias Frankel speaks for Conservative Judaism in Breslau; Samson Raphael Hirsch for Neo-Orthodoxy in Frankfort.
1871 Constitution bequeaths equal rights to Jews throughout new German Empire.
1914 World War I - About 12,000 Jews die as soldiers for the Kaiser as German soldiers.
1935 Nuremberg Race Laws strip Jews of the 1871 civil rights.
1938 Kristallnacht. The Holocaust begins.
Read about Kristallnacht by Henry Landman
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