General information: First Jewish presence: 11th century; peak Jewish population: 675 in 1880; Jewish population in 1933: 427
Summary: Jews first lived in Regensburg during Roman times. The Jewish community of the 11th century had its own rabbi, and we also know that Regensburg was the first town in Germany to have a Jewish quarter. Jews were expelled from Regensburg in 1519, and it was only in 1861, after legal restrictions were lifted, that a substantial Jewish presence was established there. Regensburg, a center of Jewish scholarship, was home to Rabbeinu Tam, Rabbi Yehuda He-Hasid, several ba’ale tosafot (Tosafists) and many other prominent personalities. The Jews of Regensburg established a cemetery in 1822, an elementary school in 1832, a synagogue in 1841 and another synagogue, the community’s last, in 1912. (This building, like its predecessor, housed a school, a mikveh and other community institutions.) In 1933, Magnus Weinberg served as district rabbi. Twenty students attended the school, and the community ran numerous Jewish associations and branches of nation-wide organizations. Well into the Nazi period, in 1938, a Jewish retirement home was opened in the city. On Pogrom Night, the synagogue’s interior was destroyed, after which the building and the adjacent school were set on fire. Jewish apartments and businesses were vandalized that night, and hundreds of Jews were locked in the local prison, from which 30 men were deported to Dachau. A Jewish man was beaten so severely that he died of his wounds. During the Nazi period, 233 Regensburg Jews emigrated and 111 relocated within Germany. In April 1942, 103 Jews were deported, via Munich, to Piaski; in July and September of 1942, 125 were deported to Theresienstadt. Fourteen Regensburg Jews, all of whom were married to Christians, were deported to Theresienstadt in February 1945. At least 277 local Jews perished in the Shoah. In October 1945, Jewish refugees re-established a community in Regensburg, but most had emigrated by 1948/1949. Another community was founded there in August 1950. In 2005, a monument created by Israeli sculptor Dani Karavan was unveiled at the former synagogue’s site.
Photo: The synagogue of Regensburg, probably in the early 20th century. Courtesy of: Unknown.
Author / Sources: Nurit Borut
Sources: AH, AJ, PK-BAV, RJ
Located in: bavaria