Jews in Würzburg, 1900-1945
Database compiled by Naomi Teveth
This database is an extract of over 13,000 individuals from Reiner
Strätz's Biographisches Handbuch Würzburger Juden 1900-1945
(Würzburg 1989, two volumes), a collective biographical dictionary of Jews
living in Würzburg, Lower Franconia, Germany, in the early 20th century.
Introduction by Reiner Strätz
1. Summary of History of Jews in Würzburg
Würzburg is the "capital" of the district Lower Franconia in Bavaria,
Germany. Today it has about 130,000 inhabitants. The small post-war Jewish
community of survivors and "re-emigrants" has grown remarkably in the last
years by immigrants from the former Soviet Union. With about 1,000
members, one-third of its maximum at the end of the 19th century, it now
has the second largest Jewish population in Bavaria. Until 1802, for over
1,000 years, Würzburg and most of the region was governed by the
"prince-bishops" (Fürstbischof) of Würzburg, which was apparently not
the best place for a Jewish community. They permitted violent pogroms
in the Middle Ages with hundreds of victims and finally evicted
Jews in the late 16th century.
A few years ago, some thousand Jewish tombstones from the 12th and
13th century were discovered by chance. Well preserved by "Christian
mortar" of a former monastery, they are now the greatest relics of a
medieval Jewish cemetery worldwide. With the exception of the nearby
independent town of Heidingsfeld (one of the four oldest Jewish
communities in Germany, today a part of Würzburg) the Jews of the region
survived in small places, sheltered against "protection money"
(Schutzgelder) by their "Dorfherrschaften" (village rulers), mostly
protestant knights and earls. This rural background, which was religiously
accompanied by a rather orthodox orientation, can be found in many
biographies of the modern Jewish community of Würzburg, dating back to the
end of the prince- bishops' (Fürstbischof) regime.
2. Intentions and Criteria
To my knowledge, the biographical dictionary "Jews in Würzburg, 1900 -
1945" is a unique attempt to construct a collective biography of a rather
large Jewish community in Germany. It was compiled by the author in the
early and middle 1980s in cooperation with the "Stadt Würzburg" and the
"Israelitische Kultusgemeinde Würzburg". The concept had been developed by
Prof. Herbert A. Strauss, born in Würzburg, faculty member of City College
New York and founding director of the "Zentrum für Antisemitismusforschung
Criteria for inclusion were (with few exceptions) belonging to the
Jewish community and residing in Würzburg for a minimum of three years.
Including the parent generation in many of the short biographies on the
one hand, the data of emigrants and their families on the other, the
period of the dictionary actually extends from a good part of the 19th
century to the 1980s.
The purpose of the work, at least in my view, was not a "Who was who"
in Jewish Würzburg (there were not so many "Whos" either), but a
"quantitative-democratic" documentation, depending on the sources. Many
items such as birth or death dates in very short biographies of unknown
persons needed more research than long articles about seemingly
"prominent" persons. Some readers criticized apparent gaps concerning
"VIPS", misunderstanding the aims of the documentation.
3. Sources for this Database
Some remarks about the data are in order. The situation seemed to be
rather difficult at first. Many files in the local archives had been lost
in the heavy bombing of the town on March 16th 1945 with 5,000 deaths.
Among the archival losses was the complete "Einwohnerkartei" (card index
of the inhabitants).
To get basic data for the Jewish
citizen I had to work through the predecessor of this card index, the
"Einwohnermeldebögen" (list of registered inhabitants), reaching to the
early 1920s: over 300,000 thin files, alphabetically kept in hundreds of
cardboard boxes, for persons and families in Würzburg and , about three
percent of them concerning Jewish inhabitants. Additional data were in
many cases found in the "Grundlisten" (lists of houses and their
residents, arranged by streets).
"Bayerisches Staatsarchiv" Würzburg
By an accident of history the local Nazis failed to a great extent in
destroying their incriminating "Gestapo-Akten". Therefore, Würzburg is
one of only three places in (Western) Germany where the files of the
"Geheime Staatspolizei" were saved. (The other places are Düsseldorf and
Neustadt/Weinstraße.) About 1,100 of the approximately 18,000 personal
files relating to Jewish citizens were evaluated. Many files contain
curricula vitae of persecuted persons, especially after the pogrom of
November 9, 1938 (Kristallnacht) for most of the adult men still living in
Central Archives for the History of the Jewish People, Jerusalem
The files of the former Jewish community ("Akten aus dem Besitz der
Israelitischen Kultusgemeinde Würzburg") as well as those of numerous
rural communities in Lower Franconia were brought after the war, when a
future Jewish life in Germany seemed to be unthinkable, to this archive.
I used copies of essential files relating to Würzburg, such as lists of
members of the community, tax lists, election lists, statistics of World
War I, members in Jewish organizations which were "allowed" by the Nazis.
By the way, this is a good source for genealogical research.
In a kind of snowball-system, addresses of former citizens or their
descendants were gathered all over the world, from England to New Zealand,
of course mostly from the USA and Israel. Five hundred persons were found,
including the alumni of the ILBA ("Israelitische Lehrerbildungsanstalt"
Würzburg, Jewish Teachers` College). An astonishing 40 percent sent back a
detailed questionnaire or/and letters, some of the persons with whom I was
in contact, also sent additional informations on request.
Of course, there was a great variety of other data — smaller amounts of
materials in the archives, printed sources like memory books of other
German towns or of the "Bundesarchiv Koblenz", local periodicals (except
the "Aufbau", New York) such as year books of high schools in Würzburg or
of Jewish institutions.
4. Appeal for your help
If you have additional information about people from the Würzburg,
please contact Mrs. Naomi Teveth at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Online Database, transcribed by Naomi Teveth
The online version of the database does not contain all of the
information available in the biographical entries of the book. There are
13,027 individuals listed in the online database.
A typical entry (in German) in the book looks as follows:
BACHMANN Israel (Julius), geb. 26. März 1855 Schwanfeld/Ufr., gest. 5.
Nov. 1928 Wü. E (Eltern = parents) : Amschel B., gest. Schwanfeld,
Handelsmann u. Klara, geb. Weikersheimer, gest. Wiesenbronn/Ufr.
Lederhändler. Augustinerstr. 1. Um 1883 ansässig; gründete die Fa. I.B.
Leder- u.Schuhmacherartikel. Nach dem Verkauf des Geschäfts, um 1920,
8 1883 Wü.: Babette, geb. Frank, geb. 6. Mai 1858 Bütthard/Ufr., gest.
2.Jan 1933 Lohr/Ufr. E: Jüdlein (?) F., Kaufmann, u. Zerline (?), geb.
Lehmann, in Bütthard. K (Kinder=children): Albin (Alwin), geb. 13. Mai
1884 Wü. Zahnarzt in Stuttgart, Nürnberg. Emigrierte im Okt. 1933 nach
Geographical data covered by the data are mainly Würzburg, Lower
Franconia and its surrounding rural communities. Taking into account that
people migrated either because they came to study in Würzburg, or moved to
live there, or left Würzburg to live in another place, or married somebody
from Würzburg, we can find data from many counties and states, such as
Baden, Württemberg, Hessen, Prussia, Thuringia, Swabia, Upper Franconia,
Middle Franconia, Pomerania, Posen, Alsace, Upper Palatinate and more. In
addition, a number of the so-called "Ostjuden" (Eastern Jews) moved to
Würzburg, therefore you will find also data from Galicia, Russia, etc.
Taking into consideration that a number of Würzburgian Jews managed to
emigrate, you will also find in some instances data from foreign
countries, such as USA, Israel, Palestine, etc.
In the online database, each entry represents an individual and his/her
These data are organised in the following fields:
- NAME : Surname, all in capital letters;
Forname(s), including nicknames or changed names.
- MAIDEN NAME: Maiden surname, in any.
- BORN: Birth date (in numbers in the format dd-mm-yyyy) and
Birth place (Town or village, and district or county).
- DIED: Death date (in numbers in the format dd-mm-yyyy) and.
Death place (Town or village where individual died).
- MARRIED: When and where marriage first took place.
If divorce or separation data are available,
these are entered in brackets.
- SPOUSE: For Husbands: Given name; for Wives:
Given name + maiden name.
- CHILDREN: Given names of children. Married daughters will have
their married surname added (if known).
- FATHER: Given name of father.
When the individual is a married daughter,
the father's given name and surname are entered.
- MOTHER: Mother's given name and maiden name.
- SIBLINGS: Given names of siblings.
If a sibling is married, the married surname is added (if known).
- OCCUPATION: Occupation
- ADDRESS IN WÜRZBURG: Address where person lived in Würzburg.
Sometimes there is a second street name in brackets, representing the
present name of the same street.
- LAST RESIDENCE: Last known residence of individual.
- COMMENTS: Notes include information on the following:
a) Data on multiple marriages
b) Deportation data
c) Name changes
d) Various notes
The German umlaute characters were omitted and replaced by:
- Ä / ä = AE / ae
- Ö / ö = OE / oe
- Ü / ü = UE / ue
- ß = ss
- a.o. and others
- abt. about
- bef. before
- Bibrastr. 6
- ILBA school building with dormitories. The ILBA was closed down in the
November pogrom of 1938 and the building was then used to house the
expellees and refugees from the rural communities. At last people destined
to be deported from Würzburg were housed in the building.
- Israelitische Lehrerbildungsanstalt (Jewish Teachers College) in
Würzburg. Founded in 1864 (Kettengasse 6; 1884 Bibrastr. 6; 1931
Sandbergstr. 1). Teachers college with strictly orthodox orientation;
until 1919 managed by the famous rabbis Seligmann Baer Bamberger and
Nathan Bamberger; hereafter mostly autonomous. Training provided :
Teachers in Jewish elementary schools and cantors (for the numerous rural
Jewish communities). 1931/32 "Israelitische Präparandenschule Höchberg"
affiliated to ILBA. Acceptance of female students after overcoming
orthodox resistance. At last the only Jewish Teachers College in the
German Reich; closure during the pogrom of November 1938.
- Konradstr. 3
- Add-on building to the "Israelitische Kranken-und Pfründnerhaus"
(Jewish hospital and home for the aged). At last people destined to be
deported from Würzburg were housed in the building.
- Duererstr. 20
- Location of the "Israelitische Kranken-und Pfründnerhaus" (Jewish
hospital and home for the aged). At last people destined to be deported
from Würzburg were housed in the building.
Due to lack of time and space I have not included in the online
database all the biographical information available in the book. The
book is a publication of the City Archive Würzburg (Stadtarchiv Würzburg):
Stadtarchiv Würzburg, Neubaustr. 12, 97070 Würzburg, Tel.: 0931/37-3228,
37-3308, email: <email@example.com>.
Libraries where book is available include the National Library in
Jerusalem, the Leo Baeck Institute in New York, and Harvard University in
Anyone interested in adding or correcting the data, can contact me at
A very special thanks goes to the author, Mr. Reiner Strätz, who from
the beginning, when I first contacted him, has assisted me and given his
kind permission to publish the online version of his work.
Last Update: 30 May 2003 MT