An affiliate of
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 Berlin".
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).
4. Appeal for your help
If you have additional information about people from the Würzburg, please contact Mrs. Naomi Teveth at email@example.com.
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:
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 genealogical data.
These data are organised in the following fields:
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: <firstname.lastname@example.org>. Libraries where book is available include the National Library in Jerusalem, the Leo Baeck Institute in New York, and Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Anyone interested in adding or correcting the data, can contact me at email@example.com.
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