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1084 September 13, SPEYER (Germany)

In an effort to convince Jews to settle in his town the local Bishop Rudiger offered them a legal status superior to what would be offered them elsewhere in Germany. It read, in part: "Desiring to make a city out of our village of Speyer, I have admitted the Jews.....I have thought to multiply one thousand times the honor of our city by gathering the Jews within its walls." He provided them with their own protected area and their own cemetery. In return they paid 3 1/2 pounds silver to the Church and agreed to defend the city. Local rulers were entitled to offer legal "privileges" although for the most part it was in the hands of the emperor. Twelve years later Speyer became one of the first cities ravaged by the Crusades.


1090 February 19, SPEYER (Germany)

Emperor Henry IV renewed to Rabbi Judah b. Kalonymus, the poet, David b. Meshullam, and Rabbi Moses b. Yekuthiel the pledges granted six years earlier by Bishop Ruediger. In addition, the Emperor guaranteed the Jews freedom of trade in his empire as well as his protection. John, bishop of Speyer, also encouraged Jews to move to the city. In return the community paid 3 1/2 pounds silver to the Church and agreed to defend the city in case of attack. Within six years Speyer became one of the first communities on the Rhine to be attacked. After the attacks, R' Moses took upon himself the care and protection of the orphans.


1096 May 3, EMICHO (Emico), COUNT OF LEININGEN (Germany)

On his way to join the Crusade led by Peter the Hermit, he attacked the synagogue at Speyer. The Jews defended themselves but were systematically slain. Until this time atrocities in Europe were sporadic. From here on in they became organized and frequent, and Jewish martyrdom began in earnest. (It should be remembered that the atrocities committed by the rampaging crusaders were not always supported by the local burghers and bishops. Furthermore, in many countries - especially the Slavic states - the local Christian community suffered from pillages as well. John, bishop of Speyer even called out his army after 11 Jews were killed in a riot, but he was an exception rather than the rule. Approximately 5,000 Jews were murdered in Germany in 1096.)


1130 - 1195 ISAAC BEN ASHER HALEVI THE YOUNGER (Ha-Bahur) (Speyer, Germany)

Was born on the day his grandfather (of the same name) died. He served as a judge (dayan) in the community and died a martyr after he attacked a mob which was abusing the body of his dead daughter.


1195 February 13, SPEYER RITUAL MURDER LIBEL (Germany)

Although there was no proof of any wrongdoing, the rabbi's daughter was dismembered and her body was hung in the market place for a few days. The rabbi and many others were killed and their houses burned.


1349 January 22, SPEYER (Germany)

The Jewish community was destroyed. The Jewish inhabitants were either killed, converted or fled to Heidelberg. All their property - including the Jewish cemetery - was confiscated.


1435 May 5, SPEYER (Germany)

Jews were expelled. One of the refugees was Moses Mentzlav who moved to Italy. His son, Israel Nathan, founded the printing house of Soncino.


1616 January 19, WORMS (Germany)

Under orders of the Bishop of Speyer and with the backing of Frederick's troops, the Jews were re-admitted to the city.




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