By: A. Freimann
Town of Rhenish Prussia, twenty-three miles northwest of Coblenz, on the river Ahr. It is mentioned in the year 1248 as containing a Jewish colony. In 1255 and 1262 a number of Jews of Ahrweiler acquired property at Cologne; some of them are referred to as living at Bacharach at the beginning of the fourteenth century. Wolfram, archbishop of Cologne in 1335, ordered the same measures to be applied to the Jews of Ahrweiler, in regulating the meat trade, as were already in force among the Jews of Bonn. The community suffered greatly from the persecutions which broke out in the Rhine districts in 1348, during the prevalence of the black death, and in the archbishopric of Cologne alone no less than forty-four communities were annihilated. At the beginning of the fifteenth centuryAhrweiler was attacked by the soldiery of Brabant and Holland, and the Jewish community barely escaped destruction. Of its rabbis, a certain Isaac of Ahrweiler addressed ritual questions to Jacob Mölin of Worms (d. 1427), and wrote a commentary on the Pentateuch. In Ahrweiler was also Rabbi Issachar, whose daughter Frommet, that wife of Rabbi Samuel ben Moses, was so learned that she copied Samuel Schlettstadt's "ḳiẓẓur Mordecai," in 1454, for her husband. The manuscript is now in the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris. In the "Judenschreinsbuch der Laurenzpfarre" of Cologne there are mentioned as coming from Ahrweiler: Joseph and his wife, Richa, 1248-55; Gumpert, son of the preceding, 1270-75; Saul and his wife, Reggelin, 1318-26; Joseph and his wife, Genanna, 1291-1336. In the Palatinate records are to be found in addition: Simon, son of Vifanz (= Ḥayyim), 1346; Hanne (in Bacharach), 1367, widow of the preceding; to which may be added Baruch ben Simon, physician, poet, and glossarist (flourished in the fifteenth century). Ḥayyim Treves, son of Johanan Treves who wrote a commentary upon the Maḥzor and who succeeded Ruben Fulda in the rabbinate of Cologne, died at Ahrweiler in 1598. His son-in-law, Isaac ben Ḥayyim, also lived there. During the seventeenth century (1641 et seq.) we find the name of Herz Ahrweiler as one of the "Rabbinatsassessoren" at Frankfort-on-the-Main. His son Mattithiah Ahrweiler became rabbi of Heidelberg in 1708. The family name Ahrweiler occurs also at Prague and Worms. After this every trace of the community disappears.
The present Jewish community dates from the middle of the nineteenth century. In 1899 there were eighty-two Jewish families there. The new synagogue was built in 1895.
- Das Judenschreinsbuch der Laurenzpfarre zu Köln, ed. Stern and Hoeniger, p. 188;
- Das Martyrologium des Nürnberger Memorbuches, ed. Salfeld, pp. 273, 287;
- Löwenstein, Gesch. d. Juden in d. Kurpfalz, p. 157.