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MARBURG:

  • 1. Town in the Prussian province of Hesse-Nassau. Jews are first mentioned as living in Marburg in a document dated May 13, 1317, which indicates that they were then organized as a community and possessed a synagogue; also that they dwelt in a special quarter of the town. From a document of 1452 it appears that the synagogue was demolished in that year, and that the Jewish cemetery passed into Christian hands; hence the Jews must have been expelled from Marburg about that time. They gradually returned to the city; and in 1532 Landgrave Philipp revoked the decree of expulsion issued by him in 1524, and permitted the Jews provisionally to remain in his territory for a period of six years. Two Jews, named respectively Liebmann and Gottschalk, availed themselves of this permission in 1536.As the Hessian cities repeatedly petitioned against the admission of Jews, the number of the latter remained very small: in 1744 there were only six Jewish families at Marburg; in 1776, eight. No one was permitted to harbor foreign Jews, except at the times of the fairs, on pain of being fined and of losing the privilege of protection. The Marburg community increased somewhat with the granting of freedom of residence; but even as late as 1902 it numbered only about 300 members in a total population of 16,668. It possesses a handsome synagogue (built in 1897), a parochial and a religious school, and a home for pupils and apprentices (opened in 1901) with seventy inmates.Since 1823 Marburg has been the seat of the board of management of the union including the Jewish communities in the districts of Marburg, Kirchhayn, Frankenberg, and Ziegenhain. Marburg is the seat also of a district rabbinate, which includes not only the former districts, but also those of Biedenkopf and Wetzlar. The district rabbis have been: Moses Solomon Gosen, 1824-62; Liebmann Gersfeld, 1862-76; and Dr. Leo Munk, the present (1904) incumbent, appointed in 1876. There are a number of educational and philanthropic societies. Hermann Cohen has been for a number of years professor of philosophy at the University of Marburg.D. L. Mu.
  • 2. Austrian town, the second in the duchy of Styria. It has a population of 24,501, including about 100 Jews. Jews first settled at Marburg toward the end of the thirteenth century; gravestones of that period are still found there. According to the records they had a synagogue in their ghetto in 1277, as well as a school and a bath-house. The Jews of Marburg were respected merchants; they owned houses, fields, mills, and vineyards, and lived peaceably with their neighbors. They were not affected by the great persecutions of 1336 and 1338, and many Jews persecuted elsewhere found refuge at Marburg on payment of an annual tax of 40 gulden. In the old tax-records of Marburg the Jews are described as quiet and wealthy merchants who paid their taxes promptly. The Jews who were expelled from the territory of the neighboring city of Cilli in 1404 were received at Marburg, to the benefit of its commerce and industry. The decree of Frederick III. (1410-1493) relating to the importation of Hungarian wines was especially favorable to the Jewish wine-merchants. About this time R. Israel Isserlein, one of the foremost rabbis of the fifteenth century, and a native of Marburg, officiated there. Up to the middle of the fifteenth century the Jews of Marburg were generally respected; the Jew Elijah was one of its most prominent citizens, and Gerl, Jacob, and Aram Rorer were in the employ of noblemen as their treasurers. Mention is made also of the Jews Cham, who owned six, and Maul, who owned three, houses in Marburg. The wealthy money-lender Abraham b. Isaac advanced the money for part of the expenses of the Diet and contributed large sums for the equipment of the army. The Jews Hirsel, Süsskind, and Aaron b. Söldmann are mentioned among those who gave money to the Christian Church.Marburg is one of the four cities of Styria the Jews of which had a special judge ("Judenrichter"), whose position was regarded as "very lucrative"; about 1440 it was held by the governor Sigmund von Rogendorf himself. There were special "Judenmeister" for internal Jewish affairs. Notes of debts held by Jews against Christians had to be indorsed by the city judge. In 1477, when the Jews of Marburg were building a new synagogue, David b. Aram, who had removed a short time before to Radkersburg, refused to pay the contribution of twelve gulden which the community levied upon him. The result was a tedious lawsuit, which Frederick III. finally settled by deciding that the defendant's assessment should be remitted, and that he should be neither excommunicated nor subjected to coercion of any other kind. The Jews of the city continued to enjoy the protection of the authorities and the good-will of their Christian fellow citizens until 1496, when the emperor Maximilian decreed the expulsion of all Jews from Styria. Those in Marburg, apparently, were permitted to remain until they had settled their financial affairs, for as late as 1499 some were still living there. Their property was purchased by Christian families, the sy nagogue being taken by Bernardin Drukher, who transformed it into a Christian church. After Drukher's death the records contained in the building were destroyed by the magistrate of the city, and the church was turned into a storehouse; in 1659 it was again converted into a church; in 1785 it became a storehouse again; it is now (1904) in use as a tenement. The ritual bath-house was destroyed during the last century. After the expulsion Jews were not permitted even to pass through Marburg except on the payment of a poll-tax. In 1783 they were allowed to attend some of the fairs in Styria, but not at Marburg. In 1811 three Jews were baptized in that city, but none settled there again until 1867, when the merchant Jacob Schlesinger was admitted. Some of the Jews now resident there are government and district officials.V08p323001.jpgThe "Judengasse" of Marburg in Hesse.(From an old print by Joh. Aug. Koch.)Bibliography: Puff, Marburg in Steiermark, Graz, 1847; Muchar, Gesch. des Herzogthums Steiermark, 9 vols., ib. 1844-77.D. S. Mü.
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