Town of eastern Bavaria. Jews were settled here toward the end of the twelfth century, when they were under the authority of the bishop. Bishop Mangold, in 1210, to indemnify them for serious losses they had suffered through pillage by the Christians, arranged that they were to be freed from all demands made upon them by the town, which should pay them 400 marks. Walther Isnar, Ulrich Pröbstlein, and Herbard the tailor, citizens of Passau, therefore paid to the Jews 200 pounds of Passauer coin, the bishop pledging the tolls to them in return. It is remarkable that under these circumstances Christians, even to their own disadvantage, took the part of the Jews.
The Jewish inhabitants dwelt not only in the so-called "Jews' Lane," but also in that section of the town situated on the Inn river, where they had a synagogue. A treaty ("Landfrieden") was concluded in 1244, one of the conditions of which was that no Christian should charge interest, except to Jews, without incurring a penalty. In 1260 Bishop Otto, on the advice of his chapter, promised the Jews of Passau, as they had assisted him when he was financially embarrassed, not to ask either additional taxes or loans of them for a period of two years. Martyrs of Passau, the victims of persecutions, are mentioned in 1337 and 1349. Emperor Rudolf, on April 1, 1577, issued an edict to the Bishop of Passau directing that the Jews of the town should not be tortured.
At present (1904) the Jews of Passau number 34 in a total population of about 18,000. They are under the supervision of the district rabbi of Ratisbon.
- Aronius, Regesten, pp. 380, 523, 549, 623, 664;
- Breslau, in Hebr. Bibl. x. 129;
- Statistisches Jahrbuch des Deutsch-Israelitischen Gemeindebundes, p. 89, Berlin, 1903;
- Salfeld, Martyrologium, pp. 143, 241, 268, 282.