City in the grand duchy of Baden. With this town is connected the earliest reference to Jews in the former margravate of Baden-Baden—an account of the persecution which took place there on Tammuz 20, 5027 (July 15, 1267), when R. Samuel ben Yaḳar ha-Levi, R. Isaac ben Eliezer, and R. Abraham ben Gershom committed suicide to escape the fury of the mob and the cruel tortures which they feared. Their corpses were, in fact, broken on the wheel, and the 20th of Tammuz is regarded as "Ta'anit Pforzheim" (the statement in "R. E. J." iv. 9 et seq. that there was a persecution at Pforzheim as early as 1244 is erroneous, and is based on a misunderstanding of the sources referring to the affair of 1267). This outbreak was caused by the slanderous statement of an old woman that the Jews had bought from her a Christian child and killed it.
The Jews seem to have fled from Pforzheim in consequence of this persecution; for the first reference to them after that event is the mention in 1463 of Leo of Pforzheim, whom the elector Friedrich von der Pfalz took for protection to Heidelberg for six years. In 1524 the Jews Seligmann and Hanna were admitted by the city, and were permitted to practise surgery in addition to carrying on business in the margravate. As the Jews of Pforzheim possessed considerable real estate at that time, a tax of 2½ gulden in 100 was levied Nov. 26, 1529; and in 1619 the rate for protection and convoy was doubled. The community of Pforzheim had no rabbi of its own, but, like all the other congregations of the margravate, was under the jurisdiction of the chief rabbi of the country, who was appointed by the margrave.
Pforzheim is the native city of Johann Reuchlin. It has now (1904) a very important community, numbering more than 1,200 Jews in a total population of 29,988.
- Aronius, Regesten, pp. 233, 306;
- Geiger, Johann Reuchlin's Briefweehsel;
- Grätz, Gesch. vii. 149;
- Landshuth, 'Ammude ha-'Abodah, p. 132;
- Neubauer, Cat. Bodl. Hebr. MSS. p. 339;
- R. E. J. iv. 9;
- Salfeld, Martyrologium, pp. 98, 128, 254, 285;
- Sachs, Gesch. der Markgrafschaft Baden, ii. 15;
- Steinschneider, Hebr. Bibl. x. 130;
- Zehnter, Gesch. der Juden in der Markgrafschaft Baden-Baden, in Zeit. für Gesch. des Oberrheins, new series, ii.;
- Zunz, Literaturgesch. p. 441;
- idem, S. P. p. 32;
- idem, Ritus, p. 128.