ANSCHELM (called also R. Anshel ha-Levi of Cologne):
Chief rabbi of several German provinces. He was appointed to the office of chief rabbi in the year 1435 by Conrad of Weinsberg, hereditary chamberlain and plenipotentiary representative in this particular matter of the Holy Roman Empire. Anschelm's sphere of activity was restricted to Mayence, Cologne, Treves, Bremen, Worms, Speyer, Basel, Strasburg, and a number of other prominent cities and districts. This was the second instance of such an appointment in the history of the German Jews, the first being that of R. Israel, who was nominated at Nuremberg, May 3, 1407, by King Ruprecht, to serve as Königlicher Reichs-Hochmeister (royal chief rabbi). Anschelm was the younger contemporary of that group of eminent rabbis to which Maharil (R. Jacob b. Moses ha-Levi Möllin) and R. Solomon Runkel belonged. R. Seligmann Bing Oppenheim alludes to him as a remarkable man. Still, we find in the Jewish sources no reference at all either to his appointment or to that of R. Israel, most likely because government nominations for communal positions, as well as all external interference in their religious affairs, were extremely unpopular among the Jews of the Middle Ages, and were very frequently ignored.
- Güdemann, Geschichte des Erziehungswesens und der Cultur der Juden, 1888, iii. 36 et seq., 265 et seq.