Free city of the German empire; remarkable as one of the places where few Jews have ever dwelt. A baptized Jew, Paulus, is said to have taught alchemy there to Archbishop Adalbert about the middle of the eleventh century. Reference is also made to the Jew Ludbert in 1324. Even the Jews traveling through Bremen were hampered in their movements. They could remain in the city only one night, and had to report to the burgomaster, and to pay the Jews' tax. Only during the "Freimarkt" were they allowed to stay longer and to do business; and for this privilege they had to pay a special tariff. From the sixteenth century, when many of their coreligionists were settling in the districts of Hanover, the Jews made frequent attempts to obtain permission to live in Bremen. Individual Jews were often expelled.
In the beginning of the nineteenth century Bremen, and also certain villages, received some Jewish inhabitants; but they, too, were expelled in 1803 on complaints of the merchant gild of the city. About thirty families settled in the city during the French occupation (1811-13), a period most favorable to the Jews. But these also were banished after the year 1814 in consequence of the Vienna convention, though their expulsion was not totally effected until six years later.
The citizens became more tolerant after 1848, in which year a small Jewish community was founded. In 1864 it numbered only 179 persons in the city and 255 in the whole district of Bremen, or 2 per cent of the entire population. At present (1902) there are 947 Jews in the city and 1,057 in the district. M. Levinger is preacher of the community. The synagogue was inaugurated Sept. 13, 1876. Dr. Leopold Rosenak was chosen rabbi in 1896.
- Zeit. für Deutsche Culturgesch. new series, 1872, pp. 74et seq.