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COBLENZ:

Prussian city on the Rhine. Jews settled there between 1135 and 1159, and are first mentioned in the "Judenschreinsbuch" (Archives) of Cologne. As early as 1100 there is mention of a custom-house in Coblenz at which Jews were obliged to pay four denarii for every salable slave. Perhaps a note in the "Memorbücher," according to which Jizchak and his wife Bela brought about the "abolition of the tax," refers to the above-mentioned duty. Between 1160 and 1173 the traveler Benjamin of Tudela found a large community in Coblenz. Marsilius, the mayor of Treves, and the knights Heinrich and Dithard of Pfaffendorf, testified, in 1265, that the archbishop Heinrich of Treves had freed the Jews in Coblenz of all taxes for a year. In the same year the Jews of this city were subjected to a persecution, as a result of which more than ten were killed. In 1334 the "Judenschläger" (Jew-beaters) attacked the Jews in Coblenz; in 1349 they suffered under the Flagellants, who killed almost all of them.

The records show that from 1352 the houses of the Jews were frequently subject to confiscation and sale for the benefit of the reigning prince. In 1322 and 1326 there is mention of a cemetery, and in 1333 and 1352 of a Jewry. The emperor Charles IV. ordered, in 1354, that a certain Jew named Samuel receive protection. In 1356 he granted Archbishop Boemund II. of Treves the right for Jews to settle in his district; and from 1366 Jews are found in Coblenz as house-owners. This prelate took the Jew Symon for his court physician. In 1418 Archbishop Otto drove them out of his domains, and in 1421 he gave in fief the Jewish cemetery of Coblenz to the daughters of Gottfried Sack of Dieblich, and presented the Jewish houses in the Burggasse to the religious order of St. Florin. In 1512 the elector Richard admitted two Jewish families to Lützel-Coblenz, and in 1518 five more families to Coblenz itself. The Council first extended civil protection to them in 1518. In 1583 they were again ordered to leave, and until 1592 they were excluded from the electorate.

In 1597 John VII. granted a Jewish firm permission to settle in Treves and Coblenz, and carry on a trade with the East. Their religious center was in Frankfort-on-the-Main. Twenty-one years later the elector Lothar von Metternich issued an order regulating the status of the Jews. In 1723 a statute was enacted reestablishing the Jewry, and permitting Jews to have a rabbi. When the elector Wenceslaus made his public entry into Coblenz in 1786, the Jews wished to take part in the ceremonies. On Nov. 23 they held religious services in his honor, and were admitted by him to an audience. On Jan. 24, 1851, a new synagogue was dedicated, and in 1901 there were 600 Jews in the city, out of a total population of 45,146.

Among the rabbis and scholars of Coblenz Moses Kohen ben Eliezer, the author of "Sefer Ḥasidim" (1473), should be mentioned. Wolf of Coblenz took part in the convention of rabbis at Frankfort in 1603. In 1650 Judah Löb Heilbronn ben Abraham David Eliezer, as rabbi of Coblenz, signed a letter of introduction for David Carcassonne. From 1666 to 1669 Jair Ḥayyim Bacharach, author of the responsa "Ḥawwot Yaïr," was rabbi in Coblenz. He was succeeded by Moses Meïr Grotwohl, a member of the rabbinate in his native city, Frankfort-on-the-Main, who died in 1691. His successor was Aaron Spira, who died in 1697. From 1697 to 1717 Jacob Kohen Poppers was rabbi in Coblenz; he is the author of the responsa "Sheb Ya'aḳob," and died in 1740 in Frankfort-on-the-Main. He was followed by Eliezer Lipman, son of Isaac Benjamin Wolf, rabbi in Berlin and the Mark, and author of "Naḥalat Binyamin." Eliezer (d.1733) was teacher and tutor of Simon von Geldern, Heine's maternal grandfather. Mannele Wallich, who came of an old family of physicians, and was himself a physician, succeeded in the rabbinate, and died on the first day of the Feast of Weeks in 1762. The founder of the Altona printing-house (1715), Samuel Sanvel Poppert, who was also publisher of several short works, likewise came from Coblenz. The author of "Mafteaḥ ha-Yam" (novellæ to the Pentateuch; Offenbach, 1788) calls himself Jacob Meïr ben Wolf Coblenz. Ḥayyim Löb Gundersheim of Frankfort-on-the-Main had been rabbi in Coblenz for nearly thirty-five years, when he went back to Frankfort, became a member of the rabbinate there, and died in 1803. Ben Israel, born 1817, in Diersdorf, was preacher (1843), later rabbi, in Coblenz. He died Nov. 6, 1876, and was succeeded by Dr. Adolf Levin (1878-85), who is now rabbi of Freiburg, and by Dr. M. Singer (died in 1901).

Coblenz has the following Jewish charitable associations: Männer-Krankenverein, Wohlthätigkeitsverein, Wittwenund Waisenverein, Sterbekassenverein, Seligmannsche Stiftung, Alberti-Stiftung, and Bragsche Stiftung.

Bibliography:
  • Aronius, Regesten, Nos. 208, 282, 307, 701, 704;
  • Salfeld, Martyrologium, pp. 130, 238, 246;
  • Liebe, in Westdeutsche Zeitschrift für Geschichte und Kunst, xii. 340 et seq.;
  • Neues Archiv der Gesellschaft für Aeltere Deutsche Geschichte, viii. 260;
  • Hecht, in Monatsschrift, vii. 183 et seq.;
  • Literaturblatt des Orients, 1846, col. 194;
  • Steinschneider, Hebr. Bibl. ix. 113;
  • Horowitz, Frankfurter Rabbiner, i . 40; ii. 54, 82, 102, 105; iv. 34, 75, 101;
  • Rev. Et. Juives, ix. 117; xxv. 207, 215;
  • Kaufmann, Letzte Vertreibung, pp. 80, No. 1; 203, No. 2; 226, No. 1;
  • idem, Jair Chajjim Bacharach. pp. 47, 71, 52;
  • idem, Heine's Ahnensaal, p.101;
  • Landshut, Toledot Anshe Shem, pp. 3, 9;
  • Löwenstein, Natanael Weil, p. 65, n. 3;
  • Zeitschrift, für Gesch. der Juden in Deutschland, i. 2, ii. 199, v. 191.
G. A. F.
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