Capital of the duchy of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, Germany. A Jew named Jacob who lived at Cologne in the middle of the thirteenth century is designated as a native of Gotha (Höniger, "Das Judenschreinsbuch der Laurenzpfarre in Köln," p. 7, Nos. 39, 40). In 1303 the Jews of Gotha were persecuted in consequence of an accusation, which originated in the province, of having murdered the son of a miner for ritual purposes. The Nuremberg "Memorbuch" gives the names of the victims of this persecution. The community was annihilated at the time of the Black Death, and a new community must have sprung up, which appears to have disappeared again in 1459-60, a period of renewed persecution. The exegete Solomon is designated as a native of Gotha.
In the nineteenth century, prior to 1848, no Jews were permitted to live in the duchy of Gotha, although they could trade there under restrictions; after 1848 they were free to enter. They began to settle there in the sixth and seventh decades, and founded a community in the capital which at first numbered only from ten to twelve families. The first communal officials were appointed in the eighth decade. There is no rabbi, affairs being managed by three teachers. The community has a literary society and a B'nai B'rith lodge. The synagogue was built in 1903. The first cemetery was situated on the Erfurter Landstrasse; when this was closed by the local authorities, in the eighth decade, a new cemetery was acquired on the Eisenacher Landstrasse. In 1903 Gotha had a population of 29,134, of whom about 350 were Jews.
- Salfeld, Martyrologium, p. 217;
- Grätz, Gesch. vii. 343;
- Adolph Kohut, Gesch. der Juden in Deutschland, passim;
- Aronius, Regesten, No. 608;
- Monatsschrift, xliv. 347.