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HEIDINGSFELD:

Bavarian city, on the Main, near Würzburg. It has a population of 4,154, including 100 Jews (1903). That it contained one of the oldest Jewish settlements may be seen from the "Martyrologium" of Nuremberg (ed. Salfeld, p. 233), which mentions a woman by the name of Zira among the victims of the Franconian persecution of 1298. In 1398 King Wenceslaus expressly released the city from the obligation of paying Jewish debts. In 1423 it was stated in the privileges granted the city by King Sigismund that no one should be permitted to receive a Jew or cause him to settle there except by royal command; but in 1431 the city obtained from the king the privilege of admitting Jews with the rights enjoyed by their coreligionists in other free cities.

King Sigismund sold the city to the Von Gutenstein family, from which it passed to Bishop Lorenz of Würzburg, who bought it in 1498 for the bishopric. Because of a charter which the seven Jewish families living there had obtained from their former lord, they were allowed by the bishop to remain for a yearly payment of 120 florins. In the course of the next centuries the Jewish community in Heidingsfeld increased considerably, and as a result the little town became a trading center.

In the fifteenth century Heidingsfeld supported a rabbinate; and in the eighteenth century it became the seat of a chief rabbinate which included all the district communities of Würzburg. On May 23, 1727, the election of Jacob Löw as district rabbi was confirmed by the bishop, and on Aug. 10, 1742, that of Löw Baruch Cohn. From 1798 Abraham Bing occupied the position. The office was discontinued when all corporations were dissolved by the Bavarian edict of 1813 (see Bavaria). The court agent Seligmann should also be mentioned, who, by a patent dated 1726, was exempted, with all his people, from taxes when traveling on the business of the bishop-ric. Heidingsfeld passed into the possession of the Bavarian crown along with the bishopric of Würzburg. The Jews living there gradually deserted their narrow ghetto; many of them, especially after freedom of residence was proclaimed, settled in the neighboring Würzburg. The community still possesses a parochial school.

Bibliography:
  • Himmelstein, Die Juden in Franken, in Archiv des Historischen Vereins für Unterfranken und Aschaffenburg, xii.;
  • Heffner, Die Juden in Franken, Nuremberg, 1855;
  • Heinrich Epstein, Ein Beitrag zur Gesch. der Juden im Ehemaligen Herzogtum Ostfranken, in Monatsschrift, 1880;
  • Löwenstein, Zur Gesch. der Juden in Franken, in Zeitschrift für Gesch. der Juden in Deutschland, iii.;
  • Landes- und Volkskunde des Königreichs Bayern, iv., § 1.
D. A. E.
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