From the Thirteenth to the Fifteenth Century.

City in the province of Hanover, Germany; formerly capital of the principality of Grubenhagen under the dominion of the Guelfic dukes. Jews settled in Göttingen in the thirteenth century, as is shown by a document dated March 1, 1289, by which Dukes Albrecht and Wilhelm permitted the council of the city to receive the Jew Moses and his legal heirs and grant them the rights of citizenship. On March 10, 1348, at the time of the Black Death, Duke Ernest issued a patent of protection to the Jews of Göttingen; but they did not escape persecution. On Dec. 24, 1350, the house which had been the Jewish "Schule" was given to the city by the same duke. Jews settled once more in Göttingen, and the city council in 1370 announced its willingness to protect them, but demanded that the Jews on their part should perform their civic duties. A Jew named Meyer is mentioned as of Göttingen in a record dated Oct. 1, 1385; and in 1394 three Jews lived in the city, and, according to an entry in the registry of receipts, had to pay three marks annually as protection-money. The amount paid as protection-tax for the year 1399-1400 was 6 marks l4 pfennigs. When Duke William took over the government of the territory of Göttingen (April 18, 1437), and pledged himself to pay 10,000 florins for the debts and engagements of Duke Otto, leaving to the latter the Jewish protection-money, the city of Göttingen, as regards the Jewish tribute, was excluded from the agreement.

In records of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries there is mention of a long and a short Jews' street ("de lange Joedenstrate," "de korte Joedenstrate"; the latter was also called "die Kipper"). The houses on these streets, among them the Jewish school, were often damaged, especially on New-Year's eve and Shrove Tuesday, when the young members of the Bourse Society, whose place of meeting was in the neighboring Barfüssenstrasse, went through the city committing all sorts of depredations, until the Jews appealed to the magistracy for aid. In 1447 they obtained a decree to the effect that the depredations against them should cease; and in return each Jewish house and the Jewish school paid a stoop and a half of wine to the members of the Bourse.

From the Fifteenth to the Eighteenth Century.

On July 11, 1457, the council of Göttingen applied to the council of Hildesheim in behalf of the Jew Naḥman Cynner for a safe-conduct for his mother, Gele Cynner, and his sister, who desired to sojourn for two months in Hildesheim. In the latter city, also, lived Meier (Meyer, Meyger, Meiger) of Göttingen (1423-47), and a woman from Göttingen called "Michelsche" (1429-34). When on June 28, 1591, Duke Heinrich Julius issued an edict revoking the protection and safe-conduct even of those Jews whose patents explicitly extended over a longer period, the council of Göttingen tried to defend its rights. On Aug. 13 of the same year it addressed to the governor, chancellor, and counselors at Wolfenbüttel a remonstrance concerning the proposed expulsion of the Jews, in which it pointed out that by the charter granted to the preceding council there were still some years of sojourn legally due to these Jews, and that, moreover, the proposed expulsion would be a hardship for the indigent citizens of Göttingen in that it would not allow them sufficient time to redeem their pledges from the Jews. The governor, Wolf Ernst, Count of Stolberg, sent a very ungracious answer (Aug. 18).

In the following century only a few Jews lived in Göttingen, among them Eliezer Liepmann Göttingen, father of Judah Berlin (Jost Liebmann) and of Rabbi Wolf, author of "Naḥalat Binyamin." One of his two sisters was Leah, mother of Liepmann Cohen (Leffmann Behrens) of Hanover. The seven Jews enumerated by Freudenthal in "Monatsschrift," 1901, p. 480, as having attended the Leipsic fairs between the years 1678 and 1699, probably lived in Göding, Moravia. The respected Gumprecht ha-Levi (c. 1720) and Elijah Magdeburg (c. 1737) lived in Göttingen. The latter is lauded as a benefactor by Wolf Ginzburg, who studied medicine in the same place.

Light is thrown on the social conditions existing at the beginning of the eighteenth century by an edict promulgated Jan. 5, 1718, which declared that no Jew could own a house in the duchies of Göttingen and Grubenhagen. During the first few years after the founding of Göttingen University (1737) there were only three Jewish families in the city; and the authority of the university was requisite for the issue of almost all patents of protection. Gradually the number of Hebrews increased to ten or eleven families. In 1786 the Göttingen Jews held a patriotic celebration at the "festival of thanksgiving for the deliverance of his Majesty . . . George III."

Most of the Jews of Göttingen attained a certain prosperity through their financial dealings with the students, to whom they gave credit and loaned money on pledges, although they were forbidden, under penalty of losing their right of protection, to go to the students' rooms, or to address them on the street or in public places in regard to money matters. As certain Jews were accused of having contributed to the ruin of students by advancing money for which the notes given by the latter exceeded the amount actually received, it was decreed in 1796 that only three Jewish families might live in the university city. The chancellor ("Grossvogt"), Von Beulwitz, energetically executed this decree, expelling even those against whom no complaint had ever been made.

In the Nineteenth Century.

At the time of the Franco-Westphalian dominion (1806-13) Reuben Meyer from Göttingen was one of the Jewish deputies presented to Minister Siméon by Jacobson at Cassel. In 1812 the district ("Syndikat") of Göttingen included about 160 families, of which only three were resident in the city itself. August Wilhelm Niander, ecclesiastic historian, formerly David Mendel, was born in Göttingen. Moritz Abraham Stern, appointed professor of mathematics at Göttingen University in 1859, was the first Jew to be appointed to a full professorship in a German university. In 1902 there were 600 Jews in the community of Göttingen, which now includes the towns of Gaismar and Rösdorf, and belongs itself to the district rabbinate of Hildesheim. The present rabbi is Dr. B. Jacob. He was preceded by Dr. Loevy. Persons bearing the name "Göttingen" have lived in various places, e.g., in Frankfort-on-the-Main, Halberstadt, Hamburg, Altona, Hildesheim, and Hanover.

The community possesses a synagogue and the following institutions: Israelitischer Bröderschaftsverein, which cares for the sick and buries the dead; Israelitischer Frauenverein; and Benfey'sches Stipendium, for the support of the poor and of students.

  • Zeit- und Geschicht-Beschreibung der Stadt Göttingen, Hanover and Göttingen, 1734, part i., book ii., p. 61; 1736, part ii., book i., p. 63;
  • Jung, De Jure Recipiendi judœos, p. 150, Göttingen, 1741;
  • Beiträge zur Statistik von Göttingen. pp. 65, 246 et seq., Berlin, 1785;
  • Auszug aus Einigen Chur-Hannoverischen Landes-Ordnungen Bestätigten statuten und Observanzen der Stadt Göttingen, 1790, p.57, § 164; p. 58, § 165b (Zinsen der Juden);
  • Billerbeck, Gesch. der Stadt Göttingen, 1797, p.25;
  • Brandes, Ueber den Gegenwärtigen Zustand der Universität Göttingen, 1802, pp. 294, 298;
  • Cohen, Ueber die Lage der Juden, etc., p. 17, Hanover, 1832:
  • Schmidt, Urkundenbuch der Stadt Göttingen biszum Jahre 1400, passim;
  • idem, Urkundenbuch der Stadt Göttingen vom Jahre 1401 bis 1500, p. 127, Nos. 179, 419, note 33;
  • Oesterley, in Hannoverisches Magazin, 1836, No. 83, p. 659;
  • Havemann, Gesch. der Lande Braunschweig und Lüneburg. i. 637;
  • idem, in Zeitschrift des Historischen Vereins für Niedersachsen, 1837, p. 206;
  • Wiener, in Jahrbuch für die Gesch. der Juden, i. 170, 173, 213 (note 7), 214 (note 12);
  • idem, in Zeitschrift des Histor. Vereins für Niedersachsen, 1861, pp. 260, 287;
  • Hansische Geschichtsblätter, 1878, p. 13;
  • Doebner, Urkundenbuch der Stadt Hildesheim, iv. and vi., passim; vii., No. 277;
  • Thimme, Die Inneren Zustände des Kurfürstentums Hannover, etc., 1895, ii. 229;
  • Horwitz, Die Israeliten unter dem Königreich Westfalen, pp. 9, 99;
  • Bodemeyer, Die Juden, 1855. p. 7;
  • Landshuth, Toledot Anshe Shem, p. 2;
  • Kaufmann, Die Memoiren der Glückel von Hameln, 1645-1719, p. 79, remark 1;
  • Lewinsky, in Monatsschrift, 1900, p. 372;
  • Jacob Emden, She'ilat Ya'beẓ, i., responsum 41;
  • Maggid, Sefer Toledot Mishpaḥot Ginzburg, p. 52, St. Petersburg, 1899;
  • Roest. Cat. Rosenthal. Bibl. i. 677, s.v. Levy;
  • Horowitz, Frankfurter Rabbiner . . . iii. 95, iv. 35;
  • idem, Die Inschriften des Alten Friedhofs der Israelitischen Gemeinde zu Frankfurt-a.-M. p. 709, s.v. Göttingen and Gautingen;
  • Auerbach, Gesch. der Israelitischen Gemeinde Halberstadt, p. 107, Halberstadt, 1866.
G. A. Lew.
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