Capital of the Prussian province of the same name. Jews lived there as early as the first half of the fourteenth century, and they were well treated by the authorities. The municipal law ("Stadtrecht") of 1303 contained a clause, revoked later, to the effect that no one was to offend the Jews either in word or in deed. In 1340 the Jews were allowed to slaughter their own cattle, notwithstanding the opposition of the regular butchers. In a document of 1342 mention is made of a Jew named Dustman in connection with a commercial transaction.


According to an inscription in the vestry of the Markt-Kirche dated 1350, after the Black Death, the Jews of Hanover, who had been accused of poisoning wells, were banished from the city. It is probable that at this time the municipal law referred to above was erased from the burgher roll. Not until two decades later did a Jew again live in Hanover; and he was expelled (June 1, 1371) by an edict of Dukes Wenceslaus and Albert of Saxony and Lüneburg.

Although by this same edict the citizens were assured that henceforth and forever no Jews would be allowed to live in Hanover, the dukes just mentioned granted to the city council a few years later (June 8, 1375) the privilege of admitting Jews ("Privilegium de Judæis Recipiendis") and of retaining the taxes payable by them. The dukes, on their part, undertook to protect the Jews, who were granted the privilege, among others, of fishing in the "Judenteich" at Castle Lauenrode.

Documents of the years 1403, 1407, and 1415, having reference to the collection of "Opfer-pfennige," taxes, interest, and rents from the Jews of Lower Saxony, mention Jews of the city of Hanover. From 1439, regulations are met with referring directly to the Jews of Hanover, as, for example, in matters of suretyship (1439) and residence. In 1445 it was forbidden, under a penalty of 5 Bremen marks, for a Jew or a linen-weaver to live on the dike in the "Brühl" of Hanover (now Lange Strasse). On Aug. 4, 1451, Bishop Nicholas of Minden, to whose diocese Hanover belonged, issued an order compelling the Jews to wear the badge—for the men yellow rings on the breast of the overcoat or mantle, and for the women two bluish stripes on the upper garments. Two years later (July 20, 1453) the council of Hanover addressed two letters to the council of Hildesheim requesting the discontinuance of the suit brought before the ecclesiastical court by a citizen against the Jew Nachtman of Hanover.

Admission for Eight Years.

On June 5, 1499, an agreement was entered into by the city council and some Jews, among whom were Lauwe, Samson, and Solomon van Aschersleben, by which the council agreed to receive the Jews into the city for a term of eight years, together with Solomon, their rabbi and precentor, and his son Humprecht, as well as their families, and to accommodate them with lodgings in certain houses situated on the Zwinger and belonging to the council. For this privilege the Jews were to make an immediate payment of 20 Rhenish gulden and an annual one of 150 gulden. Permission was also given them to kill their own cattle.

Thirty years later (July 25, 1529) the council, by order of Duke Erich, gave permission to the Jew Michael of Derneburg to build for himself and family a dwelling-house in the new town ("Neustadt"), where also the Jews Fibes and Menneke had resided (letter of the duke, Oct. 18, 1516). Michael was promised protection by the magistrate in consideration of an annual payment of 8 Rhenish gulden.

Among other Jews who lived in Hanover in the middle of the sixteenth century were the following: Nachmann (mentioned in a letter of Jan. 5, 1549, from Heinrich of Steinberge, Oelbisfelde, to the council); Isaac; Sander, his son-in-law; Isaac's two sons, Fibes and Abraham, to whom the council in 1550 issued a letter of protection (charging 12 gulden yearly or 200 in a lump sum); Menlynn; Lazarus; Feibelmann; David Meyer; and Simon (of the Neustadt), who, together with the above-mentionedIsaac, Sander, and Fibes, became surety for Abraham of Peine (July 2, 1553) on his release from prison, to which he had been committed on a charge of fraud.

Hanoverian Jews in Constantinople.

In 1564 several Hanoverian Jews sojourned in Constantinople, where they transacted important business with the Turks and assisted in securing the release from prison of a Hanoverian noble-man, Lebant von Reden.

Duke Erich the Younger issued an edict on Jan. 8, 1553, by which he banished all Jews from his territory, and an order dated Nov. 28, 1574, refused the Jews in Hanover protection and safety. It appears, however, that those Jews who stood under the direct protection of the council remained in Hanover for some time longer. Moreover, the magistracy interposed occasionally in behalf of its Jews, as when, in 1554, it addressed a letter to the council of the principality of Calenberg on behalf of Isaac and his son Fibes, whom the governor Alfen had imprisoned. Fibes afterward obtained the duke's favor, and in 1563 transacted some business for him; he also purchased in 1580, according to the register of apothecaries, a silver mug weighing 80 half-ounces (at 1 thaler per ounce) for use in the dispensary. In the same year (Nov. 4) the council granted a letter of protection to the Jew Levi, son of Michael, for which he had to pay 100 Rhenish gold florins, besides a yearly tax of 20 florins.

After 1584, when Duke Julius of Brunswick took possession of the principalities of Göttingen and Calenberg (to the latter of which Hanover belonged), Jews were again permitted to reside in those provinces. They had, however, to contend with the hostility of the populace, which was especially incited by the clergy of Hanover, so that the magistrates in 1587 found it necessary to solicit the opinions of the faculties of Leipsic, Wittenberg, and Helmstedt as to whether rights guaranteed to the Jews were bound to be respected. The answer of the universities was to the effect that the promises given to the Jews must be kept.

On May 3, 1588, it was ordered by the council that business connections between Christians and Jews must cease, and the authorities of the old town ("Altstadt") also decided that only adherents of the Augsburg confession should be tolerated. After this several Jews left the city and settled in neighboring places, particularly in Wunstorf.

Synagogue at Hanover.(From a photograph.)

In 1608 Jews again settled in the Neustadt, at the invitation of the prefect, Fritz Molins, who had houses erected for their accommodation and one for their synagogue; the latter, however, was torn down in 1613 by order of the ruling prince. A synagogue had formerly existed in the Judenstrasse (previously the Schuhstrasse, now the Ballhofstrasse), and here the court preacher, Dr. Urbanus Rhegius, preached (1533), attempting to convert the Jews to Christianity.

In the Seventeenth Century.

Although in the seventeenth century the province of Calenberg at each session of the Landtag voted against the admission of Jews, it seems that the princes, like Duke Johann Friedrich and Elector Ernst August, admitted several well-to-do Jewishfamilies in order to promote the growth of the Neustadt, which had been enlarged and built up. Of the Jews of Hanover at this period who frequented the Leipsic fairs (1683-99) may be mentioned Liepmann Cohen (Leffmann Behrends), who stood in high favor at the Guelfic court. He succeeded in obtaining permission (renewed Oct. 9, 1697, by Georg Ludwig) to appoint a district rabbi, to whom also the Jews of Lüneburg, Hoya, and Diepholz had to subordinate themselves. In 1673 he caused to be issued a rigorous edict for the protection of the bodies reposing in the Jewish cemetery in Hanover. In 1688 a small synagogue was established in the house of Levin Goldschmidt (Löb Hannover), and in 1703-04 a new synagogue building was erected by Liepmann Cohen and his son, Naphtali Hirz, on the site of the old one, torn down in 1613. The new synagogue belonged to the bankrupt estate of the Behrends Brothers, and was sold in 1743 to the highest bidder. Court agent Michael David and the philanthropist Solomon Gottschalk were the purchasers; and they presented it to the Jewish community.

During the Seven Years' war the Jews of Hanover had in 1757 to provide 2,000 sheets and 1,000 shirts for the soldiers, besides paying in common with the other Jews of the country the war-tax of one thaler per head and 10 per cent on personal property, no distinction being made regarding sex. On the twenty-seventh of Ṭebet, 5522 (Jan. 1, 1762), the benevolent society was founded in Hanover. It is still in existence. On Jan. 1, 1802, on the declaration of peace between England and France, a thanksgiving service was held in the synagogue by the Jewish community.

Under Franco-Westphalian rule (1806-13) matters pertaining to the Jewish cult were regulated by the consistory, and the celebration of divine service was allowed, through the intercession of Count von Hardenberg, to continue in the established form.

Under British Rule.

In 1821 the community welcomed George IV. of Great Britain and Hanover with a Hebrew poem with German translation. In 1831 the elders and deacons of the congregation sent to the government a petition asking for full rights of citizenship for all the Israelites of the kingdom of Hanover, which was supported by Councilor Sehlegel in the lower house. The laws of 1842 and 1844, which regulated the synagogue, school, and charities of the community, are still in force. During the years 1864-70 a new synagogue was built from designs by the architect Oppler.

The congregation at present numbers more than 4,000. Since 1848 it has supported a seminary for Jewish teachers, the present director being Dr. Knoller. The following district rabbis have officiated in Hanover:

  • Joseph b. Meshullam Cohen (d. 1703).
  • Joseph Meyer b. Abraham Moses (d. 1735).
  • Isaac Selig Kara (d. 1755).
  • Abraham Meïr Cohen (d. 1758).
  • Aryeh Löb (Leibusch) b. Jacob Joshua Falk (also known as "Levin Joshua"; d. March 6, 1789).
  • Issachar Bär (Berisch), son of the foregoing Aryeh Löb (d. Nov., 1803).
  • Marcus (Mordecai) Adler.
  • Nathan Marcus Adler, son of Marcus Adler (died in England in 1890).
  • Samuel E. Meyer (d. July 6, 1882).
  • The present rabbi (1903) is S. Gronemann.

Of other distinguished men of learning who have lived in Hanover may be mentioned: Joseph Oppenheim (formerly rabbi in Holleschau, and a son of R. David Oppenheim of Prague); Solomon Hanau (d. Sept. 15, 1746); Raphael Levy (d. May 17, 1779); Abraham Oppenheim (d. Nov., 1786); Abraham b. Ḥayyim Lisker (d. 1784); M. Wiener, school-director (d. March 31, 1880); and Prof. S. Frensdorff (d. March 24, 1880).

  • Doebner, Städteprivilegien Herzog Otto des Kindes, etc., 1882, p. 35;
  • idem, Urkundenbuch der Stadt Hildesheim, vii. 80, No. 131, note 1;
  • Sudendorf, Urkundenbuch der Herzöge von Braunschweig und Lüneburg, iv. 128;
  • Zeitschrift des Histor. Vereins für Niedersachsen, 1861, p. 244; 1870, pp. 2, 9; 1876, p. 24; 1892, p. 224; 1893, p. 175; 1894, p. 205;
  • Wiener, in Jahrb. für die Gesch. der Juden und des Judenthums, i. 169;
  • idem, in Monatsschrift, 1861, x. 121, 161, 241, 281; xiii. 161;
  • Hannoversche Geschichtsblätter, 1900, p. 76; 1901, p. 23, note 1; p. 358; 1903, p. 21;
  • Salfeld, Martyrologium, p. 83, note 9; p. 285, note 1;
  • Kaufmann, Memoiren der Glückel von Hameln, passim;
  • Grätz, Gesch. vii. 399;
  • Cohen, Ueber die Lage der Juden . . . des Königreichs Hannover, 1832, p. 17;
  • Bodemeyer, Die Juden, pp. 5, 12, Göttingen, 1855;
  • P. P. Heldberg, De Officio et Potestate Rabbini Provincialis in Terris Brunsvico Luneburgicis, ib. 1751;
  • Schlegel, Rede, Geh. den 14 April, 1831, Hanover, 1831;
  • Meyer, Gesch. des Wohlthätigkeits-Vereins der Synagogen-Gemeinde in Hannover, 1862;
  • Thimme, Die Inneren Zustände des Kurfürstenthums Hanover Unter der Französisch-Westfälischen Herrschaft, 1895, i. 233, 398; ii. 229;
  • Horwitz, Die Israeliten Unter dem Königreich Westfalen, passim;
  • Lewinsky, in Kaufmann Gedenkbuch, ii. 326, note 2;
  • idem, in Löwenstern's Blätter für Jüdische Gesch. und Literatur, i. 37, 46;
  • idem, in Monatsschrift, 1900, p. 367 and notes: Freudenthal, in Monatsschrift, 1901, p. 487;
  • Israelitische Wochenschrift, 1871, Nos. 10, 11;
  • Allg. Zeit. des Jud. 1879, No. 23;
  • Mittheilungen der Gesellschaft für Jüdische Volkskunde, xi. 84;
  • Benjacob, Oẓar ha-Sefarim, p. 577;
  • Kohut, Gesch. der Deutschen Juden, p. 453;
  • Iwan Meyer, Sammlung der Gesetze . . . über das Jüdische Synagogen-, Schul- und Gemeindewesen in der Provinz Hannover, 1899.
G. A. Lew.
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