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Jewish Community of Cologne, Germany

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The history of the Jews in Cologne Köln Kolonya is documented from the year 321 AD, almost as long as the history of Cologne. Because of this historical continuity, today’s Jewish synagogue community calls itself the "oldest Jewish congregation North of the Alps". . . . More

From the 10th to 12th centuries, Cologne, today Germany's fourth-largest city, was one of Europe's biggest cities, even ahead of Paris and London, with about 50,000 inhabitants. Two events finally sounded the death knell for the Jewish quarter – a crusader massacre in 1096, followed by its eventual annihilation in 1349 when the Christians made the Jews the scapegoat for a black plague epidemic. More

The Cologne community early established its own liturgical rite, partly based on Palestinian custom. Maimonides' Mishneh Torah was copied in four volumes of vellum in 1295–6 by Nathan ben Simeon of Cologne. This manuscript, now at Budapest, is one of the finest examples of Ashkenazi calligraphy and miniature painting of the period. Source

Roonstrasse Synagogue, located in Cologne, Germany, is one of the five pre-Nazi synagogues of the locality, which was destroyed on November 9, 1938 during nation-wide attacks on Jewish-owned property (Kristallnacht), the synagogue was subsequently rebuilt during the 1950s.

On August 19, 2005, Pope Benedict XVI visited Roonstrasse Synagogue. This visit was the second ever visit to any synagogue by any one of the Popes. There, he condemned Nazism and antisemitism.

Notable Cologne Rabbis

  • Eliezer ben Joel ha-Levi of Bonn ("Ravyah")
  • Asher ben Jehiel ("ha-Rosh") Emigration to Spain in 1303
  • Alexander Suslin ha-Kohen of Frankfurt (martyred in Erfurt, 1349)
  • Abraham ben Alexander of Cologne.

BIBLIOGRAPHY:

  1. Z. Asaria (ed.), Die Juden in Köln (1959);
  2. A. Kober, Cologne (1940);
  3. S. Braun (ed.), Jahrbuch der Synagogengemeinde Köln (1934);
  4. A. Pinthus, in: ZGJD, 2 (1930), 109–10, 127;
  5. K. Schilling (ed.), Monumenta Judaica-Handbuch (1963), index, S.V. Köln; A. Carlebach, Adass Yeshurun of Cologne (1964);
  6. K. Bauer, Judenrecht in Köln bis zum Jahre 1424 (1964);
  7. Germ Jud, 1 (1963), 69–85; 2 (1968), 420–42; PK;
  8. B. Friedberg, Toledot ha-Defus ha-Ivri be-Augsburg… (1935), 33;
  9. A. Marx, Studies in Jewish History and Booklore (1944), 321–3;
  10. Roth, Dark Ages, index. ADD. BIBLIOGRAPHY: A. Kober, Grundbuch des Kölner Judenviertels (1926); Köln und das rheinische Judentum (1985);
  11. S. Doepp, Juedische Jugendbewegung in Koeln (1997);
  12. K. Serup-Bilfeldt (ed.), Zwischen Dorn und Davidstern (2001);
  13. M. Schmandt, Judei, cives et incole (2002);
  14. B. Bopf, "Arisie-rung" in Koeln (2004).

Source