Start My Family Tree Welcome to Geni, home of the world's largest family tree.
Join Geni to explore your genealogy and family history in the World's Largest Family Tree.

Jewish Community of Mainz, Germany

« Back to Projects Dashboard

Project Tags

view all


Mainz - Mayence, (”Magenza“ – the Hebrew name for Mainz) attracted many Jews in the relatively safe and enlightened Carolingian period as trade flourished. As early as the 10th Century, Jewish texts already looked back on many generations of settlement in Mainz.

The greatest Jewish teachers and rabbis flocked to the Rhine. Their teachings, dialogues, decisions and influence propelled Mainz and neighboring towns along the Rhine into world-wide prominence. Their fame spread, rivaling that of other post-Diaspora cities such as Baghdad. Western European – Ashkenazim or Germanic -- Judaism became centered in Mainz, breaking free of the Babylonian traditions. A Yeshiva was founded in the 10th century by Gershom ben Jehuda. A series of brilliant rabbis descending from Moses ben Kalonymus brought the Italian-Palestinian liturgical tradition to Mainz.

The magic spell was broken with the first riots and pogroms attending the First Crusade in the late 11th Century. Murder, mayhem, devastation destroyed half a millennium of goodwill and trust. Eventually, the Jews returned to Mainz hoping to regain the lost ”Magenza.“ But once violated, it was never again quite the same, and a series of attempts to re-create the golden past failed as periods of cooperation and understanding repeatedly fell victim to hatred and violence. Most of the Mainz Jews who survived eventually left and resettled in Poland and Russia.

With the coming of the Age of Enlightenment in the 18th Century, the spread of French Revolutionary ideals and the Napoleonic Age, Mainz’s liberal atmosphere resulted in a significant increase in the Jewish population. Secularization, religious freedom, enfranchisement, the beginnings of industrialization, the elimination of restrictions based on religion in trade, commerce, handcrafts, contributed to 150 years of complete integration in all phases of Mainz and German life. . . . More


Prominent Scholars