Geschichte der Juden in der Reichsstadt Augsburg
Publisher: Julius Wilhelm Hamm
Augsburg, 1803




In the city of Augsburg it has been law for many centuries that no Jews may live there. In spite of this, a number of rich Jewish families have applied for a formal domicile here. The merchant class, however, and with this perhaps also a large part of the citizenry, are very much opposed to this attempt. Among the most important reasons is the one, which forces the Magistrate to allow said domicile. The following work (which is a solely private work) should assist first, the enlightenment of the public of Augsburg with these reasons, and to lift old prejudices. Perhaps this paper could prove interesting even for non-residents. The first section includes the history of the fates and relationships of the Jews in Augsburg from earlier times to the present. The second [section includes] the present matter in dispute. The third the judgment, with all reasons for and against the domiciles of the Jews.

[In French] The truth will advance very slowly, but a time will come when the prejudices will disappear.

May the author have aided in bringing about an alternate conviction and a peace of mind of his fellow citizens.

Augsburg in September 1803.
The Author.


History of the Fates and Relationships of the Jews in Augsburg from earlier times up to the present.
§. 1. Commerce of the Jews in earlier times. Their honorary title: imperial valets.
§. 2. Their relationships in Augsburg until the 14th century.
§. 3. Causes of the resulting hate towards them.
§. 4. Murder of Jews in Augsburg in the year 1348.
§. 5. Their further persecution in the year 1384.
§. 6. Unfavorable opinions of the emperor towards the Jews,
§. 7. Main expulsion of the Jews in 1440.
§. 8. The repossession of their flats. Their immigration into the city must again be allowed. But every Jew should be accompanied by a city servant.
§. 9. Continuation.
§. 10. Ordinances pertaining to the invalidity of contracts with Jews.
§. 11. Flats reinstated in war times.
§. 12. In the Thirty Years War the residence of the Jews must be used to the best of the Aerarium.
§. 13. Order by Westphalian Friedrich Erecut. Recesses, to get all Jews out of the city. Repeat of this Expulsion in 1680. Those allowed in should be accompanied by a city servant, and shown out the same night.
§. 14. Even permitted entrance to the city was forbidden in 1700. This, however, could not be enforced.
§. 15. Complaints of the merchant class against the Jews in 1718.
§. 16. Strange prohibition of immigration of Jews in said year, and its renewal in 1719.
§. 17. All of which was for nothing, since their immigration had to be allowed again.
§. 18. Continuation.
§. 19. Renewed supplication by the merchants, that entrance to the city be denied all Jews.
§. 20. Council Decree of 1732. Entrance was prohibited once again, with the exception that, he who must be allowed entrance (by result of petition by a man of stature), should be accompanied by a city servant.
§. 21. Record from the Aerario for those who raised "Emoluments" to the general admission of Jews.
§. 22. Writ of complaint from the imperial majesty against the decree of 1732 .
§. 23. Final permission of the Magistrate, that all Jews under imperial or archduke Austrian protection should be allowed entrance to the city, but with accompaniment.
§. 24. During the Austrian war of succession, Jews were once again permitted apartments. After its termination, however, they were ordered again to leave the city. According to the Decree of that time of 26. Oct. 1745, in the future only those should be allowed in who could attest to the appropriate committee. And the oft-mentioned escort was once again required.
§. 25. This was, however, all in vain. An accord in 1751 with the neighboring Jewry, according to which all may freely enter in exchange for a yearly fee of 1100 (Gulden?). Its renewal from 6 to 6 years up until present day. However, damages to the ÒAerariumÓ must be accrued yearly (these include a few hundred Gulden for Emoluments, covering many areas because of the Jews).
§. 26. Repetition of the ordinances, concerning the invalidity of contracts with Jews, in Council Decree of 1776.
§. 27. Limitations on the Jewish trade by the Council decrees of 11th Oct. 1787 and 12th July 1791.
§. 28. Complaints against.
§. 29. New decree of 23. Aug. 1791, wherein the Jews are afforded a receptacle for their goods, and accommodation, and they are allowed to pursue trade business during the day.
§. 30. Allowance of apartments during the most recent war times 1796. Protest of the merchants against this.
§. 31. Repeated allowance of apartments in 1800, and its repeal in 1801.

Recent strife concerning the formal acceptance of Jews in Augsburg.
§. 32. New attempt of a few rich Jewish families to attain formal domicile.
§. 33. Introduction against this by the shopkeepers.
§. 34. Introduction against by the wholesalers. Petition to keep Jews and their commerce completely from the city.
§. 35. Renewed pleas of the Wholesalers.

§. 36. The merchants of Augsburg do not seem to be fully informed of the standing of the matter.
§. 37. History shows how futile all attempts have been (for three centuries) to keep Jews completely from the city. There is even less chance now for its success.
§. 38. It has only been achieved that they are not permitted to sleep in the city. But with this neither the merchants, nor the citizenry, nor the "Aerario" has assisted.
§. 39. Continuation.
§. 40. Actual situation of the Jews' so-called trade. The limitations one would place on their trade are not applicable.
§. 41. and 42. Continuation,
§. 43. A change of the preceding relations is conspicuously necessary.
§. 44. Suggestion to allow the Jews their domicile in exchange for significant taxes.
§. 45. Removal of the reasons given by the merchants to stand in opposition to the Jewish domicile.
I. That they would therefore also be entitled to citizens freedoms;
II. That a greater number of trade houses would be detrimental;
§. 46. III. That the Jew could offer cheaper prices;
IV. That the Jews attained goods on the Black Market;
§. 47. V. That the old ordinances against Jews were beneficial, and should be renewed;
§. 48. VI. Complaints, that the Jews were trading in silver;
VII. Founded complaints, that they paid the state nothing to practice their trade;
§. 49. VIII. Accusations of great profiteering by the Jews;
§. 50. IX. Limitations on Jews trade to foreign dominions,
§. 51. X. Stance in opposition to the said Òlaw,Ó that allowed Jews to live in the city, ruining the status of "merchant," should they be allowed to attain it;
§. 52. XI. The tolerance valued so highly of late will not occur in Augsburg.
XII. Mention of a page of judiciary and police rumors.
§. 53. Close and summary of all reasons arising in favor of the permission for a Jewish domicile.
§. 54. Final decisions and stipulations, under which said domicile would be permissible.
§. 55. Resolution of any accusation that could be made against the author of this work.
Hope that the citizenry (on main points) will act according to the protocol laid down by the magistrate, and avail themselves of their grievances.

Chapter I
The story of the fate and the conditions of Jews in the imperial city of Augsburg from
ancient to modem times.

Commerce in Germany has been in the hands of Jews from ancient times. According to Schmidt*, this -was due partially because the genius of the German nation was not favorably disposed toward commerce and partially due to the prejudicial concept that being a soldier was the only honorable profession for a freeman. This caused almost the entire commerce to fall under the control of Jews and even left the determination of fairs (when and where to hold them) up to them. This goes back to the time of Ludwig the Pious, according to Schmidt.

It is of course known -that Jews were under the protection of the emperor and could only be taxed by him. This direct relationship earned them the honorary title of imperial chamber servants. Only by having earned special privileges could other individuals in the empire offer protection to the Jews and thus avail themselves of the Jewish taxes. As previously mentioned, trade rose because (of the Jews) and people worked hard to earn the privileges to protect Jews and to tax them. Jewish taxes were very welcome.

The imperial city of Augsburg was very early occupied in the protection of Jews. From the 13th to the mid-14th century, the Jews enjoyed their best times in Augsburg. They formed their own community and were allowed to have their own community seal* (*This community seal consists of a round hat in the main field over which flies the imperial eagle. It is described in greater detail by Paul von Stetten, Geschichte der Reichsstadt Augsburg, Part I, p 85). Even when a gentile had to lodge a complaint against a Jew, the latter had to be tried by as many Jewish as gentile judges before he could be found guilty. They had their own dance house and their own public bath house. In ' 12918, they built a section of the town wall at their own expense* . (* A bastion was later built in that neighborhood which to this day (I 803) is called the Jewish bastion. Also the so-called Judengasse in Augsburg is one of its most beautiful streets.) Because of the good protection which the Jews enjoyed from the magistrate, they gave the town a present of 500 pounds of pennies in 1308, a considerable sum in those times.

These glorious times, however,- soon came to an end. Partially, the Jews themselves were to blame for the hatred that was directed at them. The wealth they had accumulated in their commercial ventures made them reckless. They started to defy the magistrate. In 1337, for example, the latter had to get permission from the emperor Ludwig of Bavaria to arrest those Jews who had letters of imperial privileges deleterious to the town, until the Jewish community surrendered them. They were no less hated for their usury.

But mainly, a religious zeal which was fought by the (Catholic) clergy brought on their destruction. They were accused of heresy and blasphemy, daily they denied Almighty God. Further they were accused for using Christian blood in certain ceremonies. For this they killed Christian children whenever they could capture them. This belief was held widely* (This was a strong belief in ancient times. It was still believed as late as the 16th century. V.Stetten relates a story of a servant girl who in 1650 wanted to sell a gentile boy to Jews in Augsburg. Luckily it was discovered by a neighbor. But, according to v. Stetten, this belief was still common in the mid -16th century. Finally, a great plague raged throughout Germany. The story went around that the Jews poisoned the springs and thus caused the plague.* (v.Stetten). The gullible people furiously attacked them. This accusation caused a riot against the Jews in Augsburg in 1348, where many were murdered and many more were ceremoniously burned.*(v.Stetten) But peace was made again with them because the magistrate asked Charles IV for the privilege to accept Jews again in 1355 and to resume to collect their taxes. This magistrate even stood by the Jew when the above mentioned emperor demanded a 10000fl (Florin) tax from them in 1374. The town had already demanded 37000 fl from the Jews and it was considered unjust that they should be taxed twice. Also, the privileges held by the city stated that the emperor renounced the taxing of the Jews and to leave this up to the city. However, the magistrate lost.(v.Stetten). Shortly thereafter, the unquenchable hatred of the Jews reawakened. In 1384, they had to endure a general persecution. The Swabian capital swore to annihilate them. They were murdered with their wives and children. Especially the town of Nördlingen distinguished itself in its fury against the Jews.

This time the Jews of Augsburg got away with their lives. But they were held in prison and they were not released until they paid the magistrate a ransom in the amount of 22000 Fl. (v.Stetten). After this episode, their lives became tolerable again for a period of time. Even when the emperor Wenzel promulgated the unfair treatment of Jews by decreeing that members of the nobility did not have to repay their debts to Jews and ordinary citizen only had to repay one half, the magistrate stood on the side of the Jews. He steadfastly refused to execute this order, even when the emperor had the wares of Augsburg merchants confiscated at the Frankfurt Fair. (Ibid.) Even when the emperors themselves abandoned their Royal Chamber Servants, one has to wonder less about the Jews' persecution in general. Hence, emperor Sigismund in his revision in 1434 of the Augsburg privileges, ordered that the Jews had to wear a certain symbol on their clothing so that " ... they would not receive equal honors and salutations of which they are unworthy because of their rejection of God and the Christian Faith." They had to attach large yellow rings to their clothing.