LUCERNE (Ger. Luzern ), city in the canton of the same name, central Switzerland. Jews were first mentioned in Lucerne in 1252, when the terms of their protection were defined. During the 14th century, a fine was prescribed for anyone perpetrating a blood libel against the Jews without previously notifying the council. A regulation of 1310 deals with the sale of meat from animals slaughtered by Jews. The Jews, who were authorized to possess real estate, were principally engaged in moneylending. During the massacres following the *Black Death (1348–49) the community came to an end; the town was compelled to indemnify the duke of Austria for the losses he had thus incurred. In 1381, there were once more Jews living in Lucerne. A few Jewish physicians practiced there during the 15th and 16th centuries. In the mid-17th century, Jewish livestock merchants again appeared at the local markets. Some Jews, mainly from Alsace and *Endingen/Lengnau, visited markets in the canton Lucerne in the 18th and 19th centuries, though not without arousing a certain degree of opposition.
The local community was founded in 1866, but never developed to any considerable extent. In 1912, a synagogue was erected in the style of the Orthodox synagogue of Frankfurt/Friedberger Anlage. The leading family was the Erlangers, immigrating from South-Baden Gailingen. Abraham Erlanger became Orthodox and gave the community its special imprint already in the 1920s. In 1936 the oratory was devastated by Swiss Fascists. From 1958 there was a small Lithuanian-type yeshivah ketanah in Lucerne moving later to nearby Kriens. For some years a *Beth Jacob seminary for teaching Orthodox girls existed. The community became more Orthodox (ḥaredi) in the 1980s, so that some of its members left and joined communities in Zurich. In the Lucerne canton 399 persons declared themselves as Jewish in 2000; 200 were members of the community (2004).
Schweizerischer Israelitischer Gemeindebund, Festschrift zum 50-jaehrigen Bestehen (1954); A. Weldler-Steinberg, Geschichte der Juden in der Schweiz, 2 vols. (1966/70), index. add. bibliography: Germ Jud, 2 (1968); Germ. Jud, 3:2 (1998), index, s.v.Luzern; R.U. Kaufmann, Juden in Luzern (1984); E. Hurwitz, Bocksfuss, Schwanz und Hörner, (1986, memoirs); R. Erlanger, Stammbaum und Chronik der Familie Abraham Erlanger: ein Beitrag zur Geschichte der Juden in Luzern und Gailingen (1998).
[Simon R. Schwarzfuchs /
Uri Kaufmann (2nd ed.)]