BERG , former duchy in Germany. After their expulsion in 1424, Jews from *Cologne are thought to have settled in Berg. The Jews were temporarily expelled from the duchy in 1461. Early in the 15th century, after the amalgamation of Berg with *Juelich, a joint communal organization was established for both communities. Assemblies were held at specified intervals to deliberate questions of tax allocation, rabbinical appointments, the prohibition of resort to the general law courts, and the maintenance of adequate facilities for Torah study. In the 18th century they were held every four years, except in time of war. The Grand Duchy of Berg established by Napoleon comprised a number of localities with ancient communities such as *Duisburg and Siegburg (dating from the early 12th century), *Dortmund, *Essen, *Soest, and Hamm (13th century), and *Recklinghausen and Unna (14th century). After the dissolution of the grand duchy in 1815, its territory was incorporated into *Prussia.
Kaufmann, Schriften, 1 (1908), 199–200; idem, in: Oẓar ha-Sifrut, 3 (1889), 7–16; C. Brisch, in: Der Israelit 20 (1879), 97ff., 145f., 174f. add. bibliography: D.J. Cohen, Die Landjudenschaften in Deutschland als Organe juedischer Selbstverwaltung, vol. 1 (1996), 93–98.