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LEIPZIG. Leipzig was a center of trade, religious organization and innovation, music, printing, and education in the Holy Roman Empire. The population of the town grew from about 9,000 in 1500 to about 30,000 in 1800. Contemporaries often contrasted Leipzig's commercial atmosphere to the court-dominated atmosphere of Dresden, the other main Saxon urban center. From 1485, when the territory of Saxony was divided into electoral and ducal portions, until 1547, Leipzig was located in ducal Saxony. When Duke Maurice was awarded the electoral title in 1547, Leipzig became part of electoral Saxony.

Leipzig was influenced by the course of Saxon politics in many ways. The city's economic and cultural boom from the late seventeenth to the mid-eighteenth century was in part the result of Saxony's political prominence under the rule of Frederick Augustus I (ruled 16941733) and Frederick Augustus II (ruled 17331763). Similarly, the timing and degree of the city's involvement in the Schmalkaldic War (15461547), the Thirty Years' War (16181648), the Seven Years' War (17561763), and the Napoleonic Wars (17961815) were conditioned by territorial politics. The electoral court also influenced local politics, although historians have recently emphasized the power of local elites. The Leipzig city council was divided into three rotating groups, each typically made up of twelve councillors and one mayor, who served a one-year term as the governing or "sitting" council. About half of the councillors were merchants, and half were lawyers. Election was by co-optation (new members were chosen by the existing members). Eligibility to serve on the council was not formally restricted, but most councillors were members of well-established local merchant and professional families.

Artisanal production, the university, and the printing industry were all important sectors of the local economy. About seventy trades were represented in the city; the university's thousand-plus students helped support the entertainment, luxury, and printing trades. Also key were Leipzig's trade fairs, held three times a year. The fairs achieved dominance in Saxony and Thuringia by 1500, and from the 1680s onward, they were the largest in central Europe. Leipzig became one of the main German distribution centers for colonial goods.

Leipzig had become a cultural center by the fifteenth century. A university that became one of the most prominent in Germany was founded there in 1409. By the eve of the Reformation, the city housed numerous monasteries, and the two main churches, St. Nicholas and St. Thomas, were the object of endowments by the city council, guilds, and individuals. Some burghers were early adherents of the Lutheran doctrine preached in nearby electoral Saxony. However, the Reformation was officially introduced into the city only in 1539, when Duke Heinrich succeeded his brother George, who had remained Catholic. Leipzig's clerics soon became well-known and influential in the Lutheran world. The next major religious dispute erupted in 1689, when a group of reformist students and burghers known as Pietists challenged mainstream orthodox clerics. High baroque culture thrived in Leipzig from the 1680s onward, with a boom in public and private architecture, fashion, entertainment, and secular and sacred music, most notably represented by Johann Sebastian Bach, who served as town cantor from 1723 to 1750. Leipzig was also a center of Enlightenment printing and debate.

See also Bach Family ; Dresden ; Pietism ; Printing and Publishing ; Saxony .


Bräuer, Helmut. Der Leipziger Rat und die Bettler: Quellen und Analysen zu Bettlern und Bettelwesen in der Messestadt bis ins 18. Jahrhundert. Leipzig, 1997.

Duclaud, Jutta, and Rainer Ducland. Leipziger Zünfte. Berlin, 1990.

Kevorkian, Tanya. Baroque Piety: Religious Practices and Society in Leipzig, 16501750. Forthcoming.

. "The Rise of the Poor, Weak, and Wicked: Poor Care, Punishment, Religion, and Patriarchy in Leipzig, 17001730." Journal of Social History 34 (2000): 163181.

Martens, Wolfgang, ed. Leipzig: Aufklärung und Burgerlichkeit. Heidelberg, 1990.

Pevsner, Nikolaus. Leipziger Barock: Die Baukunst der Barockzeit in Leipzig. Dresden, 1928. Reprint: Leipzig, 1990.

Stiller, Günther. Johann Sebastian Bach and Liturgical Life in Leipzig. Translated by Herbert J. A. Bouman, Daniel F. Poellet, and Hilton C. Oswald. Edited by Robin A. Leaver. St. Louis, 1984.

Wittmann, Reinhard. Geschichte des deutschen Buchhandels: Ein Überblick. Munich, 1991.

Tanya Kevorkian


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LEIPZIG , city in Saxony, Germany. Jews are first mentioned in Leipzig at the end of the 12th century; an organized community with a synagogue and a school existed from the second quarter of the 13th century. Its inhabitants came mainly from neighboring Halle and Merseburg. The community and its synagogue are mentioned in a responsum of *Isaac b. Moses of Vienna ("Or Zaru'a") between 1250 and 1258; Jewish moneylending activity is also noted by R. Isaac. The fair regulations of Leipzig of 1268 guaranteed protection to all merchants, and moved the day of the market from Saturday to Friday for the benefit of the Jewish merchants. The Jewish community may have suffered during the *Black Death persecutions, for the margrave disposed of their synagogue in 1352. In 1364 a Schulmeister and other Jews are again mentioned; they lived in the Judenburg, which had its own entrance gate. The Jews in Leipzig were probably not expelled in 1442 as the city historians record (though their status did deteriorate), but only after the expulsion of the Jews from Saxony in 1540. Their right to attend the fairs, held three times yearly, remained unaltered.

Between 1668 and 1764, 82,000 Jews attended these fairs, and decisively influenced their business; Leipzig's growth as a center of the *fur trade was due to Jewish activities. Jews, however, were prohibited from opening shops facing the streets, and from holding services. Jews who died during the fairs had to be buried in *Dresden, or elsewhere, until a cemetery was opened in 1815.

A permanent Jewish settlement was founded in 1710 when Gerd Levi, *mintmaster and purveyor, received rights of residence. The number of "privileged" Jewish households allowed residence in Leipzig grew to seven by the middle of the 18th century. After the Seven Years' War (1756–63) Jews held services during the fairs in a number of prayer rooms, according to *Landsmannschaften. By the end of the century 40 to 50 Jewish merchants were living in Leipzig who employed clerks, servants, agents, and shohatim. A law issued in Saxony in 1837 permitted the establishment of a community in Leipzig, though permission to build a synagogue was withheld. A prayerhouse, influenced by *Reform tendencies, was opened. Adolf *Jellinek was employed as preacher between 1845 and 1857; due to his efforts a new synagogue was built and consecrated in 1855. In 1869 a Reform *synod was held in Leipzig, and the Deutsch-Israelitischer Gemeindebund was founded, led by leaders of the Leipzig community Moritz Kohner and Jacob *Nachod.

After 1868/69, with the abolition of all anti-Jewish restrictions, the number of Jews increased greatly by immigration from Galicia and Poland. There were 7,676 Jews living in Leipzig in 1905, and 13,032 in 1925, making it the largest community in Saxony. As many of the newcomers were Orthodox, a separate community and synagogue was organized, at which rabbis N.A. *Nobel (1902–05), Ephraim Carlebach (1901–36), and David Ochs (1936) officiated. Reform rabbis were A.M. Goldschmidt (1858–88), Nathan Porges (1888–1917), and Gustav Kohn (from 1921; died in the Holocaust).

Holocaust Period

In 1933, there were 11,564 Jews in Leipzig, including 3,847 of East European origin. By 1938, 1,600 Jewish businesses had been "aryanized," around 3,000 Jews had emigrated, and in October 1938, 1,652 of the East European Jews were deported to Poland. During the *Kristallnacht the two main synagogues were burned down, shops were looted, and the funeral hall was demolished. Another thousand East European Jews were deported to Poland in early 1939. The 2,500 Jews remaining in 1941 were crowded into 43 "Jew houses" (Judenhaeuser) and used for forced labor. Subsequently all were deported to the east in nine transports through February 1945.

Contemporary Period

After the war a new community was reorganized. The Broder Schul synagogue was restored, as were the funeral hall and cemeteries. The community, which numbered 100 in 1968, was under the supervision of an East Berlin rabbi and religious services were led from 1950 by the hazzan, Werner Sander, who organized the Leipziger Synagogalchor in 1962, a unique choir in Europe. The singers, who are not Jewish, perform Jewish liturgical and folk music.

Membership in the Jewish community declined during the 1970s and 1980s. In 1991 the Jewish community numbered 35. After 1990 it increased due to the immigration of Jews from the former Soviet Union. In 2005 the Jewish community numbered 1,133.

There are several institutions and organizations in Leipzig which deal with Jewish history and culture. The Deutsche Buecherei Leipzig (the German National library) houses the Collection of Exile Literature 1933–45 and the Anne Frank Shoah Library. The exile collection contains publications which were written or published abroad by emigrants – among them many Jews – between 1933 and 1945. The Anne Frank Shoah Library collects worldwide published literature on the persecution and murder of the Jews of Germany under Nazi rule. In 1992 the Ephraim Carlebach Foundation, which focuses on the history of the Jews of Leipzig, was established. Its activities include academic research, publications, exhibitions, cultural events, and preservation of historic buildings. In 1995 the Simon Dubnow Institute for Jewish History and Culture at Leipzig University, named after the Russian-Jewish historian Simon *Dubnow (1860–1941), was founded. The institute focuses on Jewish life primarily in Central and Eastern Europe.

[Jacob Rothschild /

Larissa Daemmig (2nd ed.)]

Hebrew Printing

Some Hebrew lettering (from wood-blocks) appears in books printed in Leipzig even before 1500 and in the two decades following, as in Novenianus' Elementale Hebraicum, 1520. In 1533 appeared a Hebrew psalter, prepared by Anthonius Margarita (like Novenianus, a lecturer in Hebrew) and printed by his father-in-law, Melchior Lotther. Hebrew printing was resumed in the last quarter of the 17th century through the effort of the apostate F.A. Christiani, and among these productions was a beautiful edition of Isaac Abrabanel's commentary on the Latter Prophets (1685). Numerous books were printed, again by non-Jewish presses, in the 19th century, among them Maimonides' responsa and letters, edited by Mordecai b. Isaac Tamah, with H.L. Schnauss (1859). At the end of the 19th and early 20th century the leading Oriental printing house in Europe, W. Drugulin, produced, among other works, S. Mandelkern's famous Bible Concordance (for Veit and Co., 1896) and Antologia Hebraica (ed. by H. Brody and M. Wiener, 1922), for the Insel Verlag. By that time Leipzig had become the most important printing and publishing center in Germany. Drugulin designed a new type, taking early printing type as his model. Another new type was designed by Raphael Frank, cantor in Leipzig, in 1910, for the Berthold'sche Schriftgiesserei in Berlin.


M. Freudenthal, Aus Geschichte und Leben der Juden in Leipzig (1930); idem (ed.), Leipziger Messgaeste (1928); W. Harmelin, in: YLBI, 9 (1964), 239–66; A. Kapp, in: ZGJD, 1 (1929), 329–32; 3 (1931), 131–4; 4 (1932), 198–202; 5 (1935), 50–58; 6 (1935), 40–47; Germ Jud, 1 (1962), 155–6, incl. bibl.; 2 (1968), index, incl. bibl.; J.G. Hartenstein, Die Juden in der Geschichte Leipzigs (1938); F. Grubel, in: BLBI, 5 (1962), 132–8; M. Unger, in: Zeitschrift fuer Geschichtswissenschaft, 11 (1963), 941–57; A. Marx, Studies in Jewish History and Booklore (1944), 331ff.; A.M. Habermann, Ha-Sefer ha-Ivri be-Hitpattehuto (1968), index. add. bibliography: E. Bertram, Menschen ohne Grabstein. Die aus Leipzig deportierten und ermordeten Juden (2001); B. Kowalzik, Wir waren eure Nachbarn. Die Juden im Leipziger Waldstrassenviertel (1996); A. Lorz, Suchet der Stadt Bestes. Lebensbilder juedischer Unternehmer aus Leipzig (1996); T. Schinkoeth, Juedische Musiker in Leipzig 18551945 (1994); M. Unger (ed.), Judaica Lipsiensia. Zur Geschichte der Juden in Leipzig (1994); B.-L. Lange, Juedische Spuren in Leipzig (1993); S.J. Kreutner, Mein Leipzig. Gedenken an die Juden meiner Stadt (1992); M. Unger, H. Lang (eds.), Juden in Leipzig. Eine Dokumentation zur Ausstellung anlaesslich des 50. Jahrestages der Faschistischen Pogromnacht im Ausstellungszentrum der Karl-Marx-Universitaet (1988); S. Spector (ed.), Encyclopedia of Jewish Life Before and During the Holocaust, vol. 2 (2001), 714–16.


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Leipzig. Ger. city in Saxony with long tradition of sacred and secular music. St Thomas's Church became town church 1755. Several distinguished musicians were Kantor there, one of the finest being Johann Kuhnau, org. from 1684 and Kantor 1701–22. He was succeeded in 1723 by J. S. Bach who stayed until his death in 1750. Like Kuhnau, he became dissatisfied with standards of perf., but many of his church cantatas were written for the choir. His successors incl. J. A. Hiller (1789–1804) and Karl Straube (1918–40). The first opera written for Leipzig was N. A. Strungk's Alceste (1694). Telemann comp. at least 20 operas for Leipzig. The Schauspielhaus was built 1766 after which opera was regularly perf. It became the Stadttheater 1817. The Neues Stadttheater opened 1867. Lortzing was cond. of opera in Leipzig 1844–5; among his successors were Julius Rietz (1847–54), Anton Seidl (1878–80), Arthur Nikisch (1879–89), Gustav Mahler (1886–8), Otto Lohse (1912–23), Gustav Brecher (1923–33), Paul Schmitz (1933–51). Krenek's Jonny spielt auf (1927) and Weill's Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny (1930) were f.p. in Leipzig. Opera house was destroyed by bombs 1943. After 1945 Leipzig was in East German (Communist) zone. Joachim Herz was dir. 1959–76. After Ger. reunification (1989), Udo Zimmermann became Intendant 1990 and mus. dir. was Lothar Zagrosek.

Leipzig's concert tradition began in 17th cent. In 1781 a new Gewandhaus (Cloth Hall) was built, enabling the Gewandhaus concerts to become the most important in the city, the first being given on 25 Nov. 1781, cond. by Hiller. Mozart gave a concert of his own works there 1789. Mendelssohn was cond. 1835–47. During his régime Bach's St Matthew Passion was revived and f.ps. were given of Schumann's 1st, 2nd, and 4th syms., Schubert's ‘Great’ C major sym., and Mendelssohn's 3rd sym. and vn. conc. Rietz was cond. 1854–60, Carl Reinecke 1860–95. Brahms cond. all his syms. in Leipzig and his vn. conc. had its première there 1879. New Gewandhaus opened 1884. Conds. were Arthur Nikisch (1895–1922), Furtwängler (1922–9), Bruno Walter (1929–33), Hermann Abendroth (1934–46). Gewandhaus was bombed 1943 and rebuilt 1978. Since 1946 conds. have incl. Franz Konwitschny (1949–62), Vaclav Neumann (1964–8), Kurt Masur (1970–98), Herbert Blomstedt from 1998.

Leipzig also has a radio orch., founded 1924. The Cons. was founded in 1843 through Mendelssohn's efforts and has remained one of the leading institutions of its kind. Leipzig is also the home of org.-builders, several mus. publishers, e.g. Breitkopf & Härtel, Hoffmeister & Kühnel, and C. F. Peters, and of mus. journals such as the Allgemeine musikalische Zeitung (1798) and Neue Zeitschrift für Musik.


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Leipzig City in e central Germany, at the confluence of the Pleisse, White Elster and Parthe rivers. It was founded as a Slavic settlement in the 10th century. In 1813, it was the scene of the Battle of the Nations. It was home to J. S. Bach for 27 years, and is the birthplace of Richard Wagner. It was East Germany's second-biggest city (after Berlin). The printing industry (founded in 1480) is still important. Industries: textiles, machinery, chemicals. Pop. (1999) 490,000.