MANNHEIM , city in Baden, Germany. Jews first settled in Mannheim (which was founded in 1606) around 1652, and the first rabbi, Naphtali Herz, served from 1657 to 1671. The community was granted a highly favorable charter in 1660. A cemetery was acquired a year later (in use until 1839), and a synagogue and mikveh were built in 1664. In 1663 there were 15 Jewish families in the town, two of them Portuguese, founders of a Portuguese community that later maintained its own schoolteacher and enjoyed particular privileges. In 1674 the ḥevra kaddisha (Kippe) was established. By 1680 there were 78 Jewish families in Mannheim; in 1689 they aided the burghers in the defense of the city against the French; on its destruction, they took refuge in the communities of *Heidelberg and *Frankfurt. Eighty-four families had returned to the city by 1691 when a new charter was issued. Modeled on the first one, it included the Portuguese, fixed the number of tolerated families at 86 (increased to 150 in 1698), established an interest rate of 5%, and abolished the yellow *badge. The charter of 1717 (also including the Portuguese) raised the number of tolerated families to 200 and permitted an interest rate of 10%. The favorable position of the Jews there is expressed in a contemporary reference to Mannheim as "New Jerusalem." There were many local followers of *Shabbetai Ẓevi in the community, vigorously opposed by its rabbi, Samuel Helmann (1726–51). In 1708 the synagogue and ḥeder (Klaus), donated by Lemle Moses Rheinganum, was consecrated and later endowed with 100,000 gulden (it remained in use until 1940). Soon after, it was enlarged considerably. An unsuccessful attempt was made when the Jewish charter was renewed in 1765 to establish a separate Jewish quarter. Political emancipation came in 1807, followed by full civil rights in 1862. The main synagogue was consecrated in 1855. A public elementary school was in existence between 1821 and 1870. The number of families increased from 225 in 1761 to 247 in 1771, and the number of Jews in Mannheim rose from 940 in 1801, to 4,249 in 1885; 6,402 in 1913; and 6,400 (2.3%; of the total population) in 1933. The community issued a monthly bulletin (1922–38) and maintained a Lehrhaus (school for adults) between 1922 and 1938, as well as numerous charitable, cultural, and social organizations. Jews were active in the social, cultural, and political life of the city.
The interior of the synagogue was demolished on April 1, 1933. By 1938 only 3,000 Jews remained. On November 10, 1938, the main synagogue was burnt, and the community was forced to transfer the remains of 3,586 bodies interred in the old cemetery to the public one. On October 22, 1940, some 2,000 Jews were deported to the concentration camp of *Gurs, and the remainder to Auschwitz a year later. After World War ii, Jews returned to Mannheim; they numbered 68 in 1945; 386 in 1970; and 338 in 1977. A new synagogue was opened in 1957. In 1987 a new community center with a synagogue was consecrated. The Jewish community numbered 400 in 1989 and more than 500 in 2005.
F. Hundsnurscher and G. Taddey, Die juedischen Gemeinden in Baden (1968), 186–96; I. Unna, in: jjlg, 17 (1926), 133–46; idem, in zgjd, 1 (1929), 322–8; 3 (1931), 277–8; B. Rosenthal, Heimatgeschichte der badischen Juden (1927), 110, 129, 330f.; idem, in: zgjd, 5 (1934), 192–9; 7 (1937), 98–102; idem, in: C.V. Kalender (1930), 13–18; H. Eppstein-Strauss, in: Juedische Wohlfahrts pflege und Sozialpolitik, 1 (1930), 465–72. add. bibliography: K. Watzinger, Geschichte der Juden in Mannheim 1650 – 1945. Mit 52 Biographien (Veroeffentlichungen des Stadtarchivs Mainz, vol. 12) (19872); V. Keller, Juedisches Leben in Mannheim (1995); B. Becker and F. Teutsch, Spuren und Staionen juedischen Lebens in Mannheim. Quellen des Stadtarchivs Mannheim (Arbeitsmaterialien aus dem Stadtarchiv Mannheim, vol. 4) (2000); T. Bayer, Minderheit im staedtischen Raum: Sozialgeschichte der Juden in Mannheim waehrend der 1. Haelfte des 19. Jahrhunderts (Quellen und Darstellungen zur Mannheimer Stadtgeschichte, vol. 6) (2001). websites: www.alemannia-judaica.de; www.jgm-net.de.
[Louis Lewin /
Larissa Daemmig (2nd ed.)]