WIESBADEN , city in Germany. Individual Jews lived in Wiesbaden in the 14th and 15th centuries. During the 16th century the local count gave them protection against the opposition of the city. In 1620 a number of Jewish refugees arrived there but had to leave after six years. Other Jews, however, were permitted to reside there from 1638. They numbered five families in 1697, nine in 1724, and 11 in 1747. At that time a synagogue, cemetery, and a bathhouse were established. The countess Charlotte in 1732 prohibited the establishment of further synagogues, the public discussion of religion, and profits on moneylending exceeding 5–6 percent. By 1803 there were 14 Jewish families living in Wiesbaden and 42 in the vicinity. Abraham *Geiger introduced his first reforms while acting as rabbi there (1832–38). Forty Orthodox families established an independent community in 1876. The Jewish population numbered 990 in 1875; 2,744 (2.5 percent of the total) in 1910; 3,088 (3 percent) in 1925; 2,713 (1.7 percent) in 1933; and 1,232 (0.7 percent) in 1939. The teacher and reader of the adjacent community of Biebrich was the celebrated scholar Seligmann *Baer. The community maintained a number of educational and welfare institutions, including a "Lehrhaus" for Jewish adult education.
After the rise of the Nazis to power, the Jews of Wiesbaden suffered persecution like those in the rest of Germany. The synagogues were burned in 1938. In 1942, 1,100 Jews were deported from Wiesbaden; during August 1942, 40 Jews committed suicide.
In 1965 there were 350 Jews living in Wiesbaden (0.1 percent of the total population). A new synagogue was opened in 1966. The Jewish community numbered 319 in 1989; 400 in 1990; and 692 in 2004. The increase is explained by the immigration of Jews from the former Soviet Union. A small museum, financed by the city, has an exhibition of the Jewish history of Wiesbaden.
P. Lazarus, Die juedische Gemeinde Wiesbaden 1918 – 1947, (1949); H. Thomae (ed.), Weg und Schicksal. Aus der Geschichte der Wiesbadener Juden (1966); Germania Judaica, 2 (1968), 904; 3 (1987), 1642–43; Festschrift zur Fuenfzigjahrfeier des Synagogen-Gesangvereins zu Wiesbaden (1913). add bibliography: B. Post (ed.), Juden in Wiesbaden. Von der Jahrhundertwende bis zur "Reichskristallnacht" (1988); D. Lottmann-Kaeseler (ed.), Osteuropaeisches Judentum in Wiesbaden (1991) (Begegnungen, vol. 2); L. Bembenek and H. Dickel, "Ich bin kein deutscher Patriot mehr, jetzt bin ich Jude," in: Die Vertreibung juedischer Buerger aus Wiesbaden (1933 bis 1947) (1991); H-G. Buschmann and E. Vollmer, Die sieben juedischen Friedhoefe Wiesbadens (1997). website: www.am-spiegelgasse.de.
[Ze'ev Wilhem Falk]
Wiesbaden (vēs´bä´dən, vĬs´–), city (1994 pop. 270,873), capital of Hesse, central Germany, on the Rhine River, at the southern foot of the Taunus Mts. The city, an industrial center and a market for Rhine wines, is one of the most famous spas of Europe. Manufactures include metal goods, concrete products, and printed materials. There are also motion picture and television studios and publishing houses. Wiesbaden was founded as a Celtic settlement in the 3d cent. BC In the 1st and 2d cent. AD it was a popular Roman spa known as Aquae Mattiacorum; there are remains of the Roman water conduits and walls. It later became a free imperial city and passed to the county (later duchy) of Nassau in 1281. In 1806 the city was made the capital of Nassau and with it passed to Prussia in 1866. After World War I, Wiesbaden was the seat (1918–29) of the Allied Rhineland Commission. Noteworthy buildings in the city include the castle (1837–41), the Kurhaus (1905–7), and the State Theater of Hesse (1892–94).