FUERTH (Heb. פירד, פיורדא), city in Bavaria, Germany. Jewish moneylenders are mentioned there in 1440. They were later expelled, but in 1528 Jews were allowed to resettle in the town. There were 200 Jewish residents in 1582. A rabbi is mentioned in 1607. The Jews were represented on the municipal council by two of their parnasim. The community dispersed during the Thirty Years' War (1618–48). In 1670 refugees from Vienna augmented the Jewish community, which was concentrated around the Geleitsgasse. The "old synagogue" (near Koenigstrasse) was built in 1617, a new one in 1697, and that of the *Fraenkel family in 1707. The first cemetery dates from 1607 and the hospital (hekdesh) from 1653.
In 1719 the status of the community (consisting of 400 households) was regulated by the bishop. In return for annual payments, the Jews were promised protection for their lives and property; they were allowed to build synagogues and to employ a cantor, beadle (Schulklopfer), and gravedigger; cases between Jews were to be tried by a Jewish court, while litigation between Jews and gentiles came under the jurisdiction of the cathedral court. The Fuerth community regulated its internal affairs by a series of takkanot in 1728. The first Jewish orphanage in Germany was established in Fuerth in 1763 and from the 17th century until 1824 there was an important yeshivah in the town. An Orthodox elementary school was established in 1862 and officially recognized as a secondary school in 1899. In 1811 Elkan *Henle of Fuerth published a pamphlet calling for emancipation of the Jews in Bavaria; Gruensfeld of Fuerth became the first Jewish lawyer in Bavaria (1843), David Morgenstern, the first Jewish deputy to the Landtag (1849), and Solomon Berolzheimer, the first Jewish judge (1863). Fuerth Jews contributed much to the economic, cultural, and political development of the city.
Hebrew printing was begun in Fuerth in 1691 by S.S. Schneur and his sons Joseph and Abraham and son-in-law Isaac Bing. From 1691 to 1698 they issued 35 works, including *Sifra with commentaries. Hirsch Frankfurter opened a press which issued nine books, between 1691 and 1701. Confiscations of Hebrew books from 1702 onward account for a pause in printing until it was resumed by the Schneur family from 1722 to 1730. Between 1737 and 1774, Ḥayyim b. Hirsch of Wilhermsdorf published 80 works and his press continued in the family until 1868; their non-Jewish successor issued a Pentateuch with haftarot as late as 1876. Between 1760 and 1792 Isaac b. Loeb Buchbinder (not Bamberg) printed 73 Hebrew books. Joseph Petschau and his son Mendel Beer printed 17 books between 1762 and 1769. S.B. Gusdorfer was active as a printer from 1852 to 1867.
The Jewish population numbered 1,500 in 1720; 2,434 in 1816 (19% of the total); 3,336 in 1880; and 2,000 (2.6% of the total) in 1933. In 1933–1941 1,400 Jews mangaged to leave Fuerth, mainly to the United States and Shanghai. Among those leaving was Henry Kissenger, the first Jewish secretary of state of the United States, who came to New York together with his brother and parents. Kissenger said: "By the time we left Germany it took no foresight, merely opportunity." On Nov. 10, 1938, the main synagogue was burned down; the other six synagogues and innumerable Jewish shops and homes were demolished. One hundred and fifty men were sent to Dachau. By May 17, 1939, only 785 Jews remained; the community was destroyed in three stages. On November 28, 1941, 83 Jews were deported to Riga. On March 24, 1942, 224 Jews, almost all Jews under the age of 65 were deported to Izbica, a way station to Belzec and on September 10, 1942, 153 Jews, mainly the elderly and children in an orphanage were deported to Theresienstadt. After the war some 40 Jews returned. The synagogue was restored and consecrated. There were 200 Jews living in Fuerth in 1970. In 1989 the community numbered 179. The membership increased to 587 in 2003. About 98% of them were immigrants from the former Soviet Union. Fuerth (together with Schnaittach) is one of the sites of the Jewish Museum of Franconia. The museum in Fuerth – which was founded in 1997 – is dedicated to the history and culture of the Jews in Fuerth and Franconia and to the present and future life of the Jewish community.
F. Neubuerger, in: mgwj, 45 (1901), 404–22, 510–39; M. Brann, in: Gedenkbuch D. Kaufmann (1900), 385–450; L. Loewenstein, Zur Geschichte der Juden in Fuerth (1913, 19672) (=jjlg, 6 (1909), 153–233); S. Schwarz, Juden in Bayern (1963); pk; Nachrichten fuer den juedischen Buerger Fuerths (1961–to date); H. Barbeck, Geschichte der Juden in Nuernberg und Fuerth (1878). add. bibliography: M. Berthold-Hilpert, Orte der Verfolgung und des Gedenkens in Fuerth. Einladung zu einem Rundgang (2002) (Orte juedischer Kultur); M. Berthold-Hilpert, "Juedisches Leben in Franken am Beispiel der Gemeinde Fuerth," in: G. Och, H. Bobzin (eds.), Juedisches Lebenin Franken (2002) (Biblioteca academica, Reihe Geschichte, vol. 1), 197–212; G. Blume (ed.), Gedenke. Zum Gedenken an die von den Nazis ermordeten Fuerther Juden 1933 – 1945 = Remember (1997); I. Schwierz, Steinerne Zeugnisse juedischen Lebens in Bayern. Eine Dokumentation (1992), 155–158; W.J. Heymann (ed.), Kleeblatt und Davidstern. Aus 400 Jahren juedischer Vergangenheit in Fuerth (1990).
[Ze'ev Wilhem Falk /
Michael Berenbaum and
Larissa Daemmig (2nd ed.)]