Skip to main content



HILDESHEIM , city and former bishopric near Hanover, Germany. A Jewish community subject to the bishop was constituted in Hildesheim toward the middle of the 14th century. It suffered during the *Black Death persecutions (1348–49) but rapidly recovered. There were about 80 Jewish residents in the city in 1379, when the community possessed a synagogue and a cemetery and the Jews lived in a Judenstrasse. Almost without exception they made their living as moneylenders. In 1457 all Jews were expelled from the bishopric and the synagogue was torn down.

In 1520 the right of residence was extended to "der Grosse Michel," a Jewish soldier of fortune (see Jud *Michel). He was followed by a small number of other Jewish settlers, including Medicus Herz, the physician to the bishop. In 1595 an attempt to expel the Jews was frustrated when the exiles took legal action before the imperial court and were allowed to return in 1601. In 1662 Elector Maximilian Henry of Bavaria published a letter of protection for the Jews of the city. The same year marked the promulgation of a new series of laws by Jewish authorities dealing with the government of the Jewish community. A synagogue and a cemetery were dedicated in the early 17th century. A second cemetery was consecrated in 1650.

The community grew from 10 families possessing residence rights in 1634 to 40–60 families in 1726. A relative of Joseph Suess *Oppenheimer (d. 1762), who served for many years as tax collector and finance minister to the bishops and was Landesrabbiner from 1732, interceded successfully on behalf of Jews without residence permits who were threatened with expulsion in 1741. The community numbered 380 persons in 1812, 513 in 1880 (2% of the total population), and 515 in 1933.

Incorporated into the kingdom of *Westphalia, the Jews of the bishopric enjoyed full equality from 1806 to 1815. In that period an elementary school was founded which continued to exist into the 20th century. When Hildesheim came under Hanoverian rule (1815), the Jews again suffered from legal disabilities. A new synagogue was consecrated in 1849. The rabbinical post of Hildesheim was filled consecutively from the 17th century; notable incumbents included Jacob *Guttmann (1874–92) and his successor A. Lewinsky, rabbi for more than 40 years, who wrote widely on the history of the community. On Nov. 10, 1938 the synagogue was burned down and many shops were looted. By May 1939 only 210 Jews remained. The majority of these were deported, 51 on July 24, 1942, to Theresienstadt. A few returned after the war but by 1970 only eight remained. A Jewish community was reestablished in 1997 after the influx of Jews from the former Soviet Union.


M. Landsberg, Zur Geschichte der Synagogen-Gemeinde Hildesheim (1868); idem, in: mgwj, 19 (1870), 122–4; A. Rexhausen, Die rechtliche und wirtschaftliche Lage der Juden in Hochstift Hildesheim (1914); Germ Jud, 2 (1968), 360–3; A. Lewinsky, in: Ha-Eshkol, 6 (1909), 236–40; idem, in: mgwj, 44 (1895), 250–9, 366–80; 45 (1896), 179–81, 487f.; 46 (1897), 547–55; 47 (1898), 80–84; idem, in: Blaetter fuer juedische Geschichte und Literatur, 2 (1901), 11f., 45f.; 3 (1902), 89–93, 113–9, 150–3, 169, 171; 4 (1903), 6–11, 20–22; 5 (1904), 12–13; idem, in: Festschrift… J. Guttmann (1915), 256–72; H. Schnee, Die Hoffinanz und der moderne Staat, 3 (1955); 67–74.

[Zvi Avneri]

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Hildesheim." Encyclopaedia Judaica. . 20 Sep. 2018 <>.

"Hildesheim." Encyclopaedia Judaica. . (September 20, 2018).

"Hildesheim." Encyclopaedia Judaica. . Retrieved September 20, 2018 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.