MEININGEN , city in Germany. The medieval Jewish community suffered persecutions in 1243 because of a blood *libel, in 1298 during the *Rindfleisch disturbances, and during the *Black Death massacres in 1349 when it was destroyed. The synagogue was transformed into a chapel in 1384. Jews continued to live in nearby villages, which in 1803 were incorporated into the newly created duchy of Saxe-Meiningen. The duchy's Jewry law of 1811 laid down disabilities regarding residence, marriage permits, and economic pursuits. Only a few Jews were allowed to live in Meiningen itself; after the *Hep! Hep! riots (1819) only one family remained. By 1844, only 29 persons lived there. At that time 1,500 Jews lived in the duchy; the seat of the rabbinate was in the nearby village of Walldorf, where 550 Jews lived (35% of the total population) in 1844, when the ducal authorities approved the Saxe-Meiningen synagogue regulations stressing religious reforms. The Saxe-Meiningen Jewry law of 1856 granted citizenship to Jews owning substantial business, and that of 1868 to all the duchy's Jews. By 1870, some 470 Jews lived in Meiningen; 490 in 1898; 359 in 1913 (2.08% of the total); 293 in 1925 (1.6%); and 192 in June 1933. In 1871 the rabbinate was transferred to Meiningen, a cemetery was acquired in 1874, a synagogue was consecrated in 1883, and a ḥevra kaddisha was founded in 1885. In 1856 Jewish and Christian financiers founded the Central-German Credit Bank in Meiningen. The banks of B.M. Strupp (formerly a merchandise firm) and D. Mannheimer (founded in 1871) were important in industrial financing far beyond the duchy's limits. Gustav Strupp (1851–1918) was chairman of both the Chamber of Commerce and the Jewish community, and was a member of the Landtag (1903–18). From the 1870s Jews were admitted to the bar, and some were appointed judges. Antisemitism was strong in Meiningen: the antisemitic vote in 1898 and the Nazi vote in 1932 far exceeded the national average. The synagogue was burnt in 1938, and by the end of that year only a few Jewish families remained, with 16 children attending the Jewish school. Records on deportations are missing. No Jews returned to Meiningen after 1945. The Jewish cemetery, which had been damaged by the Nazis in 1938, was restored by the municipality of Meiningen. In 1988 a memorial was consecrated to commemorate the destroyed synagogue.
T. Oelsner, in: jsos, 4 (1942), 256, n. 36, 358–74, 378, and n. 166; Handbuch der juedischen Gemeindeverwaltung und Wohlfahrtspflege (1913), 202; (1928), 167, 319; J. Jacobson, in: mgdj, 6 (1962), 59–97; Germ Jud, 2 (1968), 530; S. Colodner, Jewish Education under the Nazis (1964), 62; P.H. Emden, Money Powers of Europe in the 19th & 20th Centuries (1937), 208. add. bibliography: Schicksal juedischer Buerger der Stadt Meiningen 1933–1945 (Schriften zur Stadtgeschichte Meiningens, vol. 2) (1995); K. Nothnagel, Juden in der ehemaligen Residenzstadt Meiningen und deren Umfeld (Juden in Suedthueringen geschuetzt und gejagt, vol. 3) (1999); G. Olbrisch, Landrabbinate in Thueringen 1811–1871, Juedische Schulund Kultusreform unter staatlicher Regie, Cologne; Weimar (Veroeffentlichungen der Historischen Kommission fuer Thueringen. Kleine Reihe, vol. 9) (2003).
[Toni Oelsner /
Larissa Daemmig (2nd ed.)]