Emancipation and anti-Semitism

There was no established Jewish community in Erfurt between the expulsion by the council in 1453 and the Napoleonic Wars. When the Principality of Erfurt became a French imperial territory it was subject to the Napoleonic code, the French civil code of laws formulated in 1804, which permitted freedom of residence. David Salomon Unger was the first Jew to become a citizen of Erfurt in modern times.

In the 19th century a substantial community re-established itself and grew rapidly. The Old Jewish Cemetery was constructed in Cyriakstraße, which was later complemented by the New Cemetery. The community built the Small Synagogue as their house of worship, but it soon became too small for the congregation so they built the Great Synagogue, which the National Socialists burnt down in 1938.

Musicians with violin and double bass. The audience is sitting in the foreground.

The Small Synagogue meeting centre

This synagogue building from the 19th century is today home to a meeting centre and a small exhibition about Jewish life in Erfurt in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Memorial stone with Star of David and inscription

The Old Jewish Cemetery

The Old Jewish Cemetery was constructed at the beginning of the 19th century following the re-establishment of a community in Erfurt.