Coexistence, Anti-Semitism, Pogrom and Expulsion

The Jewish community of Erfurt first appears in the historical record in the late 11th century, with the earliest recorded building of the synagogue dating from then. For centuries Jews and Christians lived side by side in the centre of town. The year 1349 marked a sudden end: In a pogrom the whole Jewish community of Erfurt was destroyed and the Old Synagogue was converted into a storehouse. In 1354 a second medieval Jewish community settled in Erfurt on municipal instigation. However in 1453 the Erfurt Council enforced the emigration of the Jews from the city.

Ruined walls of the mikveh, encased by bronze-coloured protective building

Medieval Mikveh

A mikveh is a bath used for the purpose of ritual immersion in Judaism. The Erfurt mikveh dates from the 13th century and is now a museum.

The Old Synagogue seen from Waagegasse. In the foreground the stone archway leading to the neighbouring  plot. Of the synagogue the north and west facade is visible.

Old Synagogue

The Old Synagogue is the oldest synagogue in Central Europe that has been preserved up to its roof. The Museum displays the Erfurt Treasure and has the Erfurt Hebrew Manuscripts as its central theme.

Large Hebrew Bible

Erfurt Hebrew Manuscripts

The Erfurt Hebrew Manuscripts, shown for the most part as facsimile in the Old Synagogue, underline the importance of the medieval Jewish community. Fifteen manuscripts from the 12th to the 14th century have been preserved, more than of any other community. Apart from four Torah scrolls there are, amongst other things, four Hebrew Bibles bequeathed as well as a machzor, a prayer book used on certain Jewish holidays.

View of the whole find of the Erfurt Treasure: coins, silver bars, tableware such as goblets and a jug as well as  pieces of jewellery including rings, brooches and clothing decorations.

The Treasure

A Jewish merchant is thought to have buried his goods and chattels during the pogrom of 1349. In 1998 this “Erfurt Treasure” was discovered during building work in Michaelisstraße. The Erfurt Treasure is exhibited in the Old Synagogue Museum.