History of Frankfurt am Main
The history of the city of Frankfurt am Main is the story of a hill at a ford in the Main that developed into a European banking metropolis, becoming the smallest metropolis in the world. The spire of the cathedral tower marks the geographical center of the city at exactly 50° 6' 42.5" North and 8° 41' 9.4" East.

Early history

Frankfurt is located in what was originally a swampy portion of the Main valley, a lowland criss-crossed by channels of the river. The oldest parts are therefore to be found on the higher portions of the valley, through which passed the Roman road
Roman road
The Roman roads were a vital part of the development of the Roman state, from about 500 BC through the expansion during the Roman Republic and the Roman Empire. Roman roads enabled the Romans to move armies and trade goods and to communicate. The Roman road system spanned more than 400,000 km...

 from Mainz
Mainz under the Holy Roman Empire, and previously was a Roman fort city which commanded the west bank of the Rhine and formed part of the northernmost frontier of the Roman Empire...

 (Roman Moguntiacum) to Heddernheim (Roman Nida). The Odenwald
The Odenwald is a low mountain range in Hesse, Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg in Germany.- Location :The Odenwald lies between the Upper Rhine Rift Valley with the Bergstraße and the Hessisches Ried in the west, the Main and the Bauland in the east, the Hanau-Seligenstadt Basin – a subbasin of...

 and Spessart
The Spessart is a low mountain range in northwestern Bavaria and southern Hesse, Germany. It is bordered on three sides by the Main River. The two most important towns located at the foot of the Spessart are Aschaffenburg and Würzburg....

 ranges surrounded the area, lending a defensive advantage, and placenames show that the lowlands on both sides of the river were originally wooded.

The oldest part of the Altstadt, the old city center
Altstadt (Frankfurt am Main)
Altstadt or old city is a district or Stadtteil of Frankfurt am Main, Germany, located on the northern Main bank. It is part of the Ortsbezirk Innenstadt I. It is surrounded by the Stadtteil of Innenstadt...

, is the Cathedral Hill (Domhügel), upon an island created by arms of the Main. Only from the West could it be reached by foot without getting wet; this, together with its location at a ford, gave it significant military and economic advantages.

Stray archeological finds on the Domhügel go back to the Paleolithic
The Paleolithic Age, Era or Period, is a prehistoric period of human history distinguished by the development of the most primitive stone tools discovered , and covers roughly 99% of human technological prehistory...

, but the first proven settlement and land development date to the Roman era. It is assumed that the Romans settled on the hill in the last quarter of the 1st century CE; amongst other things, a Roman bath
In ancient Rome, thermae and balnea were facilities for bathing...

 has been found, which may have belonged to a larger complex, possibly a fortress. Apparently the military occupation was abandoned during the 2nd century and replaced by a villa
A villa was originally an ancient Roman upper-class country house. Since its origins in the Roman villa, the idea and function of a villa have evolved considerably. After the fall of the Roman Republic, villas became small farming compounds, which were increasingly fortified in Late Antiquity,...

. Several farm buildings have also been excavated. A similar building complex was discovered at the modern Günthersburgpark in the Frankfurt-Bornheim portion of the city.

With the retreat of the Roman border to the west bank of the Rhine in 259/260, the Roman history of Frankfurt came to an end.

Early Middle Ages

The name Frankfurt first appears in writing in the year 793, but it seems to have already been a considerable city. In 794 a letter from the Emperor to the bishop of Toledo
Toledo, Spain
Toledo's Alcázar became renowned in the 19th and 20th centuries as a military academy. At the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War in 1936 its garrison was famously besieged by Republican forces.-Economy:...

 contained "in loco celebri, qui dicitur Franconofurd", which reads "that famous place, which is called Frankfurt."

It seems Cathedral Hill was already permanently settled in Merovingian times (possibly first by Romans). In 1992 excavations at the cathedral found the rich grave of a girl, that has been dated to the late Merovingian period of the 7th century.

Charlemagne was King of the Franks from 768 and Emperor of the Romans from 800 to his death in 814. He expanded the Frankish kingdom into an empire that incorporated much of Western and Central Europe. During his reign, he conquered Italy and was crowned by Pope Leo III on 25 December 800...

 built himself a royal court at "Franconovurd", the "ford of the Franks
The Franks were a confederation of Germanic tribes first attested in the third century AD as living north and east of the Lower Rhine River. From the third to fifth centuries some Franks raided Roman territory while other Franks joined the Roman troops in Gaul. Only the Salian Franks formed a...

", and in the summer of 794 held a church council there, convened by the grace of God, authority of the pope, and command of Charlemagne (canon 1), and attended by the bishops of the Frankish kingdom, Italy and the province of Aquitania
Aquitania may refer to:* the territory of the Aquitani, a people living in Roman times in what is now Aquitaine, France* Aquitaine, a region of France roughly between the Pyrenees, the Atlantic ocean and the Garonne, also a former kingdom and duchy...

, and even by ecclesiastics from England. The council was summoned primarily for the condemnation of Adoptionism
Adoptionism, sometimes called dynamic monarchianism, is a minority Christian belief that Jesus was adopted as God's son at his baptism...

. According to the testimony of contemporaries two papal legate
Papal legate
A papal legate – from the Latin, authentic Roman title Legatus – is a personal representative of the pope to foreign nations, or to some part of the Catholic Church. He is empowered on matters of Catholic Faith and for the settlement of ecclesiastical matters....

s were present, Theophylact and Stephen, representing Pope Adrian I
Pope Adrian I
Pope Adrian was pope from February 1, 772 to December 25, 795. He was the son of Theodore, a Roman nobleman.Shortly after Adrian's accession the territory ruled by the papacy was invaded by Desiderius, king of the Lombards, and Adrian was compelled to seek the assistance of the Frankish king...

. After an allocution by Charlemagne, the bishops drew up two memorials against the Adoptionists, one containing arguments from patristic writings; the other arguments from Scripture. The first was the Libellus sacrosyllabus, written by Paulinus, Patriarch of Aquileia, in the name of the Italian bishops; the second was the Epistola Synodica, addressed to the bishops of Spain by those of Germany, Gaul and Aquitania. In the first of its fifty-six canons the council condemned Adoptionism, and in the second repudiated the Second Council of Nicaea
Second Council of Nicaea
The Second Council of Nicaea is regarded as the Seventh Ecumenical Council by Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, Eastern Catholic Churches and various other Western Christian groups...

 of 787, which, according to the faulty Latin translation of its Acts (see Caroline Books), seemed to decree that the same kind of worship should be paid to images as to the Blessed Trinity, though the Greek text clearly distinguishes between latreia and proskynesis; this constituted a condemnation of iconoclasm
Iconoclasm is the deliberate destruction of religious icons and other symbols or monuments, usually with religious or political motives. It is a frequent component of major political or religious changes...

. The remaining fifty-four canons dealt with metropolitan jurisdiction, monastic discipline, superstition etc.

Louis the Pious
Louis the Pious
Louis the Pious , also called the Fair, and the Debonaire, was the King of Aquitaine from 781. He was also King of the Franks and co-Emperor with his father, Charlemagne, from 813...

, Charlemagne's son, selected Frankfurt as his seat, extended the palatinate
Count palatine
Count palatine is a high noble title, used to render several comital styles, in some cases also shortened to Palatine, which can have other meanings as well.-Comes palatinus:...

, built a larger palace, and in 838 had the city encircled by defensive walls and ditches.

After the Treaty of Verdun
Treaty of Verdun
The Treaty of Verdun was a treaty between the three surviving sons of Louis the Pious, the son and successor of Charlemagne, which divided the Carolingian Empire into three kingdoms...

 (843), Frankfurt became to all intents and purposes the capital of East Francia and was named Principalis sedes regni orientalis (principal seat of the eastern realm). Kings and emperors frequently stayed in Frankfurt, and Reichstags
Reichstag (Holy Roman Empire)
The Imperial Diet was the Diet, or general assembly, of the Imperial Estates of the Holy Roman Empire.During the period of the Empire, which lasted formally until 1806, the Diet was not a parliament in today's sense; instead, it was an assembly of the various estates of the realm...

 and church councils were repeatedly held there. The establishment of religious monasteries and numerous endowments to the local church furthered the urban community. Also, as the German emperor had no permanent residence anymore, Frankfurt remained the center of imperial power and the principal city of Eastern Francia.

High Middle Ages

After an era of lesser importance under the Salian and Saxon
Lower Saxony
Lower Saxony is a German state situated in north-western Germany and is second in area and fourth in population among the sixteen states of Germany...

 emperors, a single event once again brought Frankfurt to the fore: it was in the local church in 1147 that Bernard of Clairvaux
Bernard of Clairvaux
Bernard of Clairvaux, O.Cist was a French abbot and the primary builder of the reforming Cistercian order.After the death of his mother, Bernard sought admission into the Cistercian order. Three years later, he was sent to found a new abbey at an isolated clearing in a glen known as the Val...

 called, amongst others, the Hohenstaufen
The House of Hohenstaufen was a dynasty of German kings in the High Middle Ages, lasting from 1138 to 1254. Three of these kings were also crowned Holy Roman Emperor. In 1194 the Hohenstaufens also became Kings of Sicily...

 king Conrad III
Conrad III of Germany
Conrad III was the first King of Germany of the Hohenstaufen dynasty. He was the son of Frederick I, Duke of Swabia, and Agnes, a daughter of the Salian Emperor Henry IV.-Life and reign:...

 to the Second Crusade
Second Crusade
The Second Crusade was the second major crusade launched from Europe. The Second Crusade was started in response to the fall of the County of Edessa the previous year to the forces of Zengi. The county had been founded during the First Crusade by Baldwin of Boulogne in 1098...

. Before leaving for Jerusalem, Conrad selected his ten year-old son as heir, but the boy died before his father. Due to this, an election was held in Frankfurt five years later, and after the emperor Frederick Barbarossa was elected, Frankfurt became the customary place for the election of the German kings.

Under the Hohenstaufen emperors, Frankfurt experienced strong growth and rising national importance. By 1180 the city had expanded greatly, and by 1250 had seen an increase in privileges in addition to economic growth. Police power in the city lay in the hands of the bailiff
A bailiff is a governor or custodian ; a legal officer to whom some degree of authority, care or jurisdiction is committed...

s and reeve
A Vogt ; plural Vögte; Dutch voogd; Danish foged; ; ultimately from Latin [ad]vocatus) in the Holy Roman Empire was the German title of a reeve or advocate, an overlord exerting guardianship or military protection as well as secular justice...

s; however, the citizens selected their own mayors and officials, who were responsible for police management and some judicial duties. These officials enjoyed the favor of the emperors, who had eliminated the reeves entirely by the end of the Hohenstaufen dynasty.

The Early Modern era, 16th to 18th centuries

Starting from the 16th century, trade and the arts flowered in Frankfurt. Science and innovation progressed, and the invention of the printing press
Printing press
A printing press is a device for applying pressure to an inked surface resting upon a print medium , thereby transferring the ink...

 in nearby Mainz
Mainz under the Holy Roman Empire, and previously was a Roman fort city which commanded the west bank of the Rhine and formed part of the northernmost frontier of the Roman Empire...

 promoted education and knowledge. From the 15th to 17th centuries, the most important book fair in Germany was held in Frankfurt, a custom which would be revived in 1949.

In the early 17th century tensions between the guilds and the patricians, who dominated the city council, led to substantial unrest. The guilds asked for greater participation in urban and fiscal policies as well as for economic restrictions of the Jewish community's rights. In 1612, after the election of Emperor Matthias
Matthias, Holy Roman Emperor
Matthias of Austria was Holy Roman Emperor from 1612, King of Hungary and Croatia from 1608 and King of Bohemia from 1611...

 the council rejected the Guild's request, to read out publicly the imperial privilege
A privilege is a special entitlement to immunity granted by the state or another authority to a restricted group, either by birth or on a conditional basis. It can be revoked in certain circumstances. In modern democratic states, a privilege is conditional and granted only after birth...

s given to the city. This caused the so called Fettmilch Rebellion, named after its leader, the baker Vinzenz Fettmilch. A part of the populace, mainly craftsmen, rose up against the city council. In 1614, the mob began a pogrom
A pogrom is a form of violent riot, a mob attack directed against a minority group, and characterized by killings and destruction of their homes and properties, businesses, and religious centres...

 in the city's Jewish ghetto, and the emperor had to ask Mainz and Hessen-Darmstadt to restore order.

In the Thirty Years' War
Thirty Years' War
The Thirty Years' War was fought primarily in what is now Germany, and at various points involved most countries in Europe. It was one of the most destructive conflicts in European history....

, Frankfurt was able to maintain its neutrality; the city council had avoided siding with one opponent or another after its negative experiences in the Schmalkaldic War
Schmalkaldic War
The Schmalkaldic War refers to the short period of violence from 1546 until 1547 between the forces of Emperor Charles I of Spain and V of the Holy Roman Empire, commanded by Don Fernando Álvarez de Toledo, Duke of Alba, and the Lutheran Schmalkaldic League within the domains of the Holy Roman...

. This issue became critical between 1631 and 1635, when the Swedish regent Gustav Adolf came to Frankfurt demanding accommodation and provisions for himself and his troops. But the city mastered these adversities more easily than what was to follow the war: the plague
The Plague
The Plague is a novel by Albert Camus, published in 1947, that tells the story of medical workers finding solidarity in their labour as the Algerian city of Oran is swept by a plague. It asks a number of questions relating to the nature of destiny and the human condition...

 ravaged the city, as it would most of Europe at this time. In the 1648 Peace of Westphalia
Peace of Westphalia
The Peace of Westphalia was a series of peace treaties signed between May and October of 1648 in Osnabrück and Münster. These treaties ended the Thirty Years' War in the Holy Roman Empire, and the Eighty Years' War between Spain and the Dutch Republic, with Spain formally recognizing the...

, Frankfurt was confirmed as an Imperial Free City, and soon reached new heights of prosperity.

From the French Revolution to the end of the Free State

During the French Revolutionary War, General Custine
Adam Philippe, Comte de Custine
Adam Philippe, Comte de Custine was a French general. Born in Metz, he began his military career as a captain in the Seven Years' War, where he learned to admire the modern military organisation of Prussia....

 occupied Frankfurt in October 1792. On December 2 of the same year, the city was retaken.

In January 1806, General Augereau occupied the city with 9,000 men and extorted 4 million francs from it. Frankfurt's status as a free city ended when it was granted to Karl Theodor Anton Maria von Dalberg
Karl Theodor Anton Maria von Dalberg
Karl Theodor Anton Maria von Dalberg was Archbishop-Elector of Mainz, Arch-Chancellor of the Holy Roman Empire, Prince of Regensburg, primate of the Confederation of the Rhine and Grand-Duke of Frankfurt.-Biography:...

 in the same year. In 1810 Dalberg's territories were reorganized into the Grand Duchy of Frankfurt
Grand Duchy of Frankfurt
The Grand Duchy of Frankfurt was a German satellite state of Napoleonic creation. It came into existence in 1810 through the combination of the former territories of the Archbishops of Mainz along with the Free Imperial City of Frankfurt itself....


During this time, the city experienced serious changes in the structure and construction of the town. Centuries-old defensive walls were dismantled, replaced by garden plots. It was felt that one no longer need fear cannon fire, even without walls. On July 1, 1808, Goethe's mother wrote to her son Wolfgang: "Die alten Wälle sind abgetragen, die alten Tore eingerissen, um die ganze Stadt ein Park." (The old barriers are threadbare, the old gates torn down, around the whole city a park.)

On November 2, 1813, the allies drew together in Frankfurt, to re-establish its old rights and set up a central administrative council under Baron vom Stein. The Congress of Vienna
Congress of Vienna
The Congress of Vienna was a conference of ambassadors of European states chaired by Klemens Wenzel von Metternich, and held in Vienna from September, 1814 to June, 1815. The objective of the Congress was to settle the many issues arising from the French Revolutionary Wars, the Napoleonic Wars,...

 clarified that Frankfurt was a Free City of the German federation, and in 1816 it became the seat of the Bundestag
The Bundestag is a federal legislative body in Germany. In practice Germany is governed by a bicameral legislature, of which the Bundestag serves as the lower house and the Bundesrat the upper house. The Bundestag is established by the German Basic Law of 1949, as the successor to the earlier...

. This government seat occupied the Palais Thurn and Taxis. When Goethe visited his native city for the last time in 1815, he encouraged the councilmen with the words: "A free spirit befits a free city…..It befits Frankfurt to shine in all directions and to be active in all directions."

The city took good heed of this advice. When in 1831 Arthur Schopenhauer
Arthur Schopenhauer
Arthur Schopenhauer was a German philosopher known for his pessimism and philosophical clarity. At age 25, he published his doctoral dissertation, On the Fourfold Root of the Principle of Sufficient Reason, which examined the four separate manifestations of reason in the phenomenal...

, a lecturer at the time, moved from Berlin to Frankfurt, he justified it with the lines: "Healthy climate, beautiful surroundings, the amenities of large cities, the Natural History Museum, better theater, opera, and concerts, more Englishman, better coffee houses, no bad water… and a better dentist."

In 1833 a revolutionary movement
Frankfurter Wachensturm
The Frankfurter Wachensturm on April 3rd 1833 was a failed attempt to start a revolution in Germany.-Events:...

 attempted to topple the Diet of the royalist German Confederation, which sat at Frankfurt, and was quickly put down.

The Revolutions of 1848 and their aftermath

The Revolutions of 1848
Revolutions of 1848
The European Revolutions of 1848, known in some countries as the Spring of Nations, Springtime of the Peoples or the Year of Revolution, were a series of political upheavals throughout Europe in 1848. It was the first Europe-wide collapse of traditional authority, but within a year reactionary...

, also known as the March Revolution, forced Klemens von Metternich, the reactionary Austrian
Austrian Empire
The Austrian Empire was a modern era successor empire, which was centered on what is today's Austria and which officially lasted from 1804 to 1867. It was followed by the Empire of Austria-Hungary, whose proclamation was a diplomatic move that elevated Hungary's status within the Austrian Empire...

 head of state, to step down. This was celebrated wildly in Frankfurt. On 30 March 1848 one could see black, red, and gold flags everywhere, and the populace was admonished not to shoot into the air.

On 18 May 1848, a day which some historians call the greatest day in the history of the city, the National Assembly
Frankfurt Parliament
The Frankfurt Assembly was the first freely elected parliament for all of Germany. Session was held from May 18, 1848 to May 31, 1849 in the Paulskirche at Frankfurt am Main...

 held its first meeting in the Frankfurter Paulskirche. The last meeting was held there a year later, on 31 May 1849. Frankfurt was at this point the center of all political life in Germany. The party transformation and the excitement were the most violent there; riots, particularly among those living in the Sachsenhausen quarter, had to be suppressed with force of arms on 7–8 July 1848 as well as on 18 September.

The next fifteen years saw new industrial laws focusing on complete freedom of trade, and political Emancipation of the Jews
Jewish Emancipation
Jewish emancipation was the external and internal process of freeing the Jewish people of Europe, including recognition of their rights as equal citizens, and the formal granting of citizenship as individuals; it occurred gradually between the late 18th century and the early 20th century...

, initiated ten years before its final realization in 1864.

Starting in August 1863, a political gathering focused on German federal reform met in Frankfurt, including the national congress and the opposing reform congress. The Kingdom of Prussia
Kingdom of Prussia
The Kingdom of Prussia was a German kingdom from 1701 to 1918. Until the defeat of Germany in World War I, it comprised almost two-thirds of the area of the German Empire...

 did not show up, however, and the reform failed, leading to the Austro-Prussian War
Austro-Prussian War
The Austro-Prussian War was a war fought in 1866 between the German Confederation under the leadership of the Austrian Empire and its German allies on one side and the Kingdom of Prussia with its German allies and Italy on the...

 in 1866. Frankfurt was annexed by Prussia as a result of the war, and the city was made part of the province of Hesse-Nassau.

Early Nazi period

In 1933 the Jewish mayor (Oberbürgermeister
Lord Mayor
The Lord Mayor is the title of the Mayor of a major city, with special recognition.-Commonwealth of Nations:* In Australia it is a political position. Australian cities with Lord Mayors: Adelaide, Brisbane, Darwin, Hobart, Melbourne, Newcastle, Parramatta, Perth, Sydney, and Wollongong...

) Ludwig Landmann
Ludwig Landmann
Dr. Ludwig Landmann was a liberal German politician of the Weimar Republic...

 was replaced by NSDAP member Friedrich Krebs. This led to the firing of all Jewish officials in the city administration and from city organizations. A meeting of Frankfurt traders, who wanted to discuss the boycott of Jewish businesses, was broken up and the participants arrested and intimidated. Although the Nazis had originally mocked the city as the Jerusalem am Main because of its high Jewish population, the city adopted a propagandistic nickname, the Stadt des deutschen Handwerks or the city of German craft.

World War II

Large parts of the city center were destroyed by in the bombings of the second World War. On March 22, 1944, a British attack destroyed the entire Old City, killing 1001 people. The East Port - an important shipping center for bulk goods, with its own rail connection - was also largely destroyed.

Frankfurt was first reached by the Allied ground advance into Germany during late March 1945. The US 5th Infantry Division seized the Rhine-Main airport on 26 March 1945 and crossed assault forces over the river into the city on the following day. The tanks of the supporting US 6th Armored Division at the Main River bridgehead came under concentrated fire from dug-in heavy flak guns at Frankfurt. The urban battle consisted of slow clearing operations on a block-by-block basis until 29 March 1945, when Frankfurt was declared as secured, although some sporadic fighting continued until 4 April 1945.

Post-war period

The Military Governor for the United States Zone (1945–1949) and the United States High Commissioner for Germany (HICOG) (1949–1952) had their headquarters in the IG Farben Building
IG Farben Building
The IG Farben Building or the Poelzig Building was built from 1928 to 1930 as the corporate headquarters of the IG Farben conglomerate in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. It is also known as the Poelzig Ensemble or Poelzig Complex, and previously as the IG Farben Complex, and the General Creighton W....

, intentionally left undamaged by the Allies' wartime bombardment. The heavily destroyed city decided in the spirit of the time to plan a major reconstruction of the historical city center, retaining the old road system. The formerly independent city republic joined the state of Hesse
Hesse or Hessia is both a cultural region of Germany and the name of an individual German state.* The cultural region of Hesse includes both the State of Hesse and the area known as Rhenish Hesse in the neighbouring Rhineland-Palatinate state...

 in 1946. As the state capital was already at the smaller city of Wiesbaden
Wiesbaden is a city in southwest Germany and the capital of the federal state of Hesse. It has about 275,400 inhabitants, plus approximately 10,000 United States citizens...

 and the American armed forces had used Frankfurt as their European headquarters, the city seemed most promising candidate for the West German
West Germany
West Germany is the common English, but not official, name for the Federal Republic of Germany or FRG in the period between its creation in May 1949 to German reunification on 3 October 1990....

 federal capital. The American forces even agreed to withdraw from Frankfurt to make it suitable, as the British forces already had withdrawn from Bonn. Much to the disappointment of many in Frankfurt, however, the vote narrowly favored Bonn
Bonn is the 19th largest city in Germany. Located in the Cologne/Bonn Region, about 25 kilometres south of Cologne on the river Rhine in the State of North Rhine-Westphalia, it was the capital of West Germany from 1949 to 1990 and the official seat of government of united Germany from 1990 to 1999....

 twice. Despite this, the mayor looked towards the future, seeing that with the division of Germany and relative isolation of Berlin, Frankfurt could take over positions in trade and commerce previously filled by Berlin and Leipzig
Leipzig Leipzig has always been a trade city, situated during the time of the Holy Roman Empire at the intersection of the Via Regia and Via Imperii, two important trade routes. At one time, Leipzig was one of the major European centres of learning and culture in fields such as music and publishing...

. Since Bonn never played an important role despite its status as capital, Frankfurt, Hamburg
-History:The first historic name for the city was, according to Claudius Ptolemy's reports, Treva.But the city takes its modern name, Hamburg, from the first permanent building on the site, a castle whose construction was ordered by the Emperor Charlemagne in AD 808...

, and Munich
Munich The city's motto is "" . Before 2006, it was "Weltstadt mit Herz" . Its native name, , is derived from the Old High German Munichen, meaning "by the monks' place". The city's name derives from the monks of the Benedictine order who founded the city; hence the monk depicted on the city's coat...

 realigned themselves, passing from regional centers to international metropolises and effectively forming three West German cultural and financial capitals.

Since the turn of the 2nd century, the Frankfurt fair has been held every fall and had become the most important fair site in Europe. Frankfurt's countless publishing houses as well as its fur industry profited from the elimination of Leipzig by the division of Germany into East and West. After the war, the West German book fair was held in Frankfurt. Since German reunification, the Frankfurt Book Fair
Frankfurt Book Fair
The Frankfurt Book Fair is the world's largest trade fair for books, based on the number of publishing companies represented. As to the number of visitors, the Turin Book Fair attracts about as many visitors, viz. some 300,000....

 is held in the fall, and Leipzig's in the spring. The bi-annual Internationale Automobil-Ausstellung
Internationale Automobil-Ausstellung
The Internationale Automobil-Ausstellung , also known as the Frankfurt Motor Show or Frankfurt Auto Show, is one of the world's largest motor shows. It is held biennially in Frankfurt, Germany. The show occupies 12 buildings.The IAA is organized by the Association of the German Automotive Industry...

 is a worldwide car fair that is also held in Frankfurt.

The Deutsche Bundesbank
Deutsche Bundesbank
The Deutsche Bundesbank is the central bank of the Federal Republic of Germany and as such part of the European System of Central Banks . Due to its strength and former size, the Bundesbank is the most influential member of the ESCB. Both the Deutsche Bundesbank and the European Central Bank are...

 made Frankfurt its seat, and most major banks followed suit. This and the Frankfurt Stock Exchange
Frankfurt Stock Exchange
The Frankfurt Stock Exchange is the world's 12th largest stock exchange by market capitalization. Located in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, the Frankfurt Stock Exchange is owned and operated by Deutsche Börse, which also owns the European futures exchange Eurex and the clearing company...

 have made the city the second most important commercial center in Europe, after London.

Jewish Frankfurt am Main

See also Frankfurter Judengasse
Frankfurter Judengasse
The Frankfurter Judengasse was the Jewish ghetto of Frankfurt and one of the earliest ghettos in Germany. It existed from 1462 until 1796 and was home to Germany's largest Jewish community in early modern times....

, Jewish Museum Frankfurt
Jewish Museum Frankfurt
The Jewish Museum of the City of Frankfurt am Main covers the history and culture of the Jewish communities in Frankfurt from the 12th to the 20th centuries. There is another branch of the museum, the Museum Judengasse, in a different part of town....

, People born and active in Frankfurt, History of the Jews in Germany
History of the Jews in Germany
The presence of Jews in Germany has been established since the early 4th century. The community prospered under Charlemagne, but suffered during the Crusades...

, List of German Jews

The date of the original organization of Frankfurt's Jewish community is uncertain. Probably no Jews were living in Frankfurt at the time of the first and second Crusades, as the city is not mentioned among the places where Jews were persecuted, although references occur to persecutions in the neighboring cities of Mayence and Worms.

A Jew of Frankfurt is mentioned in connection with the sale of a house at Cologne between 1175 and 1191. Eliezer ben Nathan, rabbi at Mayence toward the end of the twelfth century, says that there were not then ten adult Jews in Frankfurt. The first reliable information concerning Frankfurt Jews dates from 1241, on May 24 of which year 180 Hebrews were killed during a riot and many fled, this being the first Judenschlacht or slaughter of the Jews. As the affair was detrimental to the income of the emperor, he was incensed with the city for seven years. King Conrad IV did not forgive the citizens until May 6, 1246. The emperor distributed the income he derived from the Jews so liberally among the princes and his retainers that he had little left for himself; yet the Jews remained under his protection. In 1286 King Rudolf pledged to Count Adolf of Nassau 20 marks yearly from the income derived from the Frankfurt Jews. When Adolf was made king under the title of "Adolf of Nassau", he pledged these 20 marks to the knight Gottfried of Merenberg (1292); and the latter again pledged 4 marks of this sum to the knight Heinrich of Sachsenhausen. King Adolf also gave 25 marks to Glottfried of Eppstein as a hereditary fief; and from 1297 he gave 300 marks yearly of the Jews' tax to the Archbishop of Mayence, adding to this sum 500 pounds of hellers in 1299. As early as 1303 the archbishop pledged 100 marks of this amount, and thus the Jews of the city of Frankfurt became subject to the archbishop. The emperor, however, attempted to exact still more money from the Jews, and it was only thanks to the resistance of the city that King Adolf did not succeed in 1292 in extracting from them the sum required for his coronation.

The Jews were subject not only to the emperor and to the archbishop but also to the city; in 1331 King Ludwig recommended his "beloved Kammerknechte" to the protection of the municipality. Under Ludwig the Frankfurt Jews were accused of a crime and cruelly persecuted, and many fled. The king then confiscated the houses and other property of the fugitives and sold them to the municipal council for 3,000 pounds of hellers. Those Jews that returned had their property restored to them; and, as the Jews had been treated unjustly, the king promised not to punish them again but to be content with the verdict of the municipal council. The Jews were required, however, to pay to the king a new impost, the "goldene Opferpfennig."

In the 14th century

During the Black Death
Black Death
The Black Death was one of the most devastating pandemics in human history, peaking in Europe between 1348 and 1350. Of several competing theories, the dominant explanation for the Black Death is the plague theory, which attributes the outbreak to the bacterium Yersinia pestis. Thought to have...

 (1349) the Jews of Frankfurt were again persecuted. At the beginning of these outbreaks the circumspect Carl IV, who feared for his income, pledged the Jews to the city for more than 15,000 pounds of hellers, stipulating that he would redeem them, which he never did. The Flagellants, on coming to Frankfurt, destroyed nearly the entire Jewish community, with the Jews in their distress setting fire to their own houses. Their property was confiscated by the council by way of indemnity. Jews returned to Frankfurt very gradually. In 1354 Carl IV. renewed his pledge to the city; three years later the Archbishop of Mayence again advanced his claims, but the Jews and the council came to an agreement with him in 1358. In 1367 the city was again in full possession of the income derived from the Jews, but this did not prevent the emperor from occasionally levying extraordinary taxes; for example, Sigismund (1414) exacted a contribution from the Jews toward the expenses of the Council of Constance.

The Jews were under the jurisdiction of the municipal council. Beginning with 1488, privileges (Judenstüttigkeiten) were issued that had to be renewed every three years. The Jews lived originally in the vicinity of the cathedral, this part of the city being necessary for their commerce; but Christians also lived there. Hence it was a hard blow to the former when they were forced, in 1462, to settle outside the old city ramparts and the moat. At first the city built their dwellings, but later they were required to erect their own houses, The Judengasse originally consisted merely of one row of houses; when this became overcrowded, a part of the moat was filled in, and houses were built upon the new ground thus obtained. There were three gates in the street, one at each end and one in the center. The cemetery of the community, which was situated on the Fischerfeld and is still in existence, is mentioned for the first time in 1300, but a tombstone dated July, 1272, has been preserved. Among the communal buildings were the synagogue (called also the "Judenschule"), the "Judenbadstube", the "Juden-Tanzhaus" or "Spielhaus", and the hospital. The Jewish inhabitants were more numerous in the early years of the community than later on: in 1241 they numbered about 200; in 1357 there were 12 tax-paying families; from 1357 to 1379, not more than 14 on the average; from 1401 to 1450, an average of 12; while in 1473 there were 17 families.

From the 15th to the 17th century

Toward the end of the Middle Ages the number of the Frankfurt Jews was considerably increased by emigrants from Nuremberg
Nuremberg[p] is a city in the German state of Bavaria, in the administrative region of Middle Franconia. Situated on the Pegnitz river and the Rhine–Main–Danube Canal, it is located about north of Munich and is Franconia's largest city. The population is 505,664...

 (1498); and Frankfurt replaces Nuremberg as the leading Jewish community in the empire. This is seen in the numerous requests made by other cities to the magistrates of Frankfurt for information concerning their method of procedure in cases affecting Jews. Civil cases were decided by a commission of twelve, with the chief rabbi at its head. The reports of this commission from 1645 to 1808 are in the archives of the community. In 1509 the Jews were threatened with confiscation of their Hebrew books by Pfefferkorn, who arrived in the city with an imperial edict; on April 10, 1510, they were obliged to surrender all their books, which were not restored to them until June 6, after they had sent a special embassy to the emperor. In 1525 the impending danger of expulsion was averted by the municipal council; but the Jews were restricted in their commerce and were forbidden to build their houses higher than three stories. Although this measure crowded them more closely, there were 43 Jewish families in Frankfurt in 1543, and 454 in 1612. (A list of these families was published in 1614; 2d ed., Mayence, 1678; republished in the "Israelit", Aug. 17, 1899).
Hard times were now approaching. In 1612 the Jews of Frankfurt suffered much on account of some persons who were heavily indebted to them, chief among these being Fettmilch. On Aug. 22, 1614, these men headed an attack on the Jews' street, sweeping away everything in the space of thirteen hours; and the unfortunate Jews, who had sought refuge in the cemetery, begged for permission to depart. On the following day 1,380 Jews, glad to have saved even their lives, left the city and went to Offenbach, Hanau, and Höchst. The synagogue as well as the Torah-scrolls were destroyed, and the cemetery was desecrated. When the emperor heard of the affair he proscribed Fettmilch; but the Jews were not brought back until February 1616, when their street was placed under the protection of the emperor and the empire, as announced in a notice affixed to each of the three gates. By 1618 there were 370 families, living in 195 houses, of which 111 lay to the right of the Bornheimerpforte, and 84 to the left. The houses were of wood, with stone foundations, and were named according to signs suspended in front. The names were those of animals (e.g., ox, duck, wild duck), fruits (apple, red apple), trees (fir, elder, nut), or miscellaneous objects (tongs, scales, winecup); but sometimes a house was named simply from the color of the shield, e.g., red= "Rothschild
Rothschild is a common German surname. It is a habitational name from a house distinguished with a red shield , the earliest recorded example dating from the 13th century...

"; black = "Schwarzschild." The main synagogue was built in 1462; a smaller one was erected in 1603. Among the other communal buildings were the bath, to the east of the synagogue, the dance house, the inn, the slaughterhouse, the bakehouse, and the hospital.

With their return to Frankfurt a new epoch in the history of the Jews of that city begins. They were still debarred from acquiring real estate, but they loaned money, even accepting manuscripts as pledges. The rate of interest, formerly as high as 24 percent, was now reduced to 8 percent. As the unredeemed pledges were sold, traffic in second-hand goods arose, which was further stimulated by the fact that the Jews were not permitted to sell new goods. They were also forbidden to deal in spices, provisions, weapons, cloth, and (from 1634 on) grain. But in spite of these interdictions, their commerce gradually increased. During the Thirty Years' War the Jews fared no worse than their neighbors. In 1694 there were 415 Jewish families; of these, 109 persons were engaged as moneylenders and dealers in second-hand goods; 106 dealt in dry goods, clothes, and trimmings; 24 in spices and provisions; 9 retailed wine and beer; 3 were innkeepers; and 2 had restaurants. Besides these there were the communal officials.

In the 18th century

The importance and status of the community at the beginning of the eighteenth century are indicated by the gracious reception accorded to the deputation that offered presents to Joseph I on his visit to Heidelberg in 1702. On Jan. 14, 1711, a fire which broke out in the house of Rabbi Naphtali Cohen
Naphtali Cohen
Naphtali Cohen , also known as Naphtali Katz, was a Russo-German rabbi and kabalist born in Ostrowo in the Ukraine. He belonged to a family of rabbis in Ostrowo, where his father, Isaac Cohen, a great-great-grandson of the Rabbi Judah Loew, had fled during the Cossack war.- Biography :In 1663 Cohen...

 destroyed the synagogue together with nearly the whole Judengasse. The rabbi was accused of having caused the fire by cabalistic means and was forced to leave the city. The 8,000 homeless Jews found shelter either in the pest house or with compassionate Christians. The synagogue and the dwelling houses were speedily rebuilt, and the street was widened six feet. In 1715 the community issued an edict against luxury. From 1718 onward the "Residenten", or representatives of the community of Frankfurt at Vienna, were accorded official recognition. In 1721 part of the Judengasse was again destroyed by fire. About the same period, conflicts with the Shabbethaians (a messianic Jewish sect) caused excitement in the community. In consequence of the denunciation of a baptized Jew the edition of the Talmud published at Frankfurt and Amsterdam between the years 1714 and 1721 was confiscated; and certain prayer books were likewise seized on account of the "Alenu" prayer. The books were restored, however, on Aug. 1, 1753, chiefly through the efforts of Moses Kann.

The middle of the century was marked by the dissensions between the Kann and Kulp parties. The Kulp party, to which many influential men belonged, endeavored to harmonize the ancient constitution of the community with new measures for the benefit of the people; but their efforts were thwarted by the wealthy Kann family, whose influence was predominant both in the government of the community and among the people. In 1750 the two parties effected a compromise, which was, however, of but short duration. The community was further excited by Jonathan Eybeschütz's amulet controversy. In 1756 the Jews received permission to leave their street in urgent cases on Sundays and feast days for the purpose of fetching a physician or a barber or mailing a letter, but they were required to return by the shortest way. In 1766 the Cleve divorce controversy began to excite the rabbinate of Frankfurt also. At the coronation of Joseph II. the Frankfurt Jews were permitted for the first time to appear in public, when they swore allegiance to the emperor (May 28, 1764). The community of Frankfurt rendered great service in suppressing Eisenmenger's "Entdecktes Judenthum", confiscating all the copies in 1700. Eisenmenger sued the community for 30,000 gulden. Although he lost his case, proceedings were several times renewed with the aid of King Frederick I of Prussia, and only in 1773 was the community finally released from all claims brought by Eisenmenger's heirs.

In 1753 there were 204 houses, built on both sides of the Jews' street. On May 29, 1774, a fire destroyed 21 dwellings, and the homeless again found shelter in the houses of Christians. When their houses were rebuilt, the Jews endeavored to remain outside of the ghetto but were forced to return by a decree of Feb. 13, 1776. One hundred and forty houses on the Jews' street were destroyed by fire when the French bombarded the city in 1796.

The Cemetery

The Jewish cemetery
Jewish cemetery
A Jewish cemetery is a cemetery where members of the Jewish faith are buried in keeping with Jewish tradition....

, as mentioned above, is situated on the old Fischerfeld. In 1349 the cemetery was enclosed within the city moat and walls, which were fortified with jetties. Beginning in 1424 the neighboring communities also buried their dead there; but this privilege was withdrawn by the magistrate in 1505. When Frankfurt was besieged during the interregnum in 1552, a garrison with cannon was stationed in the cemetery, and an attempt was even made to force the Jews to sink the tombstones and to level the ground; but against this they protested successfully (July 15, 1552). During the Fettmilch riots the whole community spent the night of September 1, 1614, in the cemetery, prepared for death, and thought themselves fortunate when they were permitted to leave the city through the Fischerfeld gate on the following afternoon. In 1640 a dispute in regard to passage through the cemetery was decided in favor of the Jews. The community occasionally paid damages to Christians who were injured by the oxen (bekorim, the first-born that may not be used in accordance with Exodus xiii. 3) that grazed within the cemetery walls. In 1694 a neighboring garden was bought for the purpose of enlarging the cemetery. During the great fire of 1711 the Jews sought refuge withall their possessions among the tombs of the fathers. The communal bakingnovens, which before the fire were behind the synagogue, were transferred to a new site acquired in 1694. The only building preserved from the flames was the hospital for the poor, near the cemetery; behind it, another hospital was built in 1715 to replace the one in the Judengasse that had been destroyed. A slaughterhouse for poultry and a fire station were erected between the ovens and the cemetery. The fire station existed down to 1882; the site of the ovens is now covered by the handsome building of the Sick Fund, and that of the Holzplatz and the garden by the Philanthropin schoolhouse. On the site of the two hospitals the Neue Gemeinde-Synagoge was built in 1882. The cemetery, covering more than 5 acres (20,234.3 m²), was closed in 1828; its epitaphs have been published by Dr. M. Horovitz.

The end of the eighteenth century marks a new epoch for the Jews of Frankfurt. In 1796 they received permission to live among Christians. In 1811 the prince-primate granted them full civic equality. In 1809 they were already scattered throughout the city and had taken surnames. A reaction, however, came in 1816, when the city, on regaining its autonomy, completely excluded the Jews from the municipal government. In 1819 there were riots to the cry of "Hep-hep!"
Hep-Hep riots
The Hep-Hep riots were early 19th century pogroms against German Jews. The antisemitic communal violence began on August 2, 1819 in Würzburg and soon reached as far as regions of Denmark, Poland, Latvia and Bohemia. Many Jews were killed and much Jewish property was destroyed.-Historical...

, and the magistrate discussed the advisability of restricting the number of Jews to not more than 500 families and of assigning to them a special part of the city. These schemes, however, were not carried into effect. In 1853 the civic rights of the Jews were enlarged, and in 1864 all restrictions were removed. The synagogue that had been rebuilt after the fire of 1711 in the Judengasse was torn down in 1854, and a new synagogue was erected on the site (1855–60). The synagogue on the Börneplatz was consecrated in 1882. The Israelitische Religionsgesellschaft, an independent congregation founded in 1851 (incorporated 1900), built a synagogue in 1853 and enlarged it in 1874. In 1817 there were 4,309 Jews in Frankfurt; in 1858, 5,730; in 1871, 10,009; in 1880, 13,856; in 1890, 17,479; and in 1900, 22,000 in a total population of 288,489.

Rabbis and scholars

The following rabbis and scholars of Frankfurt may be mentioned:
  • Simeon Darshan (cf. darshan
    or Darshan is a Sanskrit term meaning "sight" , vision, apparition, or glimpse. It is most commonly used for "visions of the divine" in Hindu worship, e.g. of a deity , or a very holy person or artifact...

    ), author of "Yalkut Shim'oni."
  • Alexander Süsslin, author of the collection "Aguddah."
  • R. Isaac ben Nathan, a victim of the first "Judenschlacht" (1241).
  • Anselm
    Anselm may refer to any of several historical figures, or their works:*Saint Anselm, Duke of Friuli, 8th-century Abbot of Nonantula*Anselm of Farfa , abbot*Anselm II *Anselm of Liège , chronicler...

    , 1288.
  • Abraham of Hanau (cf. Hanau
    Hanau is a town in the Main-Kinzig-Kreis, in Hesse, Germany. It is located 25 km east of Frankfurt am Main. Its station is a major railway junction.- Geography :...

    ), 1332.
  • Gumprecht, martyr in 1349.
  • Joseph Lampe (cf. Lampe
    -People:*Carlos Lampe, Bolivian football goalkeeper*Charles John Frederick Lampe, English composer and organist*Derek Lampe, English footballer*Elmer A. Lampe, American coach of American football and basketball*Geoffrey Hugo Lampe, British theologian...

    ), 1363.
  • Asher
    Asher , in the Book of Genesis, is the second son of Jacob and Zilpah, and the founder of the Tribe of Asher.-Name:The text of the Torah argues that the name of Asher means happy/blessing, implying a derivation from the Hebrew term osher ; the Torah actually presents this in two variations—beoshri...

    , 1374.
  • Meïr ben Samuel of Nordhausen, 1385; took part in the convention of rabbis at Mayence in 1381.
  • Süsslin of Speyer
    Speyer is a city of Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany with approximately 50,000 inhabitants. Located beside the river Rhine, Speyer is 25 km south of Ludwigshafen and Mannheim. Founded by the Romans, it is one of Germany's oldest cities...

    , 1394.
  • Nathan Levi, 1430-60.
  • Simon Cohen
    Simon Cohen
    Simon Cohen is a communication expert, speaker, consultant, trainerand managing director of global tolerance, which describes itself as a positively different communications agency generating positive media coverage for principled organisations of all shapes and sizes.-Career:After the September 11...

    , a relative of Moses Minz.
  • Israel Rheinbach; held office till 1505.
  • Isaac ben Eliakim; took part in the convention of rabbis at, Worms in 1542.
  • Naphtali Treves, author.
  • Herz Treves, son of the preceding; also an author.
  • Akiba Frankfurt; widely known as a preacher; died in 1597. The Maharal
    Judah Loew ben Bezalel
    Judah Loew ben Bezalel, alt. Loewe, Löwe, or Levai, widely known to scholars of Judaism as the Maharal of Prague, or simply The MaHaRaL, the Hebrew acronym of "Moreinu ha-Rav Loew," was an important Talmudic scholar, Jewish mystic, and philosopher who served as a leading rabbi in the city of...

     of Prague
    Prague is the capital and largest city of the Czech Republic. Situated in the north-west of the country on the Vltava river, the city is home to about 1.3 million people, while its metropolitan area is estimated to have a population of over 2.3 million...

    , delivered the funeral oration.
  • Simon of Aschaffenburg (cf. Aschaffenburg
    Aschaffenburg is a city in northwest Bavaria, Germany. The town of Aschaffenburg is not considered part of the district of Aschaffenburg, but is the administrative seat.Aschaffenburg is known as the Tor zum Spessart or "gate to the Spessart"...

    ), author of a supercommentary to Rashi's Pentateuch commentary; lived at Frankfurt until his death.
  • Elia Loanz, pupil of Akiba Frankfurt; wrote a song, "Streit Zwischen Wasser und Wein," to the melody of "Dietrich von Bern", and many other works; was a native of Frankfurt.
  • Eliezer Treves.
  • Abraham Naphtali Herz Levi.
  • Samuel ben Eliezer of Friedberg (cf. Friedberg
    Friedberg, Hesse
    Friedberg is a town and the capital of the Wetteraukreis district, in Hesse, Germany. It is located 26 kilometers north of Frankfurt am Main.-Division of the town:The town consists of 7 districts:* Bruchenbrücken...

    ), during whose incumbency the most important event was the convention of rabbis held at Frankfurt in 1603.
  • Isaiah Horowitz
    Isaiah Horowitz
    Isaiah Horowitz, , also known as the Shelah ha-Kadosh after the title of his best-known work, was a prominent Levite rabbi and mystic.-Biography:...

    ; called to Frankfurt in 1606; went to Prague in 1622. He was the author of the kabalistic work "Shnei Luchoth ha-Brith."
  • Joseph Juspa Hahn (cf. Hahn
    -People:*von Hahn, the name of the German-Baltic-Russian noble family*Ida, Countess von Hahn-Hahn , German author*Alfred Hahn, architect*Billy Hahn , American basketball coach*Carl Hugo Hahn , German missionary in Namibia...

    ), author of a work dealing with the liturgy and with the chief phases of religious life; officiated up to the time of his death in 1637.
  • Samuel Hildesheim (cf.Hildesheim
    Hildesheim is a city in Lower Saxony, Germany. It is located in the district of Hildesheim, about 30 km southeast of Hanover on the banks of the Innerste river, which is a small tributary of the Leine river...

    ); elected in 1618.
  • Pethahiah; elected 1622; author of the cabalistic work "Sefer ha-Kavonot," which relates the events in connection with the Fettmilch riot and which was approved by Elhanan Helen, author of the "Megillat Winz."
  • Hayyim Cohen of Prague
    Prague is the capital and largest city of the Czech Republic. Situated in the north-west of the country on the Vltava river, the city is home to about 1.3 million people, while its metropolitan area is estimated to have a population of over 2.3 million...

    , grandson of the Maharal
    Judah Loew ben Bezalel
    Judah Loew ben Bezalel, alt. Loewe, Löwe, or Levai, widely known to scholars of Judaism as the Maharal of Prague, or simply The MaHaRaL, the Hebrew acronym of "Moreinu ha-Rav Loew," was an important Talmudic scholar, Jewish mystic, and philosopher who served as a leading rabbi in the city of...

     of Prague; officiated in 1628.
  • Shabbethai Horowitz, son of Isaiah Horowitz
    Isaiah Horowitz
    Isaiah Horowitz, , also known as the Shelah ha-Kadosh after the title of his best-known work, was a prominent Levite rabbi and mystic.-Biography:...

    ; elected in 1632. He was the author of "Vavei ha-'Ammudim," the introduction to his father's work. In 1643 he went, like his predecessor, to Posen
    Poznań is a city on the Warta river in west-central Poland, with a population of 556,022 in June 2009. It is among the oldest cities in Poland, and was one of the most important centres in the early Polish state, whose first rulers were buried at Poznań's cathedral. It is sometimes claimed to be...

  • Meïr Schiff, author of novellæ to the Talmud
    The Talmud is a central text of mainstream Judaism. It takes the form of a record of rabbinic discussions pertaining to Jewish law, ethics, philosophy, customs and history....

    ; born at Frankfurt in 1605; died while rabbi of Fulda
    Fulda is a city in Hesse, Germany; it is located on the river Fulda and is the administrative seat of the Fulda district .- Early Middle Ages :...

     in 1641, just after he had been called to the rabbinate of Prague; was buried at Frankfurt.
  • Mendel Barr of Kraków
    Kraków also Krakow, or Cracow , is the second largest and one of the oldest cities in Poland. Situated on the Vistula River in the Lesser Poland region, the city dates back to the 7th century. Kraków has traditionally been one of the leading centres of Polish academic, cultural, and artistic life...

    ; elected in 1644; died in 1666. He was a pupil of Joel Sirkes, and inclined toward the Kabalah. Among his prominent pupils were Yair Bacharach
    Yair Bacharach
    Yair Chayim Bacharach was a German rabbi, initially in Koblenz and remainder of his life in Worms and Metz...

     and Meïr Stern.
  • Aaron Samuel Kaidanower of Wilna; called to Frankfurt in 1667; went to Kraków in 1677. He was the author of "Birkath ha-Zevach," commentary to some treatises of the Talmud.
  • Isaiah Horowitz II, son of Shabbethai Horowitz, and grandson of Isaiah Horowitz
    Isaiah Horowitz
    Isaiah Horowitz, , also known as the Shelah ha-Kadosh after the title of his best-known work, was a prominent Levite rabbi and mystic.-Biography:...

    . David Grünhut, kabalist, cited by Johann Andreas Eisenmenger
    Johann Andreas Eisenmenger
    Johann Andreas Eisenmenger was a German Orientalist, now best known as the author of the anti-Semitic polemic, Entdecktes Judenthum .-Studies rabbinical literature:...

     and Johann Jakob Schudt
    Johann Jakob Schudt
    Johann Jakob Schudt was a German polyhistor and Orientalist.-Life:...

    , was his contemporary. Hurwitz went to Posen.
  • Samuel b. Zebi of Kraków; elected 1690. He added valuable references to the Frankfurt edition of the Talmud (1721). His son, Judah Aryeh Löb, known as a writer, was associate rabbi; Löb's father-in-law, Samuel Schotten
    Samuel Schotten
    Rabbi Shmuel Schotten HaCohen , known as the Mharsheishoch, became Rabbi of the Grand Duchy of Hesse-Darmstadt in 1685.- Life and work :...

    , though rabbi at Darmstadt, was living at Frankfurt as "Klaus
    Klaus is a German given name and surname. It originated as a short form of Nikolaus, a German form of the given name Nicholas.-Notable persons whose family name is Klaus:*Billy Klaus, baseball player.*Chris Klaus, entrepreneur....

    " rabbi, and after Samuel ben Zebi's death (1703) he became president of the rabbinate.
  • Naphtali Cohen
    Naphtali Cohen
    Naphtali Cohen , also known as Naphtali Katz, was a Russo-German rabbi and kabalist born in Ostrowo in the Ukraine. He belonged to a family of rabbis in Ostrowo, where his father, Isaac Cohen, a great-great-grandson of the Rabbi Judah Loew, had fled during the Cossack war.- Biography :In 1663 Cohen...

    ; called in 1704. As stated above, he was accused of having caused the fire of 1711, and, being compelled to leave the city, he wandered about for many years.
  • Moses Frankfurter, author of a commentary to the Mechilta
    This article refers to the Mekhilta de-Rabbi Ishmael. There is a separate article on the Mekhilta de-Rabbi ShimonMekhilta or Mekilta is a halakic midrash to the Book of Exodus...

  • Joseph ben Moses Kossmann, author of "Noheg ke-tzon Yosef," a work on the ritual of the community of Frankfurt.
  • Pethahiah ben David Lida, who issued in 1727 at Frankfurt his father's "Yad Kol Bo." The book was confiscated but was restored with the approval of several professors and preachers.

Naphtali Cohen
Naphtali Cohen
Naphtali Cohen , also known as Naphtali Katz, was a Russo-German rabbi and kabalist born in Ostrowo in the Ukraine. He belonged to a family of rabbis in Ostrowo, where his father, Isaac Cohen, a great-great-grandson of the Rabbi Judah Loew, had fled during the Cossack war.- Biography :In 1663 Cohen...

's successors in the rabbinate of Frankfurt were as follows:
  • Abraham Broda of Prague; died in 1717; famous both as a writer and as a scholar.
  • Jacob Cohen Popers of Prague; called from Coblenz to Frankfurt. He was noted for his many pupils and for his learned correspondence, which is included in the responsa collection "Shev Ya'akov." He became involved in the current controversies in regard to Shabbethaism.
  • Jacob Joshua Falk (1741–56); known to Talmudists through his valuable Talmud commentary "Pnei Yehoshua" and to historians through his conflict with Jonathan Eybeschütz
    Jonathan Eybeschutz
    Jonathan Eybeschutz , was a Talmudist, Halachist, Kabbalist, holding positions as Dayan of Prague, and later as Rabbi of the "Three Communities": Altona, Hamburg and Wandsbek. With Jacob Emden, he is well known as a protagonist in the Emden-Eybeschütz Controversy.-Biography:Eybeschütz's father was...

    . During his rabbinate occurred the Kann-Kulp controversy mentioned above. Kulp's party was opposed to the rabbi and sided with Eybeschütz. Falk had to leave the city in consequence of this disturbance. He died at Offenbach am Main in 1756, at the age of 75, and was buried at Frankfurt.

  • Moses Kann
    Moses Kann
    Moses Kann was a German rabbi; born at Frankfurt am Main; died there Dec. 1, 1762; son of Löb Kann. He was chief rabbi of Hesse-Darmstadt and head of the Talmudical school at Frankfurt, which had been founded and richly endowed by his father-in-law, Samson Wertheimer, of Vienna...

    , Moses Rapp, and Nathan Maas took charge of the rabbinate until 1759. Maas was the real leader in the controversy in which the rabbinate of Frankfurt engaged with reference to the divorce granted at Cleve
    -Surname:* Astrid Cleve , Swedish biologist, geologist, chemist and researcher, first woman in Sweden to obtain a doctorate in science* Bastian Clevé , German film director...

     (referred to above), as his opinion was authoritative.
  • Abraham Lissa; elected in 1759; died in 1768. He was a notable Talmudist, and the author of "Birkath Avrohom"; he also studied medicine. Maas again acted as deputy rabbi from 1769 to 1771; he is also known through his commentary to two treatises of the Talmud.
  • Pinchas Horowitz
    Pinchas Horowitz
    Rabbi Pinchas HaLevi Horowitz was a rabbi and Talmudist.-Life:The descendant of a long line of rabbinical ancestors and the son of Rabbi Zvi Hirsch Horowitz of Chortkiv, he received a thorough Talmudic education, chiefly from his older brother, Rabbi Shmelke of Nikolsburg, together with whom he...

    ; elected 1771; died 1805. He was the author of "Hafla'ah" and other Talmudic works. Prominent scholars were at that time living at Frankfurt; among them David Tebele Scheuer
    David Tebele Scheuer
    David Tebele Scheuer was a German rabbi.Born in Frankfurt am Main in 1712, he was one of the outstanding students of the Shev Yaakov, Rabbi Jacob Cohen in Frankfurt. He served as Dayan of Frankfurt during the entire time that the Pnei Yehoshua, Rabbi Yehoshua Falk was Rabbi of Frankfurt...

    , who became rabbi at Mainz
    Mainz under the Holy Roman Empire, and previously was a Roman fort city which commanded the west bank of the Rhine and formed part of the northernmost frontier of the Roman Empire...

    , and Nathan Adler
    Nathan Adler
    Nathan HaKohen Adler was a German kabbalist born in Frankfurt, December 16, 1741. As a precocious child he won the admiration of Chaim Joseph David Azulai , who, in 1752, came to Frankfurt to solicit contributions for the poor of Palestine...

    , a strict ritualist, who gathered about him a group of men that attempted to introduce Chasidism into Frankfurt. The community, with the consent of the rabbi, soon found it necessary to proceed against Adler
    The term Adler, the German word for the bird of prey "eagle", is both the last name of many people and an emblematic bird featured on many blazons since the feudal age, including the present German Bundeswappen and at times on the flags of Austria and Germany...

    . Hurwitz also opposed the school of David Mendelssohn.
  • Hirsch Hurwitz, son of Pinchas Horowitz
    Pinchas Horowitz
    Rabbi Pinchas HaLevi Horowitz was a rabbi and Talmudist.-Life:The descendant of a long line of rabbinical ancestors and the son of Rabbi Zvi Hirsch Horowitz of Chortkiv, he received a thorough Talmudic education, chiefly from his older brother, Rabbi Shmelke of Nikolsburg, together with whom he...

    ; died September 8, 1817. He was the author of several haggadic and halachik works.
  • Leopold Stein; elected 1844; officiated down to 1862; also known as poet and writer.
  • Abraham Geiger
    Abraham Geiger
    Abraham Geiger was a German rabbi and scholar who led the founding of Reform Judaism...

    , Samson Raphael Hirsch
    Samson Raphael Hirsch
    Samson Raphael Hirsch was a German rabbi best known as the intellectual founder of the Torah im Derech Eretz school of contemporary Orthodox Judaism...

    , Solomon Breuer
    Solomon Breuer
    Shlomo Zalman Breuer was a Rabbi, initially in Pápa, Hungary and from the early 1890s in Frankfurt as a successor of his father-in-law Samson Raphael Hirsch....

    , Nehemiah Brüll
    Nehemiah Brüll
    Nehemiah Brüll was a rabbi and versatile scholar.- Life :Brüll received his rabbinic-Talmudic education from his father, Jakob Brüll , who combined wide Talmudic knowledge with acute historical perception...

    , M. Horovitz, and Rudolph Plaut succeeded Stein
    Stein is a German and Norwegian word meaning "stone" and may refer to:* Beer stein* Stein , a beer brewery in Bratislava, Slovakia* USS Stein , a frigate in the U.S...

     in the order named; Seligsohn was elected to the office in 1903.

Philanthropic Institutions

Among the philanthropic institutions of Frankfurt the following are important:
  • Achawa (Verein zur Brüderlichkeit; 1864).

  • Almosenkasten der Israelitischen Gemeinde (1845).
  • Biḳḳur Ḥolim (1889).
  • Hersheim'sche Stiftung (for education of poor boys; 1865).
  • Georgine Sara von Rothschild'sche Stiftung (1870; hospital, 1878).
  • Gumpertz'sches Siechenhaus (1888).
  • Israelitische Religionsschule (1890).
  • Israelitische Volksschule (1882).
  • Israelitische Waisenanstalt (founded 1873).
  • Israelitischer Hülfsverein (1883).
  • Israelitischer Kranken-Unterstützungs Verein (1843).
  • Israelitisches Frauen-Krankenhaus (society, 1761; hospital, 1831).
  • Israelitisches Gemeinde-Hospital (1875).
  • Israelitisches Kinderhospital.
  • Jüdische Haushaltungsschule.
  • Kindergarten für Israeliten (1890).
  • Lemaan Zion, Palästinensischer Hülfsverein.
  • Mädchenstift (1877).
  • Realschule der Israelitischen Gemeinde (Philanthropin; founded by Sigmund Geisenheimer 1804).
  • Realschule der Israelitischen Religionsgesellschaft (1883).
  • Sigmund Stern'sche Waisenstiftung (1874).
  • Suppenanstalt für Israelitische Arme.
  • Verein zur Beförderung der Handwerke.
  • Verein für Jüdische Krankenpflegerinnen.
  • Versorgungs-Anstalt für Israeliten (1845).
  • Waisenhaus des Israelitischen Frauenvereins (1847); and a number of private "Stiftungen" established for various purposes.
  • For Jewish physicians see Horovitz
    Horovitz is a surname, and may refer to:*Adam Horovitz, a musician and member of the Beastie Boys*David Horovitz , an author and political commentator *David Horowitz...

     "Jüdische Aerzte".


The law of this free city decreeing that no Jew should establish a printing house there greatly impeded the development of Hebrew publishing in Frankfurt. Many books published there, especially prayer books, appeared without place of publication or publisher's name. Owing to this restriction, the printing requirements of Frankfurt were in large measure met by Jewish presses established in neighboring towns and villages, such as Hanau, Homburg, Offenbach, and Rödelheim, the last-named place being specially notable. Besides the local wants of Frankfurt there was the yearly fair which was practically the center of the German-Jewish book trade. In a measure the presses of the above four towns were really intended to supply the fair trade of Frankfurt.

According to Wolf ("Bibl. Hebr." ii. 1385), the history of Hebrew typography at Frankfurt-on-the-Main begins with 1625, in which year seliḥot were printed there. But Steinschneider and Cassel declare this statement doubtful. The chronogram of a certain prayer book seems to show that it was printed there in 1656, but this chronogram is known only from references to it in a second edition printed at Amsterdam in 1658 ("Cat. Bodl." Nos. 2149, 2152). It may be said with certainty, however, that Hebrew printing began in Frankfurt not later than 1662, when the Pentateuch with a German glossary was printed. The books printed at Frankfurt up to 1676 do not bear any printer's name.

From the year 1677 till the beginning of the eighteenth century there were two Christian printing establishments in Frankfurt at which Hebrew books were printed: (1) The press owned till 1694 by Balthasar Christian Wust, who began with David Clodius' Hebrew Bible; his last work was the unvocalized Bible prepared by Eisenmenger, 1694; up to 1707 the press was continued by John Wust. Among his typesetters who worked on the "Amarot Ṭehorot" (1698) and the responsa "Ḥawwot Yaïr" were two Christians: Christian Nicolas and John Kaspar Pugil. (2) That of Blasius Ilsnerus, who printed in 1682 the "Ḥiddushe Haggadot" of Samuel Edels. Many works that appeared in the last quarter of the seventeenth century without bearing the names of either printers or publishers probably belong to the publications of Isaac and Seligmann, sons of Hirz Reis, who in 1687 published a beautiful edition of the Yalḳuṭ. Although the proprietors of the presses were Christians, the publishers were often Jews; among them may be mentioned Joseph Trier Cohen (1690–1715), Leser Schuch, Solomon Hanau, and Solomon and Abraham, sons of Kalman, who in 1699 published through John Wust the Alfasi in three volumes.

The greatest period of Hebrew publishing in Frankfurt was the first quarter of the eighteenth century. Hebrew books were printed in several establishments, including those of Mat. Andrea (1707–10), Jo. Ph. Andrea (1716), Nicolas Weinmann (1709), Antony Heinscheit (1711–19), and, above all, John Kölner, who during the twenty years of his activity (1708–27) furnished half of the Hebrew works printed at Frankfurt up to the middle of the nineteenth century. Among the more important works printed by Kölner may be mentioned the "Bayit Ḥadash", in 5 vols., corrected by Samuel Dresles (1712–16), and the continuation of the Babylonian Talmud (1720–23) begun at Amsterdam, between which city and Frankfurt there was a sort of partnership in printing. Kölner printed with the same Amsterdam type the "Yeshu'ah be-Yisrael" (1719–20). He then conceived the idea of printing the Alfasi after the model of the Sabbionetta edition of 1554, a copy of which was bought for 40 thalers. He resolved upon printing 1,700 copies at the price of 10 thalers each; the expenses, 11,000 thalers, were to have been obtained by means of a lottery; that is to say, each subscriber was entitled to a copy of the book and to a lottery ticket; but the whole plan miscarried.

Between the years 1726 and 1736 no Hebrew printing appears to have been done in Frankfurt, and during the last three-quarters of the eighteenth century very few Hebrew works were printed there. Among those printed "Toledot Adam", a Hebrew letter-writer printed in 1736; and in 1742 the responsa "Sheb Ya'aḳob", the three Babot of the Jerusalem Talmud, and the second part of the "Pene Yehoshua'", the third part appearing in 1756. Abraham Broda's "Eshel Abraham" was issued in 1776. Hebrew printing has continued at Frankfurt up to the present day.
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