History of the Jewish Community of Berlin

(Summarised from “Juden in Berlin” (Jews in Berlin); published by Hermann Simon, Andreas Nachama and Julius Schoeps)

  • 1295 First documented mentioning of Jews in Berlin

  • 1354 Six Jewish families settling in the “Kleinen Judenhof” (small Jewish court) settlement 1446 First expulsion of Jews from Brandenburg

  • 1447 Jews allowed to return to Berlin

  • 1510 Host Desecration Trial; 41 Jews are executed on the Neuen Markt (New Market) in front of the Marienkirche (St. Mary’s Church – today Alexanderplatz); all others are expelled from the region

  • 1539 Prince-Elector Joachim II repeals the strict ban on Jewish migration

  • 1573 Expulsion of Brandenburg’s Jews “for all eternity”

  • 1671 Granting residency privileges for the first two Jewish families. Establishment of the Jewish Community of Berlin

  • 1672 Purchase of land for the cemetery on Grosse Hamburger Strasse – used until 1827

  • 1714 Consecration of the first synagogue on Heidereutergasse

  • 1722 Regulation of the different classes of Jewish elders. The community undergoes its first internal re-organisation

  • 1730 Privileges and regulations on landholding: Restrictions placed on the rights granted to Jews in 1714. Further restrictions come into effect after 1750

  • 1755 Establishment of the first Jewish hospital on Oranienburger Strasse

  • 1778 Opening of the first Jewish ”free” school by D. Friedländer and I.D. Itzig. , For the first time, teaching is conducted in the German language

  • 1812 Decree on Jews’ civil status in the Prussian state: Emancipation Decree. Jews become citizens

  • 1827 Opening of the cemetery on Schönhauser Allee – used through 1880

  • 1847 Jewish Community of Berlin granted status as a public corporation

  • 1861 Jewish Community of Berlin receives its charter

  • 1866 Consecration of the Great Synagogue (also known as the New Synagogue) on Oranienburger Strasse

  • 1873 Establishment of the Rabbinical Seminary 1880 Opening of the cemetery in Weissensee, Europe’s largest Jewish cemetery – still in use

  • 1902 Founding of the Jewish community’s home for the elderly on Exerzierstrasse (later Iranische Strasse) in the Wedding district

  • 1912 Consecration of the Synagogue on Fasanenstrasse

  • 1917 Founding of the Zentralwohlfahrtsstelle der deutschen Juden (ZWST - The Central Board of Jewish Welfare in Germany) in Berlin

  • 1930 Completion of the synagogue on Prinzregentenstrasse

  • 1933 Opening of the Jewish Museum on Oranienburgerstrasse, next to the synagogue

  • 1933, January 30: Seizure of power by the National Socialists. 160,000 Jews live in Berlin, accounting for one third of Germany’s total

  • 1933, April 1: First boycott call against shops owned by German citizens of the Jewish faith or heritage

  • 1938, October 27-28: “Operation Poland”: Arrest and expulsion of ca. 15,000 Jews from Eastern Europe

  • 1938, November 9-10: State organised pogrom against Germany’s Jewish population. In the so-called “Kristallnacht” (night of broken glass), almost all of Germany’s synagogues are either burned or ransacked, shops are plundered, their windows are smashed and many Jewish citizens are arrested, beaten and murdered

  • 1939, September 1: World War II begins. Ca. 236,000 Jews have fled Germany since 1933

  • 1941, October 18: First deportation of ca. 1,000 people from Berlin to Lodz

  • 1942, January 20: Wannsee Conference convenes on the “Final Solution of the Jewish Question”. Deportations to Auschwitz and Theresienstadt begin

  • 1943 Disbanding of the Reichsvereinigung der Juden in Deutschland (Reich's Association of the Jews in Germany, which had been established by the Nazis in 1939)

  • 1945 Liberation of Berlin by the Red Army. Of Berlin’s one-time population of 160,000 Jews, 55,000 were murdered, 7,000 committed suicide, 90,000 emigrated, 8,000 were liberated First post-war Jewish community chairman: Erich Nelhans

  • 1946 Reestablishment of Jewish Community of Berlin as a public corporation with Hans-Erich Fabian as its chairman

  • 1949 Heinz Galinski elected chairman of the Jewish Community of Berlin

  • 1953 Organisational division of the community into “West” and “East” communities

  • 1955 Opening of the Heerstrasse cemetery – still in use

  • 1959 Dedication of the Jewish Community Centre on Fasanenstrasse

  • 1962 Reestablishment of Berlin’s Jewish Adult Education Centre (Volkshochschule)

  • 1971 Jubilee commemorating the 300th anniversary of the establishment of the Jewish Community of Berlin: “Agreement Regulating Questions of Mutual Interest” between the Jewish Community of Berlin and the Berlin State Senate is reached 1980 Immigration limits set for Soviet Jews.

  • Starting in 1971, about 3,000 Soviet Jews immigrated to West Berlin via Israel

  • 1986 Opening of the Jewish Elementary School in Berlin’s Charlottenburg district

  • 1987 First Yiddish Culture Days takes place in Prenzlauer Berg (East Berlin)

  • 1987 First Jewish Culture Days takes place in West Berlin as part of the city’s 750th anniversary celebrations

  • 1988 Founding of the Jüdischer Kulturverein (Jewish Cultural Association) 1989, November 9: Fall of the Berlin Wall

  • 1990, October 3: German Reunification Day. The Jewish communities of East and West Berlin merge

  • 1992 Heinz Galinski dies and is succeeded by Jerzy Kanal

  • 1993 Jewish Secondary School opens on Grosse Hamburger Strasse

  • 1995 Treaty is signed between the Jewish Community of Berlin and the State of Berlin

  • 1995 Opening of the Centrum Judaicum in the “Neue Synagoge” (New Synagogue) on Oranienburger Strasse

  • 1997 Dr. Andreas Nachama elected chairman of the Jewish community

  • 1998 Lauder Foundation opens its educational centre on Rykestrasse

  • 1999 Desecration of 103 gravestones at the Weissensee Cemetery

  • 2000, June: The Jewish Secondary School graduates its first class

  • 2001 Dr. Alexander Brenner elected chairman of the Jewish community 2001 Jewish Museum, designed by Daniel Libeskind, opens

  • 2002 Reopening of the burial access path “Judengang” at the Schoenhauser Allee Cemetery 2004 Albert Meyer elected chairman of the Jewish community

  • 2005 Ceremonial dedication of the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe

  • 2005 Gideon Joffe elected chairman of the Jewish community

  • 2006 Heinz Galinksi School celebrates its 20th anniversary

  • 2006 Administrative offices of the Jewish community move into the community’s historical premises on Oranienburger Strasse 28-31

  • 2006 Re-consecration of a Sephardic synagogue in Berlin

  • 2006 Berlin’s Jewish Hospital celebrates its 250th anniversary

  • 2008 Lala Süsskind is voted in as the first female chairman in the Jewish community’s 337-year history Remodelling of the old Jewish cemetery and monument for the deported and murdered Jews of berlin on Grosse-Hamburger-Strasse

    Address & Contact

    Jüdische Gemeinde zu Berlin

    Oranienburger Str. 28-31
    10117 Berlin
    Tel.: (0 30) 88 02 8-0
    Fax: (0 30) 88 02 8-2679

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