The beginnings of Jewish existence in the territory that is now Germany, like the beginnings of Christianity in this area, are linked to the expansion of the Roman Empire. As in Europe’s southeast, in the Balkans, they also go back north of the Alps to the end of the 3rd / beginning of the 4th century. The first Jewish communities emerged along the major trade routes on the Rhine and Danube. However, it is still unclear when Jewish communities were able to settle beyond the borders of the Roman Empire; certainly before Iro-Scottish monks began to spread Christianity in the (Anglo)Saxon region. At the latest since Merovingian and Carolingian times, Jews played a not insignificant role in public life, in trade and commerce and not least as mediators between cultures.

Speaker: Prof. Dr. Stefan Schreiner (Senior Professor for Religious Studies and Jewish Studies at the University of Tübingen).

Suesskind, the Jew of Trimberg (Codex Manesse, 14th century)