Fürth – the Franconian Jerusalem
In no other city are the traces of the once flourishing Jewish community life as present as in Fürth. Buildings such as the Berolzheimerianum, the first department store in southern Germany, or many of the magnificent houses on the Hornschuchpromenade and Königswarterstraße, testify to the economic and social influence of the city’s Jewish citizens. For centuries, Fürth was the hub of Jewish scholarship, with several synagogues, Talmudic schools and eminent scholars. Fürth was also one of the foremost centres of Hebrew printing. TheOld Jewish Cemetery, founded in 1634, is one of the oldest and largest in Germany. So it is no coincidence that Fürth was long known as “Franconian Jerusalem”.
In the sixteenth century an increasing number of Jews had settled in Fürth, a trend which intensified during the so-called triumvirateof the Archdiocese of Bamberg, the margraves of Ansbach and the imperial city of Nuremberg. However, there was no ghetto and no exclusion – instead, relations in the market town of Fürth were characterised by a spirit of tolerance and community. It was not until the Nazi dictatorship that this was brought to an abrupt end.
The history of the Jews in Fürth and the region from the Middle Ages to the present day has been recounted in theFranconian Jewish Museumfor the past 20 years. The building itself, that of an important Jewish family with a mikvah – a traditional ritual bath – and a sukkah, is a legacy of Jewish life. Opened in 2018, an annex now offers more space for temporary exhibitions, events, the museum shop and library, turning the museum into a lively place of discourse.
The small café, named after Mary S. Rosenberg, serves delicious Jewish bakery. A must-try is the Fürth lemon cake baked according to the original recipe of a Jewish family.
You can discover traces of Jewish life everywhere in the historic centre, either exploring on your own or by joining the “Testimony of Stones” guided tour of the Old Jewish Cemetery.
Luckily there´s Fürth!