Jüdischer Pfad Forchheim

Under the Prince Bishop’s protection

Station 1 • Bishop’s Palace – Pfalzmuseum, Kapellenstraße 16

The bishopric of Bamberg was founded in 1007 by Emperor Heinrich II. Since that time the town of Forchheim remained, almost without interruption, part of the domains of the Principality of Bamberg. As the title indicates, the Prince Bishop was not only the spiritual head but also the ruler in worldly matters. The consent of the Prince Bishop was a prerequisite before Jewish families were permitted to settle within the Principality. A small Jewish community was already in existence in Forchheim in the Middle Ages.

In order to obtain the ruler’s protection the Jews needed to show proof of their wealth. They could purchase a “Letter of protection” for themselves and their families. Even after obtaining this document, they were still required to pay protection money each year. The number of protected Jews at any one time was limited.

That the protection could be rescinded without justification was demonstrated in 1499 when under Bishop Heinrich III Groß of Trockau all Jews were expelled from the Principality.