Jüdischer Pfad Forchheim

1813 Edict of Jewish rights – the road to emancipation

Station 23 • The former District Council Office, Nürnberger Straße 3

After secularization in 1803; the worldly authority of the Prince Bishop of Bamberg ceased to exist. The territory was subsumed into the Duchy (from 1806 Kingdom) of Bavaria and Forchheim became the seat of a District Court of Bavaria. The Jewish Edict of 1813 was intended to define the citizenship rights of the Jewish population.

The Jewish Edict was ambivalent. It introduced a series of improvements for the Jewish minority but also included some conspicuous restrictions. Jews were now allowed to practice their religion freely, could attend schools and universities and were permitted to train for and enter “middle-class” professions. In keeping with modern times Jews were required to adopt a family name which could, however, be freely chosen. Frequently the name of the place of birth was selected e.g., Baiersdorfer, Dormitzer or Zeiller. A negative aspect was that Jews were only allowed to live in specified towns and villages and the number of Jewish families per town was limited. This was regulated in the “Matrikel Paragraphs”. In Forchheim the number of Jewish families was limited to twenty. The result of these restrictions was that many Jews found themselves forced to emigrate to North America.