MHMarx@alum.mit.edu queried: An article about early Jewish settlers in my
ancestral town (Schriesheim, Baden) makes reference to the Hochmeister des
Deutschritterordens" (Highmaster of the Deutschritter Order). Can someone
Reply: Before Germany was unified in 1871, there was a collection of
fiefdoms, duchies, kingdoms, also imperial cities and, relevant here,
communities ruled by various "Orden" or knightly domains. Head usually was a
Hochmeister. They were not under the rule of the local ruler, instead (in a
day of slow communication and transportation) reported directly to the
emperor of the holy Roman empire (which, as Voltaire mocked, was neither
holy nor Roman nor an empire).
1. Unusual example: Next to or within Buchau am Federsee (Wuerttemberg),
there was the "Stift" an enclave of ladies of noble birth, headed by an
2. Kleinerdlingen (Bavaria) was ruled by the Maltese Knights who offered
Jews the right to settle on payment of fees.
Here are details:
Political events clearly drove Jewish migration. Noerdlingen is a Bavarian
town which today still has its medieval walls. It expelled its Jews, its
fourth Jewish community, before 1507, and banned them beyond a two mile
radius. Joachim zu Wallerstein permitted them to settle in nearby
Wallerstein, Kleinerdlingen, Oberdorf and Flochberg, followed by orders, not
executed, >from the Emperor and the Maltese Order, the local rulers, to ban
them further. Kleinerdlingen in 1783 had a total population of about 100
which included enough Jews to warrant a synagogue combined with a community
center. Wallerstein was the seat of the Landrabbiner, the regional rabbi. As
described by Kudorfer17, the fortunes of the Kleinerdlingen Jews varied.
migrants were Erlangers in Buchau, their name reportedly being a corruption
of Kleinerdlingen which in fact was known as Erningen, Erdlingen and Erlingen.
These various domains sometimes expelled resident Jews, sometimes sought them
under what we today would call economic development (they could not join
typically became traders who extended credit thus evolved into moneylenders.)
These Orders thus ranged >from antisemitic to somewhat philosemitic.
George A in Washington, DC Return address is: firstname.lastname@example.org