Jewish Daily Life

The extraordinary discovery of a private Geniza(archive) in Delkenheim, a suburb of Wiesbaden – one could also called it “the estate” of Jewish grain merchant Samuel Jessel, who amassed an extremely varied collection of documents, from marriage contracts to business papers and even medical prescriptions – offers a rare insight into Jewish daily life in Germany. The history of this family (the Kehrmanns), whose members served as heads of many Jewish communities, can be followed from the early 18thcentury up to the time of National Socialism and beyond.

The wide-ranging research into this archive includes, first, questions about Jewish family and community life during the 18th century. In addition, the research centers on various decrees and laws regulating Jewish existence – such as obtaining a safe-conduct document, restrictions on choice of a profession or the requirement that Jews pay customs duties when crossing a border, as well as other special taxes. The relationship between the Jewish minority and its Christian surroundings is also being investigated.

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