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Book trade

From the end of the 17th century there are records of dealers in Hebrew books and calendars and old books in the Judengasse.
By this time Leipzig was already the centre of the German book trade, which had pushed Frankfurt out of the leadership it held in the 16th century.
The book trade in Frankfurt had fallen off accordingly, and the Christian booksellers and printers in the city claimed that the Jews were responsible and tried to persuade the city council to ban the Jewish trade in books.
The residence code did not explicitly prohibit the Jews from following this trade, but there were only two major Jewish booksellers in Frankfurt the one run by David Schiff and the one run by Amschel zur Meise, which was continued by his son at Goldenes Strauß.

Jews were not allowed to print books, and even books in the Hebrew alphabet were published by Christian printers or in Amsterdam, the centre of Jewish book publishing.
Large collections of books changed hands as part of pawnbroking, with the result that large collections of books were pledged.
In this way, individual Christian booksellers and printers became dependent on the Jews.
Other Jewish booksellers set up to sell "old" books which had been pawned and not redeemed.

In 1519 Johannes Pfefferkorn, a Jew who converted to Christianity, tried to confiscate all Hebrew books.
It emerged that there were many such books in Jewish households.




© Jüd. Museum Frankfurt 1992-2002 /  Sources