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Servants

The majority of Jewish households in the Judengasse had one or several servants.
Most of these were women.
The 1694 visitation list records 235 maids and 23 servantboys or manservants as living in their masters' households.

Servants were poor Jews who originated from surrounding Jewish communities.
Because the residence code permitted only twelve Jewish marriages per year, only the wealthier Frankfurt domiciled Jews were able to marry, and servants were mostly obliged to remain single.
Nevertheless, a quarter of servants received gravestones paid for by their masters.
Their work was seldom the subject of any inscription, as in the cases of Jakob, who died on 6 April 1809 and was a servant at an inn, and of Zelig, who died on 24 October 1810 and was a bookkeeper.
Private scribes, bookkeepers, and officeclerks are often listed as servants.
Female servants included nannies.

Maids were usually young girls looking for a position in Frankfurt.
Less often they were widows who could no longer make a living in the country.
For the sick, there was the spital, or hekdesh, and after 1796 the hostel for the homeless, specifically meant for those who were "genuinely in service or daylabour".
Nothing more is known about maidservants and their everyday life.
Only the more unusual incidents are recorded.
Guthen, a maidservant from Deutz, killed her illegitimate child and was then baptized a Christian so as to escape execution.
Frummet, a maid, murdered her mistress at the Weinfaß and was executed.


© Jüd. Museum Frankfurt 1992-2002 /  Sources