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Midwives are one of the oldest recorded occupations in the Frankfurt Jewish community, and they are mentioned in documents which predate the Judengasse.
A gravestone dating from 1384 refers to Guta, the "worthy midwife", and in 1431 there is a reference to a midwife who was the wife of Natan.

The profession of midwife enjoyed high respect.
There was always a midwife in the Judengasse, and many are mentioned by name through the centuries.
The midwife was employed by the Jewish community and was appointed by the "master builders".
Usually there was just a single midwife.
If she was becoming very old, however, a young assistant was provided to help her.
Brendlin, widow of Kalmann, was appointed midwife in 1656 and paid 6 imperial talers a year for her work with poor womenfolk.

In 1791 the city health office ruled despite the protests of the Jewish community that Jewish midwives and their assistants would have to be examined and licensed by the health office before they could be appointed by the Jewish community.
This health regulation had applied to Christian midwives since 1758, after which only qualified Christian midwives were licensed.

The Jewish community nevertheless remained responsible for appointments.
A 19year old named Golde tried to secure appointment as midwife to the Jewish community directly through the city health office, on the grounds that the current incumbent, Rifka, was very old.
She failed.

© Jüd. Museum Frankfurt 1992-2002 /  Sources