< home
< back
 Infobank Judengassse Frankfurt am Main
 Houses  Persons  Families  Professions  Events  Terminology


Das kalte Bad

The kaltes Bad was on the east side of the synagogue. It was built at the close of the 16th century and for a long time served as a ritual bath (mikve). It was located in the cellar of a twostorey house. Religious law stated that it had to be fed from "living" water, in this case spring water, and it was accordingly built in a narrow excavation "at a fearsome depth" as a contemporary description puts it. It was only accessible down a stairway with more than 30 steps.
In the great Judengasse fires of 1711 and 1721 the building above the bath was destroyed. Major changes were made in rebuilding. Although the pitlike excavation was retained, it was hardly ever used. Instead, a new basin was built into which the spring water needed for ritual purposes was pumped.
The old sunken bath became unsafe through neglect. There were cases in the 18th century of people drowning. When the corpse of a Jewish woman was discovered in 1771 threequarters of a year after she drowned, the city council decided it was necessary to inspect the bath with a view to demolishing it. The "master builders" of the Jewish community only managed to prevent this by arguing that the bath was needed as a water source in case of fire, and as a standby during renovation work on the new bath.

© Jüd. Museum Frankfurt 1992-2002 /  Sources