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Gnenlin/Zerlin

In the late Middle Ages there were a few Jewish women in Frankfurt working as doctors. Around 1430, before the creation of the Judengasse, there is a mention of an eye doctor called Gnenlin. The city council forbade her from operating a moneychanging and moneylending business in addition to her medical practice. She was threatened with expulsion if she failed to comply with this, but she may have continued to live in Frankfurt for decades. We do not, however, know how far Gnenlin could really be described as an "eye doctor", since the medical profession was not particularly advanced in those early days and cures based on "magic" were still used.
In 1491 there is another mention of an eye doctor in Frankfurt, although it is no longer possible to identify her name. However, she seems to have been so popular that the city council reduced the overnight fee that foreign Jews had to pay for staying in Frankfurt "so that she might remain here".


© Jüd. Museum Frankfurt 1992-2002 /  Sources