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Fur, hide and skin merchant

In the visitation lists around 1700 there are numerous mentions of dealers in furs, hides and pelts in the Judengasse.
This shows that the Jews were involved in a business which has periodically been important in Frankfurt ever since the Middle Ages.
At that time the Frankfurt Fair was an important trading centre for furs, and even today the city is still a centre of the fur trade.

In those days, hides and pelts were an important commodity.
Hides were the raw material for tanners to produce leather, which was sold to the leather processing trades (cobblers etc).
Pelts are the raw material for furriers.
Hides and pelts were frequently bought from local Christian and Jewish butchers.
The trade was governed by strict and detailed guild regulations, in order to ensure adequate supplies of these raw materials for the individual crafts.

However, these regulations did not apply during the Fairs, when all restrictions on trade were lifted.
During the Fairs there was an extensive trade in these commodities, not only within the city but also internationally.
In the 17th century, for example, Frankfurt was a centre for trade in Hungarian ox hides for resale to the Lower Rhine.
Jews were also involved in this business, which was obviously both profitable and risky.

© Jüd. Museum Frankfurt 1992-2002 /  Sources