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 Infobank Judengassse Frankfurt am Main
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Weißer Löwe

Width at front: c. 5.10 metres

The Weißer Löwe was built in 1571. The house name covers not just one house but an entire complex of buildings with two front houses separated by a narrow passage leading to two more rear houses.
The house was built by Josef Oppenheim (died 1593), one of the founders of the famous Oppenheim family, which became important well beyond Frankfurt. One of the branches of this family lived in the Weißer Löwe for several generations. Over the centuries many other families lived in this complex: the visitation list for 1709 shows nine households with over 50 occupants in all.
The social status of the families living in this complex covered a wide range. Josef Oppenheim together with his brother Mosche were very profitably involved in trade in various luxury articles, including silk. Later there were silver merchants living in the house, who were in all likelihood fairly prosperous. There were also various small shopkeepers and peddlers who sold everyday items. Other occupants again were described as doing "nothing", and we have no idea how they lived. As in some other houses, there were several students living in this complex.
Frankfurt's Judengasse also had its occasional family problems: one household consisted of a man with three young children, whose wife had reportedly left him; an unmarried woman with an illegitimate child is reported in another household.
In the great fires in the Judengasse in 1711, 1721 and 1796 the house was destroyed three times. It was rebuilt after the first two fires, but after the 1796 fire it was decided to redevelop the entire northern end of the Judengasse on spacious lines, in the course of which the house disappeared finally.

© Jüd. Museum Frankfurt 1992-2002 /  Sources