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Weiße Leiter

Width at front: c. 2.10 metres

The Weiße Leiter was built around 1530. Its construction is a textbook example of the process through which the housing density in the Judengasse gradually increased over a century and a half through subdivision of plots and houses. The history of the house shows that it was built on a strip of land which originally belonged to the Weiße Lilie, a house off to one side on the other side of the street. Subsequently, more neighbouring houses were divided off from the Weiße Leiter, for example the Weißer Löwe in 1571 and the Goldene Leiter in 1610. The ties between these houses are reflected in the frequent use of "weiß" (or "white") in the house names.
The house sign was a ladder ("Leiter"), because there were two ladders behind the house leading down to the bed of the driedout moat.
With a width of 2.10 metres the Weiße Leiter was one of the narrowest houses in the Judengasse. The number of occupants was also very low: only five are shown in the visitation lists for 1703. The family living in the house at that time took the house name as its family name. They ran a mineral water business in the house.
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