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 Infobank Judengassse Frankfurt am Main
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Jewish cemetery

The old Jewish cemetery in Frankfurt has been retained until the present day. It lies directly behind the Judengasse museum and follows the Battonnstraße for about 100 metres to the south. The cemetery is the oldest witness to Jewish life in Frankfurt and predates the creation of the Jewish ghetto, the Judengasse in 1462. The oldest gravestones go back to the 13th century, when the Jews still lived around the cathedral. The Judengasse was established directly by the cemetery, which was already its present size. According to Jewish custom, the dead have a perpetual right to lie undisturbed. As the graves were sited very near to each other, the arrangement of the old gravestones (typical in Jewish cemeteries) is very close and irregular.
The gravestones are sandstone slabs 11.5 metres tall. Hebrew inscriptions are carved into them, mostly describing briefly the life of the deceased. In addition, the gravestones generally show the house sign of the dwelling of the deceased. The cemetery was also the site for various community facilities, particularly the hospitals.
In 1828 the cemetery was closed. Since then, Frankfurt Jews have been buried in the Jewish cemetery on the Rat-Beil-Straße, and since 1929 are buried in the New Jewish Cemetery on the Eckenheimer Landstraße. The old cemetery on the Battonnstraße was preserved largely unchanged until the Nazi era. Under the Nazis, twothirds of the over 6,000 gravestones were destroyed. Despite this violation, the old Jewish cemetery is still one of Frankfurt's most impressive historical sites. Under a major project of scholarship the gravestones have been extensively documented.
(More about the documentation of the gravestones)

© Jüd. Museum Frankfurt 1992-2002 /  Sources