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Zion, Jonathan

Jonathan Zion was a cantor in the Frankfurt Jewish community at the beginning of the 16th century. In 1509 when the baptised former Jew Johannes Pfefferkorn, supported by an order from emperor Maximilian, tried to confiscate all the books of the Frankfurt Jews, the Jewish community send Jonathan Zion as their embassy to the emperor in North Italy. His mission was to prevent a resumption of the confiscation drive, which had been temporarily stopped by the intervention of the Archbishop of Mainz, and to obtain the return of the confiscated books.
Jonathan Zion's letters to the community have been preserved and give a very lively impression of his efforts on this mission. At first he had great difficulty locating the emperor, who was travelling through North Italy with his army, particularly since Zion did not speed the local language. Once he found the emperor's camp he had to little money to get adequate support from the emperor's advisers. When Pfefferkorn returned to the court, he publicly railed at Zion, who feared for his safety among the emperor's knights. His mission was unsuccessful, and Pfefferkorn continued his confiscation campaign in the Judengasse in April 1510.
Jonathan Zion returned to Frankfurt. Little is known about his life after this.

© Jüd. Museum Frankfurt 1992-2002 /  Sources