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[History of Jews in Braunschweig]

Identifier: LBIJER 54

Scope and Content Note

This collection holds handwritten materials pertaining to Gutmann Ruelf's research on the history of the Jews in Braunschweig since 1296.

Series I contains a manuscript titled "Geschichte der Juden in Braunschweig 1296- " (263 pp. including additional notes) describing the history of the Jews in Braunschweig from 1296 (when the city council allowed Jews to settle in Braunschweig), to the end of the 18th century focusing in particular on "court Jew" Alexander David (1687–1765).

Series II contains various handwritten notes and especially transcripts of original sources (documents, letters, court files etc.) from the 15th to the 18th century including materials pertaining to Israhel from Halle (merchant) ( -ca. 1480) and his interaction with [Hinrik] Svalenberg [Schwalenberg], the city council of Braunschweig (Rat), the archbishop of Magdeburg and others, materials pertaining to Jews in Melverode (near Braunschweig) in the 16th century, materials pertaining to "Geleitrecht" (right of escort) granted to Jews by the duke of Braunschweig-Lueneburg (16th century), materials pertaining to Alexander David and Jacob Nathan Helft.

Series III consists of materials pertaining solely to Alexander David. It includes a manuscript (biography of A. David) with additional notes and transcripts (notebook) and two attached letters by Gutmann Ruelf to Markus Brann (editor of the journal "Monatsschrift fuer Geschichte und Wissenschaft des Judentums") including the draft of an article for the journal titled "Zur Geschichte der Juden in Braunschweig" (handwritten, 14 pp.), notes by an unknown person (presumably belonging to the municipal library of Nahariya), further notes, and correspondence (between circa 1899 and 1907) pertaining to A. David.


  • circa 1890-1910


Language of Materials

This collection is in German, Hebrew.

Access Restrictions

Open to researchers.

Use Restrictions

There may be some restrictions on the use of the collection. For more information, contact:

Leo Baeck Institute, Center for Jewish History, 15 West 16th Street, New York, NY 10011


Biographical Note

Gutmann Ruelf was born in Rauischholzhausen (Hesse) in 1851. He studied at the Juedisch-theologische Seminar in Breslau between 1877 and 1882, becoming rabbi of Braunschweig in 1884. He died in Braunschweig in 1915.

He was the father of Schlomo Friedrich Ruelf (1896-1976) who emigrated from Germany to Palestine in the 1930s and settled in Nahariya.

Gutmann Ruelf wrote a biography of Alexander David titled "Alexander David, braunschweigischer Kammeragent von 1707-1765" published in: Braunschweigisches Magazin 1907. pp. 25-33, reprinted in: Brunsvicensia Judaica. Braunschweig 1966. pp. 9-22.

Alexander David was born in Halberstadt in 1687. He came to Braunschweig in 1707 and enjoyed as courtier (Hof- und Kammeragent) the special protection of the dukes Anton Ulrich (1633-1714) and August Wilhelm (1662-1731) of Braunschweig-Wolfenbuettel. In 1717 he became an official purveyor to the court dealing with jewels, paintings and other valuable goods. Since 1722 David served as banker to the ducal court. David is also considered the founder of the new Jewish community of Braunschweig after it had been expelled in 1546. Alexander David died in Braunschweig in 1915.

The first reference to Jewish inhabitants in Braunschweig can be found in documents from 1292. Since 1296 Jews were allowed to settle under the protection of the dukes. The Jews of Braunschweig were mostly merchants and money lenders, among them Israel from Halle ( -circa 1480), who had business connections with various archbishops, noblemen, and cities enjoying the special protection of the city council (Rat) of Braunschweig.

In 1546 the Jewish population was expelled from Braunschweig. Gaining the right of escort in 1578 by the duke of Braunschweig a Jewish community resettled in the village of Melverode just outside the city, but being expelled again in 1590. Only single Jews were allowed to live in the city until Alexander David settled in Braunschweig in 1707 and re-founded a Jewish community.


9 Folders


This collection holds handwritten materials pertaining to Gutmann Ruelf's research on the history of the Jews in Braunschweig since 1296.


This collection is located at LBI Jerusalem. For information on accessing the collection please visit their website:
Guide to the [History of Jews in Braunschweig], circa 1890-1910  LBIJER 54
In Progress
Processed by LBI Staff
© 2015
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the Leo Baeck Institute Repository

15 West 16th Street
New York NY 10011 United States