Urban History on the Seam: Frankfurt’s Judengasse and the Early Modern City

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This article examines the nexus between the Jewish ghetto in Frankfurt am Main (built in 1462) and a neighboring street, Wollgraben. Utilizing Jewish communal sources in Hebrew and Yiddish, German municipal records, and contemporary maps, it traces the development of the ghetto against the backdrop of urban expansion and population growth. Although the Jews were technically confined to the ghetto, these sources demonstrate that as the Jewish population increased, both Jewish residents and their buildings spilled over into the once-empty lot on Wollgraben. Building policies demonstrate, however, that limiting the visibility of the Jewish minority was essential to the city council. As such, they restricted the scope and zoning of buildings to obscure the Jewish presence, particularly as the majority population expanded into this once peripheral area.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Urban History
StateAccepted/In press - 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2024.


The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: This article was supported by Israel Science Foundation Grant 1802/18.

FundersFunder number
Israel Science Foundation1802/18


    • Frankfurt
    • Jewish minority
    • Judengasse
    • Wollgraben
    • urban expansion


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