The Jewish community of Spandau ranks among the oldest in the medieval Margraviate of Brandenburg. The Jews were probably settled in Spandau at a very early stage of urban development by archbishop Wichmann of Magdeburg at the end of the 12th century. A gravestone from 1244 suggests the existence of a cemetery and thus of a Jewish community. It was covered over by the castle of the Brandenburg margraves and prince-electors in Spandau and has been excavated along with about 70 further tombstones in restorations since the 1950s. Besides describing the Jewish immigration at Spandau, the article examines the synagogue and the cemeteries. The displacement of the Brandenburg Jewry due to the Hostienschändungsprozess [Host desecration charges] of 1510 brought the history of the Spandau Jewish community to an end. The cemeteries were cleared and the gravestones used as building material for the castle and in the later citadel of Spandau. Today, these unique monuments constitute one of the largest collections of medieval Jewish tombstones in Germany and the most important material remains of the Jewry in the medieval Margraviate of Brandenburg.
© 2010 by Walter de Gruyter Berlin/Boston