Mecklenburg-Schwerin Jewish Records

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Europe Gotoarrow.png Germany Gotoarrow.png Mecklenburg-Schwerin, German Empire Genealogy Gotoarrow.png Jewish Records

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Jews from other parts of Germany, probably including refugees from persecution in the Main and Rhine regions settled in Mecklenburg as early as the 13th century, soon after German settlers obtained land from the earlier Slavic people of that area.

In Mecklenburg as in other states, the mercantilist age created new opportunities for Jews, as rulers found them useful in managing government enterprises.  In 1671, Duke Christian Ludwig I of Mecklenburg-Schwerin reopened his country to Jews, granting a trader name Levin Salomon the privilege to sell tobacco throughout his land.  He and other Jews who followed were put under the sovereign's direct protection without civil rights.

Michel Henrichs, a Portuguese Jew previously active in Glückstadt in Holstein who became the founder of the Jewish community in Schwerin.  Under Duke Friedrich Wilhelm, Henrichs and his partners were privileged to trade in all goods anywhere in the country.  It was through Henrichs' efforts that Jewish merchants from Berlin and Hamburg traveling in Mecklenburg were freed from the degrading special duty charged  to jews, though some other taxes for Jews were still retained.

By 1715, Jewish peddlers were found throughout the countryside selling their wares.  Owners of large estates allowed Jews  to settle on their lands where, for an annual payment, they would receive concessions for trading in the villages or for selling beer and wine.

Summary of data from Leopold Donath, Geschichte der Juden in Mecklenburg von den ältesten Zeiten bis auf die Gegenwart.  Leipzig. 1874.