Changeful history - Part of Berlin's diversity
The first written mention of Jews in Berlin came in 1295 in a master wool weaver's certificate. In 1671, fifty Jewish families moved to Berlin from Vienna and formed the nucleus of the Jewish community in Berlin. Frederick William, the "Great Elector" of Brandenburg, had invited them together with other religious refugees to Berlin to help with the reconstruction after the Thirty Years' War. Throughout the centuries, Jews have been part of Berlin's intellectual and cultural heritage. Moses Mendelssohn, Fanny Mendelssohn, Rosa Luxemburg, and Albert Einstein are just some of the best-known examples. By the 1920s, the city was home to some 170,000 Jews. Most were forced to flee Germany after Adolf Hitler was elected Chancellor in 1933. 55,000 of them were eventually killed in the Holocaust, the mass murder of European Jews organised by the German government of the time. By the late 80s/early 90s, the Jewish community in Berlin began to experience a renaissance with a cultural diversity that goes beyond the traditional Jewish communities. These pages are intended to give an initial impression of this eventful history and the diversity of Jewish life reborn in Berlin.