Jewish tombstones found in Germany dating back to the 11th century

Construction work in Mainz, Germany recently unearthed Jewish tombstones of 18 people who died in the Middle Ages, according to Israel Newsstand, citing the German Ministry of Culture.

The tombstones, used as charges dating back to the 11th century, were found embedded in a wall in the old town of Mainz.

German Culture Minister Professor Konrad Wolf said that “Mainz, along with Speyer and Worms, formed an important center of Jewish life throughout Europe during the Middle Ages,” according to the report.

“One of the unique testimonies of the three [Worms] communities is the memorial graveyard, which was opened in 1926, ”said Wolf. “Many medieval tombstones rediscovered during the construction work were placed in the cemetery and play a unique role in understanding life during this time.
After the expulsion of the Jews from Mainz in 1438, the cemetery was handed over to the municipality, who then rented it out to a vineyard which removed a good part of the tombstones and reused them for building materials.

“Many medieval tombstones that were used as building material were rediscovered in the 19th and early 20th centuries, among others, during works to regulate the Rhine, during the construction of the Hessische Ludwigsbahn [railway] in the south of the city, and as part of the defortification of the city, “Culture Ministry spokesman Markus Nöhl told Israel Newsstand, noting that the tombstones offer” valuable information on the deceased as well as on historical events ”. Some have carved praise for community leaders, scholars, benefactors and martyrs, “both men and women, and they offer a unique and precise insight into the internal structure.”

The tombstones have been transferred to an installation of the Directorate General of Cultural Heritage and will be used for university research.

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