Get an insider’s perspective on Jewish life and history in Frankfurt with our Jewish Frankfurt tour. Many of the most popular things to see in Frankfurt are connected to the city’s Jewish past. Our Jewish Frankfurt tour reveals these connections, while also bringing you close to the present-day Jewish community.
Located at crossing point of the Main River, Frankfurt developed into a European crossroads of trade and an outstanding commercial and financial center. Jewish traders and bankers played a major role in the development of the city. The settlement of Jews dates back to the 12th century. An excellent museum is located directly atop the archaeological excavations of the Judengasse, the heart of the Jewish ghetto, which dated back to the Middle Ages. What made Frankfurt’s “Jews’ Lane” most famous is the astounding story of the Rothschilds, a Jewish family who rose from the darkest streets to the greatest heights of European royalty, finance, and culture.
Like the Rothschilds, many Jewish families played a major role in the development of Frankfurt. They contributed to the establishment of important institutions like the Old Opera House, the Frankfurt University, and various city hospitals. In 1804, the famous humanist school of the enlightenment – the Philantropin – was founded by Mayer Amschel Rothschild himself, patriarch of the Rothschild dynasty.
Today the Rothschild Palace houses the Jewish Museum of Frankfurt, depicting Jewish life from the 12th to 20th century. There are many memorials to remember the Shoah in Frankfurt and the loss of what was once Europe’s most powerful Jewish community. Frankfurt’s Jewish cemeteries hold the grave of Mayer Amschel Rothschild, as well as those of important Talmudic scholars and great rabbis, such as Samson Raphael Hirsch, Salomon Breuer and the Stoliner Rebbe.
Today’s Jewish community offers a broad spectrum of Jewish life, ranging from liberal to orthodox. Contemporary Jewish Frankfurt attractions include the Jewish Community Center with Sohar’s kosher restaurant, the magnificent Westend Synagogue built in 1910, the Anne Frank Meeting Center (Anne Frank was born in Frankfurt) and the Philantropin, where the Jewish school moved in 2006. Second in size only to Berlin, today’s Jewish community in ‘Mainhattan’ numbers approximately 8,000 people.