There is probably no other city in Europe with such a variety of important architectural reminders of its rich Jewish history and tradition going back ten centuries as “Warmaisa”, the Hebrew name for the city of Worms, formerly also known as “Little Jerusalem”. Just take a look at the Judengasse (“Jews’ Alley”) on the map of the city and our picture gallery of Jewish Worms .
Worms (in Hebrew “Warmaisa”) boasts a unique testimony to its eventful history of Christians and Jews living together, and as “Little Jerusalem” has become well known and has had a significant influence in the Jewish world. An important Jewish community existed here without interruption between around 1000 CE and the dark years of Nazi rule, and there is a great deal of visible evidence still today, despite the considerable destruction at various times. You can read more about Worms as a centre of Jewish learning here: more
The importance of Jewish Worms is due above all to him: Rabbi Salomon ben Isaak, called Rashi. This Jewish scholar and writer of a commentary on the Talmud is still today highly regarded in the Jewish world. Around the year 1060 he studied at the Jewish school (yeshiva) in Worms, at that time known throughout Europe.
The oldest existing Jewish cemetery in Europe is to be found in Worms. Centuries-old graves of famous Jewish rabbis make it an important place for Jewish visitors from the whole world.
The focal point of the former Jewish quarter was and is the synagogue with its ritual bath (mikvah). The first synagogue building (the oldest stone synagogue in Germany, built in 1034) was destroyed during the crusades in the 11 th and 12 th centuries. A new synagogue was built in the years 1174/75. It was burned down in 1938 in the “Pogrom Night” (also called “Crystal Night” and “the Night of Broken Glass”) and rebuilt in 1961, using much of the original building material.
The Jewish Museum in the Rashi House gives insights into Jewish history and culture in Worms and stands on a site of historical significance as it was built on the cellar vaults and foundation walls of the Jewish community’s former dance and wedding house.
The Jewish hall of mourning in the Jewish part of the new city cemetery in Worms-Hochheim was consecrated in 1911. Following exterior and interior renovation it is once again resplendent – an outstanding testimony to Jewish cultural life.
Exiled, deported, murdered. But not forgotten. Cobblestone-size brass memorials, so-called “Stolpersteine”, serve as reminders of victims of the Nazi regime. They have been set in front of the houses in which these people last lived. There is an interactive map showing where “Stolpersteine” can be found.
The chance finding in 1877 of documents in the attic of the synagogue brought to light important records from several centuries. These come from the former archive of the Jewish community and include the Worms mahzor dating from 1272, a manuscript of one of the most widely known Hebrew prayer books.
“ShUM Cities on the Rhine – a Jewish Heritage for the World” is the motto of the cities Speyer, Worms und Mainz in their application for World Heritage status. These cities were once important seats of Jewish learning. As such, they have applied for inclusion in the list of UNESCO World Heritage sites.
A society for the promotion and preservation of Jewish culture in Worms. Warmaisa organizes numerous events and is involved in the preservation of historical monuments and in memorial work (for example by means of the campaign “Stolpersteine”). In this way it contributes to the promotion and preservation of Jewish culture in Worms.
Further information about this society can be found here:
Worms has not had its own Jewish community since the time of the Nazis. The Jewish Community of Mainz takes care of the religious, cultural and social needs of its members who live in Worms. This community in Mainz owns the synagogue in Worms and is now making increased use of it for religious services.
Further information about the Jewish community can be found here: