A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America

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Cologne’s Historic Jewish Quarter

Monday, April 01, 2013


COLOGNE, GERMANY—For 1,000 years, Cologne was home to a prosperous Jewish community. Recent excavations have uncovered Hebrew-inscribed fragments of slate, ceramics, tools, toys, animal bones, and jewelry. “Excavations show that the Jews in Cologne for a very long time were on good terms with the Christians, that their cohabitation saw long phases of peace and harmony,” said archaeologist Sven Schuette. The community was eventually weakened by a crusader massacre in 1096, and then wiped out in 1349, when Christians blamed the Jews for a bubonic plague epidemic. Schuette would like a new museum to be built to house the 250,000 artifacts from his research, but many are opposed to the idea.