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rudywoofs (Pam)

Swiss Jews

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rudywoofs (Pam)

Switzerland has had a settled Jewish community since the 13th century. The communities flourished until 1348's Black Death, when the Jews were accused of poisoning wells.

 

The Jews underwent a diverse variety of tortures and persecutions during this time. Six hundred Jews were burned at the stake and the community was dissolved in 1349. The Jews of Basel were burned on an island in the Rhine on Jan. 9, 1349. Their children were spared from the burning but were forcibly baptized instead. The first Swiss persecution of the Jews took place in Bern, where the Jewish community was accused of having murdered a Christian boy named Rudolf (Ruff). They were expelled from Bern but then allowed to return shortly after.

 

During the Middle Ages, the Jews were almost exclusively confined to money lending, advancing funds to all strata of society. But they were hated and ostracized. Jews were required to wear the "Judenhut" (or Jew's hat), with the occasional exemption of Jewish physicians. As their principal occupation was money lending, when the Christian inhabitants were in debt to the moneylenders, the Jews were blamed and tortured or expelled. Expulsions and persecutions occurred repeatedly. Because of the prohibition against usury the Jews could not be gone for long or else the economic functioning of Swiss society would have ceased. Jews were also required to live in certain neighborhoods and reside on certain streets. Their infrastructure, such as slaughterhouses, synagogues, mikvot, and cemeteries were located in these neighborhoods. Jews had to pay high taxes for these privileges, particularly for their cemeteries.

 

While most of the Jews were expelled in 1349 from Switzerland, they had already returned to Zurich by 1352 and Basel by 1361. Their return did not herald an end to persecutions and maltreatment continued until the Jewish community was again expelled. Accused of blood libel, all of the Jews living at Schaffhausen were condemned to death and thirty were burned alive on June 25, 1401. Four weeks later, eighteen men and women were burned at the stake in Winterthur.

 

During the mid to late 1500's, some Jewish families were admitted when Christian printers in Basel began printing Hebrew texts. They needed Jews to proofread these texts and therefore acquired hundreds of residency permits for Jews.

 

During all those years of persecution, there were two safe places for Jews in the Aargau Canton of Switzerland: Lengnau and Endingen. That was where my Jewish ancestors, Nathan Halevi Wyss and his family and descendants, lived, in the 15th, 16th and 17th centuries.

 

Some of the Jews, beginning in the 17th century, converted to Anabaptist beliefs, and specifically,  to the Mennonite denomination.  But because those beliefs continued to be in contradiction to the predominantly Catholic Swiss, they were also persecuted and 1000's left their homes to live in Germany.  From there, many chose to come to America in the early 1700's, where they settled primarily in the Pennsylvania lands bought from William Penn.

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TruthSeeker123

Very interesting! Are they your paternal or maternal grandparents?

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Aliensanctuary

Tragic what ignorance and intolerance has done to the descendants of Jacob throughout the millennia. It's more like the demons of Satan trying to change the future by destroying the line of the Messiah.

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james423

Somewhere back in the Brenneman family history was a person named Abraham the Heretic.  I've always wondered if he was Jewish.

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ChildofChrist

Would you happen to know where in Germany the converted Jewish settled? Is it possible for them to have migrated down into the low lands? Like Saxony? My family came over in 1846 and settled in Zurich, Ontario, Canada. Later some went to Iowa then some returned to Brutus, MI. My great grandfather read the Great Controversy and believed. His wife refused to part with the old ways and beliefs of the Mennonite community.

 

quote: Some of the Jews, beginning in the 17th century, converted to Anabaptist beliefs, and specifically,  to the Mennonite denomination.  But because those beliefs continued to be in contradiction to the predominantly Catholic Swiss, they were also persecuted and 1000's left their homes to live in Germany.  From there, many chose to come to America in the early 1700's, where they settled primarily in the Pennsylvania lands bought from William Penn.

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rudywoofs (Pam)

The Swiss Jews settled first along the Rhein northward from Switzerland to the Friedelsheim, Germany area.  I do know that some eventually went east, into what is now Russia.  It's very possible that some may have stopped short of Russia and settled in the Saxony area of Dresden..

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ChildofChrist

Thanks. It has only been recently that I thought about my maternal side of the tree. Some things seem destined to remain in a fog of mystery. When the 2nd Coming occurs, all will be revealed.

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Guest Pmoore

This is really interesting. I too am a descendant of Nathan Halevi Wyss through the Frey's and then the Funcks who were prominent Mennonites.

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Guest Frenzel

I am also a descendant of Nathan Halevi Wyss through the Frey Family.  I'm still trying to figure out through Ancestry.com who his parents were.  I've found conflicting information and would really like to be accurate in my findings.  Can anyone help me with this?  Thank you.

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Guest JFrye

I am as well and a Frey/ changed to Frye. Marty Frey and Ursula Wyss are my far away but close to my heart grand parents. Very cool topic to read about as well as sad. :( thanks though for sure ! 

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Guest Guest AV

Fascinating - I had no idea about this part of my family ancestry. I too have traced back to Marti Frey and Ursula Wyss - and then through their granddaughter Verena who married Ulrich Mueller. It looks like a couple of generations later, their son Johann Jakob Muller emigrated to France (in the 1600s). His daughter Maria (my 6th great-grandmother) then came to the United States. A long journey, but the family survived - so thankful for that. 

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