Frauenkirche, Nuremberg

Frauenkirche, Nuremberg – © David H. Enzel, 2024

The Frauenkirche (“Church of Our Lady”) is a church in Nuremberg, Germany. It stands on the eastern side of the main market. An example of brick Gothic architecture, it was built on the initiative of Charles IV (1316-1378), Holy Roman Emperor between 1352 and 1362. 

Following an outbreak of the Black Death in 1349, a Christian pogrom against the Jewish inhabitants of Nuremberg took place, and they were expelled from the city. Emperor Charles IV ordered the synagogue of Nuremberg to be destroyed to make way for the development of the grand market (Hauptmarkt), at which also a church was to be built on the rubble. This became the Frauenkirche.

However, soon afterward, growing short of money, the city authorities were anxious to attract the Jews back, and in 1351, Charles IV permitted the burgrave to admit them and ordered the officials and knights to assist them. The Jewish community in Nuremberg increased rapidly. A contract concluded in 1352 between the city council and the Jews obliged the latter to live in a special quarter (the present Judenstrasse), and all debts of the citizens were canceled. A tax list of 1382 indicates that the Jewish population then numbered more than 500.

Between the two world wars, Nuremberg became the center of the Nazi Party; the molesting of Jews in the streets became an everyday occurrence. Julius Streicher (1885–1946) established one of the first branches of the nascent Nazi Party there in 1922 and edited the notorious antisemitic paper Der Stuermer. Nuremberg was also host to massive and lavish rallies for the Nazi Party. Jews lived in fear of humiliation and attack.

The church was almost completely destroyed in the Second World War in the bombing of Nuremberg with only the nave walls and facade remaining. This damage was repaired by 1953.


Leave a Comment