4. In the Beginning

1 Leave a comment on paragraph 1 0 In August 1598 the Jew Isaak of Stühlingen, an old, prosperous merchant and moneylender, was suddenly arrested on adultery charges.1 Whether the charges were merited or not is unclear, but they found their way into a contemporary satirical Yiddish song, part of a Purim (Carnival) parody collection.2  Isaak was thrown into the dungeon of Hewen Castle, residence of the new ruler of Stühlingen, “Hereditary Marshal Konrad von Pappenheim.” Isaak had been under protection (Schutzjude) in Stühlingen since the middle of the sixteenth century.3 He was married and had at least four sons. On September 16 1598 his son Mayer and his brother-in-law wrote a letter to the count, who was himself under house arrest in Tübingen at the time, complaining about the arrest and arrest conditions. In response, the count produced a letter by Hans Jacob von Opfenburg, his bailiff, stating:

If the Jew claims to be held in a harsh and nasty gaol, he is lying. He occupies a comfortable room like a beautiful chamber, bright with lots of light and a cosy bed; I wouldn’t mind having such a pleasant apartment for myself. He is not sick, as he claims; he is just malingering. He is very deceitful. His meals are brought to him by the Jews from their houses.4

3 Leave a comment on paragraph 3 0 Pappenheim also instructed his sheriff to pay special attention that none of Isaak’s property would leave the county. Next, Isaak’s son Mayer, resident in Dortmund, petitioned Emperor Rudolf in Prague, who responded favourably to the plea. But Pappenheim did not give in easily.  After spending a year in jail, Isaak was ready to accept a fine of 12,000 fl.5 and swear an oath of truce (Urfehde).6 He was released on 8,000 fl. bail, which he promptly skipped. Isaak found refuge in the little town of Aach near Constance.

1Rosenthal, “Heimatgeschichte der badischen Juden,” 461.

2Butzer, Hüttenmeister, and Treue, “Ich will euch sagen von einem bösen Stück …,” 26.

3Rosenthal, “Heimatgeschichte der badischen Juden,” 461.

4Ibid., 461-2 (Author’s translation)

51 fl. (florin) ~ 1 ducat ~ 1/8 oz. gold.

6Dobozy, “The Saxon Mirror,” 211.

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Source: https://www.stuehlingen.online/Book/?page_id=1244