About the Region

The so called "Medinat Schwaben" [Rohrbacher 1995] forms a unique Jewish-German cultural landscape which experienced its zenith in the first half of the 19th century.

Map of Schwaben The majority of Jewish communities belonged to one of two distinct political entities: the margraviate of Burgau south of the Danube and the earldom of Oettingen to its north. The political conflicts between the house Hapsburg, the local gentry and the civic leadership in the case of Burgau [Ullmann 1999] and the interconfessional strife between the Catholic and Protestant branches of the Oettingens provided the Jewish communities with enough "wiggle room" to ease their precarious struggle for existence.

The Jewish communities formed part of villages within these political entities which were comprised of Jews, Catholics and Protestants. In some of those villages Jews occasionally even formed a numerical majority. The Jewish communities maintained a tight network of familial and cultural interconnections extending to communities in adjacent regions, such as Wassertrüdingen in Unterfranken as well as Laupheim and Buchau in Baden-Wuerttemberg. In view of its particular history and geography "Medinat Schwaben" should be considered as a unit by Jewish genealogists.

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