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The mediaeval Judensand cemetery in Mainz attests to the outstanding importance of the Jewish community in Mainz. It was defiled in pogroms and after forced expulsions, and some of its gravestones were used as building material, but topological data document the cemetery's expansion. Apart from a few peripheral areas partly built on in modern times, the graves have been preserved. The northeastern sector served as a burial ground until the end of the 19th century, with around 1,500 gravestones standing on it dating from the late 17th century. The ‘memorial cemetery' has been located on a part of the old site since 1926. Here, around 210 mediaeval gravestones that were recovered in the 19th and 20th centuries have been re-erected. In 2007, another 29 gravestones and fragments were uncovered and put in safe keeping. The eight gravestones with inscriptions from the 11th century are among the oldest in Ashkenaz, the region encompassing Germany, northern France, northern Italy, and later also Eastern Europe. Many of the rediscovered gravestones and memorial stones commemorate martyrs and scholars, including Gershom ben Judah (ca. 960–1028-40), one of the first scholars active in Mainz, venerated to this day as the ‘Light of the Exile'.
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Categories & Keywords
Category:Travel and Places
Subcategory Detail:Germany
Keywords:Ashkenaz, Deutschland, Duitsland, Germany, Jewish Cemetery, Judensand, Jüdischer Friedhof, Mainz, Rheinland-Pfalz, ShUM sites of Speyer Worms and Mainz, Tentative, Unesco, begraafplaats, cemetery, jew