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Daneel Bouden

The high German and Portuguese Synagogues

Following the literal tekst on the Canon of Amsterdam

Amsterdam has always been receivable tolerant towards Jews; if you spend any time on the Canon, you’ll notice that there wasn’t much persecution. They were allowed to build synagogues wherever they wanted and were able to practice any profession. The only thing that was prohibited to them was becoming a guild member, a professional association.

The Portuguese synagogue dating back to 1675 at the Mr Visserplein in Amsterdam is quite well known. The first Jews who settled in Amsterdam did so at the end of the 16th century. They had migrated North to escape the persecutions in Spain and Portugal. There they had become a favourite target of the inquisition, and thousands there were burned at stake. They were no longer allowed to practise their faith and had to convert to Christianity; if they didn’t, they were executed.

Sometime later, Jews from Germany and Eastern Europe came to join them; they were poor and uneducated in contradiction to their South European cousins. In the middle of the 17th century, the third group saw themselves forced to leave their homes and seek refuge here; they were fleeing from the persecutions in Poland, Lithuania, and Ukraine. These folks spoke Yiddish, and their language was to have a rather profound influence on the dialects spoken in the city. There’s more about this on other pages of this site.

There was a measure of reliance.
It wasn’t only the city administrators who were without ill will towards the Jewish migrants; the general populace did not mind them either. They were not compelled to live in ghettos as in Poland and other Western European places. They were not allowed to engage in sexual relations with Christians, including prostitutes; for the rest, they were pretty much left to themselves. prostitueebezoek.

The Southern and the Northern Jews each had their own language and customs; they did not intermingle.
The High German and Portuguese synagogues are window number 19 on the Canon of Amsterdam.