In the middle ages, Jewish overseas goods traders, money lenders and livestock dealers were important members of the economic life within the diocese of Trier. It was probably in the second half of the 10th Century that the Jewish quarter in Trier was established between the Hauptmarkt, Jakobstrasse and Stockstrasse.
The entrance gates to the area were closed at night. At the beginning of the 14th Century, the Jewish community was having its boom years with the ghetto consisting of around 60 buildings where more than 300 people lived. Here you could find, along with other community facilities, a synagogue, which was used off and on until 1418.
During the persecution of Jews at the time of the Black Death in the middle of the 14th Century, the Trier Jewish community was destroyed. Neither the church nor the municipal authorities were able to bring a halt to the plundering mob. The displaced Jewish families settled into villages in the region that was outside the Prince-Elector’s jurisdiction and there they built new communities.
In 1418 all Jews were eventually exiled from the diocese of Trier. They were ousted and had to give up all their worldly possessions. This also included their cemetery in the area which is today the Viehmarktplatz. In the cellar of number 4 Judengasse you will still find a mikvah which is a Jewish ritual bath. A permanent “documentation site of Jewish life” is to be established in this building, covering from the beginnings in the Roman times, through the boom years in the middle ages, and up until the Holocaust and the reconstruction after 1945.