||Title: Zur Jahrhundert-Feier des Judenedikts vom 11. März 1812; ein Rückblick auf den Kampf der preussischen Juden um die Gleichberechtigung. This volume was put out by the Central-Vereins Deutscher Staatsbürger Jüdischen Glaubens; with the use of documentary material collected by Ismar Freund.
It was issued on the hundredth anniversary of the edict which granted rights for Jews in Prussia. The author, Paul Rieger (1870–1939) was a German rabbi, scholar, and historian. Rieger, who was born in Dresden, served as rabbi to the Reform congregations at Potsdam (1896–1902), Hamburg (1902–19), Brunswick, and Stuttgart (1922–39) where he died. He published works on the terminology and technology of handicrafts in the Mishnah, Versuch einer Technologie und Terminologie der Handwerke in der Mischnah (1894), and on various aspects of contemporary German-Jewish history. His major work was his participation, in collaboration with his friend Hermann Vogelstein, in a massive work on the history of the Jews in Rome (Geschichte der Juden in Rom), as the result of a prize competition sponsored by the Moritz Rapoport Foundation in Vienna in 1890. Rieger wrote the entire second volume (1895), dealing with the period from 1420 to 1870, as well as some parts of the first volume (1896). Notwithstanding the somewhat arid treatment and heavy style, it remains the standard work on the subject and is the basis of the work Rome, a history of the Jews in Rome, published in English by Vogelstein in 1940.
On March 11, 1812, an edict was issued concerning the civil status of the Jews in Prussia. The first article declared all legally resident Jews to be full citizens. All occupations were declared open to Jews, as were academic positions. Article 9, however, postponed the question of Jewish eligibility to state offices; the oath more Judaico also remained in force. Marriage to a Prussian Jewess did not bestow citizenship and foreign Jews were prohibited from becoming communal employees. The edict was received with thanksgiving by the elders of the main Jewish communities, Berlin, Breslau, and Koenigsberg. A year later, during the War of Liberation, Prussian Jews expressed their patriotism by volunteering in large numbers. The high expectations of Prussian Jewry were not put to the test until after the Congress of Vienna, at which Prussia was given back the province of Posen and received the Rhineland and part of Westphalia (where Jews had been fully emancipated).
As King Frederick William III had no intention of carrying out the 1812 edict, he repudiated his express promise that volunteers, irrespective of their religion, would be eligible for state offices. On Sept. 18, 1818, Jews were excluded from all academic positions (causing Heinrich Heine, Eduard Gans, and others to apostatize); the following January Jewish officials in Westphalia and the Rhineland were dismissed (including Heinrich Marx, father of Karl Marx). The benefits of the 1812 edict had not been applied to Posen (where the laws of 1750 and 1797 remained in force), while its restrictions were applied to the western territories. Thus the Napoleonic "infamous decree," which by then had lapsed in France, was renewed by Prussia in 1818 to cover the Rhineland for an indefinite period. Prussian Jewry's legal position was encumbered by the coexistence of 22 different legislative systems with the various provinces. The king actively encouraged conversion to Christianity and prohibited conversion to Judaism; between 1812 and 1846, 3,171 Jews in Prussia converted. In addition he closed down Israel Jacobson's private Reform prayer room in Berlin; on Sept. 12, 1823, he made the minister of the interior responsible for ensuring that "no sects among the Jewries (Judenschaften) of my lands be tolerated." The king's policy toward the Jews of Posen province - the historical Great Poland (where they were 6.4% of the population and 42% of all Prussian Jews in 1816) - was even more restrictive. Severe steps were taken to keep them within the boundaries of the province. In 1833 a new Jewry law was promulgated for Posen; its main feature was the division of the province's Jews into naturalized citizens, whose rights were conditional on their economic, moral, and educational achievements (command and use of German), and the remainder, who remained deprived of basic rights. By 1846, 80% of Posen Jews were still not citizens and one-third of Prussian Jews had not attained that status.