||A study of the legal conditions of the Jews in Hamburg by Dr. jur. Bruno Tannenbaum, an attorney. The first Jews to settle in Hamburg were wealthy Marranos from Spain and Portugal who went to the city at the end of the 16th century. From about 1600, German Jews were admitted to Wandsbek and in 1611 some of them settled in Altona, both cities under Danish rule. By 1627 German Jews began to settle in Hamburg itself, although on festivals they continued to worship at Altona, where the Danish king had permitted the official establishment of a congregation and the building of a synagogue in 1641. They submitted their disputes to the jurisdiction of the rabbi of the Altona congregation. Shortly thereafter the three communities banded together to form one congregation, a union that was to be broken temporarily in the 1660s. Many Jews, fleeing from persecutions in Ukraine and Poland in 1648, arrived in Hamburg where they were helped by the resident Jews. However, the refugees soon left for Amsterdam since at that time the Christian clergy in Hamburg was inciting the inhabitants to expel the Ashkenazi Jews from the city, an expulsion which took place in 1649. Most went to Altona and a number to Wandsbek; only a few remained in Hamburg, residing in the homes of the Spanish-Portuguese Jews. Within a few years many of those who had been driven out returned to Hamburg, and in 1656 a number of refugees from Vilna also found asylum there.
The three Ashkenazi congregations—Altona, Hamburg, and Wandsbek—reunited in 1671 to form the AHW congregation, with the seat of their rabbinate in Altona. One of the most famous rabbis of the merged congregation was Jonathan Eybeschuetz who was appointed to the post in 1750. His equally famous adversary, Jacob Emden, lived in Altona. R. Raphael b. Jekuthiel Kohen, who served the community for 23 years, was one of the fiercest opponents of Mendelssohn's translation of the Pentateuch (1783). The AHW congregation ceased to exist in 1811 when the French authorities imposed a single consistorial organization; the Ashkenazim and Sephardim united to form one congregation, the Altona community retaining its own rabbinate which was also recognized by the Jews of Wandsbeck until 1864.
Hamburg Jews were molested during the Hep! Hep! riots of 1819. However, by 1850 they were granted citizenship, due in large measure to the efforts of Gabriel Riesser, a native of Hamburg.
The Reform movement, which began in Berlin, eventually reached Hamburg. A Reform temple was dedicated in 1818, and in 1819 a new prayerbook was published to accord with the liturgical ritual of the new congregation. The rabbinate in Hamburg published the opinions of noted Jewish scholars to discredit the temple (entitled Elleh Divrei ha-Berit, Altona, 1819) and prohibited the use of its prayer book. Isaac Bernays, leader of the community from 1821 to 1849, espoused the cause of "modern Orthodoxy" and sought to endow the traditional divine service with greater beauty. In his day controversy flared up again when the Reform congregation occupied a new building and the more radically abridged and revised version of its prayerbook Siddur ha-Tefillah was issued (1844). At the time the Orthodox rabbi was Jacob Ettlinger, founder of an anti-Reform journal.
Other German Jews who lived in Hamburg included Glueckel of Hameln, the merchant and philanthropist Salomon Heine (the uncle of Heinrich Heine), Moses Mendelssohn, the poets Naphtali Herz Wessely and Shalom b. Jacob ha-Kohen, Isaac Halevy, the author of Dorot ha-Rishonim, the art historian A. Warburg, the philosopher Ernst Cassirer, the psychologist William Stern, Albert Ballin, and the financiers Max Warburg and Karl Melchior. Among Orthodox rabbis of recent times worthy of note is Nehemiah Nobel and among the Reform, C. Seligmann and P. Rieger. In 1884 the fortnightly Laubhuette and in 1900 the weekly Israelitisches Familienblatt began to be issued in Hamburg. The municipal library and the library of the University of Hamburg contain a large number of Hebrew manuscripts, listed by M. Steinschneider. Nearly 400 Hebrew books were printed in Hamburg in the 17th–19th centuries. In the 19th century, the Jewish printers issued mainly prayer books, the Pentateuch, mystic lore, and popular literature.
The Jewish congregation of greater Hamburg was the fourth largest community in Germany. In 1866 there were 12,550 Jews at Hamburg and in 1933 about 19,900 (1.7% of the general population), including more than 2,000 at Altona. The last rabbi was Joseph Carlebach, who was deported in 1942 and killed by the Nazis.