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Biographical/Historical Information

Vincent Fettmilch moved to Frankfurt in 1602 and initiated the Fettmilch uprisings (1612-1616), which lead to the storming of the Judengasse, (Jew’s Lane; Jewish Ghetto) on August 22, 1614. The Jews of Frankfurt were expelled for two years, until 1616, when the emperor intervened, retaking the city, and issuing an imperial ban on Fettmilch and his co-conspirators. Imperial soldiers guided the Jews back into Frankfurt, and Fettmilch was put to death in the Horse Market on February 28th, 1616. This had been one of the last pogroms in Germany, until the rise of the Nazi party in the 20th century.

Matthäus Merian was born in Basel in 1593. He learned copperplate engraving in Zürich and continued his studies in Strasbourg, Nancy, and Paris. He returned to Basel for a year in 1615 before settling in Frankfurt. He worked for publisher Johann Theodor de Bry and married his daughter, Maria Magdalena, who died 1645. He then remarried Johanna Catharina Hein in 1646. Merian ran the de Bry publishing house after the death of his father-in-law in 1623, but later worked independently. Merian is best known for his engravings of maps and illustrations.

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Merian, Matthaeus: Riot in the Judengasse, Frankfurt in 1614, Leo Baeck Institute, 78.72.