Provisional Decree for the Purpose of Introducing Article 16 of the Basic Rights of the German People with Regard to the Israelites. Passed by a Resolution of the Council and the City Assembly on February 21, 1849. Published on the Order of E. H. eines Hochedlen [a Highly Noble] Councilor of the Hanseatic City of Hamburg, Hamburg 1849

Source Description

This source documents a resolution passed by the Hamburg city council and city assembly that largely granted Hamburg’s Jews legal and economic equality with the city’s other residents. At a meeting of both the city council and assembly held on February 21, 1849, the council asked the Erbgesessene Bürgerschaft – i. e. residents who had a voice in these matters – to approve a “Provisional Decree”  [Provisorische Verordnung] ordering the implementation of article 16 of the “Basic Rights of the German People”  [Grundrechte des deutschen Volkes]. The city assembly granted the council’s request and approved the decree. Originally published on February 23, 1849 on the council’s orders, the decree was later included in the twenty-first volume of the “Sammlung der Verordnungen der freien Hanse-Stadt Hamburg” [Collected Decrees of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg] (pp. 27-30) published in 1851 by Johann Martin Lappenberg. The decree comprises six articles and stipulates that Jews could now acquire citizenship rights in the city  Bürgerrecht [citizenship right in the city]: The right of self-government; the precondition for acquiring civil rights was inherited real property, the swearing of a citizen’s oath, and the one-time payment of “Bürgergeld” [citizenship fee]; members of the nobility were excluded from this; until 1814 citizenship was granted exclusively to members of the Lutheran church [see: Helmut Stubbe-da Luz, “Bürgerrecht,” in: Franklin Kopitzsch /and Daniel Tilger (, eds.), Hamburg Lexikon, (Hamburg, 1998), p. 92. and the state  Landbürgerrrecht [citizenship right in the state]: civil rights held by the residents of the territory of Hamburg; this excluded business activity in the city as well as political participation. [See: Sebastian Husen, “Landgebiet,” in: Franklin Kopitzsch /and Daniel Tilgner, (eds.), Hamburg Lexikon, (Hamburg, 1998), p. 296.] as well as the rights of a protected citizen  Schutzbürger [protected citizen]: status permitting employment and marriage, but not granting political rights if citizenship could not be acquired for financial reasons. [See: Helmut Stubbe-da Luz, “Schutzverwandte,” in: Franklin Kopitzsch /and Daniel Tilgner (, eds.), Hamburg Lexikon, (Hamburg, 1998), p. 429.]; that they were equal to Christian brokers at auctions; that they could practice as notaries without any of the previous restrictions; and that the trade authorities could now admit Jews as apprentices and journeymen.
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Recommended Citation

Provisional Decree for the Purpose of Introducing Article 16 of the Basic Rights of the German People with Regard to the Israelites. Passed by a Resolution of the Council and the City Assembly on February 21, 1849. Published on the Order of E. H. eines Hochedlen [a Highly Noble] Councilor of the Hanseatic City of Hamburg, Hamburg 1849 (translated by Insa Kummer), edited in: Key Documents of German-Jewish History, <https://dx.doi.org/10.23691/jgo:source-9.en.v1> [September 26, 2017].