Behind the Scenes: Germany

In the spring of 2012, the crew for American Jerusalem filmed over four days in Germany, in what is present day Bavaria and Franconia. Many of the early San Francisco Jewish pioneers came from this region (which was then Bavaria), as by the mid 19th-century the restrictions on Jews here became more draconian than in the other German States.

We began filming at the Nuremberg State Archives, which has many of the original documents citing those laws restricting the Jews, including the 1813 Judenedicht (which actually provided Jews with more civil rights, but fewer religious rights) and several Matrikels, which were lists each village kept of the number of Jews within its town limits. Each village had a cap on the number of Jews permitted, and to keep the numbers static only the first-born male in any given family was allowed to marry.

Other filming sites included Levi Strauss's family home in Buttenheim; the Jewish cemetery where his father Hirsch was buried; Tuchersfeld, a typical Bavarian village that has a renovated 18th century synagogue; a Judenweg, or Jewish peddler path where the Jewish peddlers, such as Levi Strauss's father, would trudge, traveling from village to village; and exterior shots of other typical Bavarian villages.



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