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Synagogue in German-occupied Bydgoszcz. The inscription reads: "This city is free of Jews"
German map showing the number of Jewish executions carried out by Einsatzgruppe A in: Estonia (declared "Judenfrei"), Latvia, Lithuania, Belarus and Russia

Judenfrei ("free of Jews") or Judenrein ("clean of Jews") was a Nazi term to designate an area "cleansed" of Jewish presence during The Holocaust.[1]

While Judenfrei referred merely to "freeing" an area of all of its Jewish inhabitants, the term Judenrein (literally "clean of Jews") was also used. This had the stronger connotation that any trace of Jewish blood had been removed as an impurity.[2]

Locations declared Judenfrei[edit]

Establishments, villages, cities, and regions were declared Judenfrei after they were ethnically cleansed of Jews.

  • Gelnhausen, Germany – reported Judenfrei on November 1, 1938, by propaganda newspaper Kinzigwacht after its synagogue was closed and remaining local Jews forced to leave the town.[3]
  • Erlangen, Germany was declared "judenfrei" in 1944.
  • German-occupied Bydgoszcz (Poland) – reported Judenfrei in December 1939
  • German-occupied Luxembourg – reported Judenfrei by the press on October 17, 1941.[4]
  • German-occupied Estonia – December 1941.[5] Reported as Judenfrei at the Wannsee Conference on January 20, 1942.[6]
  • German-occupied Serbia/Belgrade – August 1942[7][8][9][10]
  • Vienna – reported Judenfrei by Alois Brunner on October 9, 1942
  • Berlin, Germany – May 19, 1943[11]

Usage in Israeli–Palestinian conflict[edit]

In the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, a fear among many Israelis which has been reflected by Israeli government officials such as Benjamin Netanyahu[12] is that the proposed removal of Israeli Jewish settlements in the West Bank according to the wishes of Palestinian officials is tantamount to rendering these areas Judenrein, or clean of Jews.

On July 9, 2009 Benjamin Netanyahu, in a discussion with the German foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier is reported to have said, using the Israeli terms of the area, "Judea and Samaria cannot be Judenrein."[13]