Upon Henry's downfall, the Halberstadt diocese was elevated to a prince-bishopric about 1180. Its cathedral was rebuilt from 1236 and consecrated in 1491. Halberstadt, Quedlinburg and Aschersleben joined a league of towns (Halberstädter Dreistädtebund) in 1326; from 1387, the city was also a member of the Hanse. From 1479, the diocese was administrated by the Archbishops of Magdeburg. While the Halberstadt citizens turned Protestant around 1540, the cathedral chapter elected Prince Henry Julius of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel first Lutheran bishop in 1566.
During the Thirty Years' War, the town was occupied by the troops of Albrecht von Wallenstein in 1629 and temporarily re-Catholicized according to the imperial Edict of Restitution. According to the 1648 Peace of Westphalia, the prince-bishopric was finally secularized to the Principality of Halberstadt held by Brandenburg-Prussia. The first secular governor was Joachim Friedrich von Blumenthal. Halberstadt became part of the newly established Kingdom of Prussia in 1701.
From 1747 Johann Wilhelm Ludwig Gleim worked here as a government official and made his home an intellectual centre of the Enlightenment (Aufklärung) movement. Upon the 1807 Treaty of Tilsit, the town became part of the Kingdom of Westphalia, a Napoleonic client-state, and administrative seat of the Westphalian Department of Saale. On 29 July 1809, a Westphalian regiment was defeated by the Black Brunswickers under Prince Frederick William of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel in the Battle of Halberstadt.
After the defeat of Napoleon, the town was restored to Prussia and subsequently administered within the Province of Saxony. From 1815, Halberstadt was home of garrison of the Prussian 7th (Magdeburg) Cuirassiers "von Seydlitz" regiment, with Otto von Bismarck in the rank of an officer à la suite from 1868. The town's economy was decisively promoted by the opening of the Magdeburg-Halberstadt Railway in 1843.
The tramway was inaugurated in 1903. After the war it had to close down according to the regulations of the Treaty of Versailles, until in the course of the German re-armament, it opened again in 1935 as a branch of the Junkers company in Dessau. The aircraft factory was the site of an SS forced labourer camp, one of several subcamps of Buchenwald; the production facilities and the nearby Luftwaffe airbase were targets of Allied bombing during the'Big Week' in February 1944. In the last days of World War II, in April 1945, US forces approached Halberstadt as they attacked remaining Nazi troops in the short-lived Harz pocket.They dropped leaflets instructing Halberstadt's Nazi ruler to fly a white flag on the town hall as a token of surrender. He refused, no white flag was raised and on 8 April 1945, 218 Flying Fortresses of the 8th Air Force, accompanied by 239 escort fighters, dropped 595 tons of bombs on the centre of Halberstadt. This killed about 2,500 people and converted most of the old town into some 1.5 million cubic metres of rubble, which American troops briefly occupied three days later. Une 1945, the town and its garrison was handed over to the 3rd Shock Army of the Soviet Red Army forces. During the Peaceful Revolution in Autumn 1989, St Martin's Church was a centre of the Swords to ploughshares movement. After the reunification of Germany, Halberstadt became part of the restored state of Saxony-Anhalt. In the 17th century, Halberstadt had one of the largest Jewish communities in central Europe.
At the time, nearly one in twelve of the town's inhabitants, almost 700 people, were Jewish. One example of Lehmann's work was the impressive Baroque synagogue he financed, which was completed in 1712. In November 1938, after the Kristallnacht pogroms, the Nazi authorities forced the Jewish community to demolish the building, as the attack on it was said to have left it in danger of collapsing. A short distance from the synagogue, Lehmann also had a house built for students of Judaism, with a collection of theological writings. This building, known as the "Klaus", was where many important students of the Talmud and rabbis were taught.
The "Klaus" gave Halberstadt the reputation of being an important centre for the study of the Torah. Today the Moses Mendelssohn Academy is based there; this organises exhibitions, congresses and presentations and provides a wide range of information about the Jewish culture and way of life. World-renowned expert numismatist, enthusiast, author and dealer in authentic ancient Greek, ancient Roman, ancient Byzantine, world coins & more.
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