20 Adar is the anniversary of the downfall in 1616 of a man who called himself "the new Haman of the Jews," of the foiling of his plans to murder the Frankfurt Jewish community, and of the return of the Jews of Frankfurt under imperial protection and with imperial fanfare.
The community established the date as a sort of mini-Purim, "Purim Vinz," with its own customs, including the reading of a special "megilla" describing the events.
The Frankfurt community continued to
flourish for a few hundred years, years that
gave us the Maharam Schiff, R' Nosson Adler and his talmid
the Chasam Sofer -who mentions the custom of Purim Vinz - and Rav Hirsch's kehilla,
which is one of the models for American Torah as we know it.
The Koach Yehuda writes, 'Some rememberance of the Ventz miracle must
remain with us. It is a constant reminder to us that we must thank and
praise the Almighty who protects us from all our enemies.'
So although the Frankfurt community has been mostly destroyed (so much for imperial protection) I like to tell people about Purim Vinz; and this year I went in search of a copy of its Megilla.
First I called KAJ, the Frankfurt community in America. They told me that Rav Breuer reinstated Tachanun on 20 Adar when the Nazis took over Frankfurt. People remember that it is the "Frankfurt Purim" but that's about it.
But then I found this.
Can we have a round of applause for Professor Ulmer for putting this in the public domain? She went to the trouble to put it together and her book is still in print. SO nice of her.
Megillas Vinz in four languages from Prof. Ulmer. You made my day.
And here it is only in German, but with sheet music and a portrait of the villain, from Goethe Universitat.