Collection of Benjamin Weiss
ALBERT III, DUKE OF BAVARIA
SCHEGA, Franz Andreas: Germany, c.1766-1770, Silver, 39 mm
(Born in 1396, Overseer of the Public Peace, Once the Throne of Bohemia Was Overthrown and the Jews and Pirates Were Driven out under His Leadership. Died in 1460.)
Ref: Forrer V, 377 no. 9; Weiss BW807
Albert III the Pious of Bavaria-Munich (German: Albrecht III. der Fromme, Herzog von Bayern-München), (27 March 1401–29 February 1460). Albert was born in Munich to Ernest, Duke of Bavaria and Elisabetta Visconti, daughter of Bernabò Visconti. He was elected to the position of Duke of Bavaria-Munich in 1438. Albert secretly married Agnes Bernauer from Augsburg. His father, being against the marriage because the bride was a commoner, arranged for Agnes to be accused of witchcraft and thrown into the River Danube. Nevertheless, Albert later reconciled with his father and remarried princess Anna of Brunswick-Grubenhagen-Einbeck and had ten children with her. In 1455 Albert founded the Benedictine monastery in Andechs where he is buried.
Between 1738 and 1774, the medallist Andreas Schega made a series of 17 portrait medals of Bavarian rulers, with images of the rulers on the obverse and a legend highlighting their accomplishments on the reverse. Interestingly, the fact that although this medal was engraved some three hundred years after the death of Albert (Albrecht) III, Schega chose to feature on the reverse legend the fact that under Albert’s leadership the Jews (and pirates) were driven out of Bohemia. This expulsion occurred between 1432 and 1442, during which time, with the instigation of the clergy, Duke Albert III succeeded in having all the Jews of Upper and Lower Bavaria expelled. To complete the act, the synagogue in Munich was taken over and subsequently converted into a church. Notably, the Jews continued to be excluded from Bavaria and Munich for almost three centuries thereafter. At that point, in the eighteenth century, during the Austrian occupation, the Jews were permitted to return only to be periodically persecuted and expelled again until more recently, during the Nazi period of the 1930s and 1940s, most were either expelled, forced into labor camps or systematically gathered up en masse and murdered.
* Most sources put Albert’s birth at 1401.
LINK to Anti-Semitic Bigotry: A Retrospective As Chronicled by Commemorative Medals by Benjamin Weiss
LINK to History of the Jews in Bavaria (from Jewish encyclopedia)