In 16th century Bohemia
, Rabbi Löw learns from his reading of the stars that a great danger threatens the Jews of the ghetto of Prague. He creates a statue of a giant out of clay; its heart is a star enscribed with "Ämät
" (אמת, usually translated "Truth"), the word of life. Shortly thereafter, the Emperor
enacts a decree against the Jews. The announcement is delivered to the Rabbi and the Jewish community by the young noble Florian, who makes use of this opportunity to seduce the Rabbi's daughter Miriam. Meanwhile, Rabbi Löw is permitted to an audience with the monarch at a feast. The imperial palace is threatened with destruction by magical forces, but the Rabbi prevents this with the help of the Golem. In gratitude, the Emperor rescinds the decree against the Jews.
While the Rabbi is occupied at the palace, Florian slips secretly into the Rabbi's home to see Miriam. When the Rabbi returns, he removes the animating star fron the unwilling creature's breast, and it topples down and remains lying lifeless. The Rabbi goes to give thanks in the Synagogue. The Rabbi's "famulus", in love with Miriam, perceives the Christian intruder and, smitten with jealousy, wakes the Golem to life and commands it to drive the nobleman away.
In the ensuing struggle, the Golem throws Florian off the roof of the house, then sets the house afire and carries off Miriam. She is found and taken home by the Rabbi's famulus. Meanwhile, the Golem goes on a rampage, breaks down the city-gate, and wanders into the open countryside. Meeting with a group of children playing in the fields, he picks one up; the child, fascinated by the star on its breast, pulls it out, and the Golem falls lifeless to the ground.