JUDENBURG, city in Styria, S. central Austria. The name Judenburg first appears between 1074 and 1087, bearing witness to Jewish settlements there in the early Middle Ages (see *Carinthia, *Graz). It may be assumed that the name was also derived from the city's ancient Latin name Idunum. The first documentary mention of Jews in Judenburg dates from 1290; a *iudex Judaeorum is recorded in 1308. There is a report of a massacre in 1312, which is probably legendary. That Jews made their living primarily as moneylenders may be deduced from several instances of financial transactions between Jews and the clergy, dating from 1329. At the beginning of the 15th century there are reports of 22 Jews, each with a fortune of 100,000 florins, and 38 with 50,000 each. In 1467 Emperor *Frederick III permitted the city to expel all Jews who did not pay taxes. After the expulsion of the Jews from the whole of Styria (1496) there was no community in Judenburg until the second half of the 19th century, when there was a small congregation (affiliated to the Graz community) with a prayer room and a cemetery. Thirteen Jews lived in the town in 1869 and 92 in 1880. The municipal arms (at least from 1488) depicted a head wearing a Jewish hat (see *dress). Under the Nazi regime this was replaced (1939) by a seal showing a city gate, but in 1958 the Jew's head was reintroduced. At the time of the 1938 Anschluss 16 families (42 persons) lived in Judenburg. The prayer room was closed and its contents confiscated. By February 1939 all Jews had left the city, most of them for Vienna. In 1968 three Jewish families lived in the whole district. The ḥevra kaddisha (founded 1887) was still in existence, but there was no community.
J.E. Scherer, Die Rechtsverhaeltnisse der Juden in den deutsch-oesterreichischen Laendern (1901), 455–517, passim; A. Rosenberg, Beitraege zur Geschichte der Juden in Steiermark (1914), index; K. Grill, Judenburg einst und jetzt (19253), 23–29; Herzog, in: Zeitschrift fuer die Geschichte der Juden in der Tschechoslovakei, 3 (1931/33), 172–90; Germ Jud, 1 (1963), 135–6; 2 (1968), 379–80; PK (Germanyah).
Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.