USOV (Ger. Maehrisch-Aussee; in Jewish sources אויסא) town in N. Moravia, Czech Republic. The first mention of a Jew in Usov was in 1564, and by 1600 Jews were living in nine houses. The community suffered during the Thirty Years' War but recuperated to build a synagogue in 1690. It was one of the 15 communities of the "supreme [northern] district" in Moravia. On the Day of Atonement 1721, a Catholic priest who had profaned the prayers and ceremony was ejected from the synagogue: After complicated legal proceedings, the supreme court in Vienna overruled the lower instances of Brno and Prague and in 1722 ordered the synagogue to be destroyed and prohibited the holding of any public services. The dayyan of the community, Abraham Broda Leipniker (1690–1774), a respected merchant, succeeded in obtaining permission to build two prayer houses in 1753 and recorded the proceedings in his Megillat Sedarim, to be read yearly on *Simḥat Torah (published in 1895 by Emanuel M. *Baumgarten). At that time, there were 59 heads of families, 35 of them engaged in peddling and five sailors. The community numbered 10 Jewish families in 1657 and 59 in 1753. By the end of the 18th century, 110 Jewish families were permitted to reside there.
In 1830 there were 110 families (656 persons) in Usov, out of 5,200 permitted Jewish families in the whole of Moravia. The community continued to grow until 1848 but declined thereafter, both as a consequence of the right of free movement and of the general decline of the town. In 1890 the Jewish population had declined to about 150, and the community was unified with the growing community of Sumperk (Maehrisch Schoenberg). In 1900 there were 101 Jews. In 1929, there was only one Jewish family left. In 1930 there were 30 Jews. Today there are no Jews in the town, which numbered 1,114 inhabitants in 1961.
One Usov Jew survived the Holocaust. While there was no Jewish community in Usov after World War II, a well-preserved Jewish quarter recalls the Jewish existence in Usov. The synagogue built in 1784, the third one in a row, was renovated after the war and is used as a house of prayer by the Czech Brethren Protestant Church.
H. Gold, Die Juden und Judengemeinden Maehrens in Vergangenheit und Gegenwart (1929), 331–42; E. Baumgarten, in: Gedenkbuch… D. Kaufmann (1900), 506–37; M. Haendel, Temunot min he-Avar (1955) 201–13. ADD. BIBLIOGRAPHY: J. Fiedler, Jewish Sights of Bohemia and Moravia (1991).
[Oskar K. Rabinowicz /
Yeshayahu Jelinek (2nd ed.)]
Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.