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HOHENEMS, town in Vorarlberg, Austria. In 1617 a ducal charter of privileges put a dozen Jewish families who had fled to Hohenems from Burgau on an equal footing with the Christian burghers in most respects. As tax, they were obliged to pay 10 gulden and two well-fed geese annually. By the middle of the 17th century the community had increased to around 30 families. Temporary expulsion (1676–88), increased taxation, and restrictive legislation characterized the late 17th and early 18th century. Eight years after Hohenems had passed to Austrian rule (1765), there were 227 Jews (10% of the total population) living in 24 houses, concentrated in one street, constituting a separate municipal body. A government edict promising protection for the Jews was issued in 1769. Under Bavarian rule (1805–14) the community was ordered to incorporate with the township (1813). The order was renewed by *Francis I (1817) but never enforced. Until 1848 there was frequent strife between the Jewish community and the township over the question of taxation. Since they were prohibited from doing business in Vorarlberg province, Hohenems Jews became successful merchants in Switzerland and Italy. During the period from 1849 to 1878 the Jewish community was reconstituted as a municipality with its own mayor.

Under Rabbi J.L. Ullmann, a hevra kaddisha was founded (1760), and a synagogue opened (1772). Because of his attempt to introduce reforms, R. Abraham *Kohn (1833–44) was forced to leave Hohenems for Lemberg. The community possessed its own elementary school (1784), mikveh, and slaughter house, and boasted of 22 charitable and cultural foundations. In the middle of the 19th century many Hohenems Jews emigrated to the U.S. By 1860 the community had diminished by half. After the constitution of 1867 allowed Jews to settle freely in Austria, the community declined rapidly in number, from 455 in 1866 and 221 in 1869 to 165 in 1878. By 1939 only 10 Jews remained in Hohenems. The synagogue was severely damaged in 1938, and in 1940 the remaining Jews were deported to Vienna. The cemetery, consecrated in 1617, was cared for by the St. Gallen community after World War II. After the war, Stefan *Zweig was buried beside his mother in the local cemetery after committing suicide near Rio de Janeiro in 1942. Among Hohenems' more prominent citizens was Solomon *Sulzer, the Vienna hazzan.


A. Taenzer, Die Geschichte der Juden in Tirol und Vorarlberg, 2 (1905).

Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2007 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.