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Leopold I

(1640 – 1705)

Leopold I was the Holy Roman Emperor (1658–1705), king of Bohemia (1656–1705), and king of Hungary (1655–1705). His treatment of the Jews was determined by his ultra-Catholic attitudes, which led to their expulsion from Vienna in 1670. On his election as Holy Roman Emperor in 1658, he confirmed all charters which had been granted in Austria and in the Holy Roman Empire by his father Ferdinand III and ordered that Jewish life and property be protected (1660, 1665, 1669). However, his anti-Jewish attitude was intensified by his marriage in 1666 to the Catholic-educated Margaret Theresa, daughter of Philip IV of Spain, who saw in the tolerance of the Jews the reason for the death of her firstborn (1668).

In 1670, he responded to the city’s request that the Jews be expelled from Vienna, despite papal intervention, and swore never to admit them again. He considered the Hungarian Protestants’ claim that they were worse off than the Jews, and he was influenced by Cardinal Kollonich. When re-admitting Court Jews such as Samuel Oppenheimer in 1676 and Samson Wertheimer in 1684, he had the problem of his oath solved by theologians.

In 1695, he permitted the printing of the Talmud in Germany. At Oppenheimer’s request, he prohibited (1700) the circulation of Johann Andreas Eisenmenger’s Entdecktes Judenthum.


D. Kaufmann, Die letzte Vertreibung der Juden aus Wien (1889), 65–166; H. Tietze, Die Juden Wiens (1935), index; Pillich, in: J. Fraenkel (ed.), The Jews of Austria (1967), 5–9; W. Mueller, Urkundliche Beitraege zur Geschichte der maehrischen Judenschaft (1903), 25–31; A.F. Pribram, Urkunden und Akten zur Geschichte der Juden in Wien, 1–2 (1918), index; M. Grunwald, Vienna (1936), index; MHJ, 2 (1937), index.

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