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Linz, Austria

Linz is the capital of Upper Austria. Jewish moneylenders are recorded in Linz in 1304; a Jewish settlement in the growing market town is probably a century older. In 1335 a synagogue is mentioned; two Jews were baptized a year earlier. Jews were accused of desecrating the Host in 1338. Although the community was not harmed during the Black Death persecutions of 1348, a local persecution occurred in 1371.

In 1396, Duke Albert IV permitted Jews to conduct only fiscal transactions with the burghers; the decree was renewed in 1412. The Jews were expelled from Linz in 1421, and. in 1426, the synagogue was turned into a church. Jews were permitted to attend the biannual markets in the town in 1494, and Jewish horse dealers and feather and wool merchants, mainly from Moravia, continued to trade at the fairs until their entry was forbidden at the end of the 17th century. Only in 1783 were the markets officially declared open, and, in 1824, the Jews opened their own prayer room.

A cemetery was consecrated in 1863 when the modern community was established. In 1869, there were 391 Jews (1.3% of the total population), and 533 in 1880.

A new synagogue was opened in 1877 by Rabbi Adolf Kurrein (1876–82), a publicist and author. His son, Rabbi Viktor Kurrein (1923–38), wrote the history of the community.

In 1923, there were 1,238 Jews in Linz, 671 in 1934 (0.6%), and, in 1938, before the Anschluss, 650.

On Nov. 10, 1938, during Kristallnacht, the synagogue was burned down by the SS; the 65 remaining Jews were arrested and ordered to leave within three days for Vienna. The Nazis claimed the Jews must leave the town because it was the capital of the province of Hitler’s birth. Jewish shops were not looted because they had already been “Aryanized.”

Shortly after the end of the war, 2,400 Jewish refugees were housed in the nearby Bindermichen camp. A new community was reorganized, which numbered 238 in 1949 and 145 in 1961.

In October 1957, an anti-Semitic demonstration was sparked by a performance of The Diary of Anne Frank.

Protests against a ban on shehitah were lodged in 1958.

A new synagogue was consecrated in 1968.


Festschrift anlaesslich der Einweihung des neu erbauten Bethauses in Linz (1968); V. Kurrein, Die Juden in Linz (1927); idem, in: Menorah (1927), 309–44; idem, in: JGGJČ, 2 (1930), 497–500; 4 (1932), 481–4; idem, in: Juedisches Archiv, 1:5–6 (1928), 3–7; Germ Jud, 2 (1968), 490–1; L. Moses, Die Juden in Niederoesterreich (1935), 185–6, no. 274, 279; H.H. Rosenkranz, Reichskristallnacht9 November 1938 in Oesterreich (1968), 51; PK Germanyah.

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