VIENNA, capital of *Austria. Documentary evidence points to the first settlement of Jews in the 12th century. The first Jew known by name is *Shlom (Solomon), mintmaster and financial adviser to Duke Leopold V. The community possessed a synagogue at the time and Jews owned houses in the city. In
At the close of the 13th and during the 14th centuries, the community of Vienna was recognized as the leading community of German Jewry. In the second half of the 13th century there were in the community 1,000 Jews, living in 70 houses. The influence of the "Sages of Vienna" spread far beyond the limits of the town itself and continued for many generations. Of primary importance were *Isaac b. Moses "Or Zaru'a," his son *Ḥayyim "Or Zaru'a," Avigdor b. Elijah ha-Kohen, and *Meir b. Baruch ha-Levi. At the time of the *Black Death persecutions of 1348–49, the community of Vienna was spared and even served as a refuge for Jews from other places; it developed rapidly during the reign of Rudolf IV (1339–65).
Nonetheless, toward the end of the 14th century there was growing anti-Jewish feeling among the burghers; in 1406 during the course of a fire that broke out in the synagogue, in which it was destroyed, the burghers seized the opportunity to attack Jewish homes. The need of Duke Albert V for money and the effects of the uprising by the *Hussites, combined with the hatred for the Jews among the local population, led to cruel persecutions in 1421 (the *Wiener Gesera). Many of the community's members died as martyrs; others were expelled, and the children forcibly converted. The community was destroyed and its property passed to Duke Albert.
After the persecutions some Jews nevertheless remained there illegally; in 1438 Christian physicians complained about Jews practicing medicine illegally in the city. In 1512 there were 12 Jewish families in Vienna, and a small number of Jews continued to live there during the 16th century, often faced with threats of expulsion. In 1582 a Jewish cemetery is noted. They suffered during the Thirty Years' War (1618–48) as a result of the occupation of the city by Imperial soldiers. In 1624 Emperor *Ferdinand II confined the Jews to a ghetto situated on the site of the present-day Leopoldstadt quarter. In 1632 there were 106 houses in the ghetto, and in 1670 there were 136 houses accommodating 500 families. A document of privilege issued in 1635 authorized the inhabitants of the ghetto to circulate within the "inner town" during business hours and Jews also owned shops in other streets of the city. Some Jews at this time were merchants engaged in international trade; others were petty traders. The community of Vienna reassumed its respected position in the Jewish world. In addition to other communal institutions the Jews maintained two hospitals. Among rabbis of the renewed community were Yom Tov Lipman Heller, and Shabbetai Sheftel *Horowitz, one of the many refugees from Poland who fled the *Chmielnicki massacres of 1648.
Hatred by the townsmen of the Jews increased during the mid-17th century, fanned by the bigotry of Bishop Kollonitsch. Emperor Leopold I, influenced by the bishop as well as the religious fanaticism of his wife and sustained by the potential gains for his treasury, decided to expel the Jews from Vienna once again. Though Leo *Winkler, head of the Jewish community at the time, arranged for the intervention of Queen Christina of Sweden on behalf of the Jews it was of no avail, as was an offer to the emperor of 100,000 florins to limit the expulsion. The poorer Jews were expelled in 1669; the rest were exiled in the month of Av, 1670, and their properties taken from them. The Great Synagogue was converted into a Catholic church, the "Leopoldskirche." The Jews paid the municipality 4,000 florins to supervise the Jewish cemetery. Of the 3,000–4,000 Jews expelled some made their way to the great cities of Europe where a number succeeded in regaining their fortunes. Others settled in small towns and villages. According to the testimony of the Swedish ambassador at the time, some of the Jews took advantage of the offer to convert to Christianity so as not to be exiled.
By 1693 the financial losses to the city were sufficient to generate support for a proposal to readmit the Jews. This time, however, their number was to be much smaller, without provision for an organized community. Only the wealthy were authorized to reside in Vienna, as "tolerated subjects," in exchange for a payment of 300,000 florins and an annual tax of 10,000 florins. Prayer services were permitted to be held only in private homes. The founders of the community and its leaders in those years, as well as during the 18th century, were prominent *Court Jews, such as Samuel *Oppenheimer, Samson *Wertheimer, and Baron Diego *Aguilar. As a result of their activities, Vienna became a center for Jewish diplomatic efforts on behalf of Jews throughout the empire as well as an important center for Jewish philanthropy. In 1696 Oppenheimer regained possession of the Jewish cemetery and built a hospital for the poor next to it. The wealthy of Vienna supported the poor of Ereẓ Israel; in 1742 a fund of 22,000 florins was established for this purpose, and until 1918 the interest from this fund was distributed by the Austrian consul in Palestine (see *Hierosolymitanische Stiftung). A Sephardi community in Vienna traces its origins to 1737, and grew as a result of commerce with the Balkans.
During the 18th century the restrictions on the residence rights of the "tolerated subjects" had prevented the rapid growth of the Jewish population in Vienna. There were 452 Jews living in the city in 1752 and 520 in 1777. The Jews suffered under the restrictive legislation of *Maria Theresa (1740–80). In 1781 her son, Joseph II, issued his *Toleranzpatent, which though attacked in Jewish circles, paved the way in some respects for later emancipation. Religious studies and sermons were delivered illegally by the scholars of the community or by rabbis who had been called upon to visit the town. By 1793
From the close of the 18th century, and especially during the first decades of the 19th, Vienna became a center of the *Haskalah movement. The influence and scope of the community's activities increased particularly after the annexation of *Galicia by Austria. Despite restrictions, the number of Jews in the city rapidly increased. Several Hebrew authors, including the poet and traveler Samuel Aaron *Romanelli, the philologist Judah Leib *Ben Zeev, the poet Solomon Levisohn, Meir *Letteris, etc., wrote their works in Vienna. Some of them earned their livelihood as proofreaders in the city's Hebrew press. The character of Haskalah and the literature of the Jews of Vienna was gradually Germanized. The first Jewish journalists, such as Isidor Heller, Moritz Kuh, and Zigmund Kulischer, inaugurated an era of Jewish influence on the Viennese press.
At a later period the call for religious reform was heard in Vienna. Various maskilim, including Peter Peretz Ber and Naphtali Hertz *Homberg, tried to convince the government to impose Haskalah recommendations and religious reform on the Jews. This aroused strong controversy among the Vienna community. The appointment of Isaac Noah *Mannheimer as director of the religious school in 1825 was a compromise between the supporters of reform and its opponents. In 1826 a magnificent synagogue, the Stadttempel, in which the Hebrew language and the traditional prayers were retained, was built by Josef Kornhaeusel. It was the first legal synagogue to be opened since 1671, but had to be hidden from the street because the law demanded it. The activists around Mannheimer, who founded the synagogue, were Michael Lazar Biedermann, Isak Loew Hofmann von Hofmannsthal, Heinrich Sichrovsky, and Leopold von Wertheimstein. Mannheimer and the ḥazzan Salomon *Sulzer tried to improve the decorum of the services in the new synagogue, rejected radical Reform, created the Viennese rite, and prevented a split in the community. Sulzer's Shir Ẓiyyon ("Song of Zion") became a model for many Ashkenazi synagogues throughout the world.
Jewish intellectuals were in the forefront of the revolution of 1848. The physician Adolf *Fischhof pleaded for press freedom, Ludwig August *Frankl, Moritz *Hartmann, and Ignaz *Kuranda published poems and articles and founded newspapers. The burial of the Jewish and Christian dead of the revolution together, with Mannheimer and Sulzer participating, was the first ecumenical service in Austria. Among the dead was Hermann Jellinek, the brother of Mannheimer's successor, Adolf *Jellinek. With the new constitution of 1849 the Jews gained equality before the law.
Kuranda, a member of the German National Assembly in Frankfurt and of the Vienna City Council, became president of the Jewish community in 1872. The writer, poet, and journalist Ludwig August Frankl became archivist and secretary of the Jewish community. In 1856 he traveled to Jerusalem, where he founded the Laemel School, which was financed by Elise Herz. He published his experiences in the two volumes, Nach Jerusalem. Joseph Ritter von *Wertheimer, who became the first president of the Jewish community in 1864, founded in 1830 the first general kindergarten in Vienna and in 1843 a Jewish kindergarten. He also established an orphanage for girls and a children's home and became founder and president of the Israelitische Allianz zu Wien.
During the second half of the 19th century and the first decades of the 20th, the Jewish population of Vienna increased as a result of immigration there by Jews from other regions of the empire, particularly Hungary, Galicia, and Bukovina. There were 3,739 Jews living in Vienna in 1846, 9,731 in 1850, and about 15,000 in 1854. After 1914 about 50,000 refugees from Galicia and Bukovina established themselves there, so that by 1923 there were 201,513 Jews living in Vienna, which had become the third largest Jewish community in Europe. In 1936 there were 176,034 Jews in Vienna (8% of the total population). The occupations of the Jews in Vienna became more variegated. Many of them entered the liberal professions: out of a total of 2,163 advocates, 1,345 were Jews, and 2,440 of the 3,268 physicians were Jews.
Before the Holocaust there were 19 temples and 63 smaller houses of prayer in Vienna. Together they had 29,200 seats. The first free-standing temple in Vienna was built in 1858 by Ludwig von Foerster in Vienna's main Jewish quarter in the Leopoldstadt district. With 2,000 seats it was the biggest temple in Vienna. In 1929 the last temple – a modern Jugendstil building – was inaugurated in the Viennese district of Hietzing. The Orthodox faction of the Jewish community had two large temples, the famous Schiffschul, built in 1864, where Jesaia Fuerst was rabbi from 1897 until 1938, and the Polnische Tempel (Polish temple) in the Leopoldsgasse with Mayer Mayersohn as rabbi from 1899 until 1937.
In 1857 Adolf Jellinek became preacher of the Leopold-staedter temple. Eight years later he became Mannheimer's successor in the Stadttempel. He avoided the term rabbi, was one of the greatest preachers of his day, and remained antagonistic to the new national movement. He published many apologetic articles in the newspaper Neuzeit, from 1861 edited by Leopold Kompert and Simon Szanto. He also edited many Midrashim and published several studies on the Kabbalah.
In 1866 Moritz *Guedemann, a graduate of the Jewish Theological Seminary in Breslau, became rabbi of the Leopoldstaedter temple. In 1869 he became head of the bet din, and in 1894 Jellinek's successor as chief rabbi of Vienna. He was more Orthodox than his predecessors and was an open enemy of the Zionist movement. As a scholar he published a multi-volume history of Jewish education. His memoirs are
In 1890 the Israelitengesetz was passed, which ruled that only one Jewish community was allowed in one geographical region.
The Jewish community of Vienna had many Jewish educational, cultural, and social institutions. To name only the most important, in 1864 Adolf Jellinek founded the Beth Hamidrasch, where Isak Hirsch Weiss, Meir Friedmann, Salomon Rubin, and Sigmund Gelbhaus taught Bible, Talmud, the Shulḥan Arukh and Mishneh Torah, and Jewish history.
The rabbinical seminary, founded in 1893, was a European center for research into Jewish literature and history. It was modeled on the Jewish Theological Seminary in Breslau, of which its first director, Adolf Schwarz, was as a graduate. The most prominent scholars were Adolf *Buechler, David *Mueller, Victor *Aptowitzer, Z.H. *Chajes, and Samuel *Krauss.
After World War I the Zionists – most prominent among them the new Viennese chief rabbi Zwi Perez Chajes – founded several new educational institutions. Among them was the Hebrew Pedagogium, opened in 1918. It offered courses for kindergarten teachers and Hebrew teachers; its language of instruction was Hebrew. Its first director was Harry Torczyner, who moved to Berlin in 1919 to teach at the *Hochschule fuer die Wissenschaft des Judentums and went in 1933 to Jerusalem, where he taught at the Hebrew University under his Hebraicized name Naphtali *Tur-Sinai. His successor was Abraham Sonne. Other instructors were Salo W. *Baron, Zwi Diesendruck, and M.A. Wiesen.
In 1920 a seminary for the training of religious teachers was founded; its director was Moritz Rosenfeld. Also in 1920 a Jewish high school was opened. It was Zionist-oriented; its director was Viktor Kellner, a former teacher of the Herzliah High School in Tel Aviv. After the death of Zwi Perez Chajes the school was named after him.
In 1924 Rabbi Armand Kaminka, who also was the secretary of the Israelitische Allianz and who had taught at the Beth Hamidrasch, founded the Maimonides Institut, where the same traditional Jewish subjects were taught. Its teachers were Moses Zickier; the Vienna community rabbi Moritz Bauer; the lawyer Nissan Goldstein; Moses Horowitz, before he became rabbi of Stanislau; and Salomon Rappaport, who later became the director of the Hebrew seminary in Johannesburg, South Africa.
In 1844 a Jewish institution for the deaf and dumb was founded. It was directed by Moritz Brunner and Salomon Krenberger, but had to be closed in 1926 because of financial difficulties. In 1876 Ludwig August Frankl founded a Jewish institution for the blind. Its directors were Simon Heller (until 1923) and Siegfried Altmann, who emigrated in 1938 to New York. Both were renowned experts in the education of the blind.
In 1869 Anselm Freiherr von Rothschild financed the new building of a Jewish hospital in memory of his father (called Rothschild hospital).
In 1896 the Jewish Museum was opened. It was the first Jewish museum in the world; it was maintained by the Society for the Collection and Conservation of Jewish Art and Historic Monuments. Its curator was Jakob Bronner, who fled to Palestine in 1938. The collection of the museum was dispersed; only parts of it could be found and reconstituted after 1945. The same happened with the famous library of the Jewish community, which had about 50,000 volumes and was directed by Bernhard Muenz, the historian Bernhard *Wachstein, and after his death in 1936 by Moses Rath, the author of the Hebrew textbook Sefat Amenu.
Vienna also became a Jewish sports center; the soccer team Ha-Koah and the *Maccabi organization of Vienna were well known.
Though in the social life and the administration of the community, there was mostly strong opposition to Jewish national action, Vienna was also a center of the national awakening. Peretz *Smolenskin published *Ha-Shaḥar between 1868 and 1885 in Vienna, while Nathan *Birnbaum founded the first Jewish nationalist student association, *Kadimah, there in 1882, and preached "pre-Herzl Zionism" from 1884. It was due to Herzl that Vienna was at first the center of Zionist activities. He published the Zionist movement's organ, Die *Welt, and established the headquarters of the Zionist Executive there. The Zionist movement in Vienna gained in strength after World War I. In 1919 the Zionist Robert *Stricker was elected to the Austrian parliament, although he was not reelected in 1920. Three Zionists, Leopold Plaschkes, Jakob Ehrlich, and Bruno Pollack-Parnau, were elected to the Vienna City Council. The well-known Zionist social worker Anita *Mueller-Cohen, who set up a whole network of social institutions for thousands of Jewish refugees who had fled during World War I from Galicia and Bukovina to Vienna, was elected as the youngest member of the Vienna City Council on a non-Zionist list. The Zionists did not obtain a majority in the Jewish community until the elections of 1932, when the Zionist lawyer Desider *Friedmann became president.
After the establishment of the Austrian Corporate State (Staendestaat) in 1934 following the defeat of the Social Democrats in the Austrian Civil War, Desider Friedmann became Staatsrat (a member of the new governing body), Salomon Frankfurter Bundeskulturrat (a member of the advisory council), and Jakob Ehrlich, an appointed member of the body which replaced the democratically elected Vienna City Council.
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Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.