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Encyclopaedia Judaica

Jews in Vienna 02: 17th and 18th century

How "Christian" Emperors played with the Jews with ghetto, expulsion and high taxes - Palestine foundation - Toleranzpatent - Hebrew printing

from: Vienna; In: Encyclopaedia Judaica 1971, vol. 16

presented by Michael Palomino (2007)

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[since 1624: Ghetto under Ferdinand II - 1635: walking rights - hospitals - refugees from Chmielnicki massacres]

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 was 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.

Encyclopaedia Judaica: Vienna, vol.16,
                          col.129, death penalty by hanging and fire for
                          Jewish criminals in 1642 Encyclopaedia Judaica: Vienna, vol.16, col.129, death penalty by hanging and fire for Jewish criminals in 1642: Engraving showing the torture and execution in Vienna of Jewish thieves, including a relapsed convert, 1642. Hanging by the heels over a pyre was a common form of execution for Jews in the Middle Ages. Nuremberg, Germanic Museum ("Germanisches Museum")

The community of Vienna reassumed its respected position in the Jewish world. In addition to other communal institutions they 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.

[1669: Expulsion of the Jews under Leopold I - no arrangement possible - some conversions]

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.

Encyclopaedia Judaica: Vienna,
                  vol.16, col.129, expulsion and treck in 1670:
                  Engraving showing the expulsion of the Jews from
                  Vienna, 1670. Munich, print room
                  ("Kupferstichkabinett")
Encyclopaedia Judaica: Vienna, vol.16, col.129, expulsion and treck in 1670: Engraving showing the expulsion
of the Jews from Vienna, 1670. Munich, print room ("Kupferstichkabinett")

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.

[1693: Rich Jews allowed to settle in Vienna - high taxation]

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.

[Hierosolymitian foundation for Jews in Palestine 1742-1918 - Sephardi community since 1737]

The wealthy of Vienna supported the poor of Erez 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 [[Hierosolymitian foundation]]). A Sephardi community in Vienna traces its origins to 1737, and grew as a result of commerce with the Balkans.

[Anti-Semitic legislation under Maria Theresa 1740-1780 - Toleranzpatent under Joseph II since 1781 - Hebrew printing press since 1793]

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 their son, Joseph II, issued his *Toleranzpatent, (col. 123)

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 [[Napoleon time]] there was a Hebrew printing press in Vienna that soon became the center for Hebrew printing in Central Europe (see below). During this period the first signs of assimilation in the social and family life of the Jews of Vienna made their appearance, and there was a decline in the observance of tradition.> (col. 124)

Encyclopaedia Judaica: Vienna, vol.16,
                            col.130, Talmud 1797: Title page of the
                            tractate "Berakhot" from the
                            Talmud published by Joseph Hraszansky.
                            Vienna, 1791-97. Jerusalem, J.N.U.L. Encyclopaedia Judaica: Vienna, vol.16, col.130, Talmud 1797: Title page of the tractate "Berakhot" from the Talmud published by Joseph Hraszansky. Vienna, 1791-97. Jerusalem, J.N.U.L.


<Hebrew Printing.

In the 16th century  a number of books were published in Vienna which had some rough Hebrew lettering (from wood-blocks?):
-- Andreas Planeus' Institutiones Grammatices Ebreae, printed by Egyd Adler, 1552
-- J.S. Pannonicis' De bello tureis in ferendo, printed by Hanns Singriener, 1554
-.- and Paul Weidner: Loca praecipuo Fidei Christianae, printed by Raphael Hofhalter, 1559.

Toward the end of the 18th century extensive Hebrew printing in Vienna began with the court printer Joseph Edler von Kurzbeck, who used the font of Joseph *Proops in Amsterdam. He employed Anton (later: von) Schmid (1775-1855), who chose printing instead of the priesthood. Their first production was the Mishnah (1793). In 1800 the government placed an embargo on Hebrew books printed abroad and thus gave him a near monopoly. His correctors were Joseph della Torre and the poet Samuel Romanelli (to 1799), who with Schmid printed his Alot ha-Minah for Charlotte Arnstein's fashionable  marriage (1793).

Among the works they printed were a Bible with Mendelssohn's Biur (1794-95) and David Franco-Mendes' Gemul Atalyah (1800). Schmid also issued the 24th Talmud edition (1806-11) and the Turim (1810-13) with J.L. Ben-Zeev's notes on Hoshen Mishpat.

Besides Kurzbeck and Schmid there were other rivals and smaller firms: Joseph Hraszansky, using a Frankfort on the Main font, opened a Hebrew department in Vienna. Among his great achievements are an edition of the Talmud (1791-97). In 1851 "J.P. Sollinger's widow" began to print Hebrew texts including a Talmud, with I.H. *Weiss as corrector (1860-73). Special mention must also be made of the Hebrew journals printed in Vienna including *Bikkurei ha-Ittim (1820/21-31), Kerem Hemed (1833-56), Ozar Nehmad (1856-63), Bikkurei Ittim (1844), Kokhevei Yizhak (1845-73), and Ha-Shahar (1868-84/5).> (col. 131)

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Sources
Encyclopaedia Judaica 1971: Vienna,
                              vol. 16, col. 122
vergrössernEncyclopaedia Judaica 1971: Vienna, vol. 16, col. 122
Encyclopaedia Judaica 1971: Vienna,
                              vol. 16, col. 123-124
vergrössernEncyclopaedia Judaica 1971: Vienna, vol. 16, col. 123-124
Encyclopaedia Judaica 1971: Vienna,
                              vol. 16, col. 125-126
vergrössernEncyclopaedia Judaica 1971: Vienna, vol. 16, col. 125-126
Encyclopaedia Judaica 1971: Vienna,
                              vol. 16, col. 127-128
vergrössernEncyclopaedia Judaica 1971: Vienna, vol. 16, col. 127-128
Encyclopaedia Judaica 1971: Vienna,
                              vol. 16, col. 129-130
vergrössernEncyclopaedia Judaica 1971: Vienna, vol. 16, col. 129-130
Encyclopaedia Judaica 1971: Vienna,
                              vol. 16, col. 131-132
vergrössernEncyclopaedia Judaica 1971: Vienna, vol. 16, col. 131-132


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