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Encyclopaedia Judaica

Jews in Austria 02: Jews from 16th to 19th century

Kings playing with protection and expulsion - "useful citizens" and Toleranzpatent 1782

from: Austria; In: Encyclopaedia Judaica 1971, vol. 3

presented by Michael Palomino (2007)

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<Counter-Reformation to 19th Century.


In the period of the Counter-Reformation, during the reigns of Maximilian II (1564-76), *Rudolph II (1576-1612), and Matthias (1612-19), there were frequent expulsions and instances of oppression.

[Protected Jews under Ferdinand II]

Under Rudolph the Jewish population in Vienna increased; certain families enjoying special court privileges ("hofbefreite Juden") [["Jews liberated by the court"]] moved there and were permitted to build a synagogue.

In 1621 *Ferdinand II allotted the Jews of Vienna a new quarter outside the city walls. In the rural areas the jurisdiction over the Jews and their exploitation for fiscal purposes increasingly passed to the local overlords. Important communities living under the protection of the local lordships existed in villages such as Achau, Bockfliess, Ebenfurth, Gobelsburg, Grafenwoerth, Langenlois, Marchegg, *Spitz, Tribuswinkel, and Zwoelfaxing.

In Vienna also, *Ferdinand III (1637-57) temporarily transferred Jewish affairs to the municipality. The *Chmielnicki massacres in Eastern Europe (1648-49) brought many Jewish refugees to Austria, among them important scholars.

[Expulsion of the Jews from Vienna under Leopold I]

The situation of the Jews deteriorated under *Leopold I (1657-1705). In 1669 a commission for Jewish affairs was appointed, in which the expulsion of the Jews from Vienna and the whole of Austria was urged by Bishop Count *Kollonch. In the summer of that year, 1,600 Jews from the (col. 890)

poorer and middle classes had to leave Vienna within two weeks; and in 1670 the wealthy Jews followed. The edict of expulsion remained nominally in force until 1848, although sometimes transvened.

A number of *Court Jews in particular, such as Samuel *Oppenheimer, Samson *Wertheimer, Simon Michael, and Joseph von Geldern, were permitted to live in Vienna. Their households included Jewish clerks and servants. In 1752 it is estimated that there were 452 Jews living in Vienna, all of whom were connected with 12 tolerated families.

[18th century until 1848: Discrimination of Jews by segregation, by marriage laws - Turkish Jews since 1718]

Restrictive legislation was enforced in most localities in the Hapsburg empire; often Jews were segregated from Christians. In 1727, in order to limit the Jewish population, the *Familiants laws were introduced, allowing only the oldest son of a Jewish family to marry. They remained in force until 1848. By the peace treaty of Passarowitz between Austria and Turkey (1718), Jews who were Turkish subjects were permitted to live and trade freely in Austria. Their position was thus more favorable than that of Jews who were Austrian subjects. In 1736, Diego d'*Aguilar founded the "Turkish community" in Vienna.


Jewish order of Maria Theresa, 1753
Encyclopaedia Judaica: Austria, vol.3,
                        col.903: Jewish order 1753: Title page of Maria
                        Theresa's Jewish Order
                        ("Judenordnung") of 1753, regulating
                        Jewish life throughout her empire.
Encyclopaedia Judaica: Austria, vol.3, col.903: Jewish order 1753: Title page of Maria Theresa's
Jewish Order ("Judenordnung") of 1753, regulating Jewish life throughout her empire.


[Jews as "useful citizens" under Joseph II]

From the end of the 18th century, with the growing centralization of the government of the empire and new political developments, the position of the Jews in Austria proper became increasingly linked with the history of the empire as a whole. As part of his endeavors to modernize the empire, *Joseph II (1780-90) attempted to make the Jews into useful citizens by introducing reforms of their social mores and economic practices and abolishing many of the measures regulating their autonomy and separatism.

Although not altering the legal restrictions on Jewish residence (mainly affecting Vienna) or marriage, he abolished in 1781 the wearing of the yellow badge and the poll tax hitherto levied on Jews.

[1782: The Toleranzpatent - Jews between assimilation and cultural identification]

Joseph II's Toleranzpatent [[law of tolerance]], issued in 1782, in which he summarized his previous proposals, is the first enactment of its kind in Europe. Jews were directed to establish German-language elementary schools for their children, or if their number did not justify this, to send them to general schools. Jews were encouraged to engage in agriculture and ordered to discontinue the use of Hebrew and Yiddish for commercial or public purposes.

It became official policy to facilitate Jewish contacts with general culture in order to hasten assimilation. Jews were permitted to engage in handicrafts and to attend schools and universities. Jewish judicial autonomy was abolished in 1784. Jews were also inducted into the army, which in due course became one of the careers where Jews in Austria enjoyed equal opportunities, at least in the lower commissioned ranks.

The "tolerated" Jews in Vienna and the (col. 892)

intellectuals who, influenced by the enlightenment movement (see *Haskalah), tended toward assimilation, accepted the Toleranzpatent enthusiastically. The majority, however, considered that it endangered their culture and way of life without giving them any real advantages. The implementation of these measures promoted the assimilation of increasingly broader social strata within Austrian Jewry. In 1792 the Jewish Hospital was founded in Vienna, which benefited Jews throughout the Empire for many years. In 1803, there were 332 Jewish families living in Austria proper (including Vienna), and approximately 87,000 families throughout the Hapsburg Empire.> (col. 893)

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Sources
Encyclopaedia Judaica 1971: Austria,
                              vol. 3, col. 887-888
vergrössernEncyclopaedia Judaica 1971: Austria, vol. 3, col. 887-888
Encyclopaedia Judaica 1971: Austria,
                              vol. 3, col. 889-890
vergrössernEncyclopaedia Judaica 1971: Austria, vol. 3, col. 889-890
Encyclopaedia Judaica 1971: Austria,
                              vol. 3, col. 891-892
vergrössernEncyclopaedia Judaica 1971: Austria, vol. 3, col. 891-892
Encyclopaedia Judaica 1971: Austria,
                            vol. 3, col. 893-894
vergrössernEncyclopaedia Judaica 1971: Austria, vol. 3, col. 893-894
Encyclopaedia Judaica 1971: Austria,
                            vol. 3, col. 895-896
vergrössernEncyclopaedia Judaica 1971: Austria, vol. 3, col. 895-896
Encyclopaedia Judaica 1971: Austria,
                            vol. 3, col. 897-898
vergrössernEncyclopaedia Judaica 1971: Austria, vol. 3, col. 897-898
Encyclopaedia Judaica 1971: Austria,
                            vol. 3, col. 899-900
vergrössernEncyclopaedia Judaica 1971: Austria, vol. 3, col. 899-900
Encyclopaedia Judaica 1971: Austria,
                              vol. 3, col. 901-902
vergrössernEncyclopaedia Judaica 1971: Austria, vol. 3, col. 901-902
Encyclopaedia Judaica 1971: Austria,
                            vol. 3, col. 903-904
vergrössernEncyclopaedia Judaica 1971: Austria, vol. 3, col. 903-904



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