Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Jews From Austria

Nadene Goldfoot                                                                  
Vienna's Imperial Palace

The first Jewish settlers came most likely with the Roman soldiers as their slave workers, most likely before 70 CE when the Romans were controlling Jerusalem.                                                                                
  It wasn't until the first specific mention of them was in about 906 in a documents placing Jewish and Christian merchants on the same footing.
Travel from Vienna, Austria to Athens, Greece
Jewish persecution in Germany drove many to Austria.  By 1204 there was a synagogue in Vienna.

By 1238, Emperor Frederick II granted a charter to the Jews of Vienna and took them under his protection.  Six years later in 1244, Duke Frederick the Quarrelsome gave the Jews a new charter called Privilegium Fredericianum or the privileges from Frederic,  which served as a model for others to copy.
The period from the 13th to the 15th centuries were bad, however, marked by terrible persecutions being the worst in 1420 when there was a charge against a Jew of ritual murder-usually saying that a Jew had killed someone to use their blood in making matzos.  All of the Jews were either burned, expelled or forcibly baptized-the Wiener Gezerah.                                                                          
1667 Empress Margaret Theresa of Spain, then AustriaMargarete Theresia; 12 July 1651 – 12 March 1673) was Holy Roman EmpressGerman Queen, Archduchess consort of Austria, Queen consort of Hungary and Bohemia. She was the daughter of King Philip IV of Spain and his second wife Mariana of Austria.
They did not disappear completely and those there were subject to further restrictive laws and local expulsions up to the year 1670 when another major expulsion was decreed through the influence of the Spanish-born empress of Austria, Margaret Theresa.  Notice that the Spanish Inquisition took place in 1492 and the effects and acts of the Spanish was copied by all the other nations.   "On March 1, 1670, Leopold I, the Holy Roman Emperor and archduke of Austria, ordered the Jews out of Vienna and all of Austria. The deadline was August 1.

By the next century, Jews were living in Austria again but still suffering from the hostility of Maria Theresa.  In 1782, her successor, Joseph II wrote out the Edict of Toleration, which was written so as to enforce emancipation and hasten assimilation of the Jews, but they didn't receive full rights.

Rabbi Samson Wertheimer (1658-1724) He was a rabbi and a financier born in Worms, Germany.  He went to Vienna in 1684 to join the bank of his uncle, Samuel Oppenheimer and soon became what was called a court banker.  He and his son, Wolf,  lent large sums of money to the emperor.

 In 1719 he was appointed by Carl VI the chief rabbi of Hungary with judicial authority.  Leopold prohibited the publication of Eisenmenger's anti-Jewish work.  
 Austria-Hungary consisted of two monarchies (Austria and Hungary), and one autonomous region: Croatia–Slavoniaunder the Hungarian crown, which negotiated its own compromise(Nagodba) with Hungary, in 1868.

It was ruled by the 
House of Habsburg, and constituted the last phase in the constitutional evolution of the Habsburg Monarchy. Following the 1867 reforms, the Austrian and the Hungarian states were co-equal.
Jewish Quarter in 1860 in Vienna

Found in Vienna were these ancient Jewish tombstones that were hidden from view.  The cemetery dates back to the 16th century and had about 900 tombstones until 1938, when the Nazis came to power and gave vandals free reign to deface and destroy them.
Much later at the start of the Holocaust, the Nazi Germans annexed Austria on March 12, 1938 and with Hitler as their leader, this led to an unprecedented Jewish persecution. Austria existed as a federal state of Germany until the end of World War II,.  About 80,000 Jews were able to emigrate between 1938-1940, but 100,000 were slaughtered in this Holocaust.  Nazism was a German political movement of National Socialism.  In 1921 Adolf Hitler became its leader and until 1923 was a movement restricted to Bavaria but became a mass movement at the end of the 20's.  It achieved power on January 30, 1933, then used subterfuge when necessary to become the country's only party until the end of WWII.  Hitler was born in Austria in 1889 and we hope it was he who died in 1945.  He  became the German chancellor in 1933.  Then he invaded Poland in 1939.

By 1990 there were 12,000 Jews living in Austria of which 11,000 were in Vienna, the capital. The core Jewish population of Austria in 2014 was 9,000.  It was dropping.  Surprisingly, in Germany it was 118,000.  Hungary had 47,900.  Ukraine had 63,000.

Resource: The New Standard Jewish Encyclopedia

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