AUSTRIAIn the present article no reference is made to Hungary or to the former Italian provinces of Austria or to the Austrian Netherlands; Bohemia, Galicia, and the other outlying provinces of contemporary Austria are only treated in so far as they are connected with the history of the monarchy as a whole.:
- From the Earliest Times to the Charter of Frederick II. (1238):
- Important Rabbis.
- "Servi Cameræ Nostræ."
- Charter of Emperor Frederick II. (1238):
- Charter of Duke Frederick II. of Austria (1244):
- The Interregnum (1254-1276):
- Under the House of Hapsburg (1276-1420):
- The First Tötbrief.
- Restrictions on Occupations.
- Further Restrictions.
- Host-Tragedy of Enns.
- From the Expulsion of 1420 to that of 1670:
- Persecutions: Capistrano.
- Petitions Against Resettlement.
- Expulsions: Carinthia and Styria.
- General Policy.
- The Vienna Ghetto.
- Immunity from City Taxes.
- Expulsion from Vienna.
- From the Expulsion of 1670 to the Toleration Edict of Joseph II. (1782):
- Court Jews.
- Under Maria Theresa.
- From the Emancipation Edict of Joseph II. to the Revolution of 1848:
- Beginning of a New Era.
- Case of Abraham Heimann.
- Interest in Communal Organization.
- The Vienna "Tempel."
- Signs of Progress.
- From the Revolution of 1848 to the Present Time:
- Dawn of Freedom.
- Religious Conservatism.
Empire in Europe now united with the kingdom of Hungary; its territorial extent has changed considerably during the past thousand years.From the Earliest Times to the Charter of Frederick II. (1238): Important Rabbis.
The date of the first settlement of the Jews in Austria, like that of almost all other European countries, is enveloped in obscurity. Folk-lore speaks of a Jewish kingdom supposed to have been founded in Austria, 859 years after the Deluge, by a Jew or pagan called Abraham, who came from the wonderland "Terra Ammiracionis" to Auratim. (Stockerau) with his wife, Susanna, andhis two sons, Salim and Ataim. This country was ruled over by seventy-two princes down to 210
A year later the emperor granted to the Jews of Vienna a charter in which the Jews are called, for the first time in Germany, the emperor's serfs ("servi cameræ nostræ"); and although this expression is meant in the first sense to assert the emperor's right over the Jews, it is, with regard to the fact that the emperor considers them as condemned to eternal servitude, a matter of some importance.Charter of Emperor Frederick II. (1238):
The jurisdiction over the Jews, like many other fiscal rights, was a subject of controversy between the emperor and the feudal lords. While Emperor Frederick, when he had conquered Vienna, catered to the burghers by excluding the Jews from public offices, he also wished to attach them to his cause, and therefore defined their rights in a charter which is, in its most important features, a repetition of the one granted to the Jews of Germany in 1236. The charter contains ten sections, and states first that the Jews shall be under the emperor's protection ("servi cameræ nostræ"). They are exempt from the duty to furnish vehicles and horses for the royal retinue ("hospites"). If stolen property is found in their possession, they have merely to swear how much they have paid for it in order to receive that sum from the lawful owner. The baptism of Jewish children without the consent of their parents is expressly prohibited; and a heavy fine is imposed on transgressors of this law. Baptism of the slaves of Jews is similarly prohibited. Converts shall be given three days during which the sincerity of their desire to embrace Christianity shall be tested. In civil law Jews and Christians are treated as equals; but a Jew can not be forced to the ordeal and can free himself by oath from any accusation. Jews can not be condemned on the testimony of Christians alone. Their lives are under the protection of the law, and for killing or assaulting a Jew a fine is imposed, which, according to the views of the time, is the reparation for such a crime. In their internal affairs they have perfect autonomy and shall be judged by their rabbis and communal officers ("coram eo qui preest eis"); only in important matters jurisdiction is reserved to the emperor. In connection with the commercial activity of the Jews, dealing in wines, paints, and antidotes is especially mentioned; some of them must, therefore, have been physicians.Charter of Duke Frederick II. of Austria (1244):
After Frederick II. had regained possession of his country he vigorously asserted his rights, although he made some concessions to the states ("Stände"). Thus, he confirmed to the citizens of Wiener Neustadt the privilege that the Jews should not be placed in office, just as Emperor Frederick had confirmed it to the citizens of Vienna; but, on the other hand, he regulated the position of the Jews, and evidently with a benevolent intention. He says that he grants this charter in his desire to give to all those who are living within his dominion a share in his grace and benevolence. This law is a classic type of the legislation on the Jews duringthe thirteenth and the two subsequent centuries. It remained in force until the expulsion of the Jews from Austria in 1420, and was more or less literally copied in the laws of the following rulers: Bela IV. of Hungary, 1251; Przemysl Ottocar II. of Bohemia, 1254; Boleslav of Kalisz, 1264; and Bolko of Silesia, 1295. The most important feature of this charter is the large space given to money-lending; no fewer than ten of its thirty sections dealing with questions of interest, pledges, and the like, in addition to the sections dealing with the jurisdiction over the Jews. Of greatest importance is the fact that the duke claims the Jews as his own subjects, which is the first instance in which they are claimed by the territorial ruler instead of by the emperor. It may also be noted that the Jews are permitted to receive as interest eight denars a week on the talent, a rate of 173.33 per cent per annum. If any pledge prove to have been stolen, the Jew has merely to swear how much he loaned on it, and that he did not know that it was stolen, in order to receive its value from the owner. Everything may be accepted as pledges, with the exception of bloody or wet garments; and in case of loss by fire or robbery the oath of the Jew is sufficient to prove his assertion. It is expressly stated that Jews may lend money on real estate; but it is uncertain whether, in cases of foreclosure of their mortgages, they may possess them. For the murder of a Jew by a Christian the death penalty is inflicted; while for manslaughter and injury a fine is imposed, part of which is to be paid to the duke, part to the person wounded. Capital punishment is also the penalty for desecration of a Jewish cemetery; while for damage to a synagogue a fine of two talents is inflicted. Abduction of a Jewish child is punishable as theft. Their lawsuits are conducted in the duke's court, and he appoints a special judge for Jewish affairs ("judex Judæorum"). There is also a "magister Judæorum," a rabbi or overseer of the congregation, elected by the Jews and confirmed by the duke; he is their legal representative, and has authority to administer their internal affairs. Like the imperial law, that of Duke Frederick also states that a Jew can not be condemned unless there is a Jewish as well as a Christian witness against him; but it differs from the imperial law in that the duke permits Jews to challenge an evil-doer to the ordeal. It is, however, most likely that in such a case the Jews hired a champion.The Interregnum (1254-1276):
Duke Frederick fell in battle June 15, 1246; and as he left no children, his dominion became the bone of contention for various claimants, from whom King Przemysl Ottocar II. succeeded in 1251. The new ruler naturally sought to gain the good-will of the citizens in his newly acquired territory, and, therefore, soon after the occupation of Austria, he confirmed to the cities the privilege granted to them by Duke Frederick of the exclusion of Jews from public office. His political plans required for their accomplishment a great deal of money, and this was evidently the reason that he renewed (March 29, 1254) the privileges granted to the Jews by Duke Frederick; proclaiming, like his predecessor, his desire to show his good-will to all his subjects ("Wann wir wellen, das allerlay leut die in unser herrscheft wonund sind, unser genad und gütwilligkait tailheftig werden funden"). The only difference between the charter of Ottocar and that of Frederick is that Ottocar prohibits taking sacred vestments as pledges. He, further, exempts the Jews from returning pledges on their holy days, does not limit the rate of interest, and protests against the Blood Accusation, referring to the papal decrees on that subject. These insignificant differences can scarcely have been due to a change in policy: they were most likely caused by emergencies of the intervening period. It seems that these charters were not respected; for, on his return from the crusade against the heathen Prussians, Ottocar again renewed the grants to the Jews (March 8, 1255). Further, he did not enforce the ordinance excluding Jews from public office; for, in a document dated 1257, two Jews are mentioned as the king's financiers ("comites cameræ").
The Church, then at the height of her power, had, since the Lateran Council of 1215, attempted to circumscribe the position of the Jews; but her decrees were not carried into effect. Pope Clement IV., therefore, sent Cardinal Guido, a Cistercian monk, as his delegate to northern Europe to enforce ecclesiastical discipline. In this capacity Guido presided over various diocesan councils which discussed, among other matters, the enforcement of the law against the Jews. Such a council was held in Vienna May 10-12, 1267. The canons of this council enjoin the distinctive Jewish dress, and the payment by the Jewish inhabitants to the priest in whose parish they dwell of an annual sum equal to that which he would receive were Christians living in their places. Jews are prohibited from frequenting bathing-houses and taverns of Christians, from employing Christian domestics, from acting as tax-collectors, and from holding any other public office. A Jew cohabiting with a Christian woman shall be heavily fined; while the woman shall be whipped and expelled from the city. Social intercourse between Jews and Christians is strictly prohibited, and Christians shall not buy meat or other food from Jews, as the latter are likely to poison it. If a Jew exacts exorbitant interest from Christians, he shall be excluded from all intercourse with Christians. When the host is carried through the streets, the Jews shall close the doors and shutters of their houses and shall remain within. A similar duty is enjoined for Good Friday. Jews shall not discuss matters of religion with the common people, shall not prevent the wives and children of converts from embracing Christianity, nor convert a Christian to Judaism. They shall not attend Christian patients nor call upon them. They shall not build new synagogues, and when they repair an old synagogue they shall not enlarge it. On days of abstinence they shall not carry meat in the streets uncovered (Pertz, l.c., "Scriptores," ix. 699 et seq.; H. Baerwald, "Die Beschlüsse des Wiener Conciliums über die Juden aus dem Jahre 1267 in Wertheimer's Jahrbuch," 1859-60, pp. 180-208). Ottocar renewed this charter of 1254 on Aug. 23, 1268. Complaints by the ecclesiastics, that the Jews kept Christian servants, show that the canons of the Vienna council remained to a great extent a dead letter.Under the House of Hapsburg (1276-1420):
Through the treaty of Nov. 21, 1276, the Austrian territories were ceded to Rudolph of Hapsburg as a vacant vassalage, which he later transferred, in his capacity as German emperor, to his sons Albrecht I. and Rudolph (Dec. 27, 1282). He at once asserted his rights by granting a new charter to the Jews, because in this respect, as in many others, he was anxious to emphasize the fact that Ottocar's dominion was not a legitimate one. This charter, dated March 4, 1277, was also, in its principal points, a reproduction of that issued by Frederick II. in 1244, although Rudolph issued it not as duke of Austria, but as German emperor. It was not until 1331 that the dukes of Austria received the right to keep Jews. Another important difference lies in the fact that the charter of Rudolph was limited to the Austrian possessions, while in Bohemia the regulations of Ottocar remained in force. Rudolph, who naturally, like Ottocar, wished to attach the cities to his government, also confirmed to several of them the privilege of excluding Jews from public office; however, he refused to confirm forged privileges of Wiener Neustadt dating from about 1270, and which were still more unfavorable to the Jews. Under his successor, Albrecht I. (duke of Austria from 1282; German emperor from 1298; assassinated 1308), the Jews were protected in Germany; while, in his own dominions, Albrecht connived at the outrages committed upon them by mobs or by princes. The sentiment of the populace with regard to the Jews may be judged from the verses of the contemporary poet, Seyfried Helbling, who complains that there are too many Jews in the country, and that thirty Jews are enough to fill the largest city with "stench and unbelief." He therefore advises that all the Jews be burned, or sold at the rate of thirty for a penny (Haupt, "Zeitschrift für Deutsche Alterthümer," iv.). In 1293 the Jews of Krems were accused of having murdered a Christian; two were broken on the wheel, and the others had to pay heavy ransom for their lives.Persecutions.
The persecution started in Franconia by
Frederick levied taxes on the Jews in Austria on the basis of his rights as German emperor; he also canceled the debt of Albert von Rauhenstein to a Jewish money-lender, the first instance of a usage that became frequent in later times (see Tötbrief). Frederick's order, that no Jew should engage in tailoring or in selling cloth ("Gewand-Schneiden") in the city of Wiener Neustadt, is a further evidence of the growing hostility of the municipalities toward the Jews and of the disposition of the rulers to yield to them.
Under Albrecht II. (1330-58) and Otto (1330-39), brothers and successors of Frederick, the right to keep Jews was expressly granted by the emperor to the dukes of Austria by the treaty of Munich, May 4, 1331 ("Darzu sollen sie die Juden, die hinter in gesessen seindt, in allen den Rechten und Gewohnheiten haben und niessen, als sie oder ir Vordern herbracht haben"). It became the custom in those days for the emperor, in order to obtain the good-will of his powerful vassals, to transfer among other royal privileges the right to keep Jews; that is, to tax them. In spite of the greater interest which the territorial rulers took in their Jews, when they became their taxable property, the persecutions, begun under Armleder in Alsace in 1338, had their counterparts in Austria. In Retz, Znaim, Horn, Eggenburg, Neuburg, and Zwetl the Jews were massacred, and in the first-named city, where a desecrated host had performed the usual miracles, a church of the "Holy Blood" was erected in commemoration of it. Evidently because of their fear of similar massacres, the Jews of Vienna voluntarily reduced the rate of interest from 173.33 per cent, to which they were entitled under the charter of 1244, to 65 per cent on large and to 86 per cent on small loans. This document, written both in Hebrew and in German, is preserved in the municipal archives of Vienna (Wolf, "Studien zur Jubelfeier der Wiener Universität," Vienna, 1865, p. 170). The desire of Duke Albrecht II. to protect the Jews against mob violence, for which the desecrated host furnished pretexts, is evident from the fact that he wrote to Pope Benedict XII. asking him to order an investigation of alleged miracles in connection with a desecrated host in Pulka, which, according to the opinion of some, were merely a pretext to pillage the Jews.
The pope, in an ambiguous reply dated Aug. 29, 1338, directs that an investigation be made; but of the result nothing is known.Restrictions on Occupations.
New sufferings came upon the Jews of Austria with the appearance of the Black Death (1349), though not to so great an extent as elsewhere in Germany. In various cities the accusation was spread that the Jews had caused the plague by poisoning the wells; and in Krems, Stein, Mautern, and other places the Jewish communities were massacred. For this infringement of the public peace and for the destruction of the duke's property the cities were fined, three of the mob leaders were executed, while others had to pay ransom for their lives. Contemporary chronographers call the duke for this act of justice a partizan of the Jews ("fautor Judæorum"). A report, first found in an old manuscript, "Wiener Geserah" (Steinschneider, "Cat. Bodl." col. 537; Grätz, "Gesch. der Juden," 3d ed., vii. 344, wrongly based on Pez, l.c. i. 541), according to which theJews of Vienna killed themselves in their synagogue upon the advice of their rabbi Jonah, is unfounded (see Scherer, l.c. p. 371). Albrecht's successor, Rudolph IV. (1358-65), forged the so-called "Privilegium majus," according to which Emperor Frederick I. had in 1156 given to the dukes of Austria unusual privileges, among which was the right to keep Jews and "public usurers." Emperor Karl IV. confirmed the right of the Austrian dukes to keep Jews in all places in their dominion, and made a treaty with the dukes of Austria, in his capacity as king of Bohemia, that neither party would allow Jews who had left their country to settle in that of the other (Dec. 13, 1360). This measure was adopted in order to prevent Jews who might endeavor to escape from extortions from seeking another home. If a Jew found another home, his bonds were invalidated. Such "Tötbriefe" issued by Rudolph are extant from the year 1362. The same conditions prevailed under Rudolph's brothers and successors, Albrecht III. (1365-95) and Leopold III. (1365-86). When Jews had left the country, those who remained had to indemnify the duke for the loss which he had suffered. In 1367 several Jews, probably the representatives of their coreligionists, made a treaty with the dukes, promising to pay 20,000 florins for two Jews, Musch and Chadgim (Ḥayyim), who had left the Austrian territory; in consideration of which payment the dukes allowed them to take all of the fugitives' property. In 1366 the dukes issued an order that no Jew should engrave a seal; and two years later they prohibited dealing in gold and silver and money-changing by Jews, restricting them to lending money on pledges. About 1370 all the Jews in the Austrian territories were imprisoned by secret order, and their property was confiscated. One report has it that the object of this outrage was to convert the Jews to Christianity. However this may have been, the attempt failed; only two, a man of forty and a young girl, were baptized, the former of whom returned to Judaism and was burned at the stake. At a subsequent period, probably in 1378, a new charter was granted to the Jews. The deed is not now extant; but from quotations in later documents it is learned that the Jews were given a renewed assurance of the ducal protection; the right of residence in all the ducal lands was accorded to them; they were to be assisted in collecting their debts; and the dukes undertook to issue no letters of invalidation. The Jews were not to be blackmailed by loans and taxes beyond those stipulated by their charters, and accusations against them must be proved by the testimony of honest ("unversprochenen") Christians and Jews.
Notwithstanding the promise that they should not be troubled with demands for loans by the dukes, the latter in 1379-80 exacted another loan of 10,000 pounds of Vienna pennies, assessed under the penalty of excommunication against all the Jews of Austria. Similarly, in spite of the promise granted in the charter, the dukes in 1382 remitted the interest which the citizens of Vienna owed to the Jews on loans. An order of 1371 prohibits the sale of wine and grain by the Jews of Styria; yet the Jews of Vienna are expressly exempted from the impost laid by the municipality of Vienna on wine brought into the city.Further Restrictions.
How did the Jews, who in 1370 were robbed of all their property, levy ten years later the sum of 10,000 pounds of pennies on the members of their community? This is easily answered, when the fact is considered that the confiscation did not include the bonds which they had in their hands and which constituted the greater part of their possessions. Thus the condition of the Jews under rulers who were considered partial to them was rather precarious; but their situation became worse under the succeeding dukes. Of the Jews under Albrecht IV. (1395-1404), son of Albrecht III., and Wilhelm, the son of Leopold III. (1395-1406), who ruled over Austria in common, very little is known. The charter granted to the Jews of Carinthia and Styria Oct. 23, 1396, which states that the privileges granted them in 1377 shall be confirmed, is merely a confirmation of the "Handfeste" (charter) described above. Restrictions, such as the prohibition of dealing in any merchandise in the city of Linz (1396), or of holding real estate, even where it had been obtained as a foreclosed mortgage, are based on the principle that Jews should be restricted to money-lending. Of particular interest is the fact that a Jew, named Guntzenhauser, had to sign a promise that he would not practise medicine (1403). This was evidently done upon the demand of the university, whose professors frequently complain of the competition of Jewish physicians. The invocation of the "great Jew Czaphonas Paneach," found in that document, is evidently not, as Scherer (l.c. p. 403) and Wolf ("Studien zur Jubelfeier der Wiener Universität," p. 16, Vienna, 1865) interpret it, a mystic formula: it refers to the Aramaic version of Gen. xli. 45, and means, therefore, an oath in the name of Him who knoweth all secrets.Host-Tragedy of Enns.
The hostility of the general population to the Jews manifested itself in 1406, when a fire broke out in the synagogue of Vienna and the mob used the opportunity to sack the Jewish quarter. The worst, however, was to come under Albrecht V. (1404-39), who, when at fourteen he was declared of age, succeeded his father Albrecht IV., and the latter's cousin, Leopold IV. Albrecht was a religious fanatic; and the popular prejudice, which declared the Jews responsible for every evil, had at that time accused the Jews of having caused the Hussite schism. This fanaticism found soon a pretense of justification in the circulation of the story that a rich Jew, Israel of Enns, had bought of a sexton's wife a consecrated host in order to profane it. Under the order of the duke, all the Jews of Austria were imprisoned (May 23, 1420); the poor among them were expelled from the country; and the well-to-do were kept in prison, and their property was confiscated. Some, in order to save their lives, embraced Christianity, but of these the majority returned to Judaism and were burned at the stake. Others committed suicide; and this probably gave rise to the legend that R. Jonah and the whole congregation of Vienna killed themselves in the synagogue. The only result of an appeal to the pope (Martin V.) bythe Jews of Italy was the bull of Dec. 23, 1420, decreeing that Jewish children under the age of twelve should not be baptized. The fate of the Jews he either could not or would not alter, although in his bull of Feb. 12, 1418, he had confirmed to them the whole of the privileges which they had possessed in Germany. All the Jews who had not professed Christianity were burned near Vienna, March 12, 1421; the duke confiscated their property; their houses were either sold or donated to persons of distinction; and the synagogue was destroyed, and the materials given to the university. The children of the Jews were placed in monasteries to be educated; and the duke made a treaty with his cousin Ernst of Styria that the Jews in the latter's dominion should have no dealings with his subjects. Even in his own dominion, however, he could not enforce his law, for in 1438 he issued a safe-conduct to a Jew, named Isserlein, basing this favor on the fact that the latter was innocent of the crime for which the Jews had been punished. His epitaph, however, praises him for the cremation of the Jews ("Jussi Judæos ante cremare meos").Culture:
While the number of Jews in Austria must have been considerable, and some congregations, as those of Vienna, Wiener Neustadt, and Krems, had contained Jewish settlements as early as the cities along the Rhine, and while Eliezer of Bohemia speaks with an expression of pity of the spiritual conditions among the Jews of Hungary and Poland (Buber, "Anshe Shem," p. x, Cracow, 1895), little is known of literary activity among the Jews of this country. Of the fourteenth century is Meïr ben Baruch ha-Levi in Vienna, who is reported to have introduced the title Morenu as license for the exercise of the rabbinical prerogative. Among his contemporaries were Abraham Klausner, Shalom of Neustadt, and Aaron of Neustadt. Their activity is chiefly in the field of the minutiæ of law, in which Shalom's disciple, Jacob ha-Levi (Maharil), became specially prominent. The latter has preserved to us the fact that as early as the fourteenth century the Jews of Austria had their own ritual and their peculiar melodies in public worship ("Minhag Bene Oesterreich"; see Maharil, in "Laws of Yom Kippur," ed. Warsaw, 1874, p. 47). Religious practises in Austria must have been so developed in the twelfth century that Isaac of Durbalo, a Frenchman, thought them worthy of his special attention, and he quotes what he has heard about them in Olmütz (Maḥzor Vitry, p. 338, Berlin, 1896-97). There must, however, have been some participation in the spiritual life of their neighbors, as Jewish physicians are frequently mentioned, and their practise seems to have aroused the jealousy of their Christian competitors. It is further probable that G. Wolf is right when he thinks that the title "Morenu" was introduced by R. Meïr ha-Levi in imitation of the conferring of degrees in the University of Vienna founded in 1365 ("Studien zur Jubelfeier der Wiener Universität," p. 15, Vienna, 1865). The only Talmudic scholar of great literary reputation was Israel Isserlein of Marburg, Styria, author of "Terumat ha-Deshen," who lived in the first half of the fifteenth century. The great-grandfather of Isserlein, Israel of Krems was appointed by Emperor Rupert chief rabbi of all the Jews in the German empire (May 3, 1407), which most likely meant that he should be responsible for the collection of taxes (Grätz, "Gesch. der Juden," 3d ed., viii. 102). The assumption that Israel was from Kremsier (Frankel-Grün, "Gesch. der Juden von Kremsier," i. 15, Breslau, 1896) is improbable (see "Deborah," 1902, p. 132). The Jews refused to submit to him.From the Expulsion of 1420 to that of 1670: Persecutions: Capistrano.
Albrecht's posthumous son, Ladislaus (1440-57), who was declared of age in 1452, was a religious fanatic, and in the treatment of the Jews followed the example of his father. In charters granted to the municipality of Vienna (June 6, 1453, and Sept. 27, 1455) he confirmed his father's law, that no Jew should have the right to reside in that city. He further declared that loans contracted by his subjects from Jews residing elsewhere should be invalid, just as his father had in 1423 made an agreement with his cousin, Ernst of Styria, that the Jews living in the latter's dominion should not be permitted to lend money to the subjects of Albrecht. The physicians of Vienna complained that a Jew who had a safe-conduct from the German emperor Frederick III., Ladislaus' cousin, practised medicine (1454). The young king's enmity toward the Hussites was even more bitter than that of his father; and under his protection the fanatic monk Capistrano preached against the heretics, arousing the population against the Jews. They were expelled from Olmütz, Brünn, Znaim, Neustadt, Breslau, Schweidnitz, and other cities of Silesia (1454-55).Petitions Against Resettlement.
Ladislaus died when only seventeen years old (Nov. 23, 1457), and his lands passed into the possession of Frederick V. of Styria, who was also German emperor after 1440. Frederick was always in financial difficulties, and therefore needed the Jews; but he was also favorably inclined to them from humanitarian reasons, so that people gave him the nickname "King of the Jews." Probably because of the attacks on them by Capistrano, Frederick obtained from Pope Nicholas V. a bull (issued Sept. 20, 1451) granting him express permission to allow Jews to reside in all of his dominions, which included Austria, Carinthia, Carniola, Styria, Tyrol, and Alsace (Vorder-Oesterreich). This permission is explained by the fact that the Jews were tolerated for the benefit of the inhabitants needing moneylenders (Christians not being allowed to engage in this business), and, further, because tradition had from time immemorial sanctioned this toleration. A correct text is found in Scherer (l.c. p. 436). When Frederick succeeded to the possessions of Austria, the states ("Stände") petitioned (1458) that the expulsion of the Jews from Upper and Lower Austria be enforced. The petition was renewed in 1460, and in his reply (March 23, 1460) in which he grants the petitioners' request and states that Jews shall settle nowhere in his territories except where they have been permitted to reside before, he repudiates the rumor that he favored the Jews: "Wie man sein genad beschulldig, sein genad halt hye hewser vol Juden und thue den gnadig schub und fürderung, etc., wolt sein kay. gn. gern solcher zicht vertragensein von den die es erdencken, nachdem sein kay. gn. daran zumal ungütlich beschieht" (Scherer, l.c. p. 427). The complaints against the residence of Jews in Austria were frequently repeated in spite of the emperor's assurance that they would not be allowed to settle there; so that in his reply, dated Dec. 13, 1463, he makes the remark that while he was willing to carry out his promise not to allow any Jews to settle in Austria, he could not, in his capacity as king of the Romans, refuse them permission to come to his court whenever they had business to transact there. For some years this seems to have sufficed; but in 1479 the complaint is repeated, and the emperor is petitioned to issue a decree that no debt shall be valid unless the bond is signed in the presence of a judge.
The hostility to the Jews was constantly fomented by the clergy, who refused to give absolution or to admit to communion any judge or other official who in a litigation should render sentence in favor of the Jews. In order to stop this agitation, Frederick obtained from Pope Paul II. the bull "Sedis apostolicæ copiosa benignitas" (May 31, 1469), in which the pope declared that the Jews had a claim to be treated justly. The emperor also intervened in favor of the Jews of Endingen, who had been accused of the murder of a Christian child (see Blood Accusation and Josel of Rosheim); and he took similar action when charges of a like nature were made in Trent (1476) and Regensburg (1478). The animosity of the citizens remained unabated. When the Hungarian king Matthias Corvinus captured Vienna in 1485, the citizens petitioned him that "in consideration of their disgraceful action toward God Almighty, the Jews should be expelled." The king granted the petition. The hostility of the population is further manifested in various polemical works of the period (Scherer, l.c. p. 433).Expulsions: Carinthia and Styria.
The death of Frederick (Aug. 19, 1493) at once changed the condition of the Jews. His successor, Maximilian (1493-1519), seems, as heir presumptive, to have tried to induce his father to change his attitude toward the Jews. When Maximilian took possession of the throne, conditions changed to some extent in favor of the Jews, because his political ambitions—especially his wars with Francis I. of France—forced him to protect the Jews, who furnished his only reliable source of income. As under his father, the states ("Stände") of Austria constantly complain that, contrary to their privileges, Jews are tolerated. Maximilian always answers by referring to the temporary character of his grants to the latter. Still, as can be seen from his attitude toward the charges made by the convert Pfefferkorn, who demanded the confiscation of all rabbinical books, the emperor was not favorably inclined to the Jews. When, therefore, the states in Carinthia and in Styria declared their willingness to indemnify him for the taxes of the Jews, he decreed their expulsion from those provinces (Carinthia, March 9, 1496; Styria, March 12, 1496), which, partly under his father, partly under his own reign, had been united with the Austrian possessions. The states of Styria paid for the privilege of the expulsion of the Jews 38,000 pounds of Vienna pennies; while those of Carinthia paid 4,000 Rhenish florins (the text of this decree was published in "Allg. Zeit. des Jud." 1849, p. 23). The motives assigned for the expulsion are partly religious, arising from alleged insults to the sacrament, and partly economic, in view of the Jews' usurious and fraudulent business practises. Carniola had only one Jewish settlement, in Laibach, and the citizens of that town also obtained a decree ordering the expulsion of the Jews (Jan. 1, 1515). In all of these territories Jews had existed since the thirteenth century, and probably earlier, as is indicated by the names of many places; e.g., Judenburg, Judendorf, etc.General Policy.
The decrees of expulsion, with very few exceptions, remained in force until the new era following the year 1848. In Austria proper the petition of the states for the expulsion of the Jews, though often repeated, was never fully granted; and in 1518 the emperor, in replying to a petition for expulsion, stated that, while he was willing to expel the Jews from Vienna and from the province of Austria, it was not his intention to expel them from the province at once. He, therefore, permitted them to reside in the cities on the border, Eisenstadt, Marchegg, etc., where they should have a chance to look for a place of definite settlement. This policy the emperor maintained to the last. Shortly before his death (Jan. 12, 1519), he, in reply to repeated complaints of the states, announced that Jews who had been expelled from his various dominions would be allowed to reside in the border towns; and he further exempted from the expulsion the Jew Hürschl, who had been permitted to reside in Vienna (May 24, 1518). This is the beginning of the era of the Court Jews. Maximilian was succeeded by his grandson Charles V. (1519-56), who, in his capacity of German emperor, exercised a considerable influence upon the condition of the Jews in Austria. The frequent expulsions at the end of the fifteenth and at the beginning of the sixteenth century had made it imperative for the German emperor (who, in his illusionary capacity as Roman emperor, considered himself as the protector of all the Jews, and who, as such, derived an income from the Jewish taxes) to provide some remedy. Charles, therefore, at the commencement of his reign confirmed the privileges of the Jews (1520), among which was the important stipulation that they should not be expelled without his consent from places where they had been allowed to settle. This charter he confirmed after his coronation as Roman emperor (May 18, 1530), and again on April 3, 1544. In the latter document he also declared against the blood accusation. The policy of maintaining the Jews where they had once been tolerated and of prohibiting their settlement elsewhere remained in general the policy of the Austrian rulers after his time, although this rule was not without exceptions. When, in 1525, the states of Austria again demanded that Jews should not be permitted to reside in any part of Austria, Ferdinand (to whom, in 1522, Charles had assigned his Austrian possessions) emphatically replied (Feb. 23, 1526) that he would allow them to live in any part of his possessions where Jews had previously dwelt. On May 28, 1529, heagain confirmed the charter of the Jews in Austria. Individual Jews occasionally received special favors, as, for example, the physician Lazarus, whom the tutor of the emperor's children commends highly for services rendered to the imperial household (1534), and the Jew Moyse, who had distinguished himself by services rendered to the mint (1542). The latter was granted, as a special favor, permission to deal in all kinds of merchandise, though he was prohibited from lending money on interest. In spite of his promises to allow Jews to reside in places where they had been tolerated, Ferdinand ordered an expulsion of the Jews from Austria (Jan. 31, 1544). The order was, however, never executed. An expulsion from Bohemia, decreed by Ferdinand in 1561, was repealed owing to the efforts of Mordecai Meisels, who went to Rome and obtained from Pope Paul IV. the absolution of the emperor from his vow.
Under the successors of Ferdinand, Maximilian II. (1564-76), Rudolph II. (1576-1612), and Matthias (1612-19), the conditions remained the same. Expulsions were threatened and revoked; taxes were imposed on every occasion; and petty persecutions, especially in regard to the distinctive Jewish costume or badge, were the key-note of the legislation. In 1567 a charter granted to the Jews of Bohemia confirms the right of residence to the Jews of Bohemia "for all time"; while in the following year it is decreed that they shall not be permitted to reside in the mining towns. From these latter they remained excluded until the new constitution of 1848 abolished their disabilities. Another decree of expulsion followed, for the Jews of Lower Austria, in 1572, which was suspended in the following year, but seems to have been finally executed in 1575 or 1576. This expulsion, like that decreed in 1561 in Bohemia, must either have been revoked or, more probably, became again a dead letter owing to the exceptions in favor of the court Jews, who had the right to take other Jews into their employ; for in 1597 the states of Lower Austria again demand the expulsion of the Jews from the province, and, as if they knew that such a decree would not be carried out, they demand the enforcement of the decree compelling Jews to wear a badge. Rudolph II. took a great interest in the Jews from a scientific point of view also. Being an alchemist, he, like many others at that time, believed that cabalistic literature contained information on the mysteries which he was studying, and therefore he called Rabbi Löwe ben Bezalel to his castle in Prague (1592) to give him the much-desired information ("Ẓemaḥ David," ed. Frankfort-on-the-Main, 1692, p. 66b).The Vienna Ghetto.
Ferdinand II. (1619-37) was a bigoted Catholic and a disciple of the Jesuits, who, in their desire to crush out all heresy, were naturally enemies of the Jews. As during the sixteenth century complaint was made that the Jews sympathized with the Turks and served them as spies, so after the battle at the White Mountain near Prague (1620), which restored Bohemia to the house of Hapsburg and to Catholicism, the charge was made that the Jews favored Protestantism. Thus, the dean of Teplitz complains in a report to the archbishop of Prague that the Jews receive Protestants into their houses, and that the noise of their synagogues ("rugitus et mugitus illorum") disturbs the church services ("Allg. Zeit. des Jud." 1887, p. 30). In spite of his religious prejudices, however, Ferdinand treated the Jews with comparative fairness. When the town council of Vienna ordered landlords having Jews as tenants to require them to vacate the premises, the emperor at once intervened, enjoined the council from disturbing the Jews, and also took measures to protect them against further disturbances by allotting an area in one of the suburbs of Vienna to be set apart for the habitations of the Jews, in which they would be permitted to acquire real estate (1624). In a charter, dated Dec. 6, 1624, the Jews have assured to them undisturbed residence in Vienna; they are permitted to enter the city without the badge; the population is warned not to molest them; they are placed exclusively under the jurisdiction of the imperial authorities; and their houses are exempted from the obligation to billet soldiers. On the other hand, Ferdinand, as a strict Catholic, ordered that both in Vienna and in Prague Jews should be forced to attend a mission service on every Sabbath, when a Jesuit would preach to them on the truth of the Catholic religion (1630).Immunity from City Taxes.
The policy of Ferdinand seems to have been to exempt individual Jews from the disabilities imposed upon the Jews as a class. Thus, he gave to Jacob Bassevi hereditary nobility, and to the court Jews of Vienna a privilege which exempted them from the jurisdiction of the congregational authorities. This privilege and the immunity of the Jews from communal taxes and from the jurisdiction of the municipal authorities proved bones of contention; and after the death of Ferdinand (1637) the Jews of Vienna compromised with the city authorities, offering to pay the sum of 6,000 florins into the city treasury. This offer had not, however, the desired effect. The municipal authorities of Vienna demanded of the new emperor, Ferdinand III. (1637-57), the expulsion of the Jews from Lower Austria; and the emperor acceded to the extent of ordering that Jews should not be permitted to keep stores in the city, and that their exemption from municipal jurisdiction should cease (1638). A year or two later this law was revoked. In 1641 the status quo of 1624 was restored, and in recognition of the services rendered by the Jews to the imperial treasury during the severe crisis which the war with the Swedes had brought upon Austria, the former privileges were confirmed in 1645. Although the Jews had been accused of secret complicity with the enemy, they suffered terribly during the Thirty Years' war. In various congregations of Moravia Jewish houses were pillaged, and in Kremsier seventeen people were killed and a considerable number wounded. (June 26, 1643) (Frankl-Grün, "Gesch. der Juden in Kremsier," pp. 96 et seq.). The heavy taxes exacted from the Jews, in consequence of the depletion of the imperial treasury during the protracted war, and the constant quarrels in the overburdened Jewish communities, induced the emperor to give to the Jews of Vienna a new constitution (1646) which should enable the officers to enforce their authority (Meynert, in Wertheimer, "Jahrbuch für Israeliten,"v. 22). The enforcement of a decree of expulsion against the Jews of Lower Austria in 1652 could only be averted by the payment of a contribution of 35,000 florins.Expulsion from Vienna.
Ferdinand's son and successor, Leopold I. (1657-1705), had originally been destined for the priesthood, and only the death of his elder brother Ferdinand placed him on the throne. Of deeply religious character and a blind admirer of the Jesuits, he was only too eager to listen to the ever-renewed complaints of the citizens of Vienna. At the beginning of his reign he confirmed the privileges of the Jews (1658); and repeated his assurance of their protection, when the municipal council of Vienna ordered an appraisement of the houses and other property of the Jews, though they were not subject to municipal taxation (June 21, 1661). He also successfully checked the mob when, in 1665, the body of a murdered woman most found in the ghetto, and a rumor was spread that the Jews had committed the crime. His attitude soon changed, however. In 1660 he had married Margaret Theresa, a Spanish princess, and her influence was strongly brought to bear against the toleration of the Jews, for to this fact she ascribed the misfortune of the death of her first-born. To this was added the influence of the patriotic but fanatic bishop of Wiener Neustadt, Count Kollonitsch; and at length the emperor yielded to the demands of the citizens of Vienna, and ordered the expulsion of the Jews from the city and from the provinces of Lower and Upper Austria (Feb. 27, 1670). All Jews were required to leave the capital by July 25, 1670, and those living in the country were expelled in the following spring. The synagogue of Vienna was converted into a church (Aug. 18, 1670), which, in honor of the emperor, was named after his patron saint, Leopold. The persecution of the Jews soon bore fruit. The city could not, as it had promised, pay the taxes of the Jews in addition to those which they had paid before; and many citizens complained that the commerce of the city had suffered through the emigration of such a large number of consumers. Leopold then adopted a milder policy. He not only allowed the exiles to settle in his other provinces, notably in Moravia and Bohemia, but further permitted (1673) Jews to visit the fairs in the province of Lower Austria, whence they had been expelled. Moreover, when in 1680 the ghetto of Prague was destroyed by incendiaries, he refused to listen to the entreaties of the municipality of Prague, who wanted to use the opportunity to expel the Jews altogether. Negotiations with the representatives of the Vienna exiles at Wischau, Moravia, for their resettlement in the capital did not lead to the desired result; nevertheless, not long after the expulsion Jews again appeared in Vienna.Culture:
Though the Jews of Austria were not very prominent in rabbinical literature and other spiritual activities, the two congregations of Vienna and Prague, and, later on, that of Nikolsburg, contained quite a number of important Talmudists. Many of them had come from Germany, like YomṬob Lipmann Heller, rabbi in Nikolsburg, Vienna, and Prague, who in 1630 became the object of a treacherous calumny and had to leave the country. Before him R. Löwe ben Bezalel (d. 1609) occupied a very prominent position in Prague. The massacres by the Cossacks in Poland (1648-56) also brought many learned fugitives to Austria, like Ephraim Cohen, Shabbethai Cohen, Samuel Kaidanover, and others. Menahem Mendel Krochmal was rabbi of Nikolsburg, where he died in 1661, and was succeeded by his son-in-law, Gershon Ashkenazi, who was the last officiating rabbi of Vienna before the expulsion. Prague was the first town in Germany in which a printing-press was established (1513). Jewish physicians were always to be found in Vienna, successful rivals of their Christian colleagues. In the sixteenth century occurs the name of Leo Lucerna, called "Maor Ḳaṭon"; in the seventeenth century, those of Leo (Löw) Winkler, who graduated in Padua in 1629, and of his two sons, Jacob and Isaac, who were graduated there in 1669. Acquaintance with German seems to have been rare, for the documents signed by the Jews are signed in Hebrew. Still, the knowledge of spoken German was evidently very general, for the Jesuit priests who preached the mission sermons for the Jews were instructed to preach in German. Some Jews could write in German, as is seen from a letter addressed to Wagenseil by Enoch Fränkel, one of the exiles who settled in Fürth. This letter is also interesting from the broad-mindedness of the author, who protests against the accusation that the Jews hate Christians, as he can not see any reason why the professors of different religions should not be tolerant toward one another (Kaufmann, "Die Letzte Vertreibung der Juden aus Wien," p. 197).From the Expulsion of 1670 to the Toleration Edict of Joseph II. (1782): Court Jews.
As has been stated above, the needs of commercial life made the expulsion from Vienna a dead letter. The Jews went to the city on business, and the only difference was that they were not permitted to reside there. Even this prohibition was soon disregarded in exceptional instances. The war with the Turks, who in 1683 nearly captured Vienna, required large means; and among those who furnished the army with provisions and the treasury with money was Samuel Oppenheimer, a Jew from Heidelberg, who was given the right of residence and even that of acquiring property in Vienna. His right of residence dated from about 1685. Through him other members of his family were permitted to dwell in the city, either as members of his household, or as his employees. Prominent among them was Samson Wertheimer (1658-1724). Others followed, such as Simon Michael of Presburg, who had deserved well of the imperial treasury by furnishing gold and silver for the mint; so that in a comparatively short time the city had again a Jewish congregation, only with the difference that it possessed no corporate rights as such. The short reign of Leopold's son and successor, Joseph I. (1705-11), brought no change in their condition. Under Charles VI. (1711-40), a brother of Leopold, the traditional policy was also maintained. About 1725 there came from London to Vienna as a court Jew Diego
The malignant fanaticism of the clergy continued. Typical for their position is the case of the congregation of Aussee, when its synagogue was destroyed and three members were exiled on the charge of the local priest, who asserted that they had assaulted him, when he (contrary to the law) had entered their synagogue on Yom Kippur and preached Christianity to them (1722). In Brünn, whence Jews had been expelled through the efforts of Capistrano in 1454, one Solomon Deutsch in 1706 held services in an inn. When this became known the repetition of such an act was prohibited under a fine of 100 reichsthaler. On the application of Deutsch permission was, however, given to read prayers, but not to use a scroll of the Law ("cum res sapiat synagogam," "Tagesbote aus Mähren," Nov. 7, 1901). The taxes were very heavy. Charles demanded of the Jews of Vienna 148,000 florins to defray the expenses of his coronation (1711). In 1717 they had to lend 1,237,000 florins, toward which Samson Wertheimer contributed 500,000 florins. On the other hand, these court Jews used their influence in the interest of their coreligionists elsewhere when the latter were in trouble. It was due to Samuel Oppenheimer's influence that the work "Neu Entdecktes Judenthum," by J. A. Eisenmenger, was prohibited. They also tried, though in vain, to obtain a repeal of the cruel sentence against the Jews of Aussee mentioned above. The treatment of the Jews was still guided by the principle that they were a nuisance which required constant watching, lest it became pernicious. Thus Charles issued an order that of every Jewish family only one member should be considered "pro incola," which meant that only one should be permitted to marry (Sept. 23, 1726). Jews were expelled from Breslau in 1738 upon the demand of the merchants.Under Maria Theresa.
Maria Theresa (1740-80), who was very bigoted, was especially hostile to the Jews. During the war with Frederick the Great the rumor spread, as had been the case during the war with the Swedes and with the Turks, that the Jews had betrayed the country to the enemy. The empress imposed upon them a contribution of 50,000 florins, and in 1744 issued an edict that all the Jews in the kingdom of Bohemia, including the provinces of Moravia and Silesia, should be expelled. Only after great efforts by various philanthropists and foreign ambassadors did she consent to suspend the edict for ten years for an annual payment of 3,000,000 florins (Aug. 5, 1748). Later on the matter was abandoned. During the seven years' war with Prussia the empress permitted the statement to be published that the suspicion against the Jews was unfounded. In 1756 the district rabbi of Moravia, Moses Lemberger, upon the demand of the empress pronounced an excommunication against all traitors. In spite of her aversion to the Jews, the empress took a deep interest in all matters pertaining to the administration of Jewish congregations. Her statute for the Jewry of Moravia, "General-Polizey-Processund Kommerzialordnung für die Judenschaft im Marggrafthum Mähren" (1754), is a classic type of paternal legislation in the administration of Jewish affairs. The duties of the district rabbi, the mode of his election, and even the course of Talmudic studies were regulated in detail. She examined personally the bill of the delegates to the election of the Jewish representatives (1751), and demanded that a Jesuit should be a member of the commission which should examine all Hebrew books. Her special confidence was enjoyed by the Jesuit Franz Haselbauer (1677-1756), who in 1726 brought the charge against a Jewish calendar, printed in Amsterdam, that it contained blasphemies against the Catholic religion ("Zeit. für die Gesch. der Juden in Deutschland," ii. 388). In 1760 she issued an order that all unbearded Jews should wear a yellow badge on their left arm.
Of the restrictions placed on the Jews a specimen may be given from a petition of the community of Prague. They complain that they are not permitted to buy victuals on the market before a certain hour —vegetables not before 9, and cattle not before 11 o'clock; to buy fish is sometimes altogether prohibited; Jewish druggists are not permitted to buy herbs at the same time with Christians ("Allg. Zeit. des Jud." 1887, pp. 676 et seq.). The taxation was exorbitant. For instance, it was decreed in 1744 that the Jews should pay a special tax of 40,000 florins for the right to import their citrons for the Feast of Booths (see Etrog). Upon the petition of the Jews this tax was reduced to 4,000 florins. Only occasionally was the empress humane in her treatment of the Jews. Thus, on Feb. 15, 1769, she ordered that no Jewish child should be baptized against the will of its parents; and in a special case she decided against the Church (Wolf, "Judentaufen in Oesterreich," pp. 55 et seq., Vienna, 1863). An evident intention to improve the material condition of the Jews is found in her orders (1) that the Jews may sell new garments made by themselves, against which the gild of tailors had protested (April 10, 1772); (2) that Jews may engage in jewelers' work, although they must not keep an apprentice (April 24, 1772); and (3) that they may keep tanneries under certain restrictions (Sept. 20, 1775).Culture:
The mental activity among the Jews during this period is still almost exclusively restricted to Talmudic literature. Higher literary aims were pursued by David Oppenheim, nephew of the court Jew Samuel Oppenheimer, who was rabbi of Nikolsburg 1690-1705, and of Prague 1705-36. His rich and well-selected library could not, however, be brought into Austria on account of the severe censorship, then in the hands of the Jesuits. The movement of Shabbethai Ẓebi agitated the Jews of Austria to no small degree; and some of the mystics who followed the pseudo-Messiah were Austrians, like Loebele Prossnitz; or they found a fertile soil in Austria in men like Nehemiah Ḥayyun and Jacob Frank. The controversy between Jacob Emden and Jonathan Eybeschütz also caused a great commotion in Austria, where the latter had spent a great part of his early life and where, also, Emden had lived for some time in the house of his father-in-law, Mordecai ha-Kohen, rabbi in Ungarisch Brod. Members of the Auerbach family who had lived in Vienna and in Nikolsburg were called to importantrabbinical positions in Poland; others, like Schmelke Horowitz, rabbi in Nikolsburg (d. 1778), and Ezekiel Landau, chief rabbi of Prague (1754-93), were called to Austria from Poland. Prominent men from Austria filled positions in Germany; e.g., Baruch ben David Te'omim-Fränkel, the
Under Maria Theresa's son and successor, Joseph II. (1780-90), a new era began for the Austrian Jews. Joseph was an admirer of Voltaire and a disciple of the school of enlightenment, and he, therefore, adopted an attitude toward the Jews differing from that of his mother and considered it his duty to improve their condition. One of the first acts of his government was the abrogation of all the laws requiring the Jews to wear a distinctive dress (Oct. 21, 1781). The enlightenment ("Aufklärung") of the Jews was one of Joseph's cherished plans. To this end he demanded that the Jews should assimilate themselves to their surroundings, adopt the language of the country, and establish schools according to the plan of modern pedagogy ("Normalschulen"), that they should be allowed to enter all high schools and universities (which, as he expressly states, had been at no time directly prohibited), to lease lands for agricultural purposes (if they worked it with Jewish hands), to engage in all mechanical trades, arts, and wholesale commerce (Oct. 19, 1781). He abolished the poll-tax (Dec. 19, 1781), directed the authorities to treat the Jews like fellow-men ("Nebenmenschen"), and commanded that Jewish children in the public schools should also receive proper consideration. Joseph's views are most clearly expressed in what is called the Toleranzpatent (Jan. 2, 1782). He introduces this law with the statement that it is his aim to permit all his subjects, without distinction as to creed and nationality, to participate in the welfare and freedom of his government; and, although the restrictions on residence in the other provinces and the prohibition to reside in Lower Austria are expressly maintained, the law breathes the spirit of a new era. The specific ecclesiastic restrictions, dating from the time of the Vienna council, prohibiting Jews from being abroad before noon on Sundays and Catholic holy days, and from visiting places of amusement, are abolished. He also compelled the Jews to assume fixed family names (1787) and to serve in the army—in each case the first instance of the kind in Europe.Case of Abraham Heimann.
The short reign of Leopold II. (1790-92), brother and successor of Joseph, was too uneventful to leave any traces in the history of the Austrian Jews; but it may be mentioned that upon his ascent to the throne the bishops presented a petition asking that the laws of Joseph II. relating to the Jews be abrogated, and that the Jews be again declared crown vassals ("Kammerknechte") whose position depended solely on the good-will of the monarch. Leopold replied evasively that the times were too troublous to allow him to take any decisive steps in the matter. Francis II. (1792-1835), Leopold's son and successor, reigned during the most critical period of Austria's history. He was a man of narrow views, a typical Philistine; and his conception of the political and economic situation of the Jews was in harmony with his general policy. When, in 1793, Baron von Saurau, one of the highest officials, made a motion to abolish a special department of the police, the "Judenamt," an invidious distinction against the Jews, the emperor agreed that the department should be called a commission. Economic and social restrictions were numerous. The principle of improving the condition of the Jews by opening to them new ways of activity, as Joseph II. had intended, was given up. Agriculture, which Joseph II. endeavored to introduce among them, was restricted. They were prohibited from farming rural property. Only in the case of the estates of noblemen ("Landtäfliche Güter") was an exception made (March 29, 1793); and even then hereditary tenancy or acquisition was prohibited. Similarly, a Jew could foreclose a mortgage on real estate only under the condition that he should not buy it or take it under his administration (Oct. 23, 1816, and July 20, 1827). The Jews of Vienna were especially restricted: The emperor wrote with great indignation to one of his ministers stating that he had heard that the Viennese Jews bought houses in the names of Christians, and that this scandal ("Unfug") would not be tolerated (May 27, 1814). A law of 1804 prohibited dealing in saltpeter; one of 1814, in salt and grain. Although Simon von
The ecclesiastical laws were also applied with regard to the internal affairs of the Jews. The latter were not permitted to have any music in Advent, which generally occurred during Ḥanukkah; and an order was issued that Christians should not be permitted to dance at the balls of the Jews on Purim (1806 and 1824). How little the Jews were understood can be seen from the fact that when the assembly of Jewish notables convened in Paris, an order was given to watch the correspondence of the Jews, so as to ascertain whether they were plotting against the government. The police soon reported that, aside from some insignificant letters, which some Jews received from their relatives living in France, no interest was taken by them in the proceedings of the assembly and of the subsequent Sanhedrin (1806). The only Austrian Jew who received an invitation to attend this meeting, Bernhard von Eskeles, loyally turned over his invitation to the police. Another ecclesiastical restriction against the Jews was the prohibition of the assumption of names of Christian saints as first names (Nov. 6, 1834), which was evidently a reflex of the similar prohibition issued in Prussia Dec. 22, 1833. There was somewhat of the humorous in the report of a court councilor upon the synagogue which the Jews of Vienna desired to build: he expressed the fear that, if the Jews should have an attractive building and good sermons, the synagogue would soon be better frequented than the church (1824) (Wolf. "Gesch. der Juden in Wien," p. 133).Interest in Communal Organization.
On the other hand, it must be acknowledged that Francis had the intention of being in a measure just to the Jews, and that he sincerely wished to improve the desolate condition of their religious organization. It is certainly a notable sign of progress that as early as 1810 a Jew, Hönig, member of a family of famous financiers, was appointed an officer in the army—except in France, the first case of the kind in Europe. Even a tyrannical measure, such as that requiring every one who wished to marry to pass an examination in religion (based on Herz Homberg's text-book, "Bene Zion," 1810), was well meant, although its maintenance down to 1856 was vexatious. As early as 1795 the emperor had busied himself with a scheme to improve the spiritual condition of the Jews. He intended to establish a rabbinical seminary; and the failure of the scheme was due to the opposition of rabbis of the old school, like Eleazar Fleckeles, Samuel Landau, and Mordecai Benet. It certainly is creditable to him that he declined to entertain the propositions of narrow-minded rationalists like Herz Homberg and Peter Beer—who denounced the rabbis as blind fanatics, and the Talmud as the source of all evil among the Jews—and it is especially creditable that he did not reward Homberg's defamations of Judaism with the muchcoveted "Toleranz."The Vienna "Tempel."
The next result of the investigations of the spiritual condition of Judaism was the "Patent" for Bohemia, issued Aug. 3, 1797, which stated the principle that it was the emperor's object ultimately to remove all Jewish disabilities, although for the present the only tangible progress was the law requiring every rabbi to take a course of philosophical studies. This law was repeated for the other provinces of Austria (Jan. 22, 1820, and Jan. 29, 1826). It remained for a long time a dead letter, and even today (1902) it is not fully carried into practise. Next followed the establishment of the first scientific institution for the education of rabbis, opened in Padua (then under Austrian dominion) Nov. 10, 1829. It also redounds to the emperor's honor that he refused to entertain the proposition made by three Jews to pay into the treasury the annual sum of 150,000 florins, if they were given the right to levy a tax on Etrogim. The emperor considered it wrong to impose a tax on a religious practise (Dec. 12, 1799) ("Israelitisches Familienblatt," Hamburg, Oct. 10, 1901). It showed also considerable progress when the Jews in Vienna obtained permission to build a "Tempel," named so after the one founded in Hamburg, 1817. This name is in itself significant; for in 1620 the citizens of Vienna complain that, while the emperor had given the Jews the right to build a synagogue, they had erected a "Tempel." On the other hand, the name "congregation" was still denied to the Viennese Jews: they were merely "the Jews of Vienna," and their representatives not a board of trustees ("Vorstand"), but merely delegates ("Vertreter"), their rabbi an inspector of "kosher" meat, and their preacher (I. N. Mannheimer) merely a teacher of religion.Signs of Progress.
Francis was succeeded by his son, Ferdinand I. (1835-48), an invalid of no brilliant intellect, and practically without influence on the affairs of the government. The ministers who ruled for him were bent on maintaining the patriarchal state of affairs which had existed under Francis I., and which was considered by the leading statesman, Metternich, to be the best safeguard of public order. Still, the progress of the age demanded here and there a milder interpretation of the existing laws. Thus, when the administration of Count Salm's estate in Raitz prohibited the giving of a night's lodging to Jewish pedlers, the authorities of the central government set aside the order (1836). The position of the Jews of Vienna was somewhat improved. Those that possessed the right of residence were allowed to transfer it to their children, and strangers were permitted to remain in the city two weeks. Further, the police did not carry out these restrictions rigorously; and sometimes they became a dead letter. Those not having the right of residence had merely to have their passports revised, as if they had left the city. Immediately after having passed the gate, they returned and applied for a new permission to reside in the city two weeks (Wolf, "Gesch. der Juden in Wien," p. 142). Here and there senseless restrictions were introduced, probably upon the complaint of some overzealous official or of an unsympathetic population, as when (Jan. 31, 1836) a prohibition against pedling in the border districts was issued because the Jewish pedlers were supposed to be responsible for smuggling, or when (1841) the Jews of Prague were prohibited from spending the summer in the suburb of Bubentsch.But, on the whole, the policy of the government made for progress. Thus an order of June 4, 1841, permitted the possession by Jews of rural estate when they worked the farms themselves; and the restrictions (dating from the beginning of the eighteenth century) against the number of Jewish marriages, and which even Joseph II. would not remove, were more liberally interpreted. Teachers and rabbis were permitted to marry, even when there was no vacancy in the number of legally permitted families. Similar favors were bestowed on manufacturers, on the owners of large estates, and on prominent scholars. The need of a revision in the legal status of the Jews is strikingly illustrated by the fact that in 1847, when the famous composer Meyerbeer visited Vienna, the government had to issue an order declaring him to be a "cavalier" and not a Jew, so that he might be exempt from the tax which every non-resident Jew had to pay when visiting the city. One great mark of progress was the abolition of the Jewish Oath (Aug. 18, 1846), in which matter Austria preceded most of the German states. Another important step was the law of March 24, 1841, for Galicia, which promised certain improvements for the Jews of that province who should dress in European costume and acquire a knowledge of either German or Polish. For the same reason the government established there county rabbinates ("Kreisrabbinate"). The government also took a great interest in the reform of public worship; and the authorities of Prague ostentatiously took part in the dedication of the new "Tempel für Geregelten Gottesdienst" in that city, which was dedicated on the emperor's birthday, April 19, 1837. Similarly it encouraged the endeavors to induce the Jews to devote themselves to agriculture and mechanical pursuits. These endeavors are treated below under
The revolution in France awakened an echo everywhere in Europe. In Vienna tumults occurred March 13, and one of the first victims of the revolution was a Jewish student, Heinrich Spitzer, who was shot by the troops. Legislation relating to the Jews was at once revised in a liberal sense. In the new constitution of April 25 the free exercise of religion was granted; and the special Jewish taxes were abolished Oct. 28. For the first time in the history of Austria, Jews were appointed professors in the universities; e.g., Jacob Goldenthal in Vienna and Wolfgang Wessely in Prague, both, however, as assistant professors in Semitic languages. Jews took a prominent part in the revolutionary movement. To the first parliament, assembled first in Vienna and later on in Kremsier, five Jewish deputies were elected: Adolph Fischhof, who had always taken a prominent position, and was one of the most popular men in Vienna; Joseph Goldmark, also from Vienna; Abraham Halpern from Stanislau; I. N. Mannheimer, the Vienna preacher, for Brody; and Bär Meisels, rabbi of Cracow, from that city. Another Jew who had taken an active interest in the revolutionary movement was one of the victims of reaction, when Prince Windischgrätz captured Vienna. Hermann Jellinek was shot as a rebel Nov. 23, 1848.Reaction.
Ferdinand, who was too weak to remain at the helm of the state's ship in such critical times, abdicated, and was replaced by his nephew, the present emperor, Francis Joseph, who, at the age of eighteen, ascended the throne Dec. 2, 1848. The young emperor was soon prevailed upon to adopt a more autocratic policy. The Reichstag of Kremsier was suddenly dissolved, and a constitution, proclaimed by the emperor without the consent of the parliament, was promulgated ("Octroyierte Verfassung") March 4, 1849. This constitution still retained the principle of religious liberty, and the administrative authorities still interpreted the laws in a liberal sense, the right of the Jews to acquire real estate and the abolition of the restriction on marriages being expressly acknowledged. Signs of reaction were, however, not wanting. The clergy agitated against the abolition of Austria's character as a Roman Catholic country, and petitioned (April 18, 1850) the emperor to appoint no Jews to any office. The population, on the other hand, was also unwilling to allow the Jews an extension of their former rights. In cities where they had been excluded, the population would not have them admitted; and in cities where their right of residence had been restricted to certain quarters, objections were made to their removal into forbidden districts. Even before the constitution of April 25, 1848, had been promulgated there were excesses in Prague, which spread over various parts of the country and assumed very serious proportions in Hungary. The city of Sternberg, Moravia, passed a resolution that at no time should a Jew be given the city's franchise; and the council of Laibach excluded the Jews from the right to acquire real estate. In Prague the burgomaster demanded that the Jewish congregation should prevail upon its members to close the stores which they had rented outside of the ghetto (1849). The government seemed to favor this agitation; for, when a Jew applied for a position in the postal service, he was told that he must bring a certificate from the rabbi that he was permitted to write on the Sabbath. Officially the reaction was introduced when the government repealed (Dec. 31, 1851) the constitution of March 4, 1849, although even then it was declared that religious liberty should not be disturbed. This provision, however, had hardly any practical value. As the civil code had provided that a Jew who married had to show permission from the authorities, and this clause had not been abrogated, the government decided that a Jew who wished to marry had to bring a special license, a view which changed the former status only in so far as the number of marriages was no longer limited. At the same time the right of the Jews to hold real estate in all parts of the country was suspended, and the prohibition (1817 and 1834) against keeping Christian domestics and against assuming the names of Christian saints was renewed (Oct. 2, 1853). In a new regulation concerning notaries public (May 21, 1855), the Jews were excluded. In the same spirit in which, under Francis I., the Jews were suspected of conspiring against the government, an order wasissued that the Jews of Austria should not be permitted to have any dealings with Ludwig Philippson, nor to join his society for the promotion of Jewish literature (Aug. 5, 1855).
The Concordat of Aug. 18, 1855, which delivered Austria altogether into the hands of the clericals, had its effects upon the condition of the Jews. They were excluded from positions as teachers in elementary and high schools, and, contrary to the spirit of the legislation of Joseph II., the government wished even to exclude Jewish children from the public schools, which were to be exclusively Catholic. Count Thun, minister of public education, attempted to force the congregation of Vienna to establish a Jewish school. Jewish house-physicians in the Vienna hospital were to be limited in numbers (1856); and even the farming of rural estates was prohibited. The language of some of the governmental orders is in itself significant; for instance, one was issued to the administrative authorities requiring them to see that the Jews "who have sneaked into Christian real estate are removed" (March 23, 1856). Returning to the policy of 1670, the government prohibited the establishment of Jewish congregations in the province of Lower Austria (April 28, 1857), and restricted the appointment of Jewish veterans to civil positions to towns where Jews possessed the right of residence (1858). The commercial high school ("Handelsakademie") in Vienna, established from funds appropriated by merchants, among whom were quite a number of Jews, could not be opened because the minister insisted that no Jew should be appointed to a position therein. Some municipal authorities followed the example of the government in their own way. The burgomaster of Saaz, Bohemia, on the strength of the privileges granted to the city in 1561, ordered that all Jews should leave the city within two weeks; and the municipal authorities of Marburg, insisting on the legality of the edict of expulsion issued in 1496, ordered a Jew who had lived in that city for nine years to leave within a fortnight. The defeat of Austria in the Italian war of 1859, terminated by the peace of Villafranca (July 11, 1859), brought a change of policy. As late as June 6, 1859, the prohibition against keeping Christian domestics was reenforced, and on June 17 the marriages concluded without special license were declared void; but on Nov. 29 these restrictions were removed, and on Aug. 22 a liberal legislation on the position of the Jews was promised.Dawn of Freedom.
This legislation was promulgated Feb. 18, 1860. It gave to the Jews of most of the Austrian provinces full right to hold property. In Galicia and in the Bukowina this right was limited to those who possessed a certain education; while Upper Austria, Styria, Carinthia, Tyrol, and Vorarlberg were excluded from the law, and in these provinces Jews were not permitted to hold any real estate until the new constitution, Staatsgrundgesetze of Dec. 21, 1867, abolished all disabilities on the ground of religious differences. In the population the new condition of affairs aroused enmities, and again occasional disturbances occurred, as in Trebitsch, Moravia, and Lemberg. The clerical party also protested against the admission of the Jews to the full rights of citizenship. Noteworthy in this connection is the libel suit brought against Kuranda by Sebastian Brunner, the anti-Semitic editor of the "Wiener Kirchenzeitung," May 10, 1860, though it was dismissed. At the election to the new parliamentary bodies, the "Landtage," a number of Jews were returned, two of whom, Kuranda and Winterstein, were delegated by the Landtage to the Reichsrath. The emperor called into the House of Lords Baron Anselm von Rothschild, which is perhaps the first case of a Jew being made a peer. The constitution of Dec. 21, 1867, finally removed all disabilities, and from that date the political history of the Jews in Austria is limited to their treatment by the administrative authorities and to the position of the several political parties, on which subject information will be found under Anti-Semitism.
The government of Austria has always taken great interest in internal Jewish affairs. Even under the clerical minister of public instruction, Count Thun, religious instruction in the high schools was made compulsory (Feb. 11, 1852). At a later period the government paid the teachers' salaries. On March 21, 1890, a law was issued which regulated the condition of Jewish congregations. It makes it compulsory for every Jew to be a member of the congregation of the district in which he resides, and so gives to every congregation the right to tax the individual members. In elective bodies and in governmental positions since the beginning of the constitutional era the Jews have always held their own, especially in the army, where some of them have even risen to the rank of general. The Reichsrath has since its inception had its quota of Jewish members, and the House of Lords has always numbered Jews among its members; at present there are three, the two brothers Gomperz and Baron von Oppenheimer. As soon as the new era began (1860), Jews were appointed to positions in the university. The first regular professor in the University of Vienna was the dermatologist Zeissl, and in Prague in the same year Wolfgang Wesserly was appointed full professor of criminal law.Culture:
The intentions of Joseph II. to raise the intellectual and moral status of his Hebrew subjects awakened an echo in the hearts of the Austrian Jews. In towns where there were already centers of civilization, as in Triest and Prague, Jewish schools ("Normalschulen") were established. Other places followed, especially after the awakening of the modern spirit in Austria (about 1830-39). In Galicia this movement was not very successful, although even there some men like Perl obtained good results. In Lemberg, Abraham Kohn died a martyr to the cause of education and progress (Sept. 6, 1848). The movement to lead the Jews to mechanical and to agricultural occupations was very energetically reciprocated by the Jews of Austria. The noble and active philanthropist Joseph von Wertheimer founded the Society for the Promotion of Mechanical Occupations in Vienna, 1840; and similar societies followed in other parts of the country, as in Prague, 1846. Wertheimer was also instrumental in introducing the Kindergarten in Austria. Hirsch Kolisch in 1844 established in Nikolsburg the first Jewish institute for deaf-mutes, which in 1852was transferred to Vienna. There, through the efforts of Ludwig August Frankl, the first Jewish institute for the education of the blind was founded in 1870. An institution for the training of rabbis, which at the end of the eighteenth century had already engaged the attention of the government, was finally opened in Vienna, 1894.Religious Conservatism.
In religious matters Austria has always been conservative. The first introduction of any changes in the service took place in Vienna, where M. L. Biedermann, the moving spirit of the congregation, hoped to introduce the reforms of the Hamburg temple; but Mannheimer, who had himself participated in these services, felt that for Vienna a more conservative spirit was necessary. The latter, therefore, limited the reforms to the omission of some
Secular education had made rapid progress after the decree of Joseph II., although, owing to the fact that the practise of medicine was the only field open for Jews through academic education, the students could not be numerous. The events of 1848 increased this number. In 1851 the number of Jewish students in the high schools of Austria was 1,598; in 1857 they had increased to 2,143. The increasing number of students in the secular schools drove the yeshibot out of existence; and so the Talmudists of the old school, with the exception of those of Galicia, have almost completely disappeared. To the first part of the nineteenth century belong: Eleazar Fleckeles (d. 1826), rabbi of Prague; Ephraim Zalman Margulies in Brody (d. 1828); Marcus Benedikt, district rabbi in Moravia (1753-1829); Jacob Ornstein, rabbi in Lemberg (d. 1839); Nahum Nehemiah Trebitsch, district rabbi in Moravia (1777-1842); Hirsch Chajes, rabbi in Zolkiev (d. 1855); Solomon Kluger in Brody (d. 1869); Marcus Wolf Ettinger (d. 1863) and Joseph Saul Nathansohn (d. 1875), both in Lemberg; and Aaron Kornfeld in Goltsch-Jenikau (d. 1881). The Jewish scholars of a more modern type are so numerous that only the most prominent names can be quoted here. Among those who belong to the school of the Biurists must be mentioned Herz Homberg (1749-1841) and Peter Beer (1758-1838). In the school of systematic scholars Z. Frankel (1801-75) deserves the first rank. The Polish circle counts Nachman Krochmal (1789-1840), S. L. Rapoport (1790-1867), and Isaac Erter (d. 1851). The succeeding generation has Solomon Buber (b. 1827) and S. H. Halberstamm (1832-1900). One of the best-known writers of the present historical school is I. H. Weiss (b. 1815). Others are: Leopold Löw (1811-75), M. Steinschneider (b. 1816), H. B. Fassel (1802-83), A. Jellinek (1821-94), S. I. Kämpf (1815-93), Nehemias Brüll (1843-91), David Kaufmann (1852-99). Further might be included the Italians I. S. Reggio (1784-1855), Joseph Almanzi (1801-60), and S. D. Luzzatto (1800-65), all of whom spent their life under Austrian dominion. Of prominent poets and authors those may first be mentioned who have written on Jewish subjects; viz., Leopold Kompert (1822-86), Leo Herzberg-Fränkel (b. 1827), Karl Emil Franzos (b. 1848), L. A. Frankl (1810-94), Moritz Rappaport (1808-80), Seligmann Heller (1831-90), Michael Klapp (d. 1888), J. L. Lederer (1808-76), and Moritz Hartmann (1821-73). The pianist Ignaz Moscheles (1794-1870) and the actor Adolph Sonnenthal (b. 1834) are distinguished; and to them may be added the regenerator of synagogue music, Solomon Sulzer (1804-90); the mathematician Simon Spitzer (1826-87); the chess-player W. Steinitz (d. 1900); statesmen like Kuranda, Fischhof, and Winterstein; scientists like Jacob Fischel, an authority on psychiatry (d. 1892); the dermatologist Zeissl, and others, too numerous to mention, show how, in a comparatively short time, the Jews of Austria have risen to the level of their non-Jewish fellow-citizens.
- For the earliest period of the history treated the best source is J. E. Scherer;
- Die Rechtsverhältnisse der Juden in den Deutsch-Oesterreichischen Ländern, Leipsic, 1901;
- [Joseph von Wertheimer] Die Juden in Oesterreich vom Standpunkte des Rechts und des Staatsvortheils, 2 vols., ib. 1842;
- (appeared anonymously) G. Wolf, Gesch. der Juden in Wien, Vienna, 1876;
- Judentaufen in Oesterreich, Vienna, 1863:
- D. Kaufmann, Samson Wertheimer, der Oberhoffactor und Landesrabbiner, Vienna, 1888;
- idem, Urkundliches aus dem Leben Samson Wertheimer's, Vienna, 1892;
- idem, Die Letzte Vertreibung der Juden aus Wien und Ihre Vorgeschichte, Vienna, 1889. A bibliography of the essays which appeared in periodicals treating of the history of the Jews in Austria will be found in Zeit. für die Gesch. der Juden in Deutschland, ii. 136 et seq.