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Town in Moravia, Austria, twelve miles southwest of Prerau. The oldest authentic records of its Jewish community date from the year 1322, when John, King of Bohemia and Poland, gave to the Bishop of Olmütz permission to settle one Jew in Kremsir and one in each of three other cities of his diocese. Soon, however, other Jews came to Kremsir and at once formed a community. The building of the first synagogue may be placed in the fifteenth century, and even at this early date the community appears to have owned a cemetery likewise. Tombstones dating from 1535 have been found in the old Jewish burial-ground, and there were doubtless others even more ancient; for the register of deaths, which is still preserved, extends back to the year 1482.

The Jewish community in Kremsir was under the bishops of Olmütz, who in general exercised a benevolent régime.

The community was destroyed by the Swedes in the Thirty Years' war (1642). It was built up again in 1670, when Bishop Karl, Count of Lichtenstein, granted permission to a few emigrants from Vienna to settle in Kremsir. Since these newcomers were mostly energetic merchants, the community flourished and became one of the largest in Moravia. In 1699 the Jews were threatened with expulsion, probably merely in order to extort money from them. The danger was avoided, however, and the community grew in numbers, while its prosperity increased as well.

Plundered During War.

The Jews of Kremsir suffered also during the war of the Austrian Succession. The reason in this case, as in that of the Thirty Years' war, was the situationof the town, which lay at the intersection of so many commercial and military roads. Kremsir was plundered like many other Moravian communities, and money for the release and protection of Jewish captives was exacted with ruthless severity. Consequently many Moravian families, among them some from Kremsir, left the country. Of the 5,400 Jewish families tolerated by Maria Theresa, 106 lived in Kremsir (see Familianten Gesetz).

When the French entered Kremsir in 1805 the Jewish community had to surrender its silverware. Aged men still remember Oct. 18, 1818, the Day of Atonement, when Crown Prince Ferdinand was escorted under the baldachin to the temple, and there attended service. A memorial tablet commemorates this festal occasion. Then came the year 1848, which freed the Jews of Kremsir from episcopal control. Kremsir was the first city in the province which received permission to remove the gates of the ghetto. In the Reichstag which convened in Kremsir five Jewish members had seats. The political revolution which took place before the eyes of the Kremsir Jews meant also a turning-point in their religious life, and a change in the internal condition of the community. For a time there was peace; but dissensions soon arose both in the religious and in the civil spheres.

Several decades passed thus, alternating between internal calm and strife, a prominent cause of contention being the condemnation of the old cemetery by the city, to which measure the congregation, after protracted litigation, finally had to yield (1882).

In 1897 the Jews of Kremsir numbered 920 in a total population of 12,480. The new cemetery has been in existence since 1850; and the present synagogue was built in 1693.


Kremsir boasts a long line of rabbis. From 1680 to 1700 the town was the seat of the Moravian "Landesrabbiner." The more important rabbis have been: M. M. Krochmal (1636-42), Issachar Berush Eskeles, S. Helman, Elias Herz, and Nathan Feitel, the last-named of whom went to Kremsir with many emigrants from Vienna. Since 1877 the rabbinate has been occupied by the present incumbent, A. Frankl-Grün.

  • Frankl-Grün, Gesch. der Juden in Kremsir, Breslau and Frankfort, 1896-1901.
D. A. F.-G.
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