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Szanto, Simon

Szanto, Simon (1819-1882), educator and writer, born in Nagykanizsa, Hungary (then part of the Austrian Empire). Son of a rabbi, he received a strict religious upbringing in the Talmudic schools of Kackenbach and Golcuv-Jenikov, Bohemia (now in the Czech Republic), and managed under great difficulties to obtain a secular education in Bratislava (now in Slovakia) and at Prague University, where he studied German literature. He also studied Jewish theology under S. J. Rapoport, and was ordained a rabbi in 1844.

In 1845 he moved to Vienna, where he founded an elementary and secondary school for boys in 1849, which combined Jewishness with modern secular learning. It became the first Jewish school in Austria entitled to issue officially valid diplomas. Szanto taught Bible and Hebrew literature at the Vienna Beit ha-Midrash; he was also appointed inspector for Jewish religious instruction at public schools and official interpreter of the Hebrew language, and became a lecturer at the Theologische Lehrantstalt.

In 1861 he founded, with Leopold Kompert, a weekly journal, "Die Neuzeit", which he edited until his death. He contributed to the "Jahrbuch fuer Israeliten" and was its editor from 1865 to 1868.

Szanto was a prolific writer with a precise and lively style, writing a large portion of "Die Neuzeit" himself as well as many articles in the Jewish and Vienna daily press, chiefly on education. He wrote: "Bocer Olelosz" (a Bible commentary, 1845), two historic novels: "Bilder aus Alexandrias Vorzeit" and "Judentum und Romantik"; "Schullerers Paradaxa"; "Fahrende Juden"; "Sturmpetition eines Paedagogen"; "Musterung zur Charakteristik der Erzieherwelt" (1857-1858); "Schematismus der israelit. Cultusgemeinden in der Oesterr. Monarchie" (1869), and "Ibn Karmi" (pseudonim, 1871).

Szanto also wrote many essays on Jewish history, some in Hebrew. He was a devoted follower of Adolf Jellinek and a forceful fighter for his ideas of Jewish reform, and he participated in the Reform synods of Leipzig and Augsburg.
Date of birth:
1819
Date of death:
1882
Place of birth:
Nagykanizsa
Place of death:
Vienna
Personality type:
Educator
,
Writer
ID Number:
238185
Written by researchers of ANU Museum of the Jewish People
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SZANTO

Surnames derive from one of many different origins. Sometimes there may be more than one explanation for the same name. This family name derives from a personal characteristic or nickname.

Literally, Szanto is the Hungarian for "ploughman". Phonetically it is close to Santo, a variant of the Hebrew Shem Tov, which means "good name". The Greek equivalent Kalonymos, literally "good name" (in medieval and modern Greek), repeats the link between good and beautiful, as found in the Arabic El Maleh/Al Malih, which means both "good" and "beautiful". These names and their numerous variants are also linked to the biblical name Tobiah, which means "the goodness of God". Kalonymos is documented as a Jewish name in 8th century Italy. Its Latin form, Kalonymus, produced Calmus, the Italian Calo and Calimani, and the French Calot. In 11th century Spain, Shem Tov became Nome Boneum.

Central and Eastern Europe developed names based on Cal(I)man(i) such as Kalman/Calman and diverse variants, comprising Kleimann and Klee. Kalo(n), the first part of Kalonymos, is the Greek for "beautiful/handsome", an equivalent of the Hebrew Yaffe. Santo and El-Maleh are documented as Jewish family names in 13th century Spain and Ibn Shem Tob in 14th century Spain. Bueno and Almari are recorded in the 14th century, Maleh and Almale in the 15th century, and El Maleh in the 17th century.

Distinguished bearers of the Jewish family name Szanto include the Hungarian-born Austrian teacher and author, Simon Szanto (1819-1882) and the Hungarian educator, Eleazar Szanto (1829-1893).

Prague

Capital of the Czech Republic. Formerly the capital of Czechoslovakia.

It has the oldest Jewish community in Bohemia and one of the oldest communities in Europe, for some time the largest and most revered. Jews may have arrived in Prague in late roman times, but the first document mentioning them is a report by Ibrahim Ibn Ya'qub from about 970. The first definite evidence for the existence of a Jewish community in Prague dates to 1091. Jews arrived in Prague from both the east and west around the same time. It is probably for this reason that two Jewish districts came into being there right at the beginning.

The relatively favorable conditions in which the Jews at first lived in Prague were disrupted at the time of the first crusade in 1096. The crusaders murdered many of the Jews in Prague, looted Jewish property, and forced many to accept baptism. During the siege of Prague castle in 1142, the oldest synagogue in Prague and the Jewish quarter below the castle were burned down and the Jews moved to the right bank of the river Moldau (vltava), which was to become the future Jewish quarter, and founded the "Altschul" ("old synagogue") there.

The importance of Jewish culture in Prague is evidenced by the works of the halakhists there in the 11th to 13th centuries. The most celebrated was Isaac B. Moses of Vienna (d. C. 1250) author of "Or Zaru'a". Since the Czech language was spoken by the Jews of Prague in the early middle ages, the halakhic writings of that period also contain annotations in Czech. From the 13th to 16th centuries the Jews of Prague increasingly spoke German. At the time of persecutions which began at the end of the 11th century, the Jews of Prague, together with all the other Jews of Europe, lost their status as free people. From the 13th century on, the Jews of Bohemia were considered servants of the royal chamber (servi camerae regis). Their residence in Prague was subject to the most humiliating conditions (the wearing of special dress, segregation in the ghetto, etc.). The only occupation that Jews were allowed to adopt was moneylending, since this was forbidden to Christians and considered dishonest. Socially the Jews were in an inferior position.

The community suffered from persecutions accompanied by bloodshed in the 13th and 14th centuries, particularly in 1298 and 1338. Charles IV (1346- 1378) protected the Jews, but after his death the worst attack occurred in 1389, when nearly all the Jews of Prague fell victims. The rabbi of Prague and noted kabbalist Avigdor Kara, who witnessed and survived the outbreak, described it in a selichah. Under Wenceslaus IV the Jews of Prague suffered heavy material losses following an order by the king in 1411 canceling all debts owed to Jews.

At the beginning of the 15th century the Jews of Prague found themselves at the center of the Hussite wars (1419- 1436). The Jews of Prague also suffered from mob violence (1422) in this period. The unstable conditions in Prague compelled many Jews to emigrate.

Following the legalization, at the end of the 15th century, of moneylending by non-Jews in Prague, the Jews of Prague lost the economic significance which they had held in the medieval city, and had to look for other occupations in commerce and crafts. The position of the Jews began to improve at the beginning of the 16th century, mainly owing to the assistance of the king and the nobility. The Jews found greater opportunities in trading commodities and monetary transactions with the nobility. As a consequence, their economic position improved. In 1522 there were about 600 Jews in Prague, but by 1541 they numbered about 1,200. At the same time the Jewish quarters were extended. At the end of the 15th century the Jews of Prague founded new communities.

Under pressure of the citizens, king Ferdinand I was compelled in 1541 to approve the expulsion of the Jews. The Jews had to leave Prague by 1543, but were allowed to return in 1545. In 1557 Ferdinand I once again, this time upon his own initiative, ordered the expulsion of the Jews from Prague. They had to leave the city by 1559. Only after the retirement of Ferdinand I from the government of Bohemia were the Jews allowed to return to Prague in 1562.

The favorable position of the Jewish community of Prague during the reign of Rudolf II is reflected also in the flourishing Jewish culture. Among illustrious rabbis who taught in Prague at that time were Judah Loew B. Bezalel (the "maharal"); Ephraim Solomon B. Aaron of Luntschitz; Isaiah B. Abraham ha-levi Horowitz, who taught in Prague from 1614 to 1621; and Yom Tov Lipmann Heller, who became chief rabbi in 1627 but was forced to leave in 1631. The chronicler and astronomer David Gans also lived there in this period. At the beginning of the 17th century about 6,000 Jews were living in Prague.

In 1648 the Jews of Prague distinguished themselves in the defense of the city against the invading swedes. In recognition of their acts of heroism the Emperor presented them with a special flag which is still preserved in the Altneuschul. Its design with a Swedish cap in the center of the Shield of David became the official emblem of the Prague Jewish community.

After the thirty years' war, government policy was influenced by the church counter-reformation, and measures were taken to limit the Jews' means of earning a livelihood. A number of anti-Semitic resolutions and decrees were promulgated. Only the eldest son of every family was allowed to marry and found a family, the others having to remain single or leave Bohemia.

In 1680, more than 3,000 Jews in Prague died of the plague. Shortly afterward, in 1689, the Jewish quarter burned down, and over 300 Jewish houses and 11 synagogues were destroyed. The authorities initiated and partially implemented a project to transfer all the surviving Jews to the village of Lieben (Liben) north of Prague. Great excitement was aroused in 1694 by the murder trial of the father of Simon Abeles, a 12-year-old boy, who, it was alleged, had desired to be baptized and had been killed by his father. Simon was buried in the Tyn (Thein) church, the greatest and most celebrated cathedral of the old town of Prague. Concurrently with the religious incitement against the Jews an economic struggle was waged against them.

The anti-Jewish official policy reached its climax after the accession to the throne of Maria Theresa (1740-1780), who in 1744 issued an order expelling the Jews from Bohemia and Moravia. Jews were banished but were subsequently allowed to return after they promised to pay high taxes. In the baroque period noted rabbis were Simon Spira; Elias Spira; David Oppenheim; and Ezekiel Landau, chief rabbi and rosh yeshivah (1755-93(.

The position of the Jews greatly improved under Joseph II (1780-1790), who issued the Toleranzpatent of 1782. The new policy in regard to the Jews aimed at gradual abolition of the limitations imposed upon them, so that they could become more useful to the state in a modernized economic system. At the same time, the new regulations were part of the systematic policy of germanization pursued by Joseph II. Jews were compelled to adopt family names and to establish schools for secular studies; they became subject to military service, and were required to cease using Hebrew and Yiddish in business transactions. Wealthy and enterprising Jews made good use of the advantages of Joseph's reforms. Jews who founded manufacturing enterprises were allowed to settle outside the Jewish quarter of Prague.

Subsequently the limitations imposed upon Jews were gradually removed. In 1841 the prohibition on Jews owning land was rescinded. In 1846 the Jewish tax was abolished. In 1848 Jews were granted equal rights, and by 1867 the process of legal emancipation had been completed. In 1852 the ghetto of Prague was abolished. Because of the unhygienic conditions in the former Jewish quarter the Prague municipality decided in 1896 to pull down the old quarter, with the exception of important historical sites. Thus the Altneuschul, the Pinkas and Klaus, Meisel and Hoch synagogues, and some other places of historical and artistic interest remained intact.

In 1848 the community of Prague, numbering over 10,000, was still one of the largest Jewish communities in Europe (Vienna then numbered only 4,000 Jews). In the following period of the emancipation and the post- emancipation era the Prague community increased considerably in numbers, but did not keep pace with the rapidly expanding new Jewish metropolitan centers in western, central, and Eastern Europe.

After emancipation had been achieved in 1867, emigration from Prague abroad ceased as a mass phenomenon; movement to Vienna, Germany, and Western Europe continued. Jews were now represented in industry, especially the textile, clothing, leather, shoe, and food industries, in wholesale and retail trade, and in increasing numbers in the professions and as white-collar employees. Some Jewish bankers, industrialists and merchants achieved considerable wealth. The majority of Jews in Prague belonged to the middle class, but there also remained a substantial number of poor Jews.

Emancipation brought in its wake a quiet process of secularization and assimilation. In the first decades of the 19th century Prague Jewry, which then still led its traditionalist orthodox way of life, had been disturbed by the activities of the followers of Jacob Frank. The situation changed in the second half of the century. The chief rabbinate was still occupied by outstanding scholars, like Solomon Judah Rapoport, the leader of the Haskalah movement; Markus Hirsch (1880-1889) helped to weaken the religious influence in the community. Many synagogues introduced modernized services, a shortened liturgy, the organ and mixed choir, but did not necessarily embrace the principles of the reform movement.

Jews availed themselves eagerly of the opportunities to give their children a higher secular education. Jews formed a considerable part of the German minority in Prague, and the majority adhered to liberal movements. David Kuh founded the "German liberal party of Bohemia and represented it in the Bohemian diet (1862-1873). Despite strong Germanizing factors, many Jews adhered to the Czech language, and in the last two decades of the 19th century a Czech assimilationist movement developed which gained support from the continuing influx of Jews from the rural areas. Through the influence of German nationalists from the Sudeten districts anti-Semitism developed within the German population and opposed Jewish assimilation. At the end of the 19th century Zionism struck roots among the Jews of Bohemia, especially in Prague.

Growing secularization and assimilation led to an increase of mixed marriages and abandonment of Judaism. At the time of the Czechoslovak republic, established in 1918, many more people registered their dissociation of affiliation to the Jewish faith without adopting another. The proportion of mixed marriages in Bohemia was one of the highest in Europe. The seven communities of Prague were federated in the union of Jewish religious communities of greater Prague and cooperated on many issues. They established joint institutions; among these the most important was the institute for social welfare, established in 1935. The "Afike Jehuda society for the Advancement of Jewish Studies" was founded in 1869. There were also the Jewish museum and "The Jewish historical society of Czechoslovakia". A five-grade elementary school was established with Czech as the language of instruction. The many philanthropic institutions and associations included the Jewish care for the sick, the center for social welfare, the aid committee for refugees, the aid committee for Jews from Carpatho- Russia, orphanages, hostels for apprentices, old-age homes, a home for abandoned children, free-meal associations, associations for children's vacation centers, and funds to aid students. Zionist organizations were also well represented. There were three B'nai B'rith lodges, women's organizations, youth movements, student clubs, sports organizations, and a community center. Four Jewish weeklies were published in Prague (three Zionist; one Czech- assimilationist), and several monthlies and quarterlies. Most Jewish organizations in Czechoslovakia had their headquarters in Prague.

Jews first became politically active, and some of them prominent, within the German orbit. David Kuh and the president of the Jewish community, Arnold Rosenbacher, were among the leaders of the German Liberal party in the 19th century. Bruno Kafka and Ludwig Spiegel represented its successor in the Czechoslovak republic, the German Democratic Party, in the chamber of deputies and the senate respectively. Emil Strauss represented that party in the 1930s on the Prague Municipal Council and in the Bohemian diet. From the end of the 19th century an increasing number of Jews joined Czech parties, especially T. G. Masaryk's realists and the social democratic party. Among the latter Alfred Meissner, Lev Winter, and Robert Klein rose to prominence, the first two as ministers of justice and social welfare respectively.

Zionists, though a minority, soon became the most active element among the Jews of Prague. "Barissia" - Jewish Academic Corporation, was founded in Prague in 1903, it was one of the leading academic organizations for the advancement of Zionism in Bohemia. Before World War I the students' organization "Bar Kochba", under the leadership of Samuel Hugo Bergman, became one of the centers of cultural Zionism. The Prague Zionist Arthur Mahler was elected to the Austrian parliament in 1907, though as representative of an electoral district in Galicia. Under the leadership of Ludvik Singer the "Jewish National Council" was formed in 1918. Singer was elected in 1929 to the Czechoslovak parliament, and was succeeded after his death in 1931 by Angelo Goldstein. Singer, Goldstein, Frantisek Friedmann, and Jacob Reiss represented the Zionists on the Prague municipal council also. Some important Zionist conferences took place in Prague, among them the founding conference of hitachadut in 1920, and the
18th Zionist congress in 1933.

The group of Prague German-Jewish authors which emerged in the 1880s, known as the "Prague Circle" ('der Prager Kreis'), achieved international recognition and included Franz Kafka, Max Brod, Franz Werfel, Oskar Baum, Ludwig Winder, Leo Perutz, Egon Erwin Kisch, Otto Klepetar, and Willy Haas.

During the Holocaust period, the measures e.g., deprivation of property rights, prohibition against religious, cultural, or any other form of public activity, expulsion from the professions and from schools, a ban on the use of public transportation and the telephone, affected Prague Jews much more than those still living in the provinces. Jewish organizations provided social welfare and clandestinely continued the education of the youth and the training in languages and new vocations in preparation for emigration. The Palestine office in Prague, directed by Jacob Edelstein, enabled about 19,000 Jews to emigrate legally or otherwise until the end of 1939.

In March 1940, the Prague zentralstelle extended the area of its jurisdiction to include all of Bohemia and Moravia. In an attempt to obviate the deportation of the Jews to "the east", Jewish leaders, headed by Jacob Edelstein, proposed to the zentralstelle the establishment of a self- administered concentrated Jewish communal body; the Nazis eventually exploited this proposal in the establishment of a ghetto at Theresienstadt (Terezin). The Prague Jewish community was forced to provide the Nazis with lists of candidates for deportation and to ensure that they showed up at the assembly point and boarded deportation trains. In the period from October 6, 1941, to March 16, 1945, 46,067 Jews were deported from Prague to "the east" or to Theresienstadt. Two leading officials of the Jewish community, H. Bonn and Emil Kafka were dispatched to Mauthausen concentration camp and put to death after trying to slow down the pace of the deportations. The Nazis set up a treuhandstelle ("trustee Office") over evacuated Jewish apartments, furnishings, and possessions. This office sold these goods and forwarded the proceeds to the German winterhilfe ("winter aid"). The treuhandstelle ran as many as 54 warehouses, including 11 synagogues (as a result, none of the synagogues was destroyed). The zentralstelle brought Jewish religious articles from 153 Jewish communities to Prague on a proposal by Jewish scholars. This collection, including 5,400 religious objects, 24,500 prayer books, and 6,070 items of historical value the Nazis intended to utilize for a "central museum of the defunct Jewish race". Jewish historians engaged in the creation of the museum were deported to extermination camps just before the end of the war. Thus the Jewish museum had acquired at the end of the war one of the richest collections of Judaica in the world.


Prague had a Jewish population of 10,338 in 1946, of whom 1,396 Jews had not been deported (mostly of mixed Jewish and Christian parentage); 227 Jews had gone underground; 4,986 returned from prisons, concentration camps, or Theresienstadt; 883 returned from Czechoslovak army units abroad; 613 were Czechoslovak Jewish emigres who returned; and 2,233 were Jews from Ruthenia (Carpatho-Ukraine), which had been ceded to the U.S.S.R. who decided to move to Czechoslovakia. The communist takeover of 1948 put an end to any attempt to revive the Jewish community and marked the beginning of a period of stagnation. By 1950 about half of the Jewish population had gone to Israel or immigrated to other countries. The Slansky trials and the officially promoted anti-Semitism had a destructive effect upon Jewish life. Nazi racism of the previous era was replaced by political and social discrimination. Most of the Jews of Prague were branded as "class enemies of the working people". During this
Period (1951-1964) there was no possibility of Jewish emigration from the country. The assets belonging to the Jewish community had to be relinquished to the state. The charitable organizations were disbanded, and the budget of the community, provided by the state, was drastically reduced. The general anti-religious policy of the regime resulted in the cessation, for all practical purposes, of such Jewish religious activities as bar-mitzvah religious instruction and wedding ceremonies. In 1964 only two cantors and two ritual slaughterers were left. The liberalization of the regime during 1965-1968 held out new hope for a renewal of Jewish life in Prague.

At the end of March 1967 the president of "The World Jewish Congress", Nahum Goldmann, was able to visit Prague and give a lecture in the Jewish town hall. Among the Jewish youth many tended to identify with Judaism. Following the soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968 there was an attempt to put an end to this trend, however the Jewish youth, organized since 1965, carried on with their Jewish cultural activities until 1972. In the late 6os the Jewish population of Prague numbered about 2,000.

On the walls of the Pinkas synagogue, which is part of the central Jewish museum in Prague, are engraved the names of 77,297 Jews from Bohemia and Moravia who were murdered by the Nazis in 1939-1945.

In 1997 some 6,000 Jews were living in the Czech Republic, most of them in Prague. The majority of the Jews of Prague were indeed elderly, but the Jewish community's strengthened in 1990's by many Jews, mainly American, who had come to work in the republic, settled in Prague, and joined the community.

In April 2000 the central square of Prague was named Franz Kafka square. This was done thanks to the unflinching efforts and after years of straggle with the authorities, of Professor Eduard Goldstucker, a Jew born in Prague, the initiator of the idea.

Vienna

In German: Wien. Capital of Austria

Early History

Documentary evidence points to the first settlement of Jews in the 12th century. A charter of privileges was granted by Emperor Frederick II in 1238, giving the Jewish community extensive autonomy. At the close of the 13th and during the 14th centuries, the community of Vienna was recognized as the leading community of German Jewry. In the second half of the 13th century there were about 1,000 Jews in the community.
The influence of the "Sages of Vienna" spread far beyond the limits of the city itself and continued for many generations. Of primary importance were Isaac B. Moses "Or Zaru'a", his son Chayyim "Or Zaru'a", Avigdor B. Elijah Ha- Kohen, and Meir B. Baruch Ha- Levi. At the time of the Black Death persecutions of 1348-49, the community of Vienna was spared and even served as a refuge for Jews from other places.

Toward the end of the 14th century there was a growing anti-Jewish feeling among the burghers; in 1406, during the course of a fire that broke out in the synagogue, in which it was destroyed, the burghers seized the opportunity to attack Jewish homes. Many of the community's members died as martyrs in the persecutions of 1421, others were expelled, and the children forcibly converted. After the persecutions nevertheless some Jews remained there illegally. In 1512, there were 12 Jewish families in Vienna, and a small number of Jews continued to live there during the 16th century, often faced with threats of expulsion. During the Thirty Years' War (1618-48), Jews suffered as a result of the occupation of the city by Imperial soldiers. In 1624, Emperor Ferdinand II confined the Jews to a ghetto. Some Jews at this time engaged in international trade; others were petty traders. Among the prominent rabbis of the renewed community was Yom Tov Lipman Heller, and Shabbetai Sheftel Horowitz,
one of the many refugees from Poland who fled the Chmielnicki who led anti-Jewish massacres of 1648.

Hatred of the Jews by the townsmen increased during the mid 17th century. The poorer Jews were expelled in 1669; the rest were exiled during the Hebrew month of Av (summer) of the year 1670, and their properties taken from them. The Great Synagogue was converted into a Catholic church. Some of the Jews took advantage of the offer to convert to Christianity so as not to be exiled.

By 1693, the financial losses to the city were sufficient to generate support for a proposal to readmit the Jews. Only the wealthy were authorized to reside in Vienna, as "tolerated subjects", in exchange for very high taxes. Prayer services were permitted to be held only in a private house.

The founders of the community and its leaders in those years, as well as during the 18th century, were prominent Court Jews, such as Samuel Oppenheimer, Samson Wertheimer, and Baron Diego Aguilar. As a result of their activities, Vienna became a center for Jewish diplomatic efforts on behalf of Jews throughout the Habsburg Empire as well as an important center for Jewish philanthropy. A Sephardi community in Vienna traces its origins to 1737, and grew as a result of commerce with the Balkans.

The Jews suffered under the restrictive legislation of Empress Maria Theresia (1740- 80). In 1781, her son, Joseph II, issued his "Toleranzpatent", which, though attacked in Jewish circles, paved the way in some respects for later Emancipation.

By 1793, there was a Hebrew printing press in Vienna that soon became the center for Hebrew printing in Central Europe. During this period, the first signs of assimilation in social and family life of the Jews of Vienna made their appearance. At the time of the Congress of Vienna in 1815, the Viennese salon culture was promoted by Jewish wealthy women, whose salons served as entertainment and meeting places for the rulers of Europe.

The Jewish Community and the Haskalah Movement

From the close of the 18th century, and especially during the first decades of the 19th century, Vienna became a center of the Haskalah movement.

Despite restrictions, the number of Jews in the city rapidly increased. At a later period the call for religious reform was heard in Vienna. Various maskilim, including Peter Peretz Ber and Naphtali Hertz Homberg, tried to convince the government to impose Haskalah recommendations and religious reform on the Jews. This aroused strong controversy among the Viennese Community.

Jewish Immigration

During the second half of the 19th century and the first decades of the 20th century, the Jewish population of Vienna increased as a result of immigration there by Jews from other regions of the Empire, particularly Hungary, Galicia, and Bukovina. The influence and scope of the community's activities increased particularly after the annexation of Galicia by Austria. By 1923, Vienna had become the third largest Jewish community in Europe. Many Jews entered the liberal professions.

Community Life

In 1826, a magnificent synagogue, in which the Hebrew language and the traditional text of the prayers were retained, was inaugurated. It was the first legal synagogue to be opened since 1671. Before the Holocaust, there were about 59 synagogues of various religious trends in Vienna. There was also a Jewish educational network. The rabbinical Seminary, founded in 1893, was a European center for research into Jewish literature and history. The most prominent scholars were M.Guedeman, A. Jellinek, Adolph Schwarz, Adolf Buechler, David Mueller, Victor Aptowitzer, Z.H. Chajes, and Samuel Krauss. There was also a "Hebrew Pedagogium" for the training of Hebrew teachers.

Vienna also became a Jewish sports center; the football team Hakoach and the Maccabi organization of Vienna were well known. Many Jews were actors, producers, musicians and writers, scientists, researchers and thinkers.

Some Prominent Viennese Jews: Arnold Schoenberg (1874 - 1951), musician, composer; Gustav Mahler (1860 - 1911), musician, composer; Franz Werfel (1890 - 1945), author; Stefan Zweig (1881 - 1942), author; Karl Kraus (1874 - 1936), satirist, poet; Otto Bauer (1881 - 1938), socialist leader; Alfred Adler (1870 - 1937), psychiatrist; Arthur Schnitzler (1862 - 1931), playwright, author; Isaac Noach Mannheimer (1793 - 1865), Reform preacher; Joseph Popper (1838 -1921), social philosopher, engineer; Max Adler (1873 - 1937), socialist theoretician; Sigmund Freud (1856 - 1939), psychiatrist, creator of Psychoanalysis; Adolf Fischhoff (1816 - 1893), politician.

The Zionist Movement

Though in the social life and the administration of the community, there was mostly strong opposition to Jewish National action, Vienna was also a center of the national awakening. Peretz Smolenskin published Ha-Shachar between 1868 and 1885 in Vienna, while Nathan Birnbaum founded the first Jewish Nationalist Student Association, Kadimah, there in 1882, and preached "Pre-Herzl Zionism" from 1884. The leading newspaper, Neue Freie Presse, to which Theodor Herzl contributed, was owned in part by Jews.
It was due to Herzl that Vienna was at first the center of Zionist activities. He published the Zionist Movement's Organ, Die Welt, and established the headquarters of the Zionist Executive there.

The Zionist Movement in Vienna gained in strength after World War I. In 1919, the Zionist Robert Stricker was elected to the Austrian Parliament. The Zionists did not obtain a majority in the community until the elections of 1932.

The Holocaust Period

Nazi Germany occupied Vienna in March 1938. In less than one year the Nazis introduced all the discriminatory laws, backed by ruthless terror and by mass arrests (usually of economic leaders and Intellectuals, who were detained in special camps or sent to Dachau). These measures were accompanied by unspeakable atrocities. Vienna's Chief Rabbi, Dr. Israel Taglicht, who was more than 75 years old, was among those who were forced to clean with their bare hands the pavements of main streets. During Kristallnacht (November 9-10, 1938), 42 synagogues were destroyed, hundreds of flats were plundered by the S.A. and the Hitler Youth.

The first transports of deported Jews were sent to the notorious Nisko concentration camp, in the Lublin District (October 1939). The last mass transport left in September 1942; it included many prominent people and Jewish dignitaries, who were sent to Theresienstadt, from where later they were mostly deported to Auschwitz. In November 1942, the Jewish community of Vienna was officially dissolved. About 800 Viennese Jews survived by remaining underground.

Last 50 Years

In the last 50 years, Vienna has become the main transient stopping-place and the first refuge for hundreds of thousands of Jewish refugees and emigrants from Eastern Europe after World War II.

The only synagogue to survive the Shoah is the Stadttempel (built 1826), where the community offices and the Chief Rabbinate are located. A number of synagogues and prayer rooms catering to various chassidic groups and other congregations are functioning on a regular basis in Vienna. One kosher supermarket, as well as a kosher butcher shop and bakery serve the community

The only Jewish school run by the community is the Zwi Perez Chajes School, which reopened in 1980 after a hiatus of 50 years, and includes a kindergarden, elementary and high school. About 400 additional pupils receive Jewish religious instruction in general schools and two additional Talmud Torah schools. The ultra-orthodox stream of the community, which has been growing significantly since the 1980's, maintain their separate school system.
Though the Zionists constitute a minority, there are intensive and diversified Zionist activities. A number of journals and papers are published by the community, such as Die Gemeinde, the official organ of the Community, and the Illustrierte Neue Welt. The Austrian Jewish Students Union publishes the Noodnik.

The Documentation Center, established and directed by Simon Wiesenthal and supported by the community, developed into the important Institute for the documentation of the Holocaust and the tracing of Nazi Criminals.

In 1993, the Jewish Museum in Vienna opened its doors and became a central cultural institution of the community, offering a varied program of cultural and educational activities and attracting a large public of Jewish and non-Jewish visitors. The museum chronicles the rich history of Viennese Jewry and the outstanding roles Jews played in the development of the city. The Jewish Welcome Service aids Jewish visitors including newcomers who plan to remain in the city for longer periods.

Jewish Population in Vienna:

1846 - 3,379

1923 - 201,513

1945/46 - 4,000

1950 - 12,450

2000 - 9,000

Nagykanizsa

A city in Hungary

21st CENTURY

Small metal engraved plates can be found in the pavement on the streets in Nagykanizsa, marking the homes of some of the thousands of Jews who lived in the city and were deported and murdered in Auschwitz Nazi death camp. The grounds of the old cemetery include many impressive tombstones that point to the former size of the community. There is also a plaque commemorating the victims of the Holocaust.

The synagogue has remained standing. A memorial to the city’s Holocaust victims was put up in 2004 near the entrance to the synagogue.

 

HISTORY

Nagykanizsa was officially established in 1786, although it is almost certain that Jews lived there since 1710. By 1745 the community owned a synagogue. The first names in the registrar of the chevra kadisha date from 1782 (their beautiful pinkas is preserved in the Jewish Museum of Budapest). The first Jewish school opened in 1786; as a result of the reforms of Joseph II in the 1780s, the language of instruction was German. Rabbi H. Torai served as the community’s Orthodox rabbi (1776-1792).

The city’s Jewish population was 500 in 1782.

The community of Nagykanzia was among the first to join the Reform Movement, although there were bitter disputes in the community concerning religious practice. In 1829 the Reform synagogue adopted the ritual of the famous composer S. Sulzer (which was identical to the traditional ritual) and introduced an ensemble of ten violinists to accompany all services except on Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur. An organ was introduced into the synagogue service in 1845, and was the first organ in a synagogue in Hungary. The first Reform rabbi to serve the community was Rabbi L. Loew (1841-46).  He was succeeded by Rabbi H.B. Fasel (1851-83), who was in turn succeeded by Rabbi E. Neumann (1883-1918). Rabbi Neumann incorporated some of the new rituals suggested by Rabbi Abraham Geiger into the service. A noteworthy Orthodox rabbi who served during this period was Rabbi Meir Szanto.

In 1832 Jewish education was offered in Hungarian, as well as in German and Hebrew. Jewish schooling eventually became considered to be so high quality, that beginning in 1850 Christian children began enrolling in Jewish schools.

A Jewish elementary school rented a building in the city in 1832; by 1842 the school had expanded, with its own building, 3 boys’ classes, and 78 students. In 1843 the school expanded further to include 3 classes for 111 girls. A pre-secondary school was opened in 1867, and offered courses in the natural sciences and religion. In 1891-92 it was converted into a secondary commercial school, the only one of its kind in Hungary; the school functioned until 1933. Additionally, a general pre-secondary school opened in 1890.

The community also established a number of charitable institutions. The Jewish Hospital was formed in 1832, and a women’s organization opened in 1843. The Jewish population of Nagykanizsa grew from 1,000 in 1830 to 2,875 in 1880.

The community’s golden age lasted from 1863 to 1902. During this time, members of the Guttman family served as the community’s presidents; the family would eventually receive the title of baron.  

The Jews of Nagykanizsa played an important role in the industrial and commercial development of the town during the first years of the 20th century. They were also culturally active; from 1901 to 1918, Rabbi Neumann edited the Hungarian Jewish magazine Magyar Israel, which was published in Nagykanizsa.

The city’s Jewish population continued to grow through the 20th century, from 3,378 in 1910, to 3,663 in 1920.

 

THE HOLOCAUST

2,700 Jews were deported from Nagykanizsa to Aushwitz in April and May of 1944. The last Reform rabbi to serve the community, Rabbi E. Winkler (1919-1944), who was notable for reintroducing tradition ritual to his synagogue, accompanied his community to Auschwitz, and died in Melk in 1945.  

 

POSTWAR

300 Jews returned to the city in 1945. In 1970, there were 100 Jews living in Nagykanizsa.

Bratislava

German: Pressburg, Hungarian: Pozsony

Capital of Slovakia. Part of Hungary until 1918

Bratislava was the chartered capital of the kings of Hungary. It was one of the most ancient and important Jewish centers in the Danube region. The first Jews probably arrived with the Roman legions, but the first documented evidence of their presence in the city dates from the 13th century. In 1291 the community was granted a charter by King Andrew the III and a synagogue is first mentioned in 1335.

The Jews of Bratislava mainly engaged in moneylending, but there were also merchants, artisans, vineyard owners, and vintners. The Jews were expelled from Hungary in 1360, but returned in 1367. In 1371 the municipality introduced the Judenbuch, which regulated financial dealings between Jews and Christians.

Money matters between Jews and Christians, however, could unexpectedly take complicated turns. King Sigismund granted Christians an exemption for the year 1392 from paying interest on loans borrowed from Jews. Later, in 1441 and 1450, all outstanding debts owed to Jews were cancelled, and in 1475 Jews were forbidden from accepting real estate as security. Ladislas II prevented Jews from attempting to leave Bratislava in 1506 by confiscating the property of those who had already left. This proved to be somewhat ironic since the Jews were eventually expelled from Bratislava, and Hungary as a whole, in 1526. Instead, the Jews began settling in the surrounding areas of Shlossberg and Zuckermandel. A Jewish community was not reestablished in Bratislava until the end of the seventeenth century when Samuel Oppenheimer resettled the city. He was followed by other Jews, some of whom were born locally and others who came from Vienna, which had expelled its Jews in 1670, Bohemia and Moravia, as well as a small number from Poland. A synagogue was built in 1695 where the first known rabbi to work there was Yom Tov Lipmann. In 1699 the court Jew Simon Michael, who had settled in Bratislava in 1693, was appointed as head of the community. He built a beit midrash and bought land to build a cemetery.

During the 18th and 19th centuries the Jews of Bratislava were leaders in both the business and religious worlds. In business they were among the leaders of the textile trade, while the religious leader Rabbi Moses Sofer (better known as the Hatam Sofer) turned Bratislava into a center of Jewish life. The Hatam Sofer became a leader of Orthodoxy, and is perhaps best known for his (ironically radical) statement that "He-hadash asur min haTorah," "Innovation is forbidden according to the Torah." His status as a rabbi, teacher, scholar, rosh yeshiva, and halakhist was unparalleled. Upon his death his son, Avraham Shmuel Binyamin (otherwise known as the Ketav Sofer) and then his grandson Simcha Bumen, and his great-grandson Akiva succeeded him in turn. Other outstanding rabbis that served in the city before the Hatam Sofer were Moshe Harif of Lemberg, Akiva Eger (the elder), Yitzhak Landau of Kukla, Meir Barbi of Halberstadt, and Meshulam Igra of Tymenitsa. Each was an outstanding Talmudic scholar, and Landau and Barbi established large and prestigious yeshivas.

In spite of the Hatam Sofer's uncompromising Orthodoxy, the Haskalah (Jewish Enlightenment) made important inroads, particularly among the wealthy merchants and intellectuals in the city. In 1820 those who were in favor of the Haskalah succeeded in establishing an elementary school that combined religious and secular studies. Shortly thereafter the community's Orthodox majority also built a Talmud Torah that combined religious and secular studies, under the supervision of the city's chief rabbi.

The community was also split during the Hungarian Revolution of 1848. While those who were in favor of reform, led by Adolf Neustadt, enthusiastically supported the revolution, joining the National Guard and advocating for Jewish emancipation, the Orthodox leadership distanced themselves from these actions. Anti-Jewish riots subsequently broke out during the revolution around Easter; the Jews of Bratislava suffered the worst violence. While no Bratislavan Jews were killed, there were many who were severely beaten, and there was enormous damage done to property. The Jewish Quarter was placed under military protection, and Jews who lived elsewhere had to move within it. The violence prompted calls to emigrate to the US.

The Revolution of 1848 would not be the last time that the Jews of Bratislava were the victims of pogroms and anti-Jewish violence. 1850 saw more anti-Jewish riots around the holiday of Easter. Further outbreaks of anti-Jewish violence followed the Tiszaeszlar blood libel in 1882 and 1883, as well as after other blood libels in 1887 and 1889.

Tensions continued to grow between the Orthodox and the maskilim within the community. After 1869 the Orthodox, Neologist, and Status Quo Ante factions in Bratislava formed separate congregations. The Orthodox provincial office (Landseskanzlei) later became notorious for its opposition to Zionism. The Neolog and Status Quo Ante congregations united in 1928 as the Jeshurun Federation.

Jewish institutions in Bratislava included religious schools, charitable organizations, and a Jewish hospital. The Hungarian Zionist organization was founded in Bratislava in 1902, and the World Mizrachi Organization was founded in 1904; the latter sparked protests from over 100 rabbis. The first Hungarian Zionist Congress was held in Bratislava in March 1903 and the city became the Hungarian center for the Zionist Organization in Hungary.

With the establishment of Czechoslovakia, Bratislava also became the center of Agudas Yisroel in Czechoslovakia, in addition to remaining a Zionist center. Several Jewish newspapers and a Hebrew weekly, "HaYehudi," were printed in the city. There were also over 300 Hebrew and Yiddish books printed in the city between 1831 and 1930. The Orthodox Jewish Communities of Slovakia was established in the city, enabling the Orthodox community to cut ties with Hungary.

The German army occupied Czechoslovakia in March, 1938 and soon established an independent Slovak state. Even before the declaration of the independent state, there were attacks on the synagogue and yeshiva on November 11, 1938. Nearly 1,000 Jewish students were expelled from the university and anti-Jewish terror, restrictive measures, and pogroms increased. With the establishment of the Slovak state, Jews continued to suffer from discrimination. Akiva Shreiber and a number of his yeshiva students succeeded in leaving Bratislava for Palestine at the end of 1939.

Nonetheless, the Jewish population of Bratislava peaked in 1940 at 18,000 people (13% of the total population of the city). This was in spite of the fact that Jewish organizations, with the exception of religious communal activities, were prohibited from organizing activities. Additionally, Jews were evicted from various neighborhoods, Jewish students were expelled from public schools, and Jewish properties were confiscated. By the fall of 1941 about half of the city's population had been forcibly sent from the city to the provinces; by the summer of 1942 two-thirds of the Jews of Bratislava were sent to concentration or extermination camps. Gisi Fleischmann of WIZO and Mikhael Dov Ber Weissmandel began organizing an underground resistance movement. They contacted international Jewish organizations, in the hopes that they could save the Jews who remained in the city and the surrounding area. August 1944 saw a Slovak uprising, and the country was subsequently occupied by the Germans. At that point, the remaining Jews in Bratislava were deported.

In the end, approximately 13,000 Jews from Bratislava were killed during the Holocaust. After the war, the city was an important transit point for the thousands of displaced Jews who were making their way to other countries and began to rebuild. The Orthodox and Neolog communities united and maintained two cemetaries, a mikvah, a slaughterhouse, a soup kitchen, a matzah bakery, a Jewish hospital, an old age home, and a Jewish orphanage. Zionist activity resumed; HaShomer HaTzair and Bnei Akiva led activities for orphans preparing to emigrate to Mandate Palestine. Maccabi HaTzair and Beitar were also active. Though there was an attempt to reopen the Pressburg Yeshiva, it ultimately failed.

After the communist takeover, thousands more Jews left the city, most of whom went to Israel. According to an agreement made with Israel, 4,000 Jews were permitted to leave and enter Israel at the end of the 1940s while 2,000 remained in Bratislava. In 1969 there were 1,500 Jews in the city.

The 1990s saw the opening of a number of memorials and places of Jewish interest. A Jewish cultural heritage museum was opened in the old Jewish Quarter. A memorial plaque was added to the Orthodox cemetery in memory of the 13,000 Jewish victims of Bratislava who were killed during the Holocaust. Additionally, in 1997 a monument commemorating the Slovakian Jewish victims of the Nazis was erected on the site where the Pressburg Yeshiva once stood. Jewish organizations and municipal authorities worked together to renovate and reopen the grave of the Hatam Sofer, among other rabbis, to the public.

In the year 2000 there were 800 Jews living in Bratislava.
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Szanto, Simon
Szanto, Simon (1819-1882), educator and writer, born in Nagykanizsa, Hungary (then part of the Austrian Empire). Son of a rabbi, he received a strict religious upbringing in the Talmudic schools of Kackenbach and Golcuv-Jenikov, Bohemia (now in the Czech Republic), and managed under great difficulties to obtain a secular education in Bratislava (now in Slovakia) and at Prague University, where he studied German literature. He also studied Jewish theology under S. J. Rapoport, and was ordained a rabbi in 1844.

In 1845 he moved to Vienna, where he founded an elementary and secondary school for boys in 1849, which combined Jewishness with modern secular learning. It became the first Jewish school in Austria entitled to issue officially valid diplomas. Szanto taught Bible and Hebrew literature at the Vienna Beit ha-Midrash; he was also appointed inspector for Jewish religious instruction at public schools and official interpreter of the Hebrew language, and became a lecturer at the Theologische Lehrantstalt.

In 1861 he founded, with Leopold Kompert, a weekly journal, "Die Neuzeit", which he edited until his death. He contributed to the "Jahrbuch fuer Israeliten" and was its editor from 1865 to 1868.

Szanto was a prolific writer with a precise and lively style, writing a large portion of "Die Neuzeit" himself as well as many articles in the Jewish and Vienna daily press, chiefly on education. He wrote: "Bocer Olelosz" (a Bible commentary, 1845), two historic novels: "Bilder aus Alexandrias Vorzeit" and "Judentum und Romantik"; "Schullerers Paradaxa"; "Fahrende Juden"; "Sturmpetition eines Paedagogen"; "Musterung zur Charakteristik der Erzieherwelt" (1857-1858); "Schematismus der israelit. Cultusgemeinden in der Oesterr. Monarchie" (1869), and "Ibn Karmi" (pseudonim, 1871).

Szanto also wrote many essays on Jewish history, some in Hebrew. He was a devoted follower of Adolf Jellinek and a forceful fighter for his ideas of Jewish reform, and he participated in the Reform synods of Leipzig and Augsburg.
Written by researchers of ANU Museum of the Jewish People

Bratislava
Nagykanizsa
Vienna
Prague
Bratislava

German: Pressburg, Hungarian: Pozsony

Capital of Slovakia. Part of Hungary until 1918

Bratislava was the chartered capital of the kings of Hungary. It was one of the most ancient and important Jewish centers in the Danube region. The first Jews probably arrived with the Roman legions, but the first documented evidence of their presence in the city dates from the 13th century. In 1291 the community was granted a charter by King Andrew the III and a synagogue is first mentioned in 1335.

The Jews of Bratislava mainly engaged in moneylending, but there were also merchants, artisans, vineyard owners, and vintners. The Jews were expelled from Hungary in 1360, but returned in 1367. In 1371 the municipality introduced the Judenbuch, which regulated financial dealings between Jews and Christians.

Money matters between Jews and Christians, however, could unexpectedly take complicated turns. King Sigismund granted Christians an exemption for the year 1392 from paying interest on loans borrowed from Jews. Later, in 1441 and 1450, all outstanding debts owed to Jews were cancelled, and in 1475 Jews were forbidden from accepting real estate as security. Ladislas II prevented Jews from attempting to leave Bratislava in 1506 by confiscating the property of those who had already left. This proved to be somewhat ironic since the Jews were eventually expelled from Bratislava, and Hungary as a whole, in 1526. Instead, the Jews began settling in the surrounding areas of Shlossberg and Zuckermandel. A Jewish community was not reestablished in Bratislava until the end of the seventeenth century when Samuel Oppenheimer resettled the city. He was followed by other Jews, some of whom were born locally and others who came from Vienna, which had expelled its Jews in 1670, Bohemia and Moravia, as well as a small number from Poland. A synagogue was built in 1695 where the first known rabbi to work there was Yom Tov Lipmann. In 1699 the court Jew Simon Michael, who had settled in Bratislava in 1693, was appointed as head of the community. He built a beit midrash and bought land to build a cemetery.

During the 18th and 19th centuries the Jews of Bratislava were leaders in both the business and religious worlds. In business they were among the leaders of the textile trade, while the religious leader Rabbi Moses Sofer (better known as the Hatam Sofer) turned Bratislava into a center of Jewish life. The Hatam Sofer became a leader of Orthodoxy, and is perhaps best known for his (ironically radical) statement that "He-hadash asur min haTorah," "Innovation is forbidden according to the Torah." His status as a rabbi, teacher, scholar, rosh yeshiva, and halakhist was unparalleled. Upon his death his son, Avraham Shmuel Binyamin (otherwise known as the Ketav Sofer) and then his grandson Simcha Bumen, and his great-grandson Akiva succeeded him in turn. Other outstanding rabbis that served in the city before the Hatam Sofer were Moshe Harif of Lemberg, Akiva Eger (the elder), Yitzhak Landau of Kukla, Meir Barbi of Halberstadt, and Meshulam Igra of Tymenitsa. Each was an outstanding Talmudic scholar, and Landau and Barbi established large and prestigious yeshivas.

In spite of the Hatam Sofer's uncompromising Orthodoxy, the Haskalah (Jewish Enlightenment) made important inroads, particularly among the wealthy merchants and intellectuals in the city. In 1820 those who were in favor of the Haskalah succeeded in establishing an elementary school that combined religious and secular studies. Shortly thereafter the community's Orthodox majority also built a Talmud Torah that combined religious and secular studies, under the supervision of the city's chief rabbi.

The community was also split during the Hungarian Revolution of 1848. While those who were in favor of reform, led by Adolf Neustadt, enthusiastically supported the revolution, joining the National Guard and advocating for Jewish emancipation, the Orthodox leadership distanced themselves from these actions. Anti-Jewish riots subsequently broke out during the revolution around Easter; the Jews of Bratislava suffered the worst violence. While no Bratislavan Jews were killed, there were many who were severely beaten, and there was enormous damage done to property. The Jewish Quarter was placed under military protection, and Jews who lived elsewhere had to move within it. The violence prompted calls to emigrate to the US.

The Revolution of 1848 would not be the last time that the Jews of Bratislava were the victims of pogroms and anti-Jewish violence. 1850 saw more anti-Jewish riots around the holiday of Easter. Further outbreaks of anti-Jewish violence followed the Tiszaeszlar blood libel in 1882 and 1883, as well as after other blood libels in 1887 and 1889.

Tensions continued to grow between the Orthodox and the maskilim within the community. After 1869 the Orthodox, Neologist, and Status Quo Ante factions in Bratislava formed separate congregations. The Orthodox provincial office (Landseskanzlei) later became notorious for its opposition to Zionism. The Neolog and Status Quo Ante congregations united in 1928 as the Jeshurun Federation.

Jewish institutions in Bratislava included religious schools, charitable organizations, and a Jewish hospital. The Hungarian Zionist organization was founded in Bratislava in 1902, and the World Mizrachi Organization was founded in 1904; the latter sparked protests from over 100 rabbis. The first Hungarian Zionist Congress was held in Bratislava in March 1903 and the city became the Hungarian center for the Zionist Organization in Hungary.

With the establishment of Czechoslovakia, Bratislava also became the center of Agudas Yisroel in Czechoslovakia, in addition to remaining a Zionist center. Several Jewish newspapers and a Hebrew weekly, "HaYehudi," were printed in the city. There were also over 300 Hebrew and Yiddish books printed in the city between 1831 and 1930. The Orthodox Jewish Communities of Slovakia was established in the city, enabling the Orthodox community to cut ties with Hungary.

The German army occupied Czechoslovakia in March, 1938 and soon established an independent Slovak state. Even before the declaration of the independent state, there were attacks on the synagogue and yeshiva on November 11, 1938. Nearly 1,000 Jewish students were expelled from the university and anti-Jewish terror, restrictive measures, and pogroms increased. With the establishment of the Slovak state, Jews continued to suffer from discrimination. Akiva Shreiber and a number of his yeshiva students succeeded in leaving Bratislava for Palestine at the end of 1939.

Nonetheless, the Jewish population of Bratislava peaked in 1940 at 18,000 people (13% of the total population of the city). This was in spite of the fact that Jewish organizations, with the exception of religious communal activities, were prohibited from organizing activities. Additionally, Jews were evicted from various neighborhoods, Jewish students were expelled from public schools, and Jewish properties were confiscated. By the fall of 1941 about half of the city's population had been forcibly sent from the city to the provinces; by the summer of 1942 two-thirds of the Jews of Bratislava were sent to concentration or extermination camps. Gisi Fleischmann of WIZO and Mikhael Dov Ber Weissmandel began organizing an underground resistance movement. They contacted international Jewish organizations, in the hopes that they could save the Jews who remained in the city and the surrounding area. August 1944 saw a Slovak uprising, and the country was subsequently occupied by the Germans. At that point, the remaining Jews in Bratislava were deported.

In the end, approximately 13,000 Jews from Bratislava were killed during the Holocaust. After the war, the city was an important transit point for the thousands of displaced Jews who were making their way to other countries and began to rebuild. The Orthodox and Neolog communities united and maintained two cemetaries, a mikvah, a slaughterhouse, a soup kitchen, a matzah bakery, a Jewish hospital, an old age home, and a Jewish orphanage. Zionist activity resumed; HaShomer HaTzair and Bnei Akiva led activities for orphans preparing to emigrate to Mandate Palestine. Maccabi HaTzair and Beitar were also active. Though there was an attempt to reopen the Pressburg Yeshiva, it ultimately failed.

After the communist takeover, thousands more Jews left the city, most of whom went to Israel. According to an agreement made with Israel, 4,000 Jews were permitted to leave and enter Israel at the end of the 1940s while 2,000 remained in Bratislava. In 1969 there were 1,500 Jews in the city.

The 1990s saw the opening of a number of memorials and places of Jewish interest. A Jewish cultural heritage museum was opened in the old Jewish Quarter. A memorial plaque was added to the Orthodox cemetery in memory of the 13,000 Jewish victims of Bratislava who were killed during the Holocaust. Additionally, in 1997 a monument commemorating the Slovakian Jewish victims of the Nazis was erected on the site where the Pressburg Yeshiva once stood. Jewish organizations and municipal authorities worked together to renovate and reopen the grave of the Hatam Sofer, among other rabbis, to the public.

In the year 2000 there were 800 Jews living in Bratislava.

Nagykanizsa

A city in Hungary

21st CENTURY

Small metal engraved plates can be found in the pavement on the streets in Nagykanizsa, marking the homes of some of the thousands of Jews who lived in the city and were deported and murdered in Auschwitz Nazi death camp. The grounds of the old cemetery include many impressive tombstones that point to the former size of the community. There is also a plaque commemorating the victims of the Holocaust.

The synagogue has remained standing. A memorial to the city’s Holocaust victims was put up in 2004 near the entrance to the synagogue.

 

HISTORY

Nagykanizsa was officially established in 1786, although it is almost certain that Jews lived there since 1710. By 1745 the community owned a synagogue. The first names in the registrar of the chevra kadisha date from 1782 (their beautiful pinkas is preserved in the Jewish Museum of Budapest). The first Jewish school opened in 1786; as a result of the reforms of Joseph II in the 1780s, the language of instruction was German. Rabbi H. Torai served as the community’s Orthodox rabbi (1776-1792).

The city’s Jewish population was 500 in 1782.

The community of Nagykanzia was among the first to join the Reform Movement, although there were bitter disputes in the community concerning religious practice. In 1829 the Reform synagogue adopted the ritual of the famous composer S. Sulzer (which was identical to the traditional ritual) and introduced an ensemble of ten violinists to accompany all services except on Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur. An organ was introduced into the synagogue service in 1845, and was the first organ in a synagogue in Hungary. The first Reform rabbi to serve the community was Rabbi L. Loew (1841-46).  He was succeeded by Rabbi H.B. Fasel (1851-83), who was in turn succeeded by Rabbi E. Neumann (1883-1918). Rabbi Neumann incorporated some of the new rituals suggested by Rabbi Abraham Geiger into the service. A noteworthy Orthodox rabbi who served during this period was Rabbi Meir Szanto.

In 1832 Jewish education was offered in Hungarian, as well as in German and Hebrew. Jewish schooling eventually became considered to be so high quality, that beginning in 1850 Christian children began enrolling in Jewish schools.

A Jewish elementary school rented a building in the city in 1832; by 1842 the school had expanded, with its own building, 3 boys’ classes, and 78 students. In 1843 the school expanded further to include 3 classes for 111 girls. A pre-secondary school was opened in 1867, and offered courses in the natural sciences and religion. In 1891-92 it was converted into a secondary commercial school, the only one of its kind in Hungary; the school functioned until 1933. Additionally, a general pre-secondary school opened in 1890.

The community also established a number of charitable institutions. The Jewish Hospital was formed in 1832, and a women’s organization opened in 1843. The Jewish population of Nagykanizsa grew from 1,000 in 1830 to 2,875 in 1880.

The community’s golden age lasted from 1863 to 1902. During this time, members of the Guttman family served as the community’s presidents; the family would eventually receive the title of baron.  

The Jews of Nagykanizsa played an important role in the industrial and commercial development of the town during the first years of the 20th century. They were also culturally active; from 1901 to 1918, Rabbi Neumann edited the Hungarian Jewish magazine Magyar Israel, which was published in Nagykanizsa.

The city’s Jewish population continued to grow through the 20th century, from 3,378 in 1910, to 3,663 in 1920.

 

THE HOLOCAUST

2,700 Jews were deported from Nagykanizsa to Aushwitz in April and May of 1944. The last Reform rabbi to serve the community, Rabbi E. Winkler (1919-1944), who was notable for reintroducing tradition ritual to his synagogue, accompanied his community to Auschwitz, and died in Melk in 1945.  

 

POSTWAR

300 Jews returned to the city in 1945. In 1970, there were 100 Jews living in Nagykanizsa.

Vienna

In German: Wien. Capital of Austria

Early History

Documentary evidence points to the first settlement of Jews in the 12th century. A charter of privileges was granted by Emperor Frederick II in 1238, giving the Jewish community extensive autonomy. At the close of the 13th and during the 14th centuries, the community of Vienna was recognized as the leading community of German Jewry. In the second half of the 13th century there were about 1,000 Jews in the community.
The influence of the "Sages of Vienna" spread far beyond the limits of the city itself and continued for many generations. Of primary importance were Isaac B. Moses "Or Zaru'a", his son Chayyim "Or Zaru'a", Avigdor B. Elijah Ha- Kohen, and Meir B. Baruch Ha- Levi. At the time of the Black Death persecutions of 1348-49, the community of Vienna was spared and even served as a refuge for Jews from other places.

Toward the end of the 14th century there was a growing anti-Jewish feeling among the burghers; in 1406, during the course of a fire that broke out in the synagogue, in which it was destroyed, the burghers seized the opportunity to attack Jewish homes. Many of the community's members died as martyrs in the persecutions of 1421, others were expelled, and the children forcibly converted. After the persecutions nevertheless some Jews remained there illegally. In 1512, there were 12 Jewish families in Vienna, and a small number of Jews continued to live there during the 16th century, often faced with threats of expulsion. During the Thirty Years' War (1618-48), Jews suffered as a result of the occupation of the city by Imperial soldiers. In 1624, Emperor Ferdinand II confined the Jews to a ghetto. Some Jews at this time engaged in international trade; others were petty traders. Among the prominent rabbis of the renewed community was Yom Tov Lipman Heller, and Shabbetai Sheftel Horowitz,
one of the many refugees from Poland who fled the Chmielnicki who led anti-Jewish massacres of 1648.

Hatred of the Jews by the townsmen increased during the mid 17th century. The poorer Jews were expelled in 1669; the rest were exiled during the Hebrew month of Av (summer) of the year 1670, and their properties taken from them. The Great Synagogue was converted into a Catholic church. Some of the Jews took advantage of the offer to convert to Christianity so as not to be exiled.

By 1693, the financial losses to the city were sufficient to generate support for a proposal to readmit the Jews. Only the wealthy were authorized to reside in Vienna, as "tolerated subjects", in exchange for very high taxes. Prayer services were permitted to be held only in a private house.

The founders of the community and its leaders in those years, as well as during the 18th century, were prominent Court Jews, such as Samuel Oppenheimer, Samson Wertheimer, and Baron Diego Aguilar. As a result of their activities, Vienna became a center for Jewish diplomatic efforts on behalf of Jews throughout the Habsburg Empire as well as an important center for Jewish philanthropy. A Sephardi community in Vienna traces its origins to 1737, and grew as a result of commerce with the Balkans.

The Jews suffered under the restrictive legislation of Empress Maria Theresia (1740- 80). In 1781, her son, Joseph II, issued his "Toleranzpatent", which, though attacked in Jewish circles, paved the way in some respects for later Emancipation.

By 1793, there was a Hebrew printing press in Vienna that soon became the center for Hebrew printing in Central Europe. During this period, the first signs of assimilation in social and family life of the Jews of Vienna made their appearance. At the time of the Congress of Vienna in 1815, the Viennese salon culture was promoted by Jewish wealthy women, whose salons served as entertainment and meeting places for the rulers of Europe.

The Jewish Community and the Haskalah Movement

From the close of the 18th century, and especially during the first decades of the 19th century, Vienna became a center of the Haskalah movement.

Despite restrictions, the number of Jews in the city rapidly increased. At a later period the call for religious reform was heard in Vienna. Various maskilim, including Peter Peretz Ber and Naphtali Hertz Homberg, tried to convince the government to impose Haskalah recommendations and religious reform on the Jews. This aroused strong controversy among the Viennese Community.

Jewish Immigration

During the second half of the 19th century and the first decades of the 20th century, the Jewish population of Vienna increased as a result of immigration there by Jews from other regions of the Empire, particularly Hungary, Galicia, and Bukovina. The influence and scope of the community's activities increased particularly after the annexation of Galicia by Austria. By 1923, Vienna had become the third largest Jewish community in Europe. Many Jews entered the liberal professions.

Community Life

In 1826, a magnificent synagogue, in which the Hebrew language and the traditional text of the prayers were retained, was inaugurated. It was the first legal synagogue to be opened since 1671. Before the Holocaust, there were about 59 synagogues of various religious trends in Vienna. There was also a Jewish educational network. The rabbinical Seminary, founded in 1893, was a European center for research into Jewish literature and history. The most prominent scholars were M.Guedeman, A. Jellinek, Adolph Schwarz, Adolf Buechler, David Mueller, Victor Aptowitzer, Z.H. Chajes, and Samuel Krauss. There was also a "Hebrew Pedagogium" for the training of Hebrew teachers.

Vienna also became a Jewish sports center; the football team Hakoach and the Maccabi organization of Vienna were well known. Many Jews were actors, producers, musicians and writers, scientists, researchers and thinkers.

Some Prominent Viennese Jews: Arnold Schoenberg (1874 - 1951), musician, composer; Gustav Mahler (1860 - 1911), musician, composer; Franz Werfel (1890 - 1945), author; Stefan Zweig (1881 - 1942), author; Karl Kraus (1874 - 1936), satirist, poet; Otto Bauer (1881 - 1938), socialist leader; Alfred Adler (1870 - 1937), psychiatrist; Arthur Schnitzler (1862 - 1931), playwright, author; Isaac Noach Mannheimer (1793 - 1865), Reform preacher; Joseph Popper (1838 -1921), social philosopher, engineer; Max Adler (1873 - 1937), socialist theoretician; Sigmund Freud (1856 - 1939), psychiatrist, creator of Psychoanalysis; Adolf Fischhoff (1816 - 1893), politician.

The Zionist Movement

Though in the social life and the administration of the community, there was mostly strong opposition to Jewish National action, Vienna was also a center of the national awakening. Peretz Smolenskin published Ha-Shachar between 1868 and 1885 in Vienna, while Nathan Birnbaum founded the first Jewish Nationalist Student Association, Kadimah, there in 1882, and preached "Pre-Herzl Zionism" from 1884. The leading newspaper, Neue Freie Presse, to which Theodor Herzl contributed, was owned in part by Jews.
It was due to Herzl that Vienna was at first the center of Zionist activities. He published the Zionist Movement's Organ, Die Welt, and established the headquarters of the Zionist Executive there.

The Zionist Movement in Vienna gained in strength after World War I. In 1919, the Zionist Robert Stricker was elected to the Austrian Parliament. The Zionists did not obtain a majority in the community until the elections of 1932.

The Holocaust Period

Nazi Germany occupied Vienna in March 1938. In less than one year the Nazis introduced all the discriminatory laws, backed by ruthless terror and by mass arrests (usually of economic leaders and Intellectuals, who were detained in special camps or sent to Dachau). These measures were accompanied by unspeakable atrocities. Vienna's Chief Rabbi, Dr. Israel Taglicht, who was more than 75 years old, was among those who were forced to clean with their bare hands the pavements of main streets. During Kristallnacht (November 9-10, 1938), 42 synagogues were destroyed, hundreds of flats were plundered by the S.A. and the Hitler Youth.

The first transports of deported Jews were sent to the notorious Nisko concentration camp, in the Lublin District (October 1939). The last mass transport left in September 1942; it included many prominent people and Jewish dignitaries, who were sent to Theresienstadt, from where later they were mostly deported to Auschwitz. In November 1942, the Jewish community of Vienna was officially dissolved. About 800 Viennese Jews survived by remaining underground.

Last 50 Years

In the last 50 years, Vienna has become the main transient stopping-place and the first refuge for hundreds of thousands of Jewish refugees and emigrants from Eastern Europe after World War II.

The only synagogue to survive the Shoah is the Stadttempel (built 1826), where the community offices and the Chief Rabbinate are located. A number of synagogues and prayer rooms catering to various chassidic groups and other congregations are functioning on a regular basis in Vienna. One kosher supermarket, as well as a kosher butcher shop and bakery serve the community

The only Jewish school run by the community is the Zwi Perez Chajes School, which reopened in 1980 after a hiatus of 50 years, and includes a kindergarden, elementary and high school. About 400 additional pupils receive Jewish religious instruction in general schools and two additional Talmud Torah schools. The ultra-orthodox stream of the community, which has been growing significantly since the 1980's, maintain their separate school system.
Though the Zionists constitute a minority, there are intensive and diversified Zionist activities. A number of journals and papers are published by the community, such as Die Gemeinde, the official organ of the Community, and the Illustrierte Neue Welt. The Austrian Jewish Students Union publishes the Noodnik.

The Documentation Center, established and directed by Simon Wiesenthal and supported by the community, developed into the important Institute for the documentation of the Holocaust and the tracing of Nazi Criminals.

In 1993, the Jewish Museum in Vienna opened its doors and became a central cultural institution of the community, offering a varied program of cultural and educational activities and attracting a large public of Jewish and non-Jewish visitors. The museum chronicles the rich history of Viennese Jewry and the outstanding roles Jews played in the development of the city. The Jewish Welcome Service aids Jewish visitors including newcomers who plan to remain in the city for longer periods.

Jewish Population in Vienna:

1846 - 3,379

1923 - 201,513

1945/46 - 4,000

1950 - 12,450

2000 - 9,000

Prague

Capital of the Czech Republic. Formerly the capital of Czechoslovakia.

It has the oldest Jewish community in Bohemia and one of the oldest communities in Europe, for some time the largest and most revered. Jews may have arrived in Prague in late roman times, but the first document mentioning them is a report by Ibrahim Ibn Ya'qub from about 970. The first definite evidence for the existence of a Jewish community in Prague dates to 1091. Jews arrived in Prague from both the east and west around the same time. It is probably for this reason that two Jewish districts came into being there right at the beginning.

The relatively favorable conditions in which the Jews at first lived in Prague were disrupted at the time of the first crusade in 1096. The crusaders murdered many of the Jews in Prague, looted Jewish property, and forced many to accept baptism. During the siege of Prague castle in 1142, the oldest synagogue in Prague and the Jewish quarter below the castle were burned down and the Jews moved to the right bank of the river Moldau (vltava), which was to become the future Jewish quarter, and founded the "Altschul" ("old synagogue") there.

The importance of Jewish culture in Prague is evidenced by the works of the halakhists there in the 11th to 13th centuries. The most celebrated was Isaac B. Moses of Vienna (d. C. 1250) author of "Or Zaru'a". Since the Czech language was spoken by the Jews of Prague in the early middle ages, the halakhic writings of that period also contain annotations in Czech. From the 13th to 16th centuries the Jews of Prague increasingly spoke German. At the time of persecutions which began at the end of the 11th century, the Jews of Prague, together with all the other Jews of Europe, lost their status as free people. From the 13th century on, the Jews of Bohemia were considered servants of the royal chamber (servi camerae regis). Their residence in Prague was subject to the most humiliating conditions (the wearing of special dress, segregation in the ghetto, etc.). The only occupation that Jews were allowed to adopt was moneylending, since this was forbidden to Christians and considered dishonest. Socially the Jews were in an inferior position.

The community suffered from persecutions accompanied by bloodshed in the 13th and 14th centuries, particularly in 1298 and 1338. Charles IV (1346- 1378) protected the Jews, but after his death the worst attack occurred in 1389, when nearly all the Jews of Prague fell victims. The rabbi of Prague and noted kabbalist Avigdor Kara, who witnessed and survived the outbreak, described it in a selichah. Under Wenceslaus IV the Jews of Prague suffered heavy material losses following an order by the king in 1411 canceling all debts owed to Jews.

At the beginning of the 15th century the Jews of Prague found themselves at the center of the Hussite wars (1419- 1436). The Jews of Prague also suffered from mob violence (1422) in this period. The unstable conditions in Prague compelled many Jews to emigrate.

Following the legalization, at the end of the 15th century, of moneylending by non-Jews in Prague, the Jews of Prague lost the economic significance which they had held in the medieval city, and had to look for other occupations in commerce and crafts. The position of the Jews began to improve at the beginning of the 16th century, mainly owing to the assistance of the king and the nobility. The Jews found greater opportunities in trading commodities and monetary transactions with the nobility. As a consequence, their economic position improved. In 1522 there were about 600 Jews in Prague, but by 1541 they numbered about 1,200. At the same time the Jewish quarters were extended. At the end of the 15th century the Jews of Prague founded new communities.

Under pressure of the citizens, king Ferdinand I was compelled in 1541 to approve the expulsion of the Jews. The Jews had to leave Prague by 1543, but were allowed to return in 1545. In 1557 Ferdinand I once again, this time upon his own initiative, ordered the expulsion of the Jews from Prague. They had to leave the city by 1559. Only after the retirement of Ferdinand I from the government of Bohemia were the Jews allowed to return to Prague in 1562.

The favorable position of the Jewish community of Prague during the reign of Rudolf II is reflected also in the flourishing Jewish culture. Among illustrious rabbis who taught in Prague at that time were Judah Loew B. Bezalel (the "maharal"); Ephraim Solomon B. Aaron of Luntschitz; Isaiah B. Abraham ha-levi Horowitz, who taught in Prague from 1614 to 1621; and Yom Tov Lipmann Heller, who became chief rabbi in 1627 but was forced to leave in 1631. The chronicler and astronomer David Gans also lived there in this period. At the beginning of the 17th century about 6,000 Jews were living in Prague.

In 1648 the Jews of Prague distinguished themselves in the defense of the city against the invading swedes. In recognition of their acts of heroism the Emperor presented them with a special flag which is still preserved in the Altneuschul. Its design with a Swedish cap in the center of the Shield of David became the official emblem of the Prague Jewish community.

After the thirty years' war, government policy was influenced by the church counter-reformation, and measures were taken to limit the Jews' means of earning a livelihood. A number of anti-Semitic resolutions and decrees were promulgated. Only the eldest son of every family was allowed to marry and found a family, the others having to remain single or leave Bohemia.

In 1680, more than 3,000 Jews in Prague died of the plague. Shortly afterward, in 1689, the Jewish quarter burned down, and over 300 Jewish houses and 11 synagogues were destroyed. The authorities initiated and partially implemented a project to transfer all the surviving Jews to the village of Lieben (Liben) north of Prague. Great excitement was aroused in 1694 by the murder trial of the father of Simon Abeles, a 12-year-old boy, who, it was alleged, had desired to be baptized and had been killed by his father. Simon was buried in the Tyn (Thein) church, the greatest and most celebrated cathedral of the old town of Prague. Concurrently with the religious incitement against the Jews an economic struggle was waged against them.

The anti-Jewish official policy reached its climax after the accession to the throne of Maria Theresa (1740-1780), who in 1744 issued an order expelling the Jews from Bohemia and Moravia. Jews were banished but were subsequently allowed to return after they promised to pay high taxes. In the baroque period noted rabbis were Simon Spira; Elias Spira; David Oppenheim; and Ezekiel Landau, chief rabbi and rosh yeshivah (1755-93(.

The position of the Jews greatly improved under Joseph II (1780-1790), who issued the Toleranzpatent of 1782. The new policy in regard to the Jews aimed at gradual abolition of the limitations imposed upon them, so that they could become more useful to the state in a modernized economic system. At the same time, the new regulations were part of the systematic policy of germanization pursued by Joseph II. Jews were compelled to adopt family names and to establish schools for secular studies; they became subject to military service, and were required to cease using Hebrew and Yiddish in business transactions. Wealthy and enterprising Jews made good use of the advantages of Joseph's reforms. Jews who founded manufacturing enterprises were allowed to settle outside the Jewish quarter of Prague.

Subsequently the limitations imposed upon Jews were gradually removed. In 1841 the prohibition on Jews owning land was rescinded. In 1846 the Jewish tax was abolished. In 1848 Jews were granted equal rights, and by 1867 the process of legal emancipation had been completed. In 1852 the ghetto of Prague was abolished. Because of the unhygienic conditions in the former Jewish quarter the Prague municipality decided in 1896 to pull down the old quarter, with the exception of important historical sites. Thus the Altneuschul, the Pinkas and Klaus, Meisel and Hoch synagogues, and some other places of historical and artistic interest remained intact.

In 1848 the community of Prague, numbering over 10,000, was still one of the largest Jewish communities in Europe (Vienna then numbered only 4,000 Jews). In the following period of the emancipation and the post- emancipation era the Prague community increased considerably in numbers, but did not keep pace with the rapidly expanding new Jewish metropolitan centers in western, central, and Eastern Europe.

After emancipation had been achieved in 1867, emigration from Prague abroad ceased as a mass phenomenon; movement to Vienna, Germany, and Western Europe continued. Jews were now represented in industry, especially the textile, clothing, leather, shoe, and food industries, in wholesale and retail trade, and in increasing numbers in the professions and as white-collar employees. Some Jewish bankers, industrialists and merchants achieved considerable wealth. The majority of Jews in Prague belonged to the middle class, but there also remained a substantial number of poor Jews.

Emancipation brought in its wake a quiet process of secularization and assimilation. In the first decades of the 19th century Prague Jewry, which then still led its traditionalist orthodox way of life, had been disturbed by the activities of the followers of Jacob Frank. The situation changed in the second half of the century. The chief rabbinate was still occupied by outstanding scholars, like Solomon Judah Rapoport, the leader of the Haskalah movement; Markus Hirsch (1880-1889) helped to weaken the religious influence in the community. Many synagogues introduced modernized services, a shortened liturgy, the organ and mixed choir, but did not necessarily embrace the principles of the reform movement.

Jews availed themselves eagerly of the opportunities to give their children a higher secular education. Jews formed a considerable part of the German minority in Prague, and the majority adhered to liberal movements. David Kuh founded the "German liberal party of Bohemia and represented it in the Bohemian diet (1862-1873). Despite strong Germanizing factors, many Jews adhered to the Czech language, and in the last two decades of the 19th century a Czech assimilationist movement developed which gained support from the continuing influx of Jews from the rural areas. Through the influence of German nationalists from the Sudeten districts anti-Semitism developed within the German population and opposed Jewish assimilation. At the end of the 19th century Zionism struck roots among the Jews of Bohemia, especially in Prague.

Growing secularization and assimilation led to an increase of mixed marriages and abandonment of Judaism. At the time of the Czechoslovak republic, established in 1918, many more people registered their dissociation of affiliation to the Jewish faith without adopting another. The proportion of mixed marriages in Bohemia was one of the highest in Europe. The seven communities of Prague were federated in the union of Jewish religious communities of greater Prague and cooperated on many issues. They established joint institutions; among these the most important was the institute for social welfare, established in 1935. The "Afike Jehuda society for the Advancement of Jewish Studies" was founded in 1869. There were also the Jewish museum and "The Jewish historical society of Czechoslovakia". A five-grade elementary school was established with Czech as the language of instruction. The many philanthropic institutions and associations included the Jewish care for the sick, the center for social welfare, the aid committee for refugees, the aid committee for Jews from Carpatho- Russia, orphanages, hostels for apprentices, old-age homes, a home for abandoned children, free-meal associations, associations for children's vacation centers, and funds to aid students. Zionist organizations were also well represented. There were three B'nai B'rith lodges, women's organizations, youth movements, student clubs, sports organizations, and a community center. Four Jewish weeklies were published in Prague (three Zionist; one Czech- assimilationist), and several monthlies and quarterlies. Most Jewish organizations in Czechoslovakia had their headquarters in Prague.

Jews first became politically active, and some of them prominent, within the German orbit. David Kuh and the president of the Jewish community, Arnold Rosenbacher, were among the leaders of the German Liberal party in the 19th century. Bruno Kafka and Ludwig Spiegel represented its successor in the Czechoslovak republic, the German Democratic Party, in the chamber of deputies and the senate respectively. Emil Strauss represented that party in the 1930s on the Prague Municipal Council and in the Bohemian diet. From the end of the 19th century an increasing number of Jews joined Czech parties, especially T. G. Masaryk's realists and the social democratic party. Among the latter Alfred Meissner, Lev Winter, and Robert Klein rose to prominence, the first two as ministers of justice and social welfare respectively.

Zionists, though a minority, soon became the most active element among the Jews of Prague. "Barissia" - Jewish Academic Corporation, was founded in Prague in 1903, it was one of the leading academic organizations for the advancement of Zionism in Bohemia. Before World War I the students' organization "Bar Kochba", under the leadership of Samuel Hugo Bergman, became one of the centers of cultural Zionism. The Prague Zionist Arthur Mahler was elected to the Austrian parliament in 1907, though as representative of an electoral district in Galicia. Under the leadership of Ludvik Singer the "Jewish National Council" was formed in 1918. Singer was elected in 1929 to the Czechoslovak parliament, and was succeeded after his death in 1931 by Angelo Goldstein. Singer, Goldstein, Frantisek Friedmann, and Jacob Reiss represented the Zionists on the Prague municipal council also. Some important Zionist conferences took place in Prague, among them the founding conference of hitachadut in 1920, and the
18th Zionist congress in 1933.

The group of Prague German-Jewish authors which emerged in the 1880s, known as the "Prague Circle" ('der Prager Kreis'), achieved international recognition and included Franz Kafka, Max Brod, Franz Werfel, Oskar Baum, Ludwig Winder, Leo Perutz, Egon Erwin Kisch, Otto Klepetar, and Willy Haas.

During the Holocaust period, the measures e.g., deprivation of property rights, prohibition against religious, cultural, or any other form of public activity, expulsion from the professions and from schools, a ban on the use of public transportation and the telephone, affected Prague Jews much more than those still living in the provinces. Jewish organizations provided social welfare and clandestinely continued the education of the youth and the training in languages and new vocations in preparation for emigration. The Palestine office in Prague, directed by Jacob Edelstein, enabled about 19,000 Jews to emigrate legally or otherwise until the end of 1939.

In March 1940, the Prague zentralstelle extended the area of its jurisdiction to include all of Bohemia and Moravia. In an attempt to obviate the deportation of the Jews to "the east", Jewish leaders, headed by Jacob Edelstein, proposed to the zentralstelle the establishment of a self- administered concentrated Jewish communal body; the Nazis eventually exploited this proposal in the establishment of a ghetto at Theresienstadt (Terezin). The Prague Jewish community was forced to provide the Nazis with lists of candidates for deportation and to ensure that they showed up at the assembly point and boarded deportation trains. In the period from October 6, 1941, to March 16, 1945, 46,067 Jews were deported from Prague to "the east" or to Theresienstadt. Two leading officials of the Jewish community, H. Bonn and Emil Kafka were dispatched to Mauthausen concentration camp and put to death after trying to slow down the pace of the deportations. The Nazis set up a treuhandstelle ("trustee Office") over evacuated Jewish apartments, furnishings, and possessions. This office sold these goods and forwarded the proceeds to the German winterhilfe ("winter aid"). The treuhandstelle ran as many as 54 warehouses, including 11 synagogues (as a result, none of the synagogues was destroyed). The zentralstelle brought Jewish religious articles from 153 Jewish communities to Prague on a proposal by Jewish scholars. This collection, including 5,400 religious objects, 24,500 prayer books, and 6,070 items of historical value the Nazis intended to utilize for a "central museum of the defunct Jewish race". Jewish historians engaged in the creation of the museum were deported to extermination camps just before the end of the war. Thus the Jewish museum had acquired at the end of the war one of the richest collections of Judaica in the world.


Prague had a Jewish population of 10,338 in 1946, of whom 1,396 Jews had not been deported (mostly of mixed Jewish and Christian parentage); 227 Jews had gone underground; 4,986 returned from prisons, concentration camps, or Theresienstadt; 883 returned from Czechoslovak army units abroad; 613 were Czechoslovak Jewish emigres who returned; and 2,233 were Jews from Ruthenia (Carpatho-Ukraine), which had been ceded to the U.S.S.R. who decided to move to Czechoslovakia. The communist takeover of 1948 put an end to any attempt to revive the Jewish community and marked the beginning of a period of stagnation. By 1950 about half of the Jewish population had gone to Israel or immigrated to other countries. The Slansky trials and the officially promoted anti-Semitism had a destructive effect upon Jewish life. Nazi racism of the previous era was replaced by political and social discrimination. Most of the Jews of Prague were branded as "class enemies of the working people". During this
Period (1951-1964) there was no possibility of Jewish emigration from the country. The assets belonging to the Jewish community had to be relinquished to the state. The charitable organizations were disbanded, and the budget of the community, provided by the state, was drastically reduced. The general anti-religious policy of the regime resulted in the cessation, for all practical purposes, of such Jewish religious activities as bar-mitzvah religious instruction and wedding ceremonies. In 1964 only two cantors and two ritual slaughterers were left. The liberalization of the regime during 1965-1968 held out new hope for a renewal of Jewish life in Prague.

At the end of March 1967 the president of "The World Jewish Congress", Nahum Goldmann, was able to visit Prague and give a lecture in the Jewish town hall. Among the Jewish youth many tended to identify with Judaism. Following the soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968 there was an attempt to put an end to this trend, however the Jewish youth, organized since 1965, carried on with their Jewish cultural activities until 1972. In the late 6os the Jewish population of Prague numbered about 2,000.

On the walls of the Pinkas synagogue, which is part of the central Jewish museum in Prague, are engraved the names of 77,297 Jews from Bohemia and Moravia who were murdered by the Nazis in 1939-1945.

In 1997 some 6,000 Jews were living in the Czech Republic, most of them in Prague. The majority of the Jews of Prague were indeed elderly, but the Jewish community's strengthened in 1990's by many Jews, mainly American, who had come to work in the republic, settled in Prague, and joined the community.

In April 2000 the central square of Prague was named Franz Kafka square. This was done thanks to the unflinching efforts and after years of straggle with the authorities, of Professor Eduard Goldstucker, a Jew born in Prague, the initiator of the idea.
SZANTO
SZANTO

Surnames derive from one of many different origins. Sometimes there may be more than one explanation for the same name. This family name derives from a personal characteristic or nickname.

Literally, Szanto is the Hungarian for "ploughman". Phonetically it is close to Santo, a variant of the Hebrew Shem Tov, which means "good name". The Greek equivalent Kalonymos, literally "good name" (in medieval and modern Greek), repeats the link between good and beautiful, as found in the Arabic El Maleh/Al Malih, which means both "good" and "beautiful". These names and their numerous variants are also linked to the biblical name Tobiah, which means "the goodness of God". Kalonymos is documented as a Jewish name in 8th century Italy. Its Latin form, Kalonymus, produced Calmus, the Italian Calo and Calimani, and the French Calot. In 11th century Spain, Shem Tov became Nome Boneum.

Central and Eastern Europe developed names based on Cal(I)man(i) such as Kalman/Calman and diverse variants, comprising Kleimann and Klee. Kalo(n), the first part of Kalonymos, is the Greek for "beautiful/handsome", an equivalent of the Hebrew Yaffe. Santo and El-Maleh are documented as Jewish family names in 13th century Spain and Ibn Shem Tob in 14th century Spain. Bueno and Almari are recorded in the 14th century, Maleh and Almale in the 15th century, and El Maleh in the 17th century.

Distinguished bearers of the Jewish family name Szanto include the Hungarian-born Austrian teacher and author, Simon Szanto (1819-1882) and the Hungarian educator, Eleazar Szanto (1829-1893).