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Jewish Community of Deutschkreutz

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BACKGROUND

DEUTSCHKREUTZ (also Hung. Keresztur or Nemetkeresztur, Sopronkeresztur; Heb. צלם, צעלם), is a town in Eastern Austria. Deutschkreutz was one of the "Seven Communities" (Sheva Kehillot in the Burgenland region.

The Jewish community of Deutschkreutz was known in the Jewish world by the name Zelem (or Tzelem) which was chosen to avoid the word "kreutz" (cross in German) which is part of the place name of Deutschkreutz.

There is evidence of Jews living in Deutschkreutz long before 1671; however, the foundation of the Jewish community is a consequence of the permission granted by the Esterhazys for the Jews to return to the town after Emperor Leopold I ordered the expulsion of Austrian and Hungarian Jews. Many Jews settled around 1671, soon after the Jews were allowed to return to the area In 1720 Michael Esterházy issued a letter of protection for the Jews of Deutschkreutz. The Jewish community received not only absolute religious autonomy but also political autonomy.

During the 18th century and the first half of the 19th century, the Jewish community of Deutschkreutz evolved into one of the largest Jewish communities of the Burgenland. In 1735, 222 Jews had lived in the village and in 1857 the ultimate peak was achieved when 1200 Jews accounted for 38% of the total population of Deutschkreutz. In 1880 the number of community members had already dropped down to 476. Despite of challenging events such as pillages and fire disasters, from this point on the Jewish community was quite able to maintain its possessions. In 1934, 433 Jews lived in Deutschkreutz.

Jewish Life

The original area of settlement was located in the small Neugasse on the edge of the village close to the castle. A Synagogue, a Mikwa, a cemetery, an elementary school and a Talmudic school (‘Yeshiva’) together with their relevant functionaries, belonged to the Jewish religious community.

The ‘Yeshiva’ of Deutschkreutz was an important institution of the municipality. It was located inside in the house of learning and very highly regarded because of its high standards. Orthodox students from throughout Middle Europe were able to receive a traditional-Jewish education.

The Final Chapter

Almost immediately after the Anschluss of Austria to the German Reich in 1938, the Jewish population of Deutschkreutz, like that of the neighboring Jewish communities of Burgenland was expelled or arrested. Some Jews were driven across the nearby borders into Hungary and Yugoslavia. The majority found refuge in Vienna, where a large number managed to emigrate.

After the expulsion of the Jews, the Jewish quarter was almost completely destroyed in 1941 blew up the synagogue. Numerous grave stones of the ruined Jewish cemetery were used to secure the East Wall. The Vienna Jewish Community after 1945 brought 38 grave stones to the gate IV of the Vienna Central Cemetery to save at least the last stones. 1992, these stones were repatriated to German Kreutz and walled fragments of grave stones in the cemetery wall.

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RABBIS & NOTABLES

  1. Aharon Chorin Rabbi

FAMILIES & RESIDENTS

  1. Armin Koller
  2. Julius Koller
  3. Katalin Schwartz
  4. Ferdinand Kohn
  5. Edmund-Kerö
  6. Isabella Beigelmann
  7. Sigmund Körner
  8. Friedrich Kohn
  9. Samuel Kormos
  10. Rudolf Kohn
  11. Ludwig Kerö
  12. Ernesztina Winter
  13. Max Kohn
  14. Resy Kohn
  15. Netti Kohn
  16. Betty Kohn
  17. Baruch Kohn
  18. Salamon ohn
  19. Sigmund Kohn
  20. Bernhard Kohn
  21. Leopold Kohn
  22. Rozalia Kohn
  23. Ahron Kohn
  24. Benjamin Kohn
  25. Juda Loeb Kohn