This project seeks to list representatives of all of the Jewish families from the Moravian town of Usov (Aussee) in the Czech Republic.
USOV (Ger. Maehrisch-Aussee; in Jewish sources אויסא) town in N. Moravia, Czech Republic. The first mention of a Jew in Usov was in 1564, and by 1600 Jews were living in nine houses. The community suffered during the Thirty Years' War but recuperated to build a synagogue in 1690. It was one of the 15 communities of the "supreme [northern] district" in Moravia. On the Day of Atonement 1721, a Catholic priest who had profaned the prayers and ceremony was ejected from the synagogue: After complicated legal proceedings, the supreme court in Vienna overruled the lower instances of Brno and Prague and in 1722 ordered the synagogue to be destroyed and prohibited the holding of any public services. The dayyan of the community, Abraham Broda Leipniker (1690–1774), a respected merchant, succeeded in obtaining permission to build two prayer houses in 1753 and recorded the proceedings in his Megillat Sedarim, to be read yearly on *Simḥat Torah (published in 1895 by Emanuel M. *Baumgarten). At that time, there were 59 heads of families, 35 of them engaged in peddling and five sailors. The community numbered 10 Jewish families in 1657 and 59 in 1753. By the end of the 18th century, 110 Jewish families were permitted to reside there.
In 1830 there were 110 families (656 persons) in Usov, out of 5,200 permitted Jewish families in the whole of Moravia. The community continued to grow until 1848 but declined thereafter, both as a consequence of the right of free movement and of the general decline of the town. In 1890 the Jewish population had declined to about 150, and the community was unified with the growing community of Sumperk (Maehrisch Schoenberg). In 1900 there were 101 Jews. In 1929, there was only one Jewish family left. In 1930 there were 30 Jews. Today there are no Jews in the town, which numbered 1,114 inhabitants in 1961.
One Usov Jew survived the Holocaust. While there was no Jewish community in Usov after World War II, a well-preserved Jewish quarter recalls the Jewish existence in Usov. The synagogue built in 1784, the third one in a row, was renovated after the war and is used as a house of prayer by the Czech Brethren Protestant Church.
H. Gold, Die Juden und Judengemeinden Maehrens in Vergangenheit und Gegenwart (1929), 331–42; E. Baumgarten, in: Gedenkbuch… D. Kaufmann (1900), 506–37; M. Haendel, Temunot min he-Avar (1955) 201–13. ADD. BIBLIOGRAPHY: J. Fiedler, Jewish Sights of Bohemia and Moravia (1991).
CURRENT CZECH NAME: Usov
OTHER NAMES/SPELLINGS: Mahrisch-Aussee or Aussee
Usov is a small town in Moravia, Sumperk district, Czech Republic. Its coordinates are: 49.05 longitude and 21.55 latitude. Usov is 185 km ESE of Prague, 75 km N of Brno, and 18 km S of the district town of Sumperk.
(For current location, see Map - by Mapquest, then click on your browser's "Back" button to return to this page). HISTORY:
The earliest records available indicate that there were at least 7 Jews living in Usov already in 1564 and a document of that year gives the names of three of them: David, Jakub and Markus. Although small in number, they were apparently important enough to the economy to cause Maximillian II to change the day of the town’s weekly market from Saturday to Wednesday in 1571. A document from 1600 shows that out of 60 houses in the town, Jews inhabited 9. By 1609, the community had grown sufficiently to warrant its first resident Rabbi. However, in 1643, military actions carried out by the Swedish army caused the death of many Jews living there as well as the destruction of many of the 19 houses they by then occupied. Under the protection of the Prince of Lichtensetin, the last quarter of the 17th century was a period of peace for the Jews living in Usov and the Jewish population grew from only around 10 Jewish families in 1657 to 110 families by the early 1700s. The year of 1721 was, alas, a fateful year for the Jews of Usov. On September 30 of that year, a priest, named Samuel Gelinek from Dubitzko, came into the synagogue during services on the eve of Yom Kippur. He caused a big commotion and when some of the congregants tried to calm him down, he hit them with a stick, fell down, and accused them of injuring him. A lengthy legal battle followed with the result that in 1722 an order was handed down requiring the demolition of the synagogue and the punishment of 4 Jews (although the Jews were permitted to hold some services in private houses). Anti-Semitic attacks by the clergy continued however and tension remained high -- exploding in 1737, when the Jews wanted to have a procession to inaugurate a new Torah scroll. The clergy felt offended by what they saw as an imitation of Catholic processions and demanded a prohibition of Jewish prayers even in private houses. But, the officials eventually supported the right of Jews to have such services. Ten years later, in 1747, another conflict erupted. When the treasurer of the Jewish community was accused of theft and city officials went to arrest him, they discovered approximately 30 Jews participating in a prayer services, which was much greater than the 10 allowed. A priest by the name of Prunner levied a new complaint against the Jewish community and it was not until 1751 when officials finally determined that the Jews could not be prohibited from praying together. Although Prunner continued his attempts to have prayer services prohibited, he was unsuccessful and the following years witnessed a growth of the Jewish population and their economic contributions in the town. In 1753, the Jews were allowed to set aside a 3-room place for prayer and finally, in 1780, permission was granted to erect a synagogue on the same site where the demolished one had stood. Prior to 1890, Usov had existed as an independent congregation. But due to declining population, it was joined with the nearby town of Schonberg/Sumperk in that year. Until WWII, it was the seat of the Jewish religious congregation for the whole district (which included, in addition, the Jewish communities in Romerstadt/Rymarov, Neustadt/Unicov, Sumvald, Johnsdorf/Janusov, Hohenstadt/Zabreh, and Hannsdorf/Hanusovice). The highest Jewish population in Usov was probably 656 in 1830 but this number dropped to 150 in 1890, 101 in 1900 and to 20 in 1930. As far as is known, only one man survived the Nazi occupation. Usov’s Jewish quarter, established in 1589, was located on a hill, in what was then the NW part of the town. Over the years, the number of houses there grew: 9 in 1600, 19 in 1667, 28 in 1753, 45 two story houses by the middle of the 1800s. Many of these houses have been preserved.
Although many of the archival records from Northern Moravia were destroyed during WWII, some records from Usov can be found in the Jewish Museum in Prague and in the District Archives in Janovice near Rymarov. For example, the author of this GemeindeView has, through the work of a paid researcher, obtained from documents at those 2 locations information about her Lowy ancestors and a considerable number of (related?) individuals with the Lowy surname living in Usov in the later 1700s and 1800s. The types of records from which this information was gathered included: birth, marriage, death, tax, burial and property records. It is hoped that this section on Genealogical Resources will be expanded at a future time with details about what archival records are available.
NOTABLE RESIDENTS AND DESCENDANTS:
Rabbi Mortiz Duschak, known for his many historical works, officiated in Usov before 1856. Vlastimil Artur Polak, the German-Jewish poet and journalist, was born in Usov in 1914 (he died in 1990 in Olomouc). Albert Lowy from Usov went to England and became active in Jewish causes. As Secretary of the Anglo-Jewish Association in the latter half of the 1800s, he was among those arguing for Jewish nationalism, unlike many others in Czechoslovakia at that time who favored assimilation.
The Jews of Usov lost their first Synagogue in the Thirty Years’ War. Sometime before 1689, a second synagogue was built but it was demolished in 1722 (see above under History for description of that episode). In the early 1780s, a third synagogue was built at the same site where the second had stood, in the center of the Jewish quarter. Services were held there up until 1938. In that year, the Nazis burnt the interior furnishings and important archives. After the war the building was renovated for use by the Czech Brethren’s Protestant Church.
There are no traces of an old cemetery believed to have existed already in the 15th century that was destroyed by the Swedish army in 1643. Another cemetery was established (probably around 1645) on the NW boundary of the Jewish quarter. Enlarged in the first half of the 1800s, it was used for burials until WWII. Although much of this cemetery was wrecked when the Nazi’s used it for a shooting range, there are still over 500 gravestones there (the earliest dating from 1745). Many of the tombstones are notable examples of Baroque and Classicist styles. The cemetery is a designated landmark and restoration work has resulted in clearing of vegetation and fixing of the continuous masonry wall. The site is today used only for the Jewish cemetery. There appears to be only slight threat to the cemetery in terms of security, vegetation, vandalism, and new or future development.
Sections on Usov can be found in 2 works by Hugo Gold: Die Juden und Judengeneinden Mahrens in Vergangenheit und Gegenwart (1929) [The Jews and Jewish Communities of Moravia, Past and Present] and Gedenkbuch der Untergegangenen Judengemeinden Mahrens (1974) [Memorial Book of the Lost Jewish Communities of Moravia]. The section on Usov found in the latter is essentially a condensed version of the Usov section found in the former. In addition to describing the history of the town, Gold also includes names of individuals found in various documents from Usov. Below is a (chronological) listing of those names, followed by the year(s) and occupation or other information associated with that name as presented by Gold. As most of the names presented by Gold come from documents prior to 1787, when Jews in the Austrian Empire were required to adopt surnames, most of them appear in the "X ben Y" form.
NAME and YEAR(S) AND OTHER INFORMATION ASSOCIATED WITH THAT NAME,
AS PRESENTED IN GOLD’S PUBLICATIONS
NAME YEAR(S) ADD'L. INFORMATION Abraham Littmann 1600 Rabbi David ben Jacob abt 1609 Jakob Abraham latter part of 1600s and 1667 Abraham Alexander latter part of 1600s Moyses Brodt latter part of 1600s Samuel Isakh latter part of 1600s Abraham Issakh latter part of 1600s Dawid Kigowsky latter part of 1600s Israel Markus latter part of 1600s Issak Polak latter part of 1600s Jakub Polakh latter part of 1600s Wolff Prazak latter part of 1600s Jakob Schneider latter part of 1600s Samuel Schneider latter part of 1600s Jacov Davidt 1667 Hirsch Isak 1667 Wolf Isak 1667 Josef Kiyowsky (Josef Kyjowsky) 1667 Jochem Lobl 1667 Markus Samuel 1667 Abraham Schulklopfer 1667 Isak Simon 1667 SalomonWasservogel 1667 Isak Davidt (Issak Dawid) 1667 and 1674 Abraham Schlome 1674 Joseff Polakh 1675 Markus Wellsch 1675 Abraham Buchbinder 1677 Lobl Aron 1722 Joachim Ascher 1722 Salomon Baruch 1722 Abraham Hirschl (A. Hirrschel) 1722 Bernard Israel 1722 Abraham Markus (A. Markus) 1722 Jacob Samuel (J. Samuel) 1722 Abraham Wolff (A. Wolff) 1722 Israel Salomon 1722 and 1753 Wool dealer, living in small house David Twele Aschkenasi abt 1722 Rabbi Bernadt Israel (Bernard Israel) abt 1722 Community Leader Joshua Hirsch 1737 Hersch Abraham 1753 Peddler Abraham Binkler 1753 Peddler Jakob Boder 1753 Gotzl David 1753 Community messanger Joachim David 1753 Flannel dealer, living in small house Salomon David 1753 Tailor Isaac Eisik 1753 Peddler, living in small house Moyses Hess 1753 Fur dealer Jacob Hirschl 1753 Peddler Mendl Hirschl 1753 Peddler Salomon Hirschl 1753 Peddler Aaron Isaac 1753 Glaser Liberel Isaak 1753 Tailor Isaie 1753 Peddler, living in small house Joseph Isaie 1753 Peddler, living in big house Lobl Israel 1753 Tradesman, living in big house; 1759-1760 Community Leader Seelig Israel 1753 Peddler, living in small house David Jacob 1753 Button maker, living in big house Hentschl Jacob 1753 Peddler Lobl Jacob 1753 Peddler Nathan Jacob 1753 Peddler, living in small house Raphel Joachim 1753 Peddler, living in small house Mendl Jochim 1753 Peddler, living in small house Aron Josia 1753 Peddler Isaac Lachmann 1753 Tailor, living in small house Abraham Lazarus 1753 (Grease?) dealer Abraham Leipniker 1753 Wool dealer, living in big house; abt 1760 Community Leader Emanuel Leipniker 1753 Butcher Josia Lipmann 1753 Peddler Samuel Lipmann 1753 Peddler Abraham Lobl 1753 Peddler, living in small house David Lobl 1753 Peddler Isaac Lobl 1753 Glaser, living in small house Isaac Lobl 1753 Butcher Jacob Lobl 1753 Peddler Lazarus Lobl 1753 Peddler, living in small house Lipmann Lobl 1753 Tailor, living in big house Salomon Lobl 1753 Peddler Michl Markus 1753 Peddler Marcus Mayer 1753 Peddler Evicdr Melcher 1753 Tradesman, living in small house Joachim Mendl 1753 Peddler Jacob Moyses 1753 Pen dealer, living in big house Jonas Moyses 1753 Peddler, living in small house Mayer Moyses 1753 Peddler Samuel Moyses 1753 Tailor Simon Nathan 1753 Tailor Isaac Salomon 1753 Peddler, living in big house Lazarus Salomon 1753 (Grease?) dealer, living in big house Jacob Salomon 1753 Peddler, living in small house Nathan Salomon 1753 Peddler Moyses Seelig 1753 Peddler, living in small house Nathan Seelig 1753 Peddler, living in small house Ruben Simon 1753 Peddler Isaac Simon 1753 Peddler Isaak Wasservogel 1753 Community Leader, wool dealer, living in big house Juda Wasservogl 1753 Peddler Peretz Frankel (Until) 1770 Rabbi Salomon Moyes Hess 1780 Lobl Israel 1780 Aron Jakob 1780 Meises Jakob 1780 Aron Lazarus 1780 Isak Lobl 1780 Nathan Seman 1780 Lobl Jakob 1782 Community Leader ArgeLobl Lewitt 1782 Community Leader Berl Redlich no year(s) given Community Leader Jonas Eissler no year(s) given Community Leader Abraham ben Mendel (Until)1820 Rabbi Israel Reik 1820 - 1825 Rabbi Lob Pollak abt 1825 Rabbi Mr. Guggenheim abt 1855 Rabbi Moritz Mordechai Duschak Until 1855 Rabbi Mr. Guggenheim's son abt 1875 Rabbi Dr. Berhnard Templer 1884 - 1899 Rabbi Dr. Moritz Emil Prossnitz 1899 - 1906 Rabbi Dr. G. Rosenmann 1906 (to 1921) Rabbi Dr. Josef Hoff 1921 to at least 1929 Rabbi SOURCES: --Ehl, Peter, Arno Parik and Jiri Fiedler, Old Bohemian and Moravian Jewish Cemeteries,(Prague, Paseka: 1991) --Encyclopedia Judaica (Berlin, 1929) --Fiedler, Jiri. Jewish Sights of Bohemia and Moravia. (Prague, Sefer: 1991) --Gold, Hugo. Die Juden und Judengemeinden Mahrens in Vergangenheit und Gegenwart. (Brunn, Judischer Buch und Kunstverlag: 1929) --Gold, Hugo. Gedenkbuch der Untergegandgenen Judengemeinden Mahrens. (Tel Aviv, Alamenu: 1974) --Gruber, Samuel and Phyllis Myers, Survey of Historic Jewish Monuments in the Czech Republic. (New York, United States Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad: 1994) --Jewish Encyclopedia --Kestenberg-Gladstein, Ruth. “The Jews Between Czechs and Germans in the Historic Lands, 1848-1918.” in The Jews of Czechoslovakia, Vol I. (Philadelphia, The Jewish Publication Society of America: 1968) --Mokotoff, Gary and Sallyann Amdur Sack, Where Once We Walked, A guide to the Jewish Communities Destroyed in the Holocaust. (Teaneck, NJ, Avotaynu: 1991)
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