Bernhard Wachstein

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Bernhard Wachstein

Birthplace: Tovste, Zalishchyts'kyi district, Ternopil's'ka oblast, Ukraine
Death: January 15, 1935 (66)
Vienna, Vienna, Austria (Verkalkung der Hirngefäße, Herzschwäche)
Place of Burial: Vienna, Vienna, Austria
Immediate Family:

Son of Moshe Wachstein and Sara Wachstein
Husband of Marie "Ritschi" Wachstein
Father of Max Wachstein and Sonia (Sophie) Wachstein
Brother of Gisela Gittel Stupp; Shaye Wachstein; Shmuel Wachstein and Shalom Wachstein

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About Bernhard Wachstein

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Submitted by Renee Steinig

Bernhard Wachstein (1868-1935), the Viennese genealogist, librarian, historian, and bibliographer, was born in Tłuste (Tolstoye/4850). Educated at a Vienna rabbinical seminary and then at the University of Vienna, Wachstein became librarian of the Vienna community in 1903. He later became the director of the library, which he nurtured and organized into one of the best in Europe. His marriage to a wealthy woman allowed him to devote his life to scholarship, which included works on such Jewish personalities as Karl Marx, Spinoza, and Moses Mendelssohn, and bibliographies of Judaic literature and correspondence. Wachstein is best known for his scholarly study of tombstone inscriptions at Vienna's oldest Jewish cemetery, at #9 Seegasse. Die inschriften des alten Judenfriedhofes in Wien, published between 1912 and 1917, included a plan and description of each stone. The cemetery, desecrated during World War II, was partially restored with the help of the meticulous details in Wachstein's study. Wachstein also published the gravestone inscriptions in the old Jewish cemetery in Eisenstadt, Austria.

Dr. Bernhard Wachstein (1868-1935)

Dr. Wachstein was a historian, bibliographer, and genealogist. Born in Galicia, he was educated at the Vienna rabbinical seminary and at the University of Vienna. He became the librarian of the Vienna Jewish Community, and made the library the richest in Europe. His two-volume masterwork, Die Inschriften des Alten Judenfriedhofs in Wien (The Inscriptions of the Old Jewish Cemetery in Vienna) (Vienna, 1912-1917), is a scholarly study of the gravestones of the Viennese Jewish community dating from 1540 to 1783. In 1922, he published Die Grabschriften des Alten Judenfriedhofs in Eisenstadt (The Gravestone Inscriptions of the Old Jewish Cemetery in Eisenstadt). He wrote a number of monographs on Moravian communities. Among his genealogies of Jewish personalities was that of Karl Marx, which revealed his rabbinic descent and caused much excitement.

The authentic gravestone inscriptions and the frequent genealogical notes make his works very useful in confirming identities or death dates -- particularly in cases of conflicting data.

Bernhard Wachstein grave in Vienna.

Photo courtesy of Celia Male

Translation of the tombstone's inscription:

Died 11 Shevat 5695

Dov Ber, son of Moshe Wachstein,

Director of the Library of the Jewish Community in Vienna.

May his soul rest in peace.

He solved mysteries of days bygone

and uncovered traces of generations vanished

19 January 1868 - 15 January 1935

Grave location:

Wiener Zentralfriedhof

XI. Simmeringer Hauptstrasse 244, Vienna

Gate 4, Group 3, Row: 4, Grave: 9

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Bernhard Wachstein's Timeline

January 19, 1868
Tovste, Zalishchyts'kyi district, Ternopil's'ka oblast, Ukraine
November 2, 1905
Vienna, Austria
September 25, 1907
Vienna, Vienna, Austria
January 15, 1935
Age 66
Vienna, Vienna, Austria
January 17, 1935
Age 66
Vienna, Vienna, Austria