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Jewish Families from Kdyně (Neugedein), Bohemia, Czech Republic

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This project seeks to collect all of the Jewish families from the town of Kdyně (Neugedein) in Bohemia, Czech Republic.

The Augstein Family of Kdyně

The Augstein family contributed very much to the flowering of trade and industry in Kdyně. The great-grandfather Isak Augstein, founder of today's company ‘Isak Augstein & Son’ came from Prapořiště, where he was a merchant in wool and arable crops. He lived there with his wife Mina neé Vilmer from the beginning of the 19th century. They had seven children – sons Šimon and Abraham, and five daughters.

Isak Augstein was very popular with the owner of the manor of Bystřice, Count Hohenzoller. Prapořiště was part of this manor.

In 1842, he obtained from Hohenzoller a plot in Loučím for the Jewish cemetery.

Isak Augstein founded two shops in his own houses. One was in Pilsen, opposite the barracks, where he traded wool and field crops. This was taken over by his son Šimon.

The second shop was in Kdyně at house no. 11, which still exists at the corner of today's Masaryk Street and the square. The house was rebuilt several times, mainly after the fire of 2 September 1911.

When he applied for citizenship in Kdyně, he received from the heirs of J.M Schmitt, the owner of the local spinning mill, a marvelous recommendation issued in Vienna on 10 December 1852. It said that Isak Augstein had many years of connection with the factory. He was a buyer of wool for it and had the so called “full right” (monopoly). That he always proved himself as a solid, honest and honorable person able to handle large and valuable purchases. The heirs stated that they would continue their cooperation with him and they recommended that Kdyně award him citizenship owing to his honesty, especially as Isak Augstein owned houses and fields in Kdyně and lived a life that was beyond reproach.

The shop in Kdyně was taken over by the second son Abraham, who was born on 13 February 1830. He increased the shop by adding an ironmongery. The shop was then named ‘Is. Augstein & Son’ and later ‘Isak Augstein & Sons’.

Abraham Augstein married žofii neé Fleischer. They had 13 children. The oldest one was Josef.

Josef was born on 28 February 1858. He completed junior college and then business school. He took over the shop in Kdyně in 1878. From 1889, he was chairman of Chevra Kadisha, and from 1898 chairman of the Jewish community in Kdyně, where he worked meticulously until its merger with the community in Klatovy.

He took great care of the synagogue and of the cemetery in Loučím, where he is buried. His first wife was Matylda neé Raumann. Their children were Benno, who was in the war, and is now a partner in the Prague company ‘Kalcium’. The second son, Adolf, is a director of the Czech Bank Union in Karlovy Vary. Josef's daughter Markéta married the factory owner Engl in Zürich, later living in Berlin and now in London.

During the World War, Josef Augstein took care of refugees from Galicia, obtained housing for them, judged their disputes, collected clothing, food and money for them. He died on 22 September 1926. His first wife died in 1918, and his second wife is now living in Prague.

The second son of Abraham Augstein was Mořic. He was born in 1865 and still today runs the shop in Kdyně.

In 1891, together with Jakub Weisl, a merchant from Kdyně, he created a mill which is driven both by hand and by machines on the plot of land behind the Kdyně railway station. In 1896, this was sold to the local spinning mill operation which now uses it as a subsidiary production unit.

In 1902, he was elected to the local municipal council.

In the same year, he became a member of the Club of Czech Tourists, where he is still active. He has earned much acclaim for his work in the development of tourist resorts. He participates in all the tourist activities and has been treasurer of the club for many years - to the satisfaction of all members.

Mořic Augstein married Klara née Mendl. Their first son Alfred is a merchant in Prague and the other son, Jan, is a merchant in Leipzig. Source