Baumgarten, Emanuel Mendel

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BAUMGARTEN, EMANUEL MENDEL (1828–1908), Austrian economist, journalist and communal leader, Hebrew writer and poet. Baumgarten was born in Kremsier (Kroměříž), Moravia, into a traditional Jewish family of Talmud scholars. He first studied at Moravian yeshivot but also acquired secular knowledge. He heard lectures in economics at Pressburg and, from 1848, at Vienna University. While successfully devoting himself to commercial life, he also became active in the journalistic and literary fields, contributing to several political and Jewish papers in Vienna. With Mayer, he edited an economic paper, Der Fortschritt, and with I.H. Weiss the scientific Hebrew monthly Beit ha-Midrash (1865–66). In 1861, Baumgarten was elected to the municipal council of Vienna as one of the first Jews and later granted an order of merit by the emperor for his care for the wounded during the 1866 war. In 1870, he became warden of the Jewish Temple in Vienna. In 1872, he was elected to the council of the Jewish community (which he also represented in the state's boards of education), and in 1873 to the council of the newly founded Israelitische Allianz, assisting Jewish refugees from Russia and Romania. Though critical of Zionism, he also supported Jehiel *Brill's colonization plans in Palestine. In 1893, he was among the founders of the Israelitisch-theologische Lehranstalt in Vienna and was elected to its council. In honour of Baumgarten's 70th birthday (1898), his sons published a Festschrift (1899).

Among Baumgarten's published works are the first German translation of R. Bahya ibn Paquda's Ḥovot ha-Levavot ("Duties of the Heart"), on the basis of R. Judah ibn Tibbon's Hebrew translation, with an appendix by S.G. Stern, Arugat Peraḥim, containing biographies of Ibn Paquda, Ibn Tibbon, and Joseph Kimḥi (1854); several Hebrew poems, e.g., Ruth, with an introduction by M. Letteris (1864); Einige Worte ueber den Weinhandel und die Weinkultur in Oesterreich (1866); and Die Juden in der Steiermark (1903). In response to the new antisemitic movement, Baumgarten edited two apologetic works: Die Blutbeschuldigung gegen die Juden. Von christlicher Seite beurtheilt (1883) and Gutmeinung ueber den Talmud der Hebraeer by the Christian Hebraist C. Fischer (1883, originally completed in 1802). In addition, Baumgarten edited several sources for the history of Moravian Jewry: Megillat Sedarim (1895), the memoirs of Abraham Broda Leipniker on the expulsion of the Jews from Usov (Maehrisch-Aussee) in 1722; Yeshu'at Yisrael (1898), the memoirs of Benjamin Israel Fraenkel from the 18th century; and Maria Theresia's Ernennungsdekret für den Maehrischen Landesrabbiner Gerson Chajes (1899).


A. Frankl-Gruen, Geschichte der Juden in Kremsier, vol. ii (1898), 153–56; Unserem theuern Vater, Emanuel Baumgarten. Zur Erinnerung an seinen 70. Geburtstag, 15. Jänner 1898 (1899); Neue Freie Presse (Jan. 1898 and 1908); Allgemeine Zeitung des Judentums (May 29, 1908), Der Gemeindebote, Supplement, 3–4; J.S. Bloch, Erinnerungen aus meinem Leben, vol. i (1922), 207–211; R. Heuer (ed.), Archiv Bibliographia Judaica, vol. i (1992), 419–420; H. Schmuck (ed.), Jewish Biographical Archive (1995), f. 122, 209–28; Series ii (2003), F. ii/45, 348–51; S. Blumesberger et al. (eds.), Handbuch oesterreichischer Autorinnen und Autoren juedischer Herkunft, vol. i, no. 613 (2002), 80.

[Johannes Valentin Schwarz (2nd ed.)]