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HOENIGSBERG (Kapp ), Bohemian-Austrian family originating from Kuttenplan (Chodova Plana), Bohemia. loebel (Leib, Loew) hoenig amassed wealth as an army supplier in the War of the Austrian Succession (1740–48) and during the Seven Years' War (1756–63); in 1752 he and his sons leased the Prague tobacco monopoly concession for 10 years. Loebel obtained permission to build a synagogue in Kuttenplan in 1756. His eldest and most talented son, israel hoenig (1724–1808), organized a consortium to lease the tobacco monopoly concession of Bohemia, Moravia, Silesia, and Lower and Upper Austria for 10 years (1765–74) for 900,000 florins annually, an immense sum at the time. Since consumers, the treasury, and the empress Maria Theresa were all highly satisfied with his services, he was also offered the tobacco concessions for the crown lands (1770), as well as Galicia and Lodomeria, and awarded the right to travel or settle anywhere in Bohemia and Moravia (1764). Israel generally employed Jews as his subcontractors. In 1774 another 10-year contract was signed (1,600,000 florins) for all Austrian lands. While Maria Theresa spurned repeated proposals that the state should acquire control of Israel's firm, Joseph ii eventually transferred the tobacco concession to governmental control (1784), continuing to employ Israel and his brother as directors; Israel thereby became the first Jew to be an Austrian official. On Sept. 2, 1789 he became the first Austrian Jew to be raised to the nobility with a hereditary title; as Israel Hoenig Edler von Hoenigsberg he was permitted to acquire an estate in Lower Austria. Leopold ii and Francis i confirmed his possession of this estate after four years of continuous negotiation, since Jews were not allowed to own land in Austria and Israel had refused to enter his estate in the records under the name of a Christian sponsor.

Israel had six sons and one daughter. maximilian (1754–1832) was one of the founders of the Vienna Jewish community and its representative for 38 years; another son, enoch (1744–1815), was the great-grandfather of Isidor *Bush (Busch). Enoch's son leopold (Loew) fell under the influence of his father-in-law, Jonas Beer Wehle, leader of the *Frankists in Prague. On Nov. 9, 1800, he complained to the Prague police, accusing the rabbis of religious coercion and requesting protection. His fanatically anti-rabbinic 32-page protest was an open attempt to weaken and break rabbinical and communal authority. The majority of Israel's descendants were converted to Christianity.

Israel's brother and partner, aaron moses (1730–1787), had 10 children, six of whom were ennobled as Edler von Hoenigshofen in 1791. After the death of their mother in 1796 all were baptized; this line eventually died out. Another brother, adam albert (1745–1811), became Von Hoenigstein in 1784, three years after his baptism (the name was later changed to Henikstein). marianne, Israel's only sister, was grandmother of the poet L.A. *Frankl. soliman von hoenigsberg (1804–1864) was secretary of the Prague Jewish community at the beginning of the 19th century and in 1848 published a pamphlet titled Zur Judenfrage.

The coat of arms of all three lines bore tobacco leaves and golden bees (Honig is German for honey). The lines intermarried and maintained business connections.


H. Schnee, Die Hoffinanz und der moderne Staat, 4 (1963), 321–5, 5 (1965), 231; L. Kompert, in: I. Busch (ed.), Kalender und Jahrbuch fuer Israeliten, 6 (1848), 117–44; W. Žáček, in: jggjČ, 9 (1938), 343–410; M. Hainisch, in: Vierteljahresschrift fuer Sozial- und Wirtschaftsgeschichte, 8 (1910), 394–444; P.F. Peixotto, in: Menorah, 9 (1890), 123f.; B. Wachstein, Die Inschriften des alten Judenfriedhofes in Wien, 2 vols. (1912–17), index; A.F. Pribram, Urkundenund Akten…, 2 vols. (1918), index; I. Taglicht, Nachlaesse der Wiener Juden (19342), index; M. Grunwald, Vienna (1936), index; A. Schapirnik, in: H. Gold (ed.), Juden und Judengemeinden Boehmens… (1934), 335–7; H. Gold (ed.), Juden und Judengemeinden Maehrens (1929), 150; O. Muneles, Bibliographical Survey of Jewish Prague (1952), index.

[Henry Wasserman]

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