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Kohn, Theodor


KOHN, THEODOR (1845–1915), prince-archbishop of *Olomouc (1892–1904). Kohn's father, a peasant in a Moravian village, had been baptized at the age of three. Entering the priesthood in 1871, Kohn subsequently became a professor of canon law, publishing many articles in his field. From 1883 he was chancellor of the bishopric of Olomouc and in 1892 became prince-archbishop. In 1893, commenting on blood libels at Holesov and Kojetin, he called antisemitism a "sickly condition that only time can heal." After anonymous attacks on him in a Czech newspaper (1903), he was accused of trying to discover the identity of the author by violating the secrecy of the confessional. Kohn, who himself had expressed the anti-Jewish views then prevalent in the Catholic Church, became the object of an unrestrained campaign of racial antisemitism and his palace was raided. As a result he was forced to retire. He willed his fortune to the newly founded Czech university in Brno. Anecdotes featuring Kohn were very popular in the Hapsburg lands.


A. Frankl-Gruen, Geschichte der Juden in Kremsier, 2 (1898), 102–8; B. Muenz, in: Liberales Judentum, 8 (1916), 113–4; J.S. Bloch, Reminiscences (1923), 166–77; Oesterreichisches Biographisches Lexikon, s.v.; F. Engel-Janosi, Oesterreich und der Vatikan 18461918, 2 (1960), 56–78; J.S. Máchar, Arcibiskup Theodor Kohn (1927).

[Meir Lamed]

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