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Mattersdorf

MATTERSDORF

MATTERSDORF (official name since 1924, Mattersburg ; Hung. Nagymarton ), town in *Burgenland, Austria; one of the "Seven Communities," and after 1813 one of the "Five Communities." The town was traditionally divided into two districts, Izraelita-Nagymarton and Keresztény ["Christian"]Nagymarton. The Jewish neighborhood comprised a separate administrative unit (see *Politische Gemeinden) until 1902. Jews are traditionally believed to have settled there in about 800 or 1222. A tablet on the synagogue wall dates its building to 1354. At any rate, Jews were already living there before the Turkish conquest in 1526, when Mattersdorf absorbed numerous refugees from *Sopron. In 1569 there were 67 Jews living in 11 houses. After 1622 the community came under the protection of the Esterházy family. In 1694 the Esterházys granted the Seven Communities letters of protection, subsequently renewed four times and newly formulated in 1800. Some of the Jews were expelled by Leopold I in 1671 but were allowed to return in 1675. The community was looted several times by the Turks. In 1744, some 352 Jews inhabited 30 houses; in 1770, 179 Jewish families were registered; in 1785, some 767 persons lived in 43 houses; permission was granted to build 12 more houses in 1818. They paid fees to the towns of Sopron and Wiener *Neustadt for the right to trade within their boundaries. In 1848 there were 1,500 Jews in the town (one-third of the total population). From the beginning of the 20th century their numbers declined due to emigration to larger towns; in 1902 they had fallen to 752 and at the time of the Anschluss (1938) to 511.

The centuries-long autonomy gave rise to a powerful communal regime, which regulated not only religious but also economic and social life. Among the prominent rabbis who served the community were Gershon b. Abraham *Chajes; Jeremiah *Mattersdorf; Issachar Baer b. Samson *Bloch; Moses *Sofer; and Simon *Sofer. The Mattersdorf yeshivah attracted students from all over Europe. In 1938 the Nazis destroyed the synagogue and other communal institutions and damaged the Jewish quarter. Part of the community emigrated and the remainder were deported to the death camps. The remains of the Jewish quarter were demolished during development projects, and by 1970 only an old cemetery was left to commemorate this ancient community. About 7,000 documents from the community's archives have been preserved in the central state archives in Eisenstadt. A Kiryat Mattersdorf was founded in Jerusalem in 1963, and some of its inhabitants originated from there.

bibliography:

mhj, 1–12 (1903–69), indexes; F.P. Hodik, in: M. Gold (ed.), Gedenkbuch der untergegangenen Judengemeinden des Burgenlandes (1970); 91–115; J.J.(L.) Greenwald (Grunwald), Maẓẓevet Kodesh (1952); M. Pollák, in: imit (1900), 164–6.

[Yehouda Marton]

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