Spitzer, Karl Heinrich

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SPITZER, KARL HEINRICH (1830–1848), first Jewish victim of the March 1848 revolution in Vienna. He was born in Bzenec (Bisenz), Moravia, where the family had settled after the expulsion of the Jews from Vienna in 1670. From the age of 10 he lived in Vienna, where he was educated, and was influenced by the French Enlightenment, and the writings of Ludwig *Boerne. Dissatisfied with political conditions under the Hapsburgs and tending to radicalism, he intended to emigrate to the United States. In the 1848 revolution in Vienna, Spitzer was among the first five fighters at the barricades to be shot outside the building of the Lower Austrian Estates (Landhaus) on March 13. Spitzer was glorified as a martyr of the revolution by the Jews of the Hapsburg Empire. His father, Leopold, is reported to have said that he praised God because his son had helped to free the fatherland and gave new life to millions by his death. On the initiative of the Roman Catholic chaplain of the students organization the Jewish victims, Spitzer and Bernard Herschmann, were buried in a common grave with Christians who also lost their lives at this time. I.N. *Mannheimer eulogized them in a celebrated sermon. This unique procedure was not repeated for the Jews shot in Vienna in October 1848.


Oesterreichisches Central-Organ …, 1 (1848), 6–11; Juedisches Archiv, 1 no. 6 (1928), 16–18. add. bibliography: C. Von Wurzbach, Biographisches Lexikon des Kaiserthums Oesterreich, s.v.; K. Streng, Ausfuehrliche Biographie des am 13. Maerz in Wien Gefallenen Freiheitshelden Karl Heinrich Spitzer (1848).

[Meir Lamed /

Albert Lichtblau (2nd ed.)]