Wiener Neustadt

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WIENER NEUSTADT , city in Lower Austria. Jews were living there soon after the city's foundation in 1192. Gravestones in the Jewish cemetery date from 1252 and 1261. In 1277 the rights of the Jews in the city were somewhat curtailed, but the Jewish community developed, flourishing in particular in the 15th century. In proximity to the synagogue were a square, a garden, and a poorhouse. The name of one communal leader, Joseph b. Moses Knoblauch, who "did many good deeds for the congregation," is mentioned in Leket Yosher (ed. by J. Freimann, 2 (1903), 40). In 1416, when the Jews of Wiener Neustadt were ordered to pay more than one-fifth of their income in taxes, a "communal regulation was drawn up for collection of the tax by two persons in authority and the other scholars among them" (Israel Isserlein, Terumat ha-Deshen). The Jews of Wiener Neustadt took part in its defense, and their rabbi "would permit them to do all manner of work on the Sabbath to protect [the city] from its enemies, in accordance with the instructions of the gentile citizens and noblemen" (Leket Yosher, pt. 1, 68).

From the mid-13th century on, many noted rabbis lived in Wiener Neustadt, including *Ḥayyim b. Moses; Moses *Taku; *Ḥayyim b.*Isaac; R. Shalom; Isaac *Tyrnau; and Israel *Isserlein. There was an important yeshivah there during the 15th century. In the second half of that century John *Capistrano visited Wiener Neustadt and preached against the Jews. After several anti-Jewish decrees, the Jews were expelled from the city in 1496. The synagogue was converted into a church. Refugees from Oedenburg (Sopron), Hungary, settled in the city in the early 18th century, totaling 535 persons in 1708. However, clerical agitation and popular pressure forced them to leave soon afterward. Jewish peddlers and merchants, mainly from nearby *Burgenland, continued to visit the city but they were not allowed to stay overnight. In 1848 J.H. Friedenthal settled in Wiener Neustadt, and by 1869 there were 173 Jews living there. Permission to open a cemetery was not granted until 1889. A Moorish-style synagogue was built in 1902; it served 1,059 persons in 1923 when Rabbi H. Weiss officiated.

In the early 1930s there were 1,300 Jews. In May of 1938, there were 347. During Kristallnacht (Nov. 9–10, 1938) homes, furniture, and bank accounts of Jews were confiscated by the S.A.; the Jews there who did not emigrate were expelled or transported to Vienna. In January 1968 three Jews lived in Wiener Neustadt.


Germania Judaica; M. Pollak, Juden in Wiener Neustadt (1927); S. Eidelberg, Jewish Life in Austria in the xvth Century (1962); L. Moses, Juden in Niederoesterreich (1935), index; mhj, 4 (1938), index s.v., Newnstat, 6 (1961); 8 (1965); 9 (1966), index s.v.Bécsujhely.

[Haim Hillel Ben-Sasson]