Der Leopoldstädter Tempel, Tempelgasse 5 – 2nd District Leopoldstadt
Synagogue built in: 1854-58
Earliest record of community: 1810
Last rabbi: Dr. Israel Taglicht
Pogrom Night: Burned down and destroyed
Today: Empty Lot with a monument
Summary: The largest and most attractive synagogue in Vienna was the Leopoldstadt Temple, inaugurated in 1858 on Tempelgasse. It was built because a previous synagogue on Seitenstettengasse had become too small for its growing congregation. Furthermore, the Jewish community’s leaders wanted to make a respectable synagogue available to the many Jews who had migrated to the city, so that new arrivals would not be obliged to open more small prayer rooms. The prayer rooms were thought to have a negative impact on efforts to unify the Jewish community.
There was, therefore, a significant need for a new, large, centrally-located synagogue. Leopold Föster, an architect who had already designed a synagogue in Pest and a factory in Vienna, also designed the magnificent Tempelgasse building. The synagogue had seating for 2,000 worshippers, and became a symbol of Vienna’s flourishing Jewish community life.
Built in the Classicist style, the synagogue’s large, cubic structure was luxuriously decorated with oriental-style ornaments, paying tribute to the brilliance of the oriental tradition. The richly decorated synagogue, with its impressive size, was built during a period of increasingly liberal attitudes towards Jews, and was a symbol of the growing self-confidence felt by Jews about their contribution to the history of the city. The synagogue’s inauguration, held on June 15, 1858, was welcomed joyfully by non-Jewish neighbors too. Senior politicians and important dignitaries from Vienna’s cultural, social and political spheres attended the ceremony.
In addition to the synagogue, which was free-standing on three sides, there were two smaller, adjoining administration buildings. The southern building contained living quarters for the congregation’s officials and the world-famous library of the Israelitische Kultusgemeinde Wien (the Israelite Congregation of Vienna). The chief librarian, Dr. Bernhard Wachstein, composed several important works of Jewish academic literature. The Vienna Beth Hamidrasch (house of study), founded by Adolf Jellinek, was located on the first floor.
The northern adjoining building (address: 3 Tempelgasse) housed an assembly hall, a few apartments and the mikvah (ritual bath). This was also the home of the Israelitisch-theologische Lehranstalt (the Jewish Theological Academy), the Hebrew language and Bible school, the Leopoldstadt Jewish women’s association, and the Brith Hamischmar boy scouts.
The Leopoldstadt Temple was renovated several times; the first being in 1898, when Wilhelm Stiassny enriched the inner decor by adding plastering. In 1905, the side facing the street and the side facing the courtyard were renovated according to plans drawn up by Oskar Marmoreck. The synagogue was damaged by fire in 1917; the subsequent restoration work was finished only in 1921.
The Leopoldstadt Temple’s first preacher, who also spoke at the synagogue’s inauguration, was Adolf Jellinek: a famous rabbi from Mähren, much sought-after on account of his oratory skills. In 1864 Rabbi Jellinek went to work at the Stadttempel (City Temple).
The congregation then selected Salomon Sulzer’s son, Julius Sulzer, and Josef Goldstein, to act as cantors. Dr. Moritz Güdemann—originally from Hildesheim and a former student of Samson Raphael Hirsch—became the Leopoldstadt rabbi in 1866. He went on to be Jellinek’s successor at the Stadttempel.
The much-loved Dr. Adolf Schmiedl was appointed rabbi in 1894. His replacement was Dr. Elieser David, who was also the leader of the Bildungsanstalt für israelitische Religionslehrer an Volks- und Bürgerschulen (Educational Establishment for Israelite Teachers of Religion at Secondary and Civic Schools).
Dr. Max Grünwald became rabbi in 1913. His sharp-witted sermons were very popular. Rabbi Grünwald also wrote biographies of influential Viennese Jews.
Dr. Israel Taglicht, from the Ukraine, succeeded Rabbi Grünwald in 1932. After the death of Dr. David Feuchtwangs in 1936, Rabbi Taglicht was called upon to serve as chief rabbi in the Stadttempel. At this time, the Leopoldstadt Temple’s cantor was Leo Funke. He was deported to Auschwitz in October 1944 and was murdered there.
In October 1938, by which time violence against Jews and Jewish establishments was already commonplace, the Leopoldstadt Temple was set on fire. On that occasion it was possible to contain the damage.
At 6 am on the morning of November 10, 1938, the Gestapo took over the Jewish community’s library in the south wing of the synagogue building. A short time later the synagogue’s interior was set on fire, and was vandalized by organized SS units and civilians who had rushed to the scene. The fire brigade could not reach the burning building, because civilians had formed a human chain around it, to prevent any attempt to extinguish the blaze. By 10:02 am the Leopoldstadt Temple had burned to the ground. The ruins of the synagogue were cleared in 1941 and the ground was flattened in 1951.
Today, the site of the former synagogue remains empty. Just four of the building’s original columns, installed by the architect Martin Kohlbauer, serve as reminder of the imposing size of the Leopoldstadt Temple.
A new synagogue, an assembly room and a mikvah are located in the building at 3 Tempelgasse; the former north wing of the Leopoldstadt Temple.
The Seven Communities set-up after the expulsion of Jews from Leopoldstadt in the 17th Century were known as the Sheva Kehillot, which hosted prominent rabbis. The Burgenland Province, about an hour from Vienna offers an excellent selection of wine varietals and vineyards/villas dating back to the Roman era. The seven communities, in today’s towns of Eisenstadt, Mattersburg, Kobersdorf, Lackenbach, Frauenkirchen, Kittsee, and Deutschkreutz, had vibrant Jewish life up until 1938 and many had Jewish populations numbering up to 40-50% at some point. As I and my family reside in the town of Frauenkirchen on the weekends, the Jewish population increases by 4. Mönchof, a small wine-growing town next to the aforementioned Frauenkirchen, boasts of an excellent winemaker specializing in Organic and Kosher wines. As such, a wine tasting tour at the local Kosher Winemaker, Hafner, is possible.
Der Wiener Stadttempel (Community synagogue) – 1st District, Inner City
Synagogue built in: 1825-1826
Earliest record of community: 1810
Last rabbi: Dr. Israel Taglicht
Pogrom Night: Destroyed
After 1945: Community synagogue
Today: Community synagogue
Summary: The history of the Stadttempel (City Temple) began at the end of the 18th century in the Sterngasse. At this time a few officially tolerated Jews gathered for worship in the damp cellar of the house ‘Zum Weissen Stern’. In 1810 the Dempfingerhof [now Seitenstettengasse 4] was acquired and on September 4th 1812 the Synagogue was consecrated. Moses Fischer served as Rabbi and then as Dayan (rabbinical judge) till 1829. Soon the premises became insufficient and the Dempfingerhof was demolished and in 1825 the foundations were laid of a new Synagogue designed by the Architect Josef Kornhaesi.
On April 9th 1826 the Synagogue, with seating for 1,500 persons, was consecrated in the presence of distinguished city officials. It was described as being designed in the spirit of the “Toleranzpatent” in that its distinctive features were not visible from the street, but the domed interior and the triumphal arched western entrance were very striking as was the light-filled structure contrasted with its sombre surroundings.
Isaak Noah Mannheimer from Denmark was engaged as the first preacher of the congregation and his wisdom and sensitivity ensured the future unity of the Kultusgemeinde throughout a period of division and tension. He developed the so-called Mannheim Order of Service giving certain concessions to the need for modernisation without sacrificing the traditional soul. Salomon Sulzer from Hohenems was chosen during the first year of the synagogue’s existence as the main cantor of the congregation. His new style of synagogue music not only became standard in Vienna, but permeated Hazzanut (translation?) throughout the Jewish world.
In 1828 the communal leadership invited Rav Eleazar Horowitz from Floss in Bavaria to act as Dayan. The strictly orthodox disciple of Moses Sofer (“Chatam Sofer”) was the accepted rabbinical authority of the Kultusgemeinde till his death in 1868. Mannheimer cooperated with him in a spirit of mutual understanding, and the Polish Jewish community in Vienna regarded him as their spiritual authority.
Mannheimer’s successor was Adolf Jellinek, formerly Rabbi in Leipzig, who was engaged in 1856 by the Leopolstadt Temple in Vienna and in 1856 moved to the Seitenstettengasse where his gifted and renowned style of preaching evinced universal admiration.
On Rav Horowitz’s death in 1868, he was succeeded by Rabbi Moritz Moses Guedemann, conservatively inclined, originally from Hildesheim nr. Hannover, who had been engaged the previous year as Communal Rabbi of the Leopoldstadt Temple. At first engaged as Av Beth Din (President of the Court) his speaking ability and wide cultural knowledge qualified him also for the position of preacher for the Stadttempel and following Jellinek’s death in 1893 he inherited that position also. A follower of the Samson Raphael Hirsch school, strictly observant and with a high level of secular knowledge, he was an ideal successor of Jellinek, able to safeguard the unity of the congregation which was subjected at that time to succeeding waves of reform movements. He broke the mold of the typical temple rabbi, beardless and with flowing locks – he was proud to be identified as an orthodox Jew, all his portraits show him full bearded with the traditional rabbinical skullcap. At the request of ultra orthodox circles, Salomon Spitzer, Rav of the “Schiffschul” was co-opted on to the Beth Din (Law Court).
The year 1892 saw the introduction of the post of Chief Rabbi [Oberrabbiner]. The new constitution set at the head of the community an elected executive committee. The Chief Rabbi was responsible for the preaching of sermons and all communal activities. Weddings were celebrated by the Rabbis of all Synagogues and associations affiliated to the Kultusgemeinde. The Beth Din attached to the community, officially designated as ‘’The Rabbinical College’’, was responsible for all matters connected with Jewish law and tradition, divorces, settlement of disputes etc. To accommodate the requirements of the ultra orthodox, an Av Beth Din, described in the constitution as ‘’Rabbinical Asessor’’, who was accepted by the ultra orthodox was to be appointed. By this means the unity of the community was to be preserved.
In 1899 Rav Meir Meirson, born in Brzezany, Galicia, arrived in Vienna as Rav of the Polish Shool in the Leopoldsgasse. The general community appointed him as Av Beth Din with the responsibility of providing religious services to satisfy the requirements of the strictly observant. He was later appointed Hon. President of the ‘’Machsike Hadath’’ which served as the spiritual centre of the ultra-orthodox.
Dr. Zwi Perez Chajes was called to the position of Chief Rabbi of Vienna in 1918. His main achievements lay in education. On his initiative two comprehensive schools and the Castellezgasse grammar school were founded, which later was named after him on his early death in 1927 at the age of 52. . [His school was re-opened in 1984.] His successor was Dr. David Feuchtwang, who since 1903 had been Rabbi in the 18th district Schopengasse Synagogue.
In 1933 Rav Josef Babad succeeded Rav Meierson and upheld the faith of the congregation in very difficult times. He remained in Vienna till 1941 when he made his escape to Holland, and eventually to England. In 1932 the well known Mathias Matitjahu Matjas was engaged as first cantor in the City Temple and Marcus Mordechai Balaban as second cantor, both were later murdered in concentration camps.
Following Rabbi Feuchtwang’s death in 1936 Dr. Israel Taglicht was appointed as Chief Rabbi. A native of the Ukraine, he had been in Vienna since 1893 as Rabbi of the Turnergasse Synagogue, he remained in the position of Chief Rabbi till 1938. In the course of the outrages Viennese Jewry had to suffer following the take-over of Austria by Nazi Germany in March 1938, even the 76 year-old Rabbi Dr. Israel Taglicht was forced to his knees to scrub the streets. His dignified behaviour caused even the bystanders to realise that this faithful believer did not deserve such treatment and he was allowed to depart to his home. He was eventually able to leave for England and died in Cambridge in 1943.
One often reads that the City Temple was not destroyed during the November Pogrom so as not to endanger the neighbouring buildings. In actual fact, the reason that the Seitenstettengasse did not go up in flames was the firm instructions of SS Police Chief Mueller in Berlin to safeguard the communal archives in the building next door containing the register of the whole Jewish community, thereby to facilitate their subsequent arrest.
Although the building was not destroyed, the interior was completely ruined.
During the war the city temple was in fact the only synagogue in Vienna where services were held. Under wretched conditions a few remaining Jews would gather together for worship. Until the very end of the Nazi regime services were held there. Rabbi Benjamin Murmelstein, who before the war ministered to the Kluckygasse synagogue in the 20th district, functioned as Rabbi and was designated by the Nazis as head of the Jewish community [“Judenaeltester”] He had to steer a very narrow course between aiding his co-religionists and appearing to co-operate with the authorities, a situation often arising in the history of other “Judenraete” in the Nazi period.
To consider the “Kultusgemeinde” as an organisation one must take into account the flexibility with which at breakneck speed changes and adaptations were made in a feeling of brotherly sympathy to accommodate the requirements, within the community of a rapidly growing and increasingly divergent membership. Beginning with the desire of a small group of officially tolerated Jews for a fixed place of worship, a whole organisation developed under the leadership of distinguished professionals and businessmen which since 1890 had provided for all Jewish communal requirements in Vienna.
The tendencies towards disunity evinced between the masses of ultra orthodox Hungarian “Oberlanders” for example and the distaste of some of the Viennese for some of their requirements, such as the communal upkeep of the mikvah (ritual bath), showed that the community was ready and willing to accommodate all its members. The Kultusgemeinde set about integrating the vast stream of refugees from Galicia into communal life in spite of the fact that the typical “Ostjude” hardly fitted the Viennese image, and the community developed an extensive programme to improve the economic standing of the Galician community. Having developed into a vast complex organisation, the Kultusgemeinde, in the thirty years following the First World War catered for the religious and social needs of up to 190,000 Jewish souls.
The sudden transformation of a flourishing benevolent communal institution into a mass emigration and relief organisation was practically unexpected. In spite of the ever present menace of anti-semitism, the realisation of the impending fate of the Jewish community in Vienna came suddenly. The achievements of the highly professional abilities of the communally appointed included assistance in the acquisition of foreign visas, thereby saving about 12/13,000 Jews from certain death, and providing food and shelter for the thousands of families, suddenly deprived of their homes and livelihoods, turned into paupers overnight in 1938 and crowded together in near ghetto conditions in the 2nd District.
After the war, those traditions of unity and solidarity which had been established from it’s very beginnings, catering for all it’s varied constituents, were inherited by the new community which was rebuilt over the ashes of the destruction of the old, leading today to a flourishing and multifaceted kehilla.
In the Middle Ages, Vienna was home to a thriving Jewish community, one of the largest and most important in Europe. Famous Rabbis taught and worked here, making Vienna into an influential center of Jewish knowledge. This lively and creative environment was forced to an abrupt and violent end in 1420-21, with the expulsion and murder of the Viennese Jews. The ruins of the then-destroyed synagogue, excavated under the Judenplatz in 1995, bear witness to the life and destruction of that medieval community.
In 2000, the Museum at Judenplatz was opened as a branch of the Jewish Museum Vienna. On the square itself, the city unveiled the solemn Judenplatz Holocaust Memorial: a reinforced concrete cube resembling a library with its volumes turned inside out, designed by British artist Rachel Whiteread. To this day, new sources and scientific and architectural findings are shedding a more detailed light on medieval Jewish Vienna.
As part of its new permanent exhibition, the Judenplatz museum is proud to present an animated virtual tour of Jewish life in the 14th century: from the development of Jewish communities to the everyday routines of Jews in the Middle Ages, the virtual tour allows us to walk through a reconstruction of the city and showcases the Jewish festivals and customs of the time, making for a lively depiction of life in this medieval Jewish community.
Jewish Life in Vienna
Few European cities have a history as closely connected with Jewish history as Vienna. As early as the Middle Ages, the Vienna Jewish community was relatively large for the time, and despite two major expulsions, Jews continued to settle in the city on the Danube.
Nazism caused yet another dramatic rupture in the historical development of the city in general and its Jewish community in particular. Before 1938, the Jewish community was one of the largest in Europe numbering some 185,000. After 1945, a small but active Jewish community reestablished itself again; today, it comprises about 7,000 members – of the 10,000 to 12,000 Jews who live in Vienna at present.
During the past two decades, the city has stepped up efforts to face up to the history of Jews in Vienna, including both positive and negative aspects, and to reexamine Vienna’s Jewish heritage.
In addition to the Jewish institutions that have sprung up over the last few years – thanks to the support of the City of Vienna – a number of museums and memorials evoke the city’s Jewish heritage: the Jewish Museum of the City of Vienna, the Judenplatz Museum, the Sigmund Freud House, the Schoenberg Center, the Memorial against War and Fascism on Albertinaplatz and the Shoah Memorial on Judenplatz, to name only the most important.
Make sure to visit the Jewish pages of the City of Vienna!
Jewish Vienna – Then and Now
The traditional religious center of Jewish life in Vienna is the Vienna City Temple, the only synagogue that survived the pogrom of November 1938. The building complex at Seitenstettengasse 4 in the first district houses not only the synagogue, but also the offices of the Vienna Jewish Community, the Vienna Chief Rabbi, the editorial offices of the official community newspaper Die Gemeinde (The Community), the Jewish community center which stages various events, also hosts the Library of the Jewish Museum and a kosher restaurant.
Near Seitenstettengasse, in the heart of the so-called “Bermuda Triangle” – a popular bar and restaurant hotspot – there is yet another focal point on Judenplatz which confronts visitors with Jewish life past and present: the Shoah Memorial and the Judenplatz Museum, opened in fall 2000.
On the way from Seitenstettengasse to Judenplatz, you pass the Old City Hall (Altes Rathaus – Wipplingerstrasse 8, 1010 Vienna), where the Documentation Archives of the Austrian Resistance (www.doew.at) are located; they document the crimes of National Socialism and include important materials about right-wing extremist and racist developments in Austria. The Documentation Archive database contains information on over 62,000 Austrian holocaust victims.
Long pursued half-heartedly, the issue of compensation and restitution of the victims of National Socialism has been addressed at various levels in the 1990s. The appointment of the Austrian Historical Commission in 1998 at last marked the creation of a body to scientifically and comprehensively investigate the whole complex of expropriation of Jewish property in all areas of business and society.
Public institutions (museums etc.) were for the first time instructed on a broad basis to conduct provenance research. On January 17, 2001 the Republic of Austria committed itself to reparations under the Washington Agreement that compensate for property and assets that were stolen during the Nazi era. Under the Austrian General Settlement Fund Law (“Entschädigungsfondsgesetz”), a general fund was set up in 2001 to comprehensively address open claims regarding compensation for victims of National Socialism.
Restitution is not confined to a national level. The City of Vienna has introduced various measures for restitution issues covering everything from property to art. The City of Vienna’s homepage (www.wien.gv.at/english/administration/restitution) documents the Austrian capital’s far-reaching initiatives as regards restitution and, in addition, provides a service facility for those affected. It is also designed to ease the difficult search for victims and their descendents around the world.
Compensation by the City of Vienna, such as the return of the Hakoah sports ground and activities in art restitution, have been addressed, as have nationwide measures and social benefits for Nazi victims. Indeed, the issue of the Hakoah sports ground has now been resolved. A new sports and training facility was opened in the 2nd district in March 2008. Hakoah has been granted 19,500 square meters of land behind the Ernst-Happel Stadium to compensate for what was taken by the Nazis. Its construction has been funded in equal parts by the Austrian State and the City of Vienna.
Further details about memorials and cemeteries as well as organizations and associations, can be found in the Vienna brochure “Jewish Vienna – Heritage and Mission” which can also be accessed online at: http://www.wien.info/media/files/juedisches-wien.pdf.
Judenplatz – Place of Remembrance
Since the erection of the Shoah Memorial and the establishment of a museum about medieval Jewry, Judenplatz has become an impressive place of remembrance. Here you also find excavations of the medieval synagogue which can be accessed through the museum in the Misrachi House (Judenplatz 8, 1010 Wien). It contains documentation of the first Jewish settlements in the Middle Ages, which date back as far as the eleventh century, and of the first major expulsion of Jews in the years 1420-21, the so-called “Vienna Geserah”.
The Jewish community was completely annihilated at that time – an anti-Jewish relief on the building at Judenplatz 2 (“Zum grossen Jordan”) serves as a reminder of this disastrous event. Austria’s Catholic cardinal Schönborn arranged for a memorial plaque to be placed on the house at Judenplatz 6, as a reminder of the anti-Jewish role of the Catholic Church; and in April 2001, the Jewish Community placed another memorial plaque, this one devoted to those who helped Jews during the Nazi era, on the so-called Misrachi House at Judenplatz 8.
The memory of the crimes of National Socialism and the Holocaust is kept alive by the imposing memorial to victims of the Shoah by British artist Rachel Whiteread. The concrete cube depicts outwardly-facing library walls. It measures ten by seven meters, and is almost four meters high. On the ground around the memorial, the names of the places where 65,000 Austrian Jews were killed are inscribed. This memorial was erected by the City of Vienna at the initiative of Simon Wiesenthal and unveiled on October 25, 2000 after a long series of controversies. At the same time, the Judenplatz Museum, which documents the history of Vienna’s Jews in the Middle Ages, was opened.
The Judenplatz Museum is to be found in the building at Judenplatz 8 (1010 Vienna), which also houses the orthodox-Zionist organization Misrachi (Misrachi synagogue on the first floor; Bnei Akiva youth center on the second floor). In the basement of the building, the architects Jabornegg & Pálffy installed a museum that not only offers archeological findings from the excavations on Judenplatz, but also boasts a multi-media presentation of Jewish life in the Middle Ages, a medieval city model, and documentation about the medieval synagogue. The museum rooms also grant direct access to the impressive excavations of the medieval synagogue. It was one of the largest synagogues in the Middle Ages, and you can still see the foundations of the hexagonal bima, the raised lectern for the reading of the Torah, as well as the foundation of the Torah shrine and parts of the walls and floor of the women’s shul.
Museums document Jewish History
Not far from Judenplatz is the Jewish Museum of the City of Vienna, which is housed in an old aristocratic mansion at Dorotheergasse 11. Here the history of the Jews of Vienna is comprehensively documented. The museum closed for extensive refurbishment for around eight months in January 2011 and is scheduled to reopen in September. The building upgrades will also see a redesign of the permanent exhibition at the museum.
A central element of the new permanent exhibition is the famous Judaica Collection by Max Berger, which illustrates Jewish life in the context of the Shoah and examines post war developments through the prism of Max Berger’s personal story. The third floor houses the publicly accessible Show Depot which stores and exhibits the ritual objects which were saved from the synagogues destroyed in 1938. More than 80 synagogues and temples were destroyed in Vienna during the November pogrom of 1938. On the first floor, the museum stages temporary exhibitions on key themes of Jewish cultural and intellectual history.
Two additional museums examine the importance of Jewish heritage to the cultural and intellectual history of the city: the Schoenberg Center on Schwarzenbergplatz and the Sigmund Freud House at Berggasse 19.
The Freud Museum is located in the apartment where Freud had his consultation rooms and also lived until National Socialism forced him to emigrate to London in 1938. Personal memorabilia that were not moved to London are on view. An exhibition in the former practice rooms traces the life and work of the founder of psychoanalysis. Connected to the museum are a library and a modern event room in which small exhibitions are mounted.
A few years ago, the Arnold Schoenberg Center was established at Palais Fanto (corner of Schwarzenbergplatz 6, Zaunergasse 1, 1030 Vienna); it documents the life and work of this eminent modern Austrian composer. Various exhibitions are also put on here.
On the way from the Jewish Museum to Palais Fanto you pass Albertinaplatz – where Alfred Hrdlicka erected his Monument against War and Fascism – and the Vienna State Opera, of which famed composer Gustav Mahler was once the Music Director. And not far from the Schoenberg Center, you find the Vienna Konzerthaus; many Jewish upper middle class families were among its founders and patrons. If you walk along the Ring boulevard, you will pass numerous splendid mansions, many of which were once owned by Jewish families – Palais Todesco near the Vienna State Opera, Palais Schey, Palais Epstein, and Palais Ephrussi, to name but a few.
Jewish Life Today
Although the focal point is the synagogue in Seitenstettengasse, Jewish people today live all over the city. The second district, Leopoldstadt, has a particularly high Jewish population. There are also numerous Jewish institutions here, for instance the new IKG campus, the Lauder Chabad Campus, the Jewish Vocational Education Center, prayer rooms, ritual baths and other religious educational institutions, and a Hakoah sports ground again in the Prater.
In the second district you will also find Jewish shops, kosher supermarkets, butchers, bakers, restaurants, snack bars and, in the area around Tempelgasse, the Sephardic Center and Synagogue. The site that until 1938 contained the Leopoldstadt temple is now home to the ESRA psychosocial institution (www.esra.at) for survivors of Nazi persecution and their descendants.
There is also a Jewish Institute for Adult Education (Volkshochschule) at Praterstern which also gives non-Jews the opportunity to learn more about Judaism in courses on Yiddish, kosher cookery, Israeli folk dancing, Klezmer music and religious issues. Further sources of information are the Jewish newspapers and magazines which are published alongside the official voice of the Jewish Community “Die Gemeinde”. They include “Das jüdische Echo. Europäisches Forum für Kultur und Politik”, “NU”, “Illustrierte Neue Welt”, “David”, “Heruth”, “Atid” and “Der Bund”.
Over the past 300 years, the Leopoldstadt district has been home to the most concentrated settlement of Jews in Vienna. It was also the location of the so-called Mazzes-Insel (“Matzoh Island”), where poor Jewish families lived, often in close quarters. The settlement dates back to the seventeenth century, when the so-called ghetto in the Unterer Werd could be found in today’s Carmelite Quarter; this neighborhood was destroyed at the end of the seventeenth century during the second major expulsion of Jews during the reign of Emperor Leopold, and a church was erected on the foundations of the synagogue. Since then, this city district has been known as Leopoldstadt. A small part of the Leopoldstadt Temple (today ESRA, Tempelgasse 5, 1020 Vienna) has been preserved.
However, this expulsion did not prevent a new settlement by Jews in the city only a few decades later – this part of the city once again became the focus of Jewish settlers. The new Lauder Chabad Campus school center was designed by Adolf Krischanitz and also houses a prayer room. Since 2008 Zwi Perez Chajes School has been re-sited to the new Campus of the Vienna Jewish Community (IKG) where the Hakoah sports ground also is. The new IKG Campus in Simon-Wiesenthal-Gasse behind the Ernst-Happel Stadium features not only educational and sports facilities, but also a youth center and a home for the elderly. The latest information can be found on the IKG website (www.ikg-wien.at).
The oldest Jewish cemetery in Vienna is located in Seegasse in the ninth district. Today, however, it is a reconstructed museum facility. The second-oldest cemetery is in Währing, which was for the most part destroyed by the Nazis. Only a small part remains and is in a very poor state of upkeep. The largest Jewish cemetery is to be found on two sites in the Central Cemetery. By the first gate you find the old Jewish cemetery; by the fourth the new cemetery with a ceremonial hall. The old part, in particular, contains the graves of many prominent Viennese Jews.
To visit the grave of Theodor Herzl you must go to Döbling Cemetery in the nineteenth district. Today, however, there is only a cenotaph, because his remains were transported to Israel in 1948.
Eruv in Vienna
Since September a new Eruv has been active in Vienna. To check on the status of the Eruv please visit: http://eruv.at/english/index.php
Jewish Welcome Service Vienna
Judenplatz 8, 1010 Vienna, tel. +43-1-535 04 31 500, www.jewish-welcome.at
Founded in the 1980s by Leon Zelman, Vienna City Council and the Vienna Tourist Board, the Jewish Welcome Service has invited thousands of displaced Jewish citizens to Vienna since its creation. In October 2009 the Jewish Welcome Service moved from Stephansplatz to the Misrachi building on Judenplatz. In addition to enabling thousands of Viennese Jews to return to the city, the service’s main aim is to provide information about Jewish Vienna.
The Jewish Welcome Service acts as an interface between the nearby Israelitische Kultusgemeinde and the City of Vienna’s Jewish Museum. Its function is to allay any concerns Jewish visitors may have about traveling to the city. The Jewish Welcome Service provides support for dealing with the authorities and Jewish organizations, and helping people trace their family history. The Jewish Welcome Service information point (foyer Judenplatz Museum) is open from Sunday to Thursday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on Fridays from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Vienna Jewish Community (Israelitische Kultusgemeinde Wien)
Seitenstettengasse 4, 1010 Vienna, tel. +43-1-531 04-0, www.ikg-wien.at
The website of the Jewish Community has numerous links and many useful addresses, telephone numbers etc. to gain further information. It also contains details of where and how you can go about tracing the whereabouts and fates of relatives.
Jewish Museum of the City of Vienna
Dorotheergasse 11, 1010 Vienna, tel. +43-1-535 04 31-210, www.jmw.at
Opening hours: Sunday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Closed: Every Saturday as well as Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Closed for refurbishment until September 2011.
Judenplatz 8, 1010 Vienna, www.jmw.at
Opening hours: Sunday through Thursday from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Friday 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Closed on Saturdays and on Rosh Hashanah. Admission is free on all other Jewish holidays, with the museum closing from 2:00 p.m. the day before. . Branch of the Jewish Museum – information: see Jewish Museum. The Judenplatz Museum is open to visitors as usual while the Jewish Museum at Dorotheergasse is closed for refurbishment!
Library of the Jewish Museum Vienna
Seitenstettengasse 4, 1010 Vienna, tel. +43-1-535 04 31-412, www.jmw.at
Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. This reference library contains over 41,000 works in German, English, Hebrew and Yiddish spanning four centuries.
Sigmund Freud Museum
Berggasse 19, 1090 Vienna, tel. +43-1-319 15 96, www.freud-museum.at
Opening hours: Daily from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., July 1 -Sept 30 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Arnold Schoenberg Center
Schwarzenbergplatz 6/entrance Zaunergasse 1, 1030 Vienna, tel. +43-1-712 18 88, www.schoenberg.at
Opening hours: Monday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., closed on public holidays
Press releases for the Jewish Museum Vienna and the Judenplatz Museum can be obtained from the Media Office of the Jewish Museum. Please contact:
Media Office of the Jewish Museum of the City of Vienna
Weyringergasse 17/2/2, 1040 Vienna
tel. +43-1-505 31 00, Cell Phone: +43-664 506 49 00, firstname.lastname@example.org
Stadttempel – Central City temple
Chief Rabbi Paul Chaim Eisenberg
1010 Vienna, Seitenstettengasse 4
Tel. +43-1-53 104 – 111
Synagoge in ZPC School
1020 Vienna, Simon-Wiesenthal-Gasse 3
Morning prayer: daily at 8 am. when school is in session.
Rabbi David L. Grünfeld
1010 Vienna, Grünangergasse 1
Tel. +43-1-212 00 94
1020 Vienna, Tempelgasse 3
Tel. +43 1/512 83 31
Rabbi Asher Margulies
1020 Vienna, Lilienbrunngasse 19
Tel. +43-1-216 51 94
Rabbi Abraham Y. Schwartz
1020 Vienna, Große Schiffgasse 8
Tel. +43-1-216 36 95
1020 Vienna, Tempelgasse 7
Bucharische Synagoge: Rabbi Aminov (Tel. +43-1-276 44 68)
Georgische Synagoge: Rabbi Yaakov Hotoveli (Tel. +43-1-276 44 76)
1020 Vienna, Große Mohrengasse 19
Tel. +43-1-214 13 47
Religious Leadership: Rabbi Weiss
Director: Rabbiner Moshe Farkas
1020 Vienna, Große Mohrengasse 19
Tel. +43-1-216 16 26
Rabbi Joseph Pardess
1010 Vienna, Judenplatz 8
Tel. +43-1-535 64 60
Bejt Aharon (Augarten) Synagoge
Rabbi Itzhak Niazov
1020 Vienna, Rabbiner Schneerson-Platz 1
Tel. +43-1-214 23 48
1010 Vienna, Marc Aurel Str 2b Stiege 7
Hamidrasch Torah etz Chayim
Rabbi Michael Pressburger
1020 Vienna, Große Schiffgasse 8
Tel. +43-1-216 36 99
1020 Vienna, Blumauergasse 10
Praying Room in AKH Hospital
1090 Vienna, Währinger Gürtel 18-20
Schomrei Hadas – Scharei Zion Synagoge
Rabbi Jakov Biderman
1090 Vienna, Grünentorgasse 26
Tel. +43-1-334 18 18-13
Hashomer Hatzair – World Zionist Youth Organization
Hashomer Hatzair was was founded in Europe in 1913 as the first Zionist youth movement for the Jewish people, and today it is the oldest Zionist youth movement still in existence.
Hashomer Hatzair believed that Hagshamah for the Jewish youth could be accomplished by Aliyah and living inKibbutzim. Indeed, throughout the years many Chaverim*ot made Aliyha and wrote a magnificent chapter in the history of Zionism and the Jewish people. The movement founded hundreds of Kibbutzim across the country where new immigrants could find a home and a community.
Further Hashomer Hatzair took part in the founding of the Palmach, the IDF, in the development of a new Hebrew culture in Israel and the Diaspora, leading the uprisings in ghettos and partisan units during the Shoah; taking leadership roles in the struggle for peace and justice in Israel and throughout the world; and educating hundreds of thousands of children and youth in Israel and the Diaspora by building a strong sense of humanistic Jewish community and taking part in the movement for a better world based on the values of human equity and self-determination.
Today, Hashomer Hatzair operates in 21 countries and many more communities worldwide, and provides an educational and ideological home for its members, many of whom come from diverse Jewish backgrounds.
The essence of the movement’s point of view in its over 100 years of existence can be expressed in the phrase “Tikkun Adam-Tikkun Olam” which draws its meaning from Jewish history and means “Repairing the Self- -Repairing the world”.
The movement operates in 21 countries and tens of communities worldwide, and provides an educational and ideological home for its members, many of whom come from diverse Jewish backgrounds.
The essence of the movement’s point of view in its 100 years of existence can be expressed in the phrase “Tikkun Adam-Tikkun Olam” which draws its meaning from Jewish history and thought, and means “Repairing the Self- -Repairing the world”.
In 1911 a young man called Henric (Tzvi) Shterner, founded the first Jewish scouting movement in the city of Levov in Galitzia. The organization was based on the model of the youth group organization “Tzeirey Tzion” (Young Zion).
In 1913 the Jewish scouts of Galicia adopted the name “Hashomer” (the guardian), inspired by the Israeli organization of the same name. Later on, in the same year the foundation of Hashomer Hatzair was announced. “Hashomer” was aimed mainly towards children and youth and revolved around scouting and Zionism.
In Vienna in 1916, during the First World War, the “Hashomer” organization united with the movement “Tzeirey Tzion”, a movement that was founded in 1903 for high school and university students. Its main interest was Hebrew and Yiddish studies, Jewish history and Israeli geography, as well as celebrating national holidays, practicing sports, singing, and more. The united body was called at first “Shomrim Tzeirei Tzion” and was changed to “Hashomer Hatzair” (the young guard) in 1919 with a focus on an amalgamated Socialist and Zionist ideology.
The first immigration wave of Hashomer Hatzair came to Israel in 1920. In the beginning the groups were scattered with no united structure. Most Shomrim (members of Hashomer Hatzair) were concentrated around paving roads in difficult conditions and deserted areas. In 1921 the first kibbutz was founded in a tent camp along the road connecting Haifa and Afula, in 1922 it was named “Beit Alfa”.
Several years later, on April 1st 1927, The central Hashomer Hatzairs Kibbutzim, including Ein-Shemer, Ma’abarot, Mishmar-Ha’emek and Merchavia came together to construct the kibbutz movement of Hashomer Hatzair “HaKibbutz Ha’artzi” (the Kibbutz federation), which became an independent political stream among workers of the pre state Jewish Yishuv (community). During the same period, The Israeli members of the movement decided to establish an independent youth movement for “Hashomer Hatzair”, and in the year 1929 three new branches were founded in Haifa, Rehovot and the Mikve Israel agricultural boarding school.
At the same time, the movement continued to expand around the world. At first the movement operated in Poland, Austria, the Soviet Union, Romania, Lithuania and Latvia, and later expanded to Western and Southern Europe, North America and Latin America. In 1924 the first world conference (Veida Olamit) took place, in the city of Dancig (today named Gedansk) in Poland. The second world conference occured in 1927, the same year in which “HaKibbutz Ha’artzi” was founded in Israel.
Before the Second World War Hashomer Hatzair counted 70,000 members. During the war many of these young people took lead roles in ghetto uprisings, partisan fighting and various rescue operations across Europe.
In July 1945, after the war, the first “Shomria” event took place at the Carmel Mountain near Haifa. It was a camping event that consisted of thousands of movement members, the main theme was scouting and cultural activities, now this traditional event happens every ten years.
In post-war Soviet Europe, the movement’s activities were gradually forbidden by the communist regime, and eventually it ceased operations in east Europe. In the 50’s and 60’s, due to the tension between Israel and the Arab nations, branches in North African countries closed down, including Algiers, Morocco, Tunisia and Egypt. In 1953 the movement opened a branch in Australia, the only continent in which it hadn’t operated until then. In 1958 a world conference assembled in Israel, it was the first one after the war and indicated the restoration of the movement from the ruins of the war. In the early 90’s, as the Iron Wall collapsed, Hashomer Hatzair returned once again to Eastern Europe and branches sprung up in Hungary, Bulgaria, Ukraine and Belarus.
In the year 2008, after many years during which the main ideological aim of Aliyah to Kibbutz, was in question and had not been deeply observed, and due to the crises of the Kibbutz Movement, a world conference took place in kibbutz Holit, to reformulate the movement’s ideology. The ten Dibrot of the movement were renewed, and humanistic Judaism was added as one of the movement’s pillars. In addition, the conference expanded the meaning of Hagshama (actualization) for the movements graduates in Israel and in Jewish communities around the world.
Since this conference the movement continues to grow in membership and branches which are added every year, including in countries where the movement had been closed for decades.
Nowadays, Hashomer Hatzair operates in 21 countries. 32 branches outside of Israel provide an educational and ideological home to thousands of members and activists.
From its very beginning and until the present, Hashomer Hatzair has guided a unique and original education system. To be a Shomer or Shomeret is not just a title but a deep and demanding identity. In the heart of the educational system of the movement stands education towards values to be actualized in the world. In today’s reality these values take the shape of Socialism and social justice, Zionism, humanistic Judaism, peace, equality and democracy.