DESTROYED JEWISH COMMUNITY: Mattersdorf (Part 2)

MATTERSDORF -  MATTERSBURG (since 1924)

Settlement Area

The center of the Jewish settlement in Mattersdorf was located directly by the Wulka creek, where the synagogue took on fundamental importance for the town’s development. Connected to the synagogue was the town hall. The Rabbi’s house, which was owned by the community and housed the current Rabbi for the length of his tenure, was also nearby.

Accross from the Jewish settlement, on the other side of the Wulka was the cemetery. It was extended from the town center to the area between the Wulka and the Meierhof estate. In 1644 was the first documented to mention the Judengasse. In 1793 the Jewish Quarter consisted of a closed settlement, which starkly distinguished itself from the Christians. Despite continuous population increase in the 18th century no further settlements were allowed in the Jewish Quarter.

The Mattersdorf Jews used every possibility to increase living space, splitting up housing units, adding additional floors and expanding existing buildings, which led to tighter living conditions. This resulted in increased spreading of disease as well as rapid spreading of flames in the case of fires. At the beginning of the 19th century the Jews were offered a settlement outside of the Jewish Quarter- a row of houses in the former Hoffman Garden, the so-called ‘Neugebei, as well as in Schießstatt-Anger, what is today Angergasse, or the so-called ‘Neiheisln’.

The Mattersdorf Jewish population were first free to choose their residence and business locations after 1840 (Hungarian Reichstag Law, which granted Jews the right to live and conduct trade and business in all of Hungary), which allowed the legal assimilation of the Jews with the non-Jewish population; then, after the so-called ‘Equalization’ of 1867

 

Patterns of Occupation

For the year 1744, the following occupational pattern of the Mattersdorf Jews was reported:

“...approximately 45% had careers in trade- besides trade in horses, furs, ribbon and rags, etc. a large number conducted ‘trade with various wares’. Approximately 23% were involved in commercial production or handcrafts- among them jobs such as tailor, distiller, butcher, brewer, etc. 21% belonged to the service industry, such as servants, beer servers, bandsmen, etc. Surprisingly high is the percentage of people involved in education, such as schoolmaster or clerk: over 13%. Similar statistics can be found in other Jewish communities at this time. Notably the brewing industry already had a long tradition at this time, the most important brewery in Mattersdorf was owned by Jews until 1808.” (Reiss und Hodik)

 

Jewish businesses in 1876

1 iron merchant
1 leather merchant
4 drapery merchants
7 mixed wares merchants
3 junk dealers
2 Nürnberg wares (toys and fancy articles in metal, carved wood and ivory) merchants
1 wine merchant
1 crockery merchant
1 flour merchant
7 grocers
36 peddlers
4 rags collectors
2 butchers
1 fur merchants
1 carpenter
1 caterer
1 clockmaker
4 shoemakers
1 bookbinder
1 tailor

Source: Report of the Chamber of Business and Trade Ödenburg 1876

 

Jewish shops and businesses in 1936

Dr. Ernst Brandl      Textiles Degengasse 17
David Ellner            Textiles Degengasse 19
Heinrich Trebitsch   Broom maker Degengasse 19
Israel Hirsch           Textiles and manufactured goods Degengasse 23
Gustav Hirsch         Tailor Degengasse25
Heinrich Schotten   Iron trade Degengasse 9
Israel Deutsch        Leather producer Degengasse 27
Ludwig Klein         Dress shop Judengasse 1
Bernhard Sprinzelles & Sohn      Textiles Judengasse
Margarete Kohn    Dairy products Judengasse
Emanuel Schön      Mixed wares Judengasse
Ernst Donath         Mixed wares Judengasse
Elias Gellis             Tobacco merchant Judengasse
Samuel Weiszberger      Furniture and shoes Judengasse
Josef Streicher      Textiles Judengasse 23
Rosa Schotten       Mixed wares Judengasse 23
Max Schischa       Machine trade Judengasse 25
Geschwister Schischa      Embroidery Judengasse 25
Solon Schotten      Mixed wares Judengasse 26
Leo Schotten        Bedspring factory Judengasse 26
Koscher Fleischbank      Butcher Judengasse
Lazarus Gelles       Butcher Judengasse 26
David Gelles          Baker Judengasse 27
Samuel Rosenberger      Poultry fattening Judengasse 27
Isak Wolf               Shoemaker Judengasse 27
Ignaz Weiss            Shoemaker Judengasse
Rudolf Woittitz        Baker Judengasse
Rosa Breuer            Mixed wares Judengasse 16
Ignaz Hönigsberger       Footwear Judengasse
Heinrich Moses            Textiles Judengasse
Moritz Breuer              Dress shop Judengasse
Delka (Wilhelm Vogel)      Footwear Judengasse
Salomon Gottesmann        Textiles Judengasse
Bernhard Trebitsch       Mixed wears Judengasse 2
Samuel Kerpels Söhne      Colonial wares and spices Königstraße 22
Martin Roth             Furniture Königstraße 33
Witwe J. Kohn        Printer’s shop Königstraße 41
Jakob Roth             Soda-water production Königstraße 43
Ignaz Sobelmann       Colonial wares and spices Königstraße 56
Alfred Bischitz           Shirt/blouse production Königstraße 54
Berta & Sofie Steinhof         Fur trade Königstraße
Paul Steinhof               Machine embroidery Königstraße
Abraham Seifert          Poultry Winkelgasse
Adolf Molnar              Bedsprings Bergergasse 2
Adalbert Nußbaumer       Building materials Bahnstraße
Heinrich Stern             Watchmaker and jeweler Bahnstraße 2
Isidor Benedikt            Textiles Bahnstraße 4
Samuel Schön & Söhne       Mixed wares Bahnstraße 4
Ester Benedikt            Grocery store Hauptstraße 54
Max Kerpel               Oil shop Hauptstraße 39
Moritz Frischmann      Building materials Kitaiblgasse 25
Hermine Löbl             Schnapsverschleiß Winkelgasse 9
Sigmund Löbl             Carpenter Winkelgasse 9
Samuel Schön & Söhne       Pringting office Wehrgasse

Source: Paul Hans (Hrsg.), 50 Jahre Stadtgemeinde Mattersburg. Heimatbuch der Stadt Mattersburg zur 50. Wiederkehr des Tages der Stadterhebung, Mattersburg 1976, S. 195f.

 

The significance of the Jewish community Mattersburg

Because Mattersburg was home of the “Union of Autonomous Orthodox Israelite Cultural Community of Burgenland” and the union’s president Samuel Ehrenfeld, Chief Rabbi of Mattersburg, general assemblies often took place here. Concerning such general assemblies, the 'Jüdische Presse' (Jewish Press) reported: “All communities represented by their rabbis and cultural director. Cultural President Isidor Deutsch greeted those present in the name of the cultural community and wished them a prosperous session. The Union President, Chief Rabbi Samuel Ehrenfeld, opened the session and reported on the organization’s past year of activity.”
(Jüdische Presse)

On the occasion of the ten year anniversary of Burgenland’s annexation (to Austria) on September 11, 1931, State President Miklas bestowed upon Chief Rabbi Samuel Ehrenfeld the ‘Golden decoration for honor of services to the Republic of Austria’. He explained: “Rabbi Ehrenfeld, who worked in Mattersburg, the Jewish center of Burgenland, is the most esteemed and commendable Jewish minister in Austria.” (Austrian State Archive)

Shortly after the ceremony Chief Rabbi Ehrenfeld, because of his function as representative of the Burgenland Jews, became a special target of Nazi agitation. Following the events, the National Socialist weekly paper ‘Der Kampf’, which appeared in Graz, described Austria as a “Jewish Republic.” (Lichtenberger)

 

Yeshiva

The Yeshiva in Mattersdorf was a Talmud academy, although considering the number of students, was rather insignificant. “However to its credit, it had a reputation as one of the most distinguished institutions of its kind in Hungary”. (Hodik)

Admission to the ‘Yeshiva’ was a stage in the education, “in which students, under the instruction of local Rabbis, were obliged in higher studies of the Talmudic rabbinical literature. Most Rabbis, judges and teachers completed this high school of Jewish scholarship.” (Hodnik)

In the 1920’s the Mattersdorf Yeshiva encountered financial hardships. The continued existence could only be secured through a testamentary disposition. The 'Jüdische Presse' reported: “Thus Herr Moritz Leitner and his brothers bought an abandoned residential building on Königstraße, which should be used as a residential school for destitute Bachurim (students) of the local Yeshiva. In remembrance of their father, Herr Avraham (Adolf) Leitner, it will be named ‘Ohel Avrohom’.” (Jüdische Presse)

The Mattersdorf Yeshiva is carried on today in ‘Kiryat Mattersdorf’ in Jerusalem.

Part 1

Judengasse

Foto: Bgld. LA/Lichtbildsammlung

Interior view of the Synagogue

Bildnachweis: Gold Hugo (Hrsg.), Gedenkbuch der untergegangenen Judengemeinden des Burgenlandes, Tel Aviv 1970

Interior view of the courtyard

Bildnachweis: Gold Hugo (Hrsg.), Gedenkbuch der untergegangenen Judengemeinden des Burgenlandes, Tel Aviv 1970

Talmud students

Lazar Trebitsch from Mattersburg, born 1850, died in the mid 1930’s (right) as a Talmud student with his brother Gabriel Trebitsch  (left). Foto: Privatbesitz Redlinger

by Johannes Scholem Graf
Help in editing: Yohanan Loeffler

2011.02.26