CURRENT CZECH NAME: Hollabrunn
OTHER NAMES/SPELLINGS: Oberhollabrunn
LOCATION: about 50 kms northwest
of Vienna in Lower Austria at the road to Znaim/Znojmo
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Although there were Jews living in that part of Lower Austria at least
since 1652, their number increased considerably after 1867 when Jews were
finally emancipated and regarded as equal before the law. Before 1901,
Hollabrunn belonged to the Jewish community of Horn. In that year a separate
community was founded for Hollabrunn and the surrounding villages and small
towns such as Haugsdorf and Retz. In 1934 that community consisted of 420
members, of whom 92 paid membership fees. At this time Alfred Fischer was
its president; Ignatz Kurz served as vice-president.
As the Jewish community was very small and its members lived in close contact
to their Christian neighbors, many Jews were strongly influenced by the
Christian practices and did not adhere strictly to Jewish customs and rules.
The majority of Hollabrunn`s Jews belonged to the petty bourgeoisie, owning
little shops and trading with wood, horses, agricultural tools, etc.
But also two doctors, Dr. Franz Deutsch and Dr. Ernst Ritter, and a lawyer,
Dr. Wilhelm Fass, were Jews.
In 1938 the life of that small community suffered a brutal change for the
bad. Almost immediately after Austria`s “Anschluss,” the Jews of Hollabrunn
became victims of local hordes of Nazis and “honorable citizens.”
They were jeered at, their houses were defaced with graffiti, and their
shops first looted and then “Aryanized.” Dr. Ritter, a well known
social-democrat, and Otto Hauser were the first to be imprisoned.
Hauser was treated so brutally that he poisoned himself. As early
as September 1938 all Jews were forced to leave the town, which thus
became “judenrein.” The lucky ones managed to emigrate to oversea
countries; those who were not so lucky perished in the Holocaust.
After 1945, only a small minority of the little Jewish community returned
to Austria. Most of these persons lived in Vienna, almost nobody
returned to Hollabrunn itself. Gold and Gollonitsch both contain
a list of people from Hollabrunn showing their fate.
Vital records of the Jewish community of Hollabrunn are stored at the Jewish
community of Vienna, which is also responsible for the cemetery.
NOTABLE RESIDENTS AND DESCENDANTS:
The families Abeles, Hauser, Neuspiel, Ranzenhofer, Skutezky and Wallisch
made up a large portion of the community. Today descendants of Hollabrunn`s
Jewry live in Australia, Austria, Israel, the USA and the UK.
SYNAGOGUES: There was a
temple at the corner of Winiwarterstrasse and Straussgasse. In September
1938 the community was forced to give it as a present to the municipality
of Hollabrunn. In the same year its interior was devastated by local Nazis.
CEMETERY: In 1876 the Jews
of Hollabrunn, among them Max Wallisch and Leopold Skutezky bought the
piece of land where the Jewish cemetery was
established. Today it is in comparably good condition as it was cleaned
of scrub a few years ago. It consists of about 140 graves with most stones
still standing. The cemetery is located 1 km south of Hollabrunn near the
town's sewage purification plant.
SOURCES: Hugo Gold, Geschichte
der Juden in Oesterreich. Ein Gedenkbuch, Tel Aviv 1971; Ulrike Gollonitsch,
Als waer nichts geschehen. Die juedische Gemeinde in Hollabrunn, Vienna
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