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[Pages 19-22]

The History of the Jews in Aussig a. d. Elbe

(Ústí nad Labem, Czech Republic – 50°39' 14°02')

Written by Rabbi Dr. J. Stösler, Aussig a. d. Elbe

Translated from the original German by Jan O. Hellmann/DK

Edited in English by Rob Pearman/UK

In the memorial book of the Royal City of Aussig (Ústí nad Labem) written by Friedrich Sonnewand in 1839, the following may be seen:

“According to the regional letter dated 4 September 1834 (No. Z.7732), two pages – page 3 and 4 – in the Jewish record book of Aussig are open and there are two unoccupied Jewish family options.” This means that until 1839 there were no Jews in Aussig. Nor can any Jews be found in the city records in the following years. The Jewish settlement first starts after 1848 and then grows slowly.

In 1863 a religious association was founded, which had its own prayer house and, as early as 1866, established a cemetery.

 

 

In the notes of Dr. Marian, we find the following: ”At 2 pm on 5 November 1866, the ground stone of the newly founded Israelite cemetery was laid and the cemetery was inaugurated. The land for the cemetery - on Kleisch Road - was bought by the Jewish community from the citizen and city clerk Johann Lumpe. The ceremony was opened by the chairman of the community, with a hymn in Hebrew. Teplitz (Teplice) Regional Rabbi David Pick [1] delivered a commemorative speech in the presence of members of the local Jewish community, several royal and imperial clerks, city representatives and many guests. The Teplitz Cantor sang in a clear voice….”

In the same year, the Jewish community bought a house in Wallstrasse (Rampart Street), where it planned to build a temple. On 18 October 1869, the statutes of the Jewish community were confirmed and the Jewish Association was replaced by this Jewish community. The first record in the register is dated 29 July 1870. The construction of the synagogue began on 1 April 1880. At that time there were 30 Jewish families in Aussig and they raised the necessary 26,000 florins. The inauguration took place on 29 August 1880.

 


Synagogue (exterior)

 


Synagogue (interior)

 

The ‘Aussiger Anzeiger’ (The Aussig Gazette) reports on 1 September 1880 in issue no. 68 that several representatives of neighboring Jewish communities, state and town offices and of religious authorities took part in the inauguration. Also present were the schools, the associations and all levels of inhabitants. The inauguration was undertaken by the Teplitz Rabbi Dr. A. Rosenzweig. The Jewish community of Raudnitz (Roudnice) provided the synagogue choir and the Aussig choir also participated. After the inauguration, a festive dinner was held in the hotel “Zur Krone” (At the Crown) which closed with a dance. The Gazette comments as follows: “The Jewish community must be proud and satisfied that it has built for the community a dignified place of worship, and that with this marvelous building it leaves an eternal monument to future generations. It is hoped that future undertakings of the community will also be crowned with such success.”

The Board Directors of the community were:
MUDr. Angelus Bauer, born in Teplitz, 1869 – 1892
MUDr. Jakob Mendl, also born in Teplitz, 1892 – 1903
JUDr. Siegfried Mahler, 1903 – 1912
MUDr. Wilhelm Wittenberg, son of Rabbi Joachim Wittenberg from Leitmeritz (Litoměřice), 1912 – 1914
Oskar Pick from Soborten (Sobědruhy). 1914 – 1919
Moritz Glauber, since 1919.

 

 
 
 

Dr. Jakob Mendl
 
Dr. Siegfried Mahler
 
Moritz Glauber
 
Rb. Salomon Bass
 
 
 
 

Dr. Wilhelm Wittenberg
 
Oskar Pik
 
Rb. Dr. A. Rozenzweig
 
Rb. Dr. J. Stössler

 

On the occasion of Moritz Glauber's 70th birthday, a festive service was held in the synagogue. During this service, Rabbi Dr. J. Stösstel spoke in a lively manner both in general about the tasks of a Director of the Board of the Jewish community and specifically about the merits of the ‘jubilarian’. After the service, a celebratory event was held in the Glauber home. The following participated: the members of the board of the religious association and of all Jewish associations in Aussig. The Chewra Kadisha handed over the charter of the “Moritz Glauber Foundation” for Jewish Students. After a congratulatory speech, Vice-President Dr. Hugo Písek revealed the portrait of the jubilarian that had been painted by the local painter Ernst Neuschul and donated by the Jewish community. Moritz Glauber died on 13 November 1932 and was buried on 15 November 1932 in the presence of many people. In the bye-election required by the Statutes, the then-vice-President Dr. Hugo Písek, son of the late Chairman of the Synagogue H. Oskar Písek, was elected as President on 21 November 1932.

The first employee was the prayer leader and teacher Lippmann Deller from Soborten. He was active until 1879. He was followed by the cantor and teacher Löwi Winterberg from Jungbunzlau (Mladá Boleslav) until 1888. In the period 1888 – 1910, Salomon Bass from Nicholsburg (Mikulov) was the cantor and teacher. He received official dispensation to carry out rabbinical functions. When he retired, he went to live in Vienna where he died in 1930 at the age of 84.

The first rabbi and preacher in Aussig was Dr. Arthur Rosenzweig. He was born on 27 March 1883 in Teplitz. He studied at the University and at the Institute of Jewish Science in Berlin, and was the author of the publication “ Das Wohnhaus in der Mischna” (The Dwelling House of the Mishna), published in Berlin. He worked in Aussig from 1909 to 1919. (During the war, he was an Imperial and Royal Field Rabbi [2]. In 1920 he moved to Stuttgart and since 1926 he has been rabbi in Schneidemühl and regional rabbi in the frontier area Posen-Westpreussen (Posnan-West Prussia). He organized the Provincial Association of Jewish Welfare Organizations in the frontier area, is chairman of the National Association of Jewish youth, and elected member of the National Association of Jewish Communities in Preussen (Prussia) in Berlin.

Dr. J. Stössler has been the rabbi in Aussig since 1 September 1921. Born at Bisenz (Bzenec) in Moravia, he completed his university studies in Vienna at the Institute for Israelite Theology and worked as rabbi in Trebitsch (Třebíč) in Moravia. Until his death in 1916, Löwi Hammerschlag was the representative of the Synagogue Committee. He was followed by Michael Kohn, son of Rabbi Simon Kohn of Rakonitze (Rakovník), until his resignation in 1924. Since then, the post has been held by manufacturer Semin Katz, the son of Joachim Katz, rabbi in Seltschan (Sedlčany). In 1930, he was appointed Honorary Chairman in recognition of great service in the renovation of the temple, the winter temple and the decoration of the community house.

The Chewra Kadisha was founded in 1872. The first chairman was Löwi Hammerschlag, for the period 1872-1916, Poul Löwy followed from 1916 to 1919, and since 1919 it has been Emanuel Guttmann. In 1902, Löwi Hammerschlag received the highest golden service award ‘with crown' for his work for the community and for the Chewra Kadisha.

The first cemetery was in use until 1913. By that year, the expanding city had reached as far as the cemetery, and so a contract was concluded with the city. The Jewish community received an area of land within the communal cemetery. In 1924, an agreement was made that saw the Jewish community receive a fenced lot on the right side of the entrance to the communal cemetery. The community had to stand back from its desire to have a separate, self-contained Jewish cemetery as it was not possible to find a suitable plot.

 

 
 
 

Löwi Hammerschlag
 
Michael Kohn
 
Semin Katz
 
Paul Löwy
 
 
 
 

Jenny Neuschul
 
Johanna Kohl
 
Anna Pick
 
Anna Hammerschlag

 

The Women's Association was founded in 1878. The current chairwoman is Mrs. Jenny Neuschul; her predecessors were Anna Hammerschlag, Anna Pick and Johanna Kohn.

A temple choir was founded in Aussig in 1901; the chairman is Rabbi Dr. J. Stössler. Also a “Theodor Herzl” People's Association was founded 1911; the chairman is Ing. E. Thein. A Jewish gymnastic and sport association “Maccabi” was founded in 1919, the chairman is Arthur Tauber. Also there is the hiking club “Blauweiss” (Blue & White), a local branch of WIZO (Women's International Zionist Organization), under Chairwoman Mrs. Nelly Engl. In addition, the “ Bnai Brith” lodge and the “ Societé” lodge have many members.

 

 

Emanuel Guttman
 
Ernst Neuschul

 

The following important personalities from Aussig should be mentioned:

Jakob Weinmann: born 25 September 1852 in Dobrai at Kladno (Dobřany), died 6 October 1928 in Aussig. He completed the Lower Real School and then the Academy of Commerce in Prague. In 1874, at the early age of 22, he took over the leadership of the coal business in Aussig belonging to the Prague Bank Association, and through this, he later founded the large company ‘Ed. J. Weinmann'.

His largest merit is that, through his energy and untiring activity, he opened new markets for Bohemian brown coal [3] such as rail and water transport. Thereby he contributed to the enormous success of the coal industry of north-west Bohemia.

Jakob Weinmann's activities were not limited to the entrepreneurial world. The city and area of Aussig can be grateful for his support and care for a series of exemplary establishments. He founded the Aussig asylum and constantly supported the orphanage. He and his wife Luise Weinmann are to be thanked for taking care of the city's maternity ward. He founded the first kindergarten for boys and supported with large sums the school for blind pupils. He furnished from his own means the building of a marvelous library with a lecture hall and reading room. Finally, he founded a lung hospital in Spiegelberg with space for 130 patients, which is a blessing for the whole country.

 


Ed. J. Weinmann

 

The great importance of Jakub Weinmann for Aussig, for the industry of the north-west and even beyond the country borders was confirmed by the large participation at his funeral. This took place on 8 October at 3 pm, from the house of mourning in the Baumgartenstrasse to the Aussig cemetery. It would take up too much space to mention all the large companies, banks and official representatives that accompanied the deceased on his final journey. The funeral procession passed in front of the library and the orphanage that he founded. At the graveside, Rabbi J. Stössler offered a commemorative speech praising his diligence, modesty, competence, love of his fellowmen and loyalty to his origins. After the rabbi, Moritz Glauber spoke as the representative of the Jewish community and of the Israelite Associations. Mayor Dr. Karl Schöppe spoke for the city community, manufacturer Ferdinand Maresch for the Trustees of the sanatorium in Spiegelberg, director Josef Martin for the library and reading room, school director Ed. Wagner for the asylum and orphanage, and finally director Karl Rauter for the school for blind pupils.

All declared that the deceased will continue to live not only in the name of the institutions he founded, but also in the heart of all whom he helped. In order to honor the memory of the deceased and according to his intention, the company ‘Ed. J. Weinmann’ spent one million crowns on welfare and culture. (Source: Contributions to the Knowledge of the District of Aussig-Karbitzer 1928. III. Book, S. 124-127 of Dr F.J.Umlauft.)

Ignatz Petschek was born in Kolín on 14 June 1857. After elementary school, he completed high school at Malá Strana in Prague and began work as a trainee in the Prague Bank Association. In the same first year, he was sent as a liaison officer to the Association's sugar factory in Louny. After the liquidation of this factory, he moved in the following year, at the age of 18, into the Association's coal office in Aussig. The head of the office was Jakob Weinmann. Following the collapse of the Prague Bank Association, Jakob Weinmann took over the coal office and founded the company ‘Ed. J. Weinmann’. Igntaz Petschek remained in his service. In 1880, he became an independent coal trader in Aussig for various brown coal companies with his company: ‘Ignatz Petschek’. Thanks to his farsightedness, generosity and trading ability, he brought the company to its current significance. He contributed outstandingly to the development of the coal industry of Central Europe– especially in brown coal mining.

 


Ignatz Petschek

 

Ignatz Petschek is one of the most significant people in the major industrial sector of Europe. He is a very simple, charming, kind, spirited and intelligent person. He is also a benefactor, and the city of Aussig can thank him for a large number of its welfare institutions. He is a helpful Jew who is always prepared to support the Jewish community of Aussig and all its humanitarian associations.

Ernst Neuschul born on 17 May 1895 in Aussig is a well-known academic painter in Berlin.

Aussig is one of those Jewish communities in Bohemia that is striving to progress. As it lies is in the middle of the coal trade and its related industries, it offers many opportunities for financial and professional achievement. The number of members of the community has doubled in the 10 years since the end of the War. The War inevitably slowed down the development of the community, but the future is secure. Today the community comprises 360 families, and when conditions are fully normalized it will offer great opportunity to many more.

Footnote (by author)

  1. The reference to 1897, Encyclopaedia Judaica, Band III, Kol. 735, by Dr. S.H.Lieben is not correct. Return

 

Footnotes by translators
  1. Teplitz (Teplice) is today a smaller town to the west of Usti. Return
  2. Field Rabbi: this is taken to mean that he was serving the needs of the troops and was close to the areas of fighting (ie ‘in the field’). Return
  3. brown coal: also known as lignite, this is the lowest rank of coal and is mostly used for the generation of electricity by steam turbine. Return

 

Useful links
Official web page of the city of Ústí nad Labem (in English): http://www.usti-nad-labem.cz/en/

Contact point to today's Jewish community of Ústí nad Labem
Adress: Moskevská 1569/26, 40001 Ústí nad Labem-centrum
Telephone: +45475 208 082
Email: hellerb@quick.cz

History of the Jewish community in Ústí nad Labem up to modern times (in Czech): http://cs.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C5%BDidovsk%C3%A1_komunita_v_%C3%9Ast%C3%AD_nad_Labem

 

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