Austria - Czech

  GemeindeView: Hollabrunn



LOCATION: about 50 kms northwest of Vienna in Lower Austria at the road to Znaim/Znojmo 

(see  Map - by Mapquest, then click on your browser's "Back" button to return to this page).

       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.

GENEALOGICAL RESOURCES:  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 1998 (?) 

SUBMITTER:   Wolfgang Stadler

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