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GemeindeView: Vseruby




 LOCATION:   Near the Všeruby mountain pass, sometimes also called Kdyně pass, one kilometre away from the Bavarian border.
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       Long time ago, the little town of Všeruby (Neumark) was founded close by the Všeruby mountain pass, sometimes also called Kdyně pass, one kilometre away from the Bavarian border. Today1 it is a German town with a Czech minority of about 80 people. However, before the thirty-year war the town was predominantly Czech, as were the villages of Hájek, Brůdek and Studánky. During the thirty-year war the Czech inhabitants were killed and soon after the area was settled by Germans from neighbouring Bavaria, who have been there ever since.
       The Všeruby pass was always a busy place, as it was the only route for deputations to take on their way to Regensburg and Mainz when Bohemia belonged to this bishopric. Czech nobility related to the noble family of Bogna (who resided in the Burgstall am Hochbogn near the Czech border) also used this route.
       So it was at this crossing to Bavaria that sometime before 1382 a small settlement Všeruby, later called Neurck vor dem Walde, or also Zum Böhmischen Weyer (because of a big pond in the middle of the village) was founded. František Palacký (a Czech historian of the 19th century) called the village Nový trh (Newmarket).
       On August 14th, 1040 the village of Brůdek saw a battle between the Bohemian Duke Břetislav I and German Emperor Heinrich, which was won by the Bohemian Duke. Palacký mentions in his book that the main German army proceeded along the river Kouba through Osí (Eschelkamm) and Nový Trh (Všeruby) towards Kdyně. His account describes the current locations at the time of writing so it is not quite clear whether these villages were actually already there in the 11th century.
       However, Všeruby did exist in 1382, as in that year Všeruby, Brůdek and Hájek jointly renovated the St. Wenceslas chapel commemorating the Brůdek battle and expanded it.
       In 1467 Všeruby and its surrounds suffered from the invasions of Bavarian crusaders, which was repeated again in 1468.
       In 1581 Všeruby were allocated to Jan Vilém of Rýzmberk, during the division of Rýzmberk castle property. In 1586 Všeruby was bought by Jan of Videršperk, but in 1626 the town was transferred to the property of the Kotz family of Dobrš. This noble family had existed in Bohemia since 1377. The founder of the family was Přibík Kocík of Dobrš, which is near Vimperk. In 1479 the family split into several branches. Its second one, the Bystřice branch, is of particular importance to us, as their heirs became owners of Všeruby.
       Diviš Jindřich Kotz of Dobrš was in the service of Emperor Ferdinand II, who promoted him to the noble state and then in 1634 made him a duke.
Diviš’s second son Jan Václav Kotz of Dobrš was married to Salomena of Příchovice and Všeruby belonged to his estate. 
       In 1650 he sold Všeruby, joined the army and in 1652 he died. His brother Maximilián Jiří bought Všeruby, but in 1656 died without heirs. He willed Všeruby to his brother Diviš Albrecht, who died as the last member of the Bystřice branch in 1665. After his death Všeruby estate was transferred to Václav Vojtěch Kotz of Dobrš, from the Ohrazenice branch of the family.
       In 1676 Všeruby was bought by Wolf Maximilán Lamingen of Albenreuth and combined with the Kout estate. There it remained till the coup when it was confiscated.
       Všeruby stayed part of the Lamingen estate till Lamingen’s death. His widow, Polyxena of Lobkovice, sold the estate in 1697 to Baron Jindřich Stadion of Wurtburg, whose family held it till 1908, when their last heir died.
       It is only in the 17th century when we first hear about the Jewish settlement on the estate.
       In 1714 a so-called Judereduktions Kommission was established. Its purpose was to control and limit Jewish population in Bohemia.
For that purpose a census of all Jews had to be carried out on all estates. On October 12, 1720 according to the Amstrelationen in Kout, the top administrator of the Kout estate wrote to Baron Stadion in Baden: “A son of a Všeruby Jew came to see me and without further ado asked me to give him permission to marry. The wedding was scheduled for October 12, 1720. He also added that it is customary in most of the Bohemian kingdom for the administrators and landowners of the estates to be guests at the weddings. He expected me and my staff to come to the wedding. I told him that he couldn't marry and settle on the estate without your previous permission. I forbade him to settle on the estate and gave him a copy of a letter for the town council in Všeruby with your stamp“. The administrator then continues and asks the Baron for further instructions how to proceed.
       After his unpleasant and unsuccessful meeting with the Kout administrator, the Všeruby Jew, whose name is not specified, went to complain at the Regional office in Klatovy. From a subsequent letter of the Kout administrator it is clear that he was not successful in his complaint and that he left for the neighbouring estate of Bystřice. 
       At the beginning of the 18th century there were six Jewish families living in Všeruby.  The Jewish census of 1722 determined that at least one Jewish family had been living in Všeruby for more than 100 years. Other families had been living there for around 30 years.  (Click on the link to read the Census of 1722)
       However, in 1722 the landowners instructed the town council to try to buy Abraham Markus out and settle the house by a Christian. They also encouraged the town council to settle Všeruby with Christians, not Jews, in future. The landowner probably intended to sell the house but was not successful, according to a record: “Abraham bought the house dilapidated from a person deep in debt. The owner of the house kept the fields and built himself another house. Abraham had to pay him, on top of the selling price, additional 10 guilders and 50 logs of wood. We cannot find anyone who would be willing to pay even half of the asking price. The house is too big for a merchant, and it is not suitable for an inn, as there is no yard or stables. Abraham originally owned another house in Kout, and another house was sold to a Christian in Všeruby. Therefore the number of Jews will not be increased. Abraham’s ancestors have lived in Všeruby for over 100 years.“
       In 1736 a new regulation stipulated that the number of Jews should be kept constant and every attempt should be made to lower their numbers. 
An important decision by the Czech Council in 1650 stipulated that only Jews who had been living in Bohemia before 1620 were allowed to stay. This decision badly affected the Jews and therefore they tried to gather evidence that they had been living in Všeruby for a long time, so that they can use it as arguments against their enemy, the head administrator of the Kout estate. For this purpose the Všeruby Jews approached the town council who gave them a letter confirming that they had been living in Všeruby since time immortal. This happened without the knowledge of the Kout administration. With this letter Jews applied directly to Gubernatorial office in Prague for the permission to stay in Všeruby, based on the 1650 ruling. The Gubernatorial office forwarded their application to the Regional office in Klatovy who gave the Jews the right to stay in Všeruby. When the Kout administrator learned of this development, he was furious. He went to Všeruby, deposed the mayor and coerced the rest of the town council to revoke their permission and sent it off to Klatovy.
       He was not very successful, because in 1723 an imperial edict of Karel VI granted Jews some relief and allowed them to participate in his coronation in Prague.
       On March 12, 1726 the Kout administrator wrote to Baron Stadion indicating that he succeeded in selling a Jewish house to a Christian for 100 guilders and evicting the Jews. The Jews appealed the eviction at the Regional office in Klatovy and were successful. The administrator went to Pilsen to seek support for his actions shortly afterwards. From his conversation with the Regional director he understood that he did not have the support of the Regional office. He was told not to take any actions against the Jews, at least not till a decision was reached in Prague, which might mean new taxation regulations for the Jews.
       In 1727 Abraham Markus’s widow moved from Kout to Všeruby. In 1736 the same six families who were there in 1722, still lived there. This shows that despite the persecution they persevered.
       A 1760 document indicates that there were Jewish grain merchants in Všeruby. At that time the wars of Marie Therese and Prussian king Frederick II over Silesia were raging. The population had to supply the armies with staples, mainly grain and fodder.
On January 5, 1760 the Kout estate was ordered to provide four sheaves of oats and 26 pounds of flour for each person living on the estate. The Kout landowner was unable to supply so much so quickly and he had to ask the Jewish grain merchant in Všeruby for help. The Jewish merchant promised to supply everything in three weeks and on top of the order promised an additional 10 tonnes of hay. This shows that when in need even the Jew can be asked for help.
       Part of this shipment was delivered to Lovosice, and part directly to the army at Horšovský Týn. After that the situation at Kout estate calmed down and the Jews were not persecuted as much as before.
       As a result, in 1815 there were so many Jews in Všeruby that the landowners had to build a school for them. The former prayer house was selected as the location. This is where the synagogue is at present. The prayer house was a two-story building. It was a wooden building and by 1815 the wood was mostly rotten. The building had to be totally renovated and was then used as the school and prayer room.
       The landowners provided the wood for free; the Jewish community supplied the rest. However, the landowners ordered that the building would be in their ownership and that their crest must be displayed on the building at the second floor level. The Jewish community was then required to pay rent of 25 guilders annually. The teacher, who lived in the building, was not allowed to have boarders at his apartment. In case the building ceased to serve as school and prayer room, the landowners would be at liberty to take the building back and use it as they wished.
       1837 Court regulations meant that new Jewish records had to be gathered. According to these records, Všeruby and Trhanov (Neumark and Chodenschloss) were in the same jurisdiction.  (Click here to see the list of Všeruby Jewish families in 1837These records were supervised by the Catholic priests. In 1855 they were signed by Rector Alois Jiří Marx and in 1856 by the well-known Dean of Domažlice (Taus) Jan Faster.
 (Click here to see the list of Všeruby Jewish families in the 1860s
       In 1877 Všeruby’s Judaic religion teacher was Abraham Bloch. In 1887 the teacher was Ullmann, in 1888 Bloch and in 1890 Lustick. It is worth mentioning the financial contribution the teachers received from the Kout estate: in 1846 it was 12 guilders, in 1850 11 guilders, in 1855 10.20 guilders, and after the regulation in 1855 after 1860 only 9.38 guilders. Between 1890 and 1896 the teacher was Adolf Löwy, 1897-1904 Bernard Österreicher, in 1907 Bondy.
       In 1871 the teacher’s salary was 210 guilders. The following citizens contributed to the salary: M.B. Klauber 40 guilders, Jan Klauber 38 guilders, Heřman Fleischl 32.40 guilders, Moric Kohner 27 guilders, Eliáš Kohner 21.60 guilders, Hutter’s heirs 19 guilders, Marek Klauber 17 guilders and David Klauber 15 guilders. The contributions were collected monthly, in instalments ranging from 3.18 to 1.25 guilders.
       In the same year Ignác A. Lederer was Všeruby’s private religion teacher. The local school board complained about him teaching children privately, which law # 9175 of February 9, 1871 prohibited and they demanded that he be prevented from continuing to teach.
       Between 1836 and 1893, 136 Jewish children were born in Všeruby and their births recorded in the birth records. At the same time 82 deaths were recorded. The deceased were buried in cemeteries in Nýrsko, Janovice, Ronšperk, and after 1842 at the newly established cemetery in Loučim.
There were 21 recorded marriages in Všeruby and Trhanov during the same period.  (Click here for a list of Jewish families living in Trhanov at that time)
       The proof of just how difficult life was for the Jews is shown in a marriage contract dated 1848. This document was kindly lent to me by Gustav Hoitasch, a merchant from Všeruby. I quote from the document: “This is the Agreement to Marry dated April 10, 1848, number 235. Addressed to Mr. Josef Löwenthal, son of Antonín Löwenthal from Loučím. Based on the Gubernatorial Edict of December 10, 1847 number 74.519 and the royal regulation 3332 of March 20, 1848. Permission is hereby given to Josef Löwenthal, first-born son of Antonín Löwenthal, the owner of Běhařovice farm, to marry (Ehehimmel) Marie Perelesová, daughter of the Jew Leopold Pereles of Trhanov, who is protected by the Kout estate. It is required, as a condition of the permission, that the groom provides 70 guilders and collects another 230 guilders from the bride’s family (total of 300 guilders). This sum will be paid and the following three years taxes on this amount will also be collected. This is delivered to the supplicant. Signed by the mayor of Běhařovice, sealed with Běhařovice seal, which contains the Hohenzollern family seal.”
       This document shows how difficult it was to obtain the marriage permission and how much money was required to receive the permission. This is why we often find records of Jewish children born out of wedlock. In reality they were children born to Jewish parents who could not afford to buy the marriage permission but were married according to Jewish law.
       (Click here for a list of families living in Všeruby after 1890)
       In 1930 there were only four Jewish families left in Všeruby. They were the families of Gustav Hoitasch, a merchant from number 7, with four family members, Jindřich Lederer, a merchant, with four family members, the Schwarz family with three members and Hutter family with three members. Today there are only fourteen Jewish souls living in Všeruby.
       The older people report that the Jews in Všeruby were mainly wholesale merchants, dealing in feathers, wool, game and other articles.
The following people fought in the Great War: Dr. Siegfried Hoitasch as a battalion doctor for four years, merchant Gustav Hoitasch for three and half years, Max Pollak three years and Jindřich Lederer for approximately a year and a half.
       The Jewish merchants were particularly influential in developing the feather trade. This trade was carried out mainly in Nýrsko, Dlažov and Všeruby. Annually around 1000 metric tonnes were produced and shipped to Germany, Switzerland, Holland and France. Older people report that this trade has had at least hundred years tradition in the region. The wholesale merchants bought the feathers, stored it in warehouses, sorted it and then sold to individual merchants or travelling salesmen. Bigger cities in Europe, such as Hamburg, Kassel, Berlin, Frankfurt am M., Munich, Koblenz and Köln, had resident merchants from this area who sold the goods.
       Geese were another profitable trade item. In the fall, large numbers of geese were herded into Bavaria and shipped to Munich.
       Also profitable was the trade in game. Game, pheasants, hares and partridges were being bought in the Všeruby area and shipped to Bavaria, Saxony and to other countries. The business was particularly good during a hard winter, as the goods did not spoil.
       The Všeruby Jews were also instrumental in providing means of living to local villagers by commissioning the production of matchboxes. These days matchboxes are made in factories but then families in at least ten villages around Všeruby were producing matchboxes at home. The production was organized specifically by Mr. Hoitasch and Mrs. Klauberová, who established an entire business in the area. The production was simple (we are talking about the old fashioned matchboxes for matches with phosphorus heads, which are not being manufactured any more). Boiled wood was planed into thin slices; rectangles were cut and glued together with cheese and quicklime glue, and then let to dry in a wooden fork. The lids were cut with a sharp knife and then glued onto boxes. In one minute, an experienced worker could glue together 100 boxes. The pay was 50 kreutzers for thousand boxes. One family could make between two and three thousand boxes a day. In a year, the ten villages produced over 30 million boxes, which brought almost 15 thousand guilders to the residents.
       The Všeruby Jews were also instrumental in Kdyně cattle fairs, which used to be very well known in the district. The cattle were brought here from all over the district and then sold in huge numbers to Bavaria, Saxony, Würtenberg, and even across the border to France. There were a lot of Jewish cattle merchants in Všeruby and Kdyně.


       First of all we have to mention Jiří Leopold Weisel. He is one of the oldest writers from our district. Weisel was born in 1804 in Přeštice and his original name was Jachim Löbl Weisel. His father's name was Šimon Weisel; his mother was Marie, née Haberkornová. His father was a travelling cloth salesman. Weisel spent his youth in Přeštice. Later he moved to Prague to study. At that time he lived in the Prague Jewish Ghetto, which he liked very much and was inspired by it in his later works.
       Weisel did not publish his works in their entirety; rather he published them in calendars or magazines. This meant that he receded into oblivion soon. Only later Josef Blau from Nýrsko published Weisel's biography and Weisel's work in Beiträge zur sudetendeutschen Volkskunde, volume XVII. That book is the source for this account of Weisel's life. In 1926 it was published under the name Georg Leopold Weisel, Aus dem Neumarker Landestor.
       Weisel's life can be divided into two main parts -- his first 36 years during which he was a relative unknown and the next 36 years, when he worked as a doctor and obstetrician in Všeruby. Here he met Anna, the daughter of customs official Karel Pavlovský, and fell in love with her. He took a big step, quite unheard of at that time, and converted to the Catholic faith to please his bride. He was baptized on November 27, 1843 in the St. Anne church in Tannaberg by Vicar Jan Faster. Following that he used the name Jiří Leopold Weisel.
His first works appeared in 1836. In that year he published a novella My First Practice in "Bohemia" journal. Collected works Panorama des Universum contain his Stories of Prague Jews. He also contributed to Pascheles's Sippurim between 1846 and 1858 and published Jewish Stories, Fairy Tales and Chronicles. In 1844 he published Schnorrer or Jewish Peddlars, and in 1845 Jezibot or Jewish University. In 1850 he published a bigger work How Do the Prague Jews Live? Here he describes Jewish merchants, tradesmen, liberal artists, scientists, servants, bureaucrats and the work of various charitable institutions, inns and public kitchens.
       His works often touch on the topic of love between a Jew and a Christian. In the legend Rabbi Ammen Weisel puts a terrible curse on a convert, even though he was one such himself. In his works Graveyards and Loisa's Cure he voices his disagreement with a marriage between a Jew and a Christian. It is therefore safe to conclude that he probably was not very happy in his own marriage. In 1850 a daughter Marie Magdalena was born, later two more children Anna and Karel.
       His manuscripts revealed other works, not previously published. These include Rabbi Jontev Purim, a 1844 article Suspicion, and Yayin Kiddush (or False Accusation) in 1858, where Weisel describes a ritual murder. Despite the fact that he had been baptized, Weisel remained faithful to the faith of his forefathers.
       As a medical doctor Weisel was widely known and respected. He was often called to Bavaria, although he was not allowed to go there. Weisel found life in blinkered Všeruby difficult and stifling. 
       In 1848 the Czech writer Božena Němcová arrived in Všeruby. She moved into the house next to Weisel's and they became acquainted. Němcová strongly influenced his political and literary progress. Weisel was however jealous of Němcová's literary successes and openly criticized her. Němcová introduced Weisel to the Choden people and their struggles. In 1848 Weisel wrote the Choden Process, published in Volume XV of Panorama. In 1873 he published excerpts from the Choden Process in Politika under the title Forgotten Tales. This, his last work, inspired Alois Jirásek to write his well-known novel Psohlavci.
       The stormy year of 1848 revealed Weisel as an ardent supporter of freedom of nations. While Němcová's husband was active in the anti-dynastic movement, Weisel was more active educationally. He wrote numerous articles for the papers and educated people on various topical issues. He also wrote about his medical experiences, about smugglers and about poachers in the area. It is interesting to note that when the first railway in our district was being built from Prague to Domažlice, Weisel was against it and predicted it would be short-lived. During the war of France and Germany in 1870-71 he sided with the Germans but warned them that one day soon they too will get their just desserts for their pride.
       Weisel was acquainted with the writers Josef Randa, Max Schmidt and Hippolyt Randa. The latter described Weisel as a prolific and talented writer. Alois Jirásek also spoke favourably about Weisel, as did Jindřich Šimon Baar.
       Weisel's works contain an educational aspect. He urges people to be moral, speaks against superstitions, and while describing customs of both Czechs and Germans, he views them both equally. Weisel did not look for company. He was a loner and remained loyal to his principles for his entire life.
He died on March 31, 1873, of the first illness that ever struck him. He was being cared for by his relative, Dr. Josef Weisl from Kdyně. Weisel was 69 years old when he died.
       At times he wrote under pseudonyms -- Lesiv, W….l, G.L.W., M.B.K., Asmodi or Veradico.

       The other well-known Jew from Všeruby was Ing. Antonín Rudolf Fleischl, a building inspector. He was born in 1862 in Všeruby, studied in Pilsen, and later continued at the German Technical Institute in Prague, where he earned an engineering degree. He founded a building company in Lvov, where he built military barracks, military laundry, as well as other important government buildings. He died on April 8, 1821 in Vienna, and is buried at the central cemetery there.

       On July 10, 1852 a huge fire in Všeruby destroyed the Catholic church, rectory, the school, and 34 houses. Also destroyed were the Jewish prayer house and school. The Všeruby birth, marriage and death records were also destroyed.  After that the Jewish community worked hard on building a new synagogue.
       The chairman of the Jewish community at that time was M.B. Klauber. New stock certificates valued at ten guilders were issued and thus financed the new building. The certificates were printed in a nice frame and the text said: “The undersigned chairman of the community guarantees the full repayment of the stock to the bearer one month after each draw. Between 1870 and 1890 five stocks will be drawn each year. Signed by the chairman”. The Jewish community solicited funds for the renovations everywhere. The assistance came from all over the country. Tagesbote aus Böhmen on September 18, 1868 reported the following contributions: 3 guilders from Nahošice, 11 guilders from Česká Lípa, 6 guilders from Jičín, 12 guilders from Lochovice, 3 guilders from Kundratice, 10 guilders from Nový Bydžov, 10 guilders from Světlá, 15 guilders from Drosau, 4 guilders from Míškovec, 10 guilders from Pilsen, 17 guilders from Humpolec, 6 kreutzers from Vodnany, and 5 guilders from Metzling. Individuals also contributed generously. Baron A. Rothschild from Frankfurt am Main contributed 100 guilders, Neuburg Eckstein from Nahošice 2 guilders, Ludvík Kohner from Pest 3 guilders, Jindřich Kohner from Pest 150 guilders, heirs of Adolf Kohner from Pest 50 guilders, Jindřich Kohner’s son-in-law from Pest 20 guilders, J.M. Janowitzer from Vienna 10 guilders, Albert Janowitzer from Vienna 10 guilders, Löwith 3 guilders, Jakub Janovský from Brno 3 guilders, Pereles and Pollak from Prague 30 guilders, David Fleischl from Pest 20 guilders, Moric Kohner from Leipzig 60 tollars, Marie Klaubrová from Domažlice 2 guilders, Fürst brothers from Strakonice 40 guilders, Ferdinand Kohn from Pilsen 2 guilders, Leopold Engelmann 2 ducats, Leopold Janovský from Prague one ducat, Berta and Žofie Pollak 20 guilders, Karolina Klaubrová from Všeruby 10 guilders. Others contributed in kind: Bedřich Stadion from Kout donated 5000 bricks, farmer Ondřej Riederer from Ploes two truckloads of wood and planks, Mr. and Mrs. Pollak from Prague donated eight gold-plated candlesticks, Terezie Thiebenová from Domažlice donated two candlesticks, Sara Fleischlová from Leipzig donated the Torah screen and cover, and Marie Schwartzkopfová from Sušice donated another Torah cover.
       The synagogue was built by Vilém Klauber, a building engineer from Vienna, Lemberger, a sculptor from Všeruby, V. Wimmer, an artist/painter from Domažlice, Weber, a carpenter from Všeruby and Braun, the master brick layer from Schneiderhof.
       The following were present at the ceremonial opening of the synagogue: Regional chief from Domažlice Mr. Fileky, Catholic priests from Všeruby, officials from the Bavarian and Austrian financial guards, customs officials, fire fighters from Všeruby and area, townsfolk of Všeruby and residents of surrounding villages. Today, after 60 years, the synagogue stands abandoned.

CEMETERIES: The deceased were buried in cemeteries in Nýrsko, Janovice, Ronšperk, and after 1842 at the newly established cemetery in Loučim.


SOURCES: History of Jews in Všeruby (Neumark), by František Houra, director in Kdyně.   From Die Juden und Judengemeinden Böhmens in Vergangheit und Gegenwart. Publ. Hugo Gold, 1934.  Translated by Rita McLeod.

Josef Blau: Georg Leopold Weisel, Aus dem Neumarker Landestor.
Emil Tšída: Jews in the Kout Estate district
Otto's Encyclopedia, Volume XV, p. 481
Notes of Mr. Gustav Hoitasch of Všeruby
Všeruby and Trhanov Registries of Births, Marriages and Deaths
Vaněk-Hostaš. List of sites in the Domažlice region

SUBMITTER: Vera Finberg

 (1) This article was written and published in 1934. (Back to text)

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