History Time Line of Jewish Vienna
Duke Leopold V installs Shlom as mint master. Shlom is the first Jew whose settling in Vienna can be documented.
First mention of a synagogue in Vienna (excavations on Judenplatz).
Emperor Friedrich II takes the Jews of Vienna as “Chamber Vassals” under his protection.
First Jewish Privilege of Duke Friedrich (called “The Pugnacious”).
The church forbids social intercourse between Christians and Jews and ordains a dress code for Jews.
The Jews, impoverished by a large fire in the “Jewish City” and subsequent plundering, have become dispensable. Albrecht V permits the expulsion of Jews from Vienna and Lower Austria. The more affluent among them are imprisoned or blackmailed, then burned on the Erdberger Lände. Some prisoners commit suicide beforehand. The synagogue is destroyed (excavated remnants can be viewed at Judenplatz today).
From 1584 individual “court-freed” Jews settle in Vienna. “Court Freedom” means the exemption from tolls, custom duties and community taxes.
In 1624-25 Jews are restricted to a ghetto in the “Unterer Werd,” which consists of 15 houses. During the next decades, the Jewish community grows to 132 houses.
Emperor Leopold I decrees, mainly for religious reasons, a second expulsion of Jews from the city and country. The former Jewish region obtains the name Leopoldstadt (Leopold’s City).
Circa 1680: Samuel Oppenheimer (and his household) and later Samson Wertheimer are granted the privilege of returning to Vienna as “Court Jews.” They are active mainly as military suppliers and negotiators of international loans for the emperor. By 1700, there are ten privileged Jewish families in Vienna.
1718 – 1736: Due to the peace treaties with the Ottoman empire, Sephardic Jews who are subjects of the sultan are granted certain freedoms within the Habsburg empire. They are permitted to form a legally recognized community in Vienna.
Diego D’Aguilar, a Jew who had been forcibly baptized, is called to Vienna to reorganize the tobacco monopoly. He helps finance the building of Schönbrunn Palace with 300,000 florins.
Founding of the Vienna Chevra Kaddisha (Burial Fraternity)
Restrictive laws governing Jewish are established by Empress Maria Theresia, including strong restrictions of residence permits and privileges.
A court decree by Joseph II forbids the charging of Leibmaut (literally: body toll), a toll for Jews that had been in effect since the Middle Ages.
Joseph II decrees the Toleranzpatent (Edict of Tolerance), which lifts numerous discriminating laws. However, the Jews gain no rights as a community.
Convinced of the anti-Napoleonic loyalties of the Viennese Jews and their readiness to contribute financially, Franz I permits the opening of a synagogue and school at Dempfingerhof (Seitenstettengasse). Individual Jews are knighted. Salons, such as those of Fanny von Arnsteins and Cäcilie von Eskeles, become cultural centers.
Consecration of the so-called City Temple, built by Joseph Kornhäusel.
Jews are strongly represented among the activists of the Bourgeois Revolution.
The Israelitische Cultus-Gemeinde (Jewish Community) is constituted with temporary status. Jewish immigration to Vienna from the provinces of the monarchy increases.
Consecration of the Leopoldstadt Temple. The orthodox community moves from a small temple to the (later famous) Schiff Shul, the second most important synagogue in Vienna.
Constitutional law: Complete equality of all citizens of Austria, including Jews. At the same time, anti-Semitism increases.
Israelitengesetz (Jewish Law) to regulate the “external laws of the Jewish religious community.”
Theodor Herzl founds political Zionism with the publication of his brochure “The Jewish State.”
From 1897: Mayor Karl Lueger attracts petit bourgeois voters with anti-Semitism, which primarily has its origins in economics.
Founding of the athletic club “Hakoah”.
Outbreak of the First World War. Jewish refugees from the Eastern war regions arrive in Vienna in large numbers.
March 12, 1938: German troops march into Austria. The same night, the SA raids Jewish apartments and shops.
March through June 1938: Widespread anti-Jewish acts of violence. Jews are removed from public service. First deportations to the concentration camp Dachau. Introduction of the Nuremberg racial laws. The Jewish Community is permitted to take up its official duties again, allowing official emigration.
Summer – Fall 1938: Numerous discriminatory decrees and edicts, such as the requirement that Jews take up the first name “Sara” or “Israel” and the ban of Jews from public parks. Closing or “Aryanization” of many Jewish shops.
November 9 and 10, 1938: November Pogrom: Devastation and arson of all Viennese synagogues and temples. 6,547 Jews are arrested.
By May 1939: About 100,000 Jews have left the area of former Austria.
October 1941: Start of mass deportations from Vienna. At the end of 1942, only 8,102 Jews remain in the city. By the end of the war, 65,459 Austrian Jews have been murdered in the concentration camps. Only 5,816 live to see the liberation of Austria.
April 1945: Re-establishment of the Jewish Community of Vienna.
September 1945: Provisional re-opening of the City Temple, the only Jewish synagogue in Vienna that had not been destroyed in 1938.
After the War: Much of Vienna becomes a camp for Displaced Persons from the East. Most are Jews who want to emigrate to Palestine.
From 1970: Vienna becomes a “bridge” for Soviet Jews, who cannot emigrate directly to Israel from the USSR. Many remain in Vienna.
Talmud Torah School becomes a public school.
August 1981: Bomb attack by Palestinian terrorists at Seitenstettengasse 2.
Re-opening of the Zwi Perez Chajes School, a high school founded before the Second World War by Chief Rabbi Chajes.
Jewish Institute for Adult Education is founded.
Founding of the Jewish Museum of the City of Vienna.
The “Vienna Yeshiva,” a vocational school for Jewish social work, becomes a public school.
Opening of the Jewish Museum of the City of Vienna at Dorotheergasse 11
Official institutionalization of ESRA, an initiative for psychosocial and sociocultural integration.
Opening of the Lauder Chabad Campus at the Rabbiner Schneerson Platz, located near Augarten park.
Unveiling of the Shoah Memorial and opening of the Judenplatz Museum.
Article by Alfred Stalzer Vienna Tourist Board