... but I need Hebrew sources for my genealogy research.

English version

The article is the German version of my in 39th International Conference on Jewish Geneaolgie , Held in Cleveland, Ohio on August 02, 2019 English lecture. It is up to the initial idea of ​​my person in full play here.

Lesen Sie auch meinen ersten Vortrag vom 31. Juli 2019 “What we should learn ...“.

Even without (thorough) knowledge of Hebrew, it is usually possible to pick out the most important biographical information from Hebrew sources.

I thank very much for the invitation and that I have the opportunity to speak here.

First of all: you do not have to take notes or concern have to ignore anything. They get at the end of the presentation a link where the entire presentation, including all examples and all the tools to download can!

Eisenstadt war das Zentrum der sogenannten “Sieben-Gemeinden”, hebr. “Scheva Kehillot”, also sieben heiliger jüdischer Gemeinden auf ehemals westungarischem, heute burgenländischem Gebiet. Das Burgenland ist seit 1921 das östlichste Bundesland Österreichs, an der Grenze zu Ungarn. Die Gemeinden wurden Ende des 17. Jahrhunderts besiedelt, 1938 bedeutete das endgültige Aus jeder jüdischen Ansiedlung, im Burgenland gibt es heute keine jüdischen Gemeinden mehr, nur mehr ein Dutzend Juden. Auf den 14 jüdischen Friedhöfen des Burgenlandes befinden sich etwa 8.000 Grabsteine mit fast ausschließlich hebräischen Grabinschriften. Es existieren im Burgenland keine Lagepläne von Friedhöfen. Es ist notwendig, jeden einzelnen Grabstein vor Ort zu besuchen.

Eisenstadt ist in der Region der einzige Ort, in dem wir heute zwei große jüdische Friedhöfe finden. Der mit Abstand bedeutendste jüdische Friedhof in den ehemaligen “Sieben-Gemeinden” ist der older Jewish cemetery in Eisenstadt. The oldest grave stone is from 1679 and the cemetery was until the summer of 1875 occupied. The applied in the fall of 1875 younger Jewish cemetery war der “Nachfolge-Friedhof” des älteren und wurde bis 1938 belegt, in wenigen Einzelfällen kam es auch noch zu Begräbnissen nach 1945.

The older Jewish cemetery in Eisenstadt, which undoubtedly is one of the world's most important Jewish cemeteries (measured on the age, on the number of grave stones and the many great Jewish scholars who are buried there), has 1,085 grave stones with only Hebrew inscriptions! We find a single non-Hebrew characters in the graveyard.

The younger Jewish cemetery has about 300 grave stones and we also find information on a few after 1945 established grave stones exclusively Hebrew grave inscriptions, but sometimes already with German or Hungarian additives with their name and date of death.

Both Jewish cemeteries I have fully documented, digitized and put online on the blog of the Austrian Jewish Museum. can be called: The photo of each grave stone that plan, the grave inscription lines meet transcribed, translation, comments on the Hebrew inscription, genealogical information and links to also buried at the two cemeteries relatives. For people, especially children who are looking for their relatives and ancestors there on every grave on both cemeteries a QR code that leads to the URL of the grave stone with photo, inscription, links to the relatives and site plan. I may say - a service that is unique in the world.

Most examples today come from one of the two Jewish cemeteries in Eisenstadt. Hence the somewhat more detailed introduction.

The title of my presentation is:

Help! I can not Hebrew, but I need Hebrew sources for my genealogy research.

Genealogists for the grave stone is basically an essential research and primary source. Of course, the Jewish grave stone. The more this is true of the Jewish grave stone with Hebrew inscription! In my presentation today focuses on Hebrew grave inscriptions.

In the genealogy portals, especially the Jewish Genealogy Portal auf FacebookIs one of the most frequently asked questions what is written in a Hebrew grave inscription. Above all, the interest almost exclusively always, the name and date of death, possibly even whether the father or the mother of the deceased are given.

In my first presentation on Wednesday it went to show my concern, but we find much more biographical information in Hebrew grave inscriptions than just the name and date of death, information that we often do not find in other sources. Today we are doing but about recognizing and read to, even if we can not Hebrew, the most important data in Hebrew inscriptions.

But why is it necessary at all ?, you might argue. You can take pictures of the grave stone and the inscription and get in the genealogy portals usually very quick to reply ... And I say: maybe yes, but if 10 answers are given, which are different (which is known to often) as you know what answer correct is?

More importantly still seems to be the common ones in practice event that you know the real name and have in a Jewish cemetery with Hebrew grave inscriptions virtually no chance of finding the "right" grave if you are not able to at least which is given in Hebrew inscriptions always with Hebrew letters to read the date of death correctly!

In addition, the solution for genealogical research often leads on the Hebrew name which, although sometimes noted in the Geburtsmatriken, but always in the Hebrew grave inscription.

When we talk about the grave stones and Hebrew inscriptions of the two Jewish cemeteries in Eisenstadt, we are talking about grave stones whose Hebrew inscriptions often 40 rows and include more (!):

I show you these two inscriptions to make you courage. Because in half an hour you are able to find themselves in such a long and complicated Hebrew grave inscriptions some of the most important biographical data and to read! I purposely two examples of inscriptions on Jewish women selected, Resl ThebenDied April 21, 1755 and Malka AusterlitzDied 04 April 1743! On the inscription of Tessa Thebes we come back later today several times.

The Hebrew grave inscription follows a form! It has roughly 95% of the same or a very similar structure, no matter whether the inscription is 5 lines or 50 lines long!

In other words, let's look Hebrew inscriptions from top to bottom, we find that they are constructed always the same in the majority of cases.


Before the actual Hebrew inscription begins, we often find a symbol that are already may be a first important genealogical information in many cases.

First, there are all known professional symbols such as a musical instrument for a musician, cantor, singer, the circumcision knife for the mohel etc. or the more general symbols for death, grief and death, such as the biblical tears oak, the bent tree for early death, the Stern, the hope and confidence symbolizes the house signs in major cities for the more distinguished families, names symbols such as the lion, the bear, the lamb, etc., or, ultimately, the frequently found menorah, the seven-branched candlestick or the Magen David, the star of David. Although many of these symbols have genealogical relevance, we have them today left out because they are largely self-explanatory, and dedicate ourselves to only the genuine Jewish symbols, so those three symbols that are deeply rooted in the Jewish and rabbinic tradition:

The pitcher, often Pitcher and basin, Is a descent symbol and the symbol for the Levites, and very rarely is found mainly on grave stones, just as in the Jewish quarter of Frankfurt am Main in Germany or here in Eisenstadt on Jewish homes. Is displayed with this symbol indicates that Buried from a Levitesfamily originates. the name or suffix is ​​often then Levi \ HalevyLevi” oder “Ha-Levi” (“der Levite”) oder סג”ל “SEGA’L”, was eine hebräische Abkürzung ist und “sgan levija” “Vertreter der Leviten” bedeutet.

In our example: Wilhelm (Wolf'm Salman ha-Levi) Austerlitz, Died in 1868 and above Moritz AusterlitzDied in 1900, both buried in the older Jewish cemetery in Eisenstadt.

Also a symbol descent are the blessing hands with the characteristic finger position: thumb and index finger touch each other, ring and little finger are spread apart.

The symbol is found in members of the priestgender (example: Samuel CohenDied 1791) often with the name or nickname Cohn time, Kohn or Ka'tz. כ”ץ “Ka’tz” ist eine Abkürzung für “Kfire Zedek” “gerechter Priester” wie bei Rabbiner Karl Klein (Died 1930), Hebrew Chaim Akiba Ka'tz, line. 6

For completeness, it should be the third genuinely Jewish symbol known, this is not a descent symbol and also none genealogical relevance: the Krone (Hindel Spitzerdied 07 July, 1864):

Grabstein / gravestone Hindel Spitzer, 07/07/1864

Grave stone / gravestone Hindel Spitzer, 07.07.1864, older Jewish cemetery / older Jewish cemetery in Eisenstadt

Obwohl immer wieder behauptet wird, dass das Symbol der Krone wirtschaftliche Besserstellung anzeigt, ist das schlichtweg falsch. Denn in Pirke Avot, in den “Sprüchen der Väter” lesen wir:

Three Crowns there: The crown of Torah, the crown of priesthood and the crown of kingship; the crown of a good name but tops them all.

Das Symbol der Krone ist in den meisten Fällen das Symbol für den “guten Namen”, den “guten Ruf” der oder des Verstorbenen! Meist finden wir in der Inschrift noch: He died in the name of good “Sie / er starb mit gutem Ruf”. Mit wirtschaftlicher Besserstellung hat die Krone jedenfalls nichts zu tun.

And that I do not forget: we read Hebrew from right to left and there is a letter only consonants, no vowels!


Very high up in the inscription, usually after the symbol (if one exists), there is the so-called introductory consisting almost always of two letters with dashes shortcut between the two letters: P.N. P”N “po nitman” und bei Frauen “po nitmenet”, oder פ”ט P”T “po tamun” und bei Frauen “po tmuna”, “hier ist begraben”, “hier ist geborgen”. Nur sehr selten finden wir diese Einleitungsformel ausgeschrieben! Grundsätzlich gibt es keinen Unterschied in der Bedeutung zwischen P”N” und P”T, aber am älteren jüdischen Friedhof von Eisenstadt habe ich 2015 eine Entdeckung gemacht, die ich von anderen jüdischen Friedhöfen, zumindest in dieser Klarheit, noch nicht kannte: dass P”N fast ausschließlich für Männer, P”T für Frauen verwendet wurde. Es müsste aussagekräftige Statistiken zum Thema geben, damit bereits die Einleitungsformel eindeutige genealogische Relevanz bekommen könnte, also dass wir, zumindest mit hoher Wahrscheinlichkeit, gleich wissen, ob hier eine Frau oder ein Mann begraben ist.

The most famous grave of the older Jewish cemetery in Eisenstadt, at the grave of the first rabbi of the community, Meir EisenstadtDied in 1744, we find the introductory advertised as Here lies “po nitman”, “Hier ist begraben”:

Grabstein / gravestone R. Meir Eisenstadt, 07/06/1744

Grave stone / gravestone R. Meir Eisenstadt, 06.07.1744, older Jewish cemetery / older Jewish cemetery in Eisenstadt

On thousands of grave stones in the Italian area we find a slightly different introductory text, also an abbreviation of two letters, but פ”ש P”SCH, oder ausgeschrieben: Here lies “po schochev”, “Hier ruht”:

And this brings us to secure important element of the Hebrew grave inscription:

The name

Basically: In Hebrew grave inscriptions always and only the Hebrew name (or Synagogalname) is indicated, both women and men. It will no legal name specified. In recent inscriptions we find the real name occasionally as an additive in German or Hungarian, but just never in the Hebrew inscription (examples: Antonia (dove) Hirsch04 October 1936 Jewish Cemetery Mattersburg, and Charlotte (Schwarzl) Spitzer05 June 1914 younger Jewish cemetery Eisenstadt):

Wir finden also in der hebräischen Inschrift nie “Charlotte”, sondern etwa “Schwarzl”, nie “Antonia”, sondern etwa “Taube” und nie “Armin”, sondern z.B. “Mordechai Zvi”.

The name of a man consists almost always made up of his first name and the name of his father, for example, Ben \ bar Jacob “David ben/bar Jakob”, David, der Sohn von Jakob (siehe David strawDied March 11, 1905, buried at the younger Jewish cemetery in Eisenstadt):

Grabstein / gravestone David Stroh, 11/03/1905

Grave stone / gravestone David straw, 03.11.1905, younger Jewish cemetery / younger Jewish cemetery in Eisenstadt

A woman's name is made up of her first name and her father's name, married women will be supplemented in modern times, or replaced with the name of the husband, for example, Rivka bat Moshe Shmuel's wife “Rivka bat Mosche, eschet Schmu’el, Rebekka, Tochter des Mose, Ehefrau des Samuel”, oder eben auch, wie im Bildbeispiel Widow so Nathan Hirsch “almanat Natan Hirsch”, Witwe des Natan Hirsch (Zeile 4):

Grabstein / gravestone Antonia (Taube) Hirsch, 04/10/1936

Grave stone / gravestone Antonia (dove) Hirsch, 10/04/1936, Jewish cemetery / Jewish cemetery in Mattersburg

Der Name “Taube” ist natürlich nicht biblisch. Da Frauen nicht so wie die Männer in der Synagoge aufgerufen wurden (bei Frauen sprechen wir daher nur von hebräischem, nicht aber vom synagogalen Namen!), musste eine Frau auch keinen religiösen Namen haben. Selbstverständlich finden wir aber auch bei Frauen biblische Namen, vor allem die der vier Erzmütter Sara, Rivka (Rebekka), Rachel und Lea.

The Hebrew words that we need to be simple: son “ben” für Sohn und a girl “bat” für Tochter. Woman “eschet” heißt “Ehefrau von” und Widow “almanat” heißt “Witwe von”. Also “Rebekka, Tochter des Mose”, heißt Hebräisch: Rivka bat Moshe “Rivka bat Mose” und “Sara, die Ehefrau von Abraham” heißt auf Hebräisch: Abraham's wife Sarah “Sara eschet Avraham” und “Kressel, die Witwe von Mose” heißt Krasl widow of Moses “Kressel almanat Mose”.

grave inscription Catherine (Kressel) BreuerDied Oct. 25, 1897: קרעסל אלמנת … משה אל” ברייער … בת … מרדכי שלעזינגער “Kressel, almanat … Mose Eli(jahu) Breuer …, bat … Mordechai Schlesinger”, “Kressel, Witwe des Mose Elias Breuer, Tochter des Mordechai Schlesinger”.

In the inscription of Charlotte Spitzer, we read: Black ... woman ... Love Spitzer Halevi “Schwarzl, eschet Löb Spitzer ha-Levi”, “Schwarzl, Ehefrau des Löb Spitzer Halevi”. Wir sehen also am Namenszusatz, dass er dem Levitenstamm angehört! Und auch “Schwarzl”, der hebräische Name von Frau Spitzer, ist natürlich nicht biblisch.

but the grave stone of Charlotte Spitzer is also particularly interesting because we have an addition in German, on her death age (67 years) and both birth and death dates are recorded! But in the German inscription her husband is not noted, we find this genealogical information undoubtedly significant only in the Hebrew inscription!

For genealogists important it is to know that in principle - to this day - the custom of Ashkenazi Jews holds the child for a deceased to call relatives. But then it should also be the name of a deceased person who did not die at a young age or an unnatural death. A custom which is to keep the name and memory alive. It is also for the deceased a great honor, because the soul by the good deeds that accomplishes the namesake, reach a higher level.

Darauf können wir uns im Normalfall auch wirklich verlassen. Nur sehr selten finden wir in Inschriften etwa “Issachar bar Issachar” oder “Mosche ben Mosche”, also dass der Sohn genauso wie der Vater heißt. Das könnte darauf hindeuten, dass der Vater kurz vor der Geburt des Sohnes starb!

Sefardische Jews in turn give their children the name of a still living Relatives. You shall follow the Talmud, which tells of a child who was named after Rabbi Natan, when he was still alive (Babylonian Talmud, Tractate Shabbat 134a).

but how do you now, if you can not or hardly Hebrew, the name to a Hebrew inscription? I see three main options:

  • The name is greater written as the rest of the inscription, we look very nice in the inscription of Charlotte black Spitzer (line 5). In other words, you need a list of the Hebrew letters and to read the name easily rule. All letters with their numeric values ​​can be found naturally in the provided download pdf file: Alefbet (Hebrew letters), numbers, names examples (pdf, 87KB).

  • Of the Segenswunsch nach dem Namen: “Wie das Amen im Gebet” folgt hinter dem Namen eines Verstorbenen / einer Verstorbenen der Segenswunsch He \ she rest in peace, “auf ihm/ihr sei Friede”, Rest in peace “seine Wonne / Ruhe möge im Garten Eden sein” oder ז”ל “sein / ihr Andenken möge bewahrt werden”, bei besonders Gelehrten זצ”ל “das Andenken des Gerechten möge bewahrt werden” o.ä.

    Also in the inscription of Charlotte Spitzer, we find for the name of the blessing may she rest in peace “auf ihr sei Friede”, nach dem Namen ihres Ehemanns: rest in peace “auf ihm sei Friede”.

    Another example, the grave stone of Johanna (Lea Chana) JanowitzDied in 1902, buried at the younger Jewish cemetery in Eisenstadt:

    Grabstein / gravestone Johanna (Lea Chana) Janowitz, 05/09/1902

    Grave stone / gravestone Johanna (Lea Chana) Janowitz, 05.09.1902, younger Jewish cemetery / younger Jewish cemetery in Eisenstadt

    Hier finden wir sowohl den Namen der Verstorbenen “Lea Chana Janowitz” (Zeile 4 und 5), als auch den Namen ihres Ehemanns “Jakob Janowitz” (Zeile 7) größer geschrieben und Sie finden nach den beiden Namen jeweils zwei verschiedene Segenswünsche: נ”ע “Ihre Wonne / Ruhe möge im Garten Eden sein” nach their Name, and ז”ל “sein Andenken möge bewahrt werden” nach his Name.

    Again, for the practice: Keep out of the blessings, there are usually only two or three that are most common and you can safely assume that before the name is! The most important blessings, see the provided download pdf file: phrasenDeutsch.pdf (99KB).

  • In addition to the larger written letters and the blessing for the name, there is very often a third possibility to recognize the name to a Hebrew inscription: the so-called the Akrostycho!

    Introductory text, name and date of death are often supplemented by an inscription by an often striking long part, which we call eulogy, so praise or eulogy. In the eulogy I will discuss in more detail shortly, at the moment it is enough to know that we often see in this section, the first letter of some lines or all lines written to or greater than simply specially marked, so as with dots above the letters.

    Let's stay with our example of the grave stone of Charlotte black Spitzer:

    Grabstein / gravestone Charlotte (Schwarzl) Spitzer, 05/06/1914

    Grave stone / gravestone Charlotte (black) Spitzer, 05.06.1914, younger Jewish cemetery / younger Jewish cemetery in Eisenstadt

    Here you can see the initials of all the lines of the eulogy written much larger. we read these letters from top to bottom, they give the Hebrew name of the deceased: black “Schwarzl”! Das nennt man Akrostychon.

    Similar to our other example, the grave stone of Johanna Janowitz:

    Grabstein / gravestone Johanna (Lea Chana) Janowitz, 05/09/1902

    Grave stone / gravestone Johanna (Lea Chana) Janowitz, 05.09.1902, younger Jewish cemetery / younger Jewish cemetery in Eisenstadt

    Here you can see both bigger title case in the first 3 rows from top to bottom and in line 4 the eulogy. Additionally, find out about all the greater written letters and points. So we see twice the first name Lea Lea and even the middle name Hana Chana, a acrostic vertically and two horizontally Akrostycha.

    Grabstein / gravestone Chaja Schlesinger, 18/03/1777

    Grave stone / gravestone Haya Schlesinger, 03.18.1777, older Jewish cemetery / older Jewish cemetery in Eisenstadt

    This grave stone belongs Chaja SchlesingerWho died in 1777 and is buried at the old Jewish cemetery in Eisenstadt.

    If you are facing such a grave, the inscription is difficult or even totally unreadable in some cases, you have, but I also find at first glance little chance, name and date of death. The data in question can be found in the first lines in the arch and are almost impossible to read. But we see - which now has a trained eye - the acrostic, which also is quite easy to read and tell us the name: Beautiful animal “Chaja Jafe”. Sie war übrigens Haushälterin und ihr 6 Jahre früher verstorbener Mann Isak Buchhalter bei seinem Vater, der niemand geringerer war als Marx Schlesinger (Mordechai ben Moses Margulies). Dieser hatte schon im Wiener Ghetto eine geachtete Stellung eingenommen und war 1683 von polnischen Soldaten ermordet worden. Angemerkt sei noch, dass das hebräische Wort “Jafe” auf Deutsch “schön” bedeutet und spätere Familienangehörige in den Matrikenbüchern unter “Schön” zu finden sind.

Speaking register books, especially books Birth:

we find the Hebrew name not only in Hebrew grave inscriptions, but very often in birth books.

Geburtsbuch / birth book Deutschkreutz 1887

Births / birth book German Kreutz 1887

(The Hebrew name from top to bottom: Genesis, Chana, Moses, Chaim Zvi, Bella / Bila, Sanwel, Berl, Miriam, Sanwel, Josef)

Since the Hebrew name for genealogical research can often tip the scales, I would plead that the Hebrew name is indexed when indexing birth books! That would especially be a great help if we look, for example, a specific grave in a Jewish cemetery with Hebrew inscriptions.

Back to the grave inscriptions and names:

Der Name wird meist eingeleitet durch die Angabe des Status des oder der Verstorbenen: “Das Kind”, “der Knabe”, “das Mädchen”, “der Junggeselle”, “die junge Frau”, “die Witwe”, “der Greis” usw. Fast ausschließlich bei Männern kommt zusätzlich noch ein Titel, der vor allem die Funktion innerhalb der Gemeinde beschreibt: der sehr verehrte Herr, der Toragelehrte, der Erhabene, der MORENU = unser Lehrer und Meister usw.

Particular caution should be exercised in the words the guy “ha-bachur”, “der Junggeselle”, “der unverheiratete Mann”. Als “Bachur” kann aber auch ein 60jähriger Mann bezeichnet werden, der nicht verheiratet war! “Bachur” alleine ist also zunächst eine Status-Bezeichnung und keine Altersangabe! Hingegen ist The important guy wörtlich “der bedeutende Junggeselle” immer ein junger unverheirateter Mann! Im Volksmund heißt es “chaschuv bachurl” und bezeichnet schlechthin einen gelehrten Jüngling!

Similarly, for unmarried women: Virgin “ha-betula” ist die unmarried Frau, egal welchen Alters sie ist! Hingegen meint das hebräische Wort העלמה “ha-alma” immer eine wirklich Boy (unmarried woman!

In my presentation I will discuss reasons of time now no closer to this status information, but you will find enough common ones in the examples provided to download pdf file: phrasenDeutsch.pdf (99KB).

Once again the impressive grave stone of Resl Theben-NassauDied in 1755, buried in Mattersdorf / Mattersburg:

Grabstein / gravestone Resl Theben, 21/04/1755

Grave stone / gravestone Tessa Thebes, 21/04/1755, Jewish cemetery / Jewish cemetery in Mattersburg

Before I get to the next topic, please also see the fascinating inscription, which is one of the most impressive Hebrew inscriptions - and it belongs to a woman! (!) And in the inscription above all the striking long and detailed acrostic that absolutely all lines, after 26, the eulogy includes:

Right column: Rebbetzin Mrs. Rizal Zell The rabbi's wife, Mrs Tessa, her memory should be preserved,

left column: Bat Harar Wolf Zell miracle Daughter of Lord and Master Wolf, his memory might be preserved, Nassau

the obituary

Ich habe die Eulogie vorhin erwähnt, die Lobrede auf die Verstorbene / den Verstorbenen. Sie ist in unserem Inschriften-“Formular” sozusagen der nächste, oft größte Teil der Inschrift. Allerdings gehören auch häufig anzufindende Attribute vor dem Namen wie “der gerechte Mann”, “die bescheidene Frau”, “der große Gelehrte” und Statusangaben streng genommen bereits zur Eulogie.

She was treated primarily in my first lecture, because we find very often in the biographical eulogy and genealogists very important information that can facilitate daily genealogical work much or make efficient work even possible.

The eulogy, which aims to put the dead at the center, is never a 1: 1 mapping of real life, and certainly not an exact representation of civic life, and will also not primarily provide biographical data. It is a quasi-idealized portrayal of life change and is therefore usually underestimated by genealogists in their meaning.

Denn durch die Tatsache, dass der Lebenswandel zunehmend immer detailreicher beschrieben und erzählt wird, geraten wir unmittelbar in das Spannungsfeld zwischen hebräischer Grabinschrift und Matrikeneinträgen in deutscher oder ungarischer Sprache. Die “hohe Kunst”, wenn ich so sagen darf, besteht eben darin, die biografisch relevanten Informationen in den stereotyp und zitatenreich formulierten Texten zu “entdecken” und zu verstehen.

Damit Sie eine konkretere Vorstellung von einer Eulogie bekommen, möchte ich jene aus der Inschrift für Samuel Schönberger, gestorben 1911, kurz zitieren:

Grabstein / gravestone Samuel Schönberger, 04/05/1911

Grabstein / gravestone Samuel Schönberger, 04/05/1911, jüngerer jüdischer Friedhof / younger Jewish cemetery in Eisenstadt

Sie beginnt in Zeile 7, unmittelbar nach dem – für Sie schön erkenntlichen – Segensspruch, der dem Namen des Verstorbenen folgt: Nataniel Schönberger, auf ihm sei Friede.

Danach die 4 Zeilen der Eulogie:

7) Der jüngste Sohn des Verehrten und Prachtvollen,
8) dessen Name durch seine Gerechtigkeit und Großzügigkeit bekannt war,
9) des Herrn Samuel Niklo, auf ihm sei Friede. (Achtung: Das ist eine genealogisch relevante Information: Mit “Niklo” ist der heute ungarische Ort Fertöszenmiklos gemeint!)
10) Er verstarb in hohem Alter, nachdem er gekommen war
11) zu Kräften (Achtung: die nächste genealogisch relevante Information: „nachdem er zu Kräften gekommen war“, bedeutet, dass er ungefähr 80 Jahre alt war, weil wir lesen in Psalm 90,10 “Die Zeit unseres Lebens währt siebzig Jahre, wenn es hochkommt, achtzig.”

Samuel Schönberger starb mit 79 Jahren.

Ich fasse zusammen: Es geht uns hier vor allem darum, dass Sie erkennen, Where in einer hebräischen Inschrift die Eulogie ist.

In the inscription of Charlotte Spitzer more or less common in the lower part, the inscription of Therese JacobiDied in 1875 about the same at the beginning! If you can recognize the eulogy purely from the structure, you know what part of the inscription, you may exclude mentally, so to speak, in order to concentrate on those other parts where you find the items discussed: introductory text, name, blessing and - we missing now than after the name of the most important element

date of death

Anticipated to be noted that the date of death can stand anywhere in the inscription at the top, often even before the introductory text, under the name, in the eulogy. Our task today is, as you can see well without knowledge of Hebrew, where the inscription, the date of death is and how you can convert this to the civil date.

The date of death is given in Hebrew inscriptions exclusively on the Jewish calendar. The date is given never in numbers, but always with Hebrew letters that have a certain value.

The Hebrew Alefbet with numerical values ​​and names examples can be found in the provided download pdf file: alefbetDeutsch.pdf (87KB).

Let's look again the inscription of Charlotte black Spitzer to:

Grabstein / gravestone Charlotte (Schwarzl) Spitzer, 05/06/1914

Grave stone / gravestone Charlotte (black) Spitzer, 05.06.1914, younger Jewish cemetery / younger Jewish cemetery in Eisenstadt

You can find the entire date in lines 7 and 8, the death on line 8. First, we are concerned primarily about the deathyear and for two reasons:

  1. In practice, if you are looking for a particular grave in a cemetery with Hebrew grave inscriptions, it is sufficient in most cases, if you can clearly identify the death.
  2. The death is usually the easiest-to-read item in the dates.

The death usually consists of three elements:

(1) Das Wort für “Jahr” Year “schnat”, (2) die Buchstabenkombination, deren Zahlenwert das Sterbejahr ergibt und (3) danach drei Buchstaben, die immer dieselben Buchstaben sind.


Das Wort für Jahr “schnat” kann auch abgekürzt sein mit dem ersten Buchstaben also ש” “sch”.

The combination of letters whose numerical value results in the death is somehow marked in most cases, with dots on the letters or quotes or simple lines between the letters. In our example, we clearly see the points on the four letters.

The three letters after death are an abbreviation that is characterized by the quotes! To read is the abbreviation לפ”ק als “lifrat katan”, was bedeutet “nach der kleinen Zeitrechnung”.

The now common Jewish calendar is based on the creation of the world and is set to the year 3760 before the Christian era. This era does not settle before the 11th century by and has survived to this day. The conversion is simple:

Jüdischer Kalender, die jüdischen Monate

Jewish calendar, the Jewish month

Wenn das Jahr “minus” 3.760 das jüdische Jahr Null ist, ist das jüdische Jahr 5.000 das bürgerliche Jahr 1240 (-3760+5000 =1240). Da Sie höchstwahrscheinlich selten in die Verlegenheit kommen werden, einen Grabstein zu finden mit einem Sterbedatum in front 1240, it is enough to remember 1240 as a Jewish year 5000th
Now you need only a list of Hebrew letters with their numeric values ​​(see above).

Grabstein / gravestone Charlotte (Schwarzl) Spitzer, 05/06/1914, Detail / detail

Grave stone / gravestone Charlotte (black) Spitzer, 06.05.1914, younger Jewish cemetery / younger Jewish cemetery in Eisenstadt, detail / detail

Now we need to know the numerical values ​​of letters: In the inscription of Charlotte Spitzer, we find ת Gave = 400, ר Resch = 200, ע Ayin = 70 and ד Dalet = 4, giving a total of 674 results.

Charlotte Spitzer starb also im Jahr 674. Gemeint ist natürlich das Jahr 5674, aber der Tausender wird in den allermeisten Fällen nicht geschrieben. Ich kann mich noch gut erinnern, als ich ein Kind war und Schulaufgaben machte, schrieb meine Mama das Datum darüber und schrieb statt 1974 nur 74. Und über die 74 machte sie einen Strich um anzuzeigen, dass es 1974 heißen sollte. Ähnlich ist es hier, die drei Buchstaben nach der Jahreszahl bedeuten, wie gesagt, “nach der kleinen Zeitrechnung”, also without 5.000!

Wollen wir wissen, welches jüdische Jahr derzeit ist, müssen wir nur 2019 minus 1240 rechnen und erhalten 779. Wir haben also jetzt das jüdische Jahr 5779 oder 779 “nach der kleinen Zeitrechnung”.

Here the grave stone of Tolentino Colombo, Died on 16 October 1873 buried at the Jewish cemetery of Trieste:

Grabstein / gravestone Colombo Tolentino, 16/10/1873

Grave stone / gravestone Colombo Tolentino, 10/16/1873, Jewish cemetery / Jewish cemetery in Trieste

In the Italian space we quite often find, however, the year with the 5000 wrote: So Colombo Tolentino died in 5634! 5000 with the letter ה “He” geschrieben, der den Zahlenwert “5” hat.

Now the quick mental arithmetic will say of you, of course, immediately, that's not true, because in 1240 and 634 in 1874, of course, gives and not in 1873! The reason is this:

The Jewish year begins in September / October of the civil year, on 1 Tishri! Therefore, the month Tishri, Cheshvan, Kislev and partly Tevet are always in the new Jewish year, but still in the old bourgeois year. Since the month of Tevet falls in the December / January, the date either are in December of the old civil year or the New Year in January can. And in the inscription of Colombo Tolentino we read that she month Tishre (Zeile 6) verstarb, also noch im Jahr 1873, aber schon im “neuen” jüdischen Jahr 5634!

Do not underestimate this problem! In practice, I have very often the already mentioned problem of knowing a bourgeois date of death and having to look at a large Jewish cemetery with Hebrew inscriptions the corresponding grave stone. And if death date is fall 1873, I have to look up and not 634 633rd If you do not know this, the chance is to find the right stone grave nil. It's like a classic problem that is none more if you know a little about it.

Now we are already gone from the date a step for months. Of course, you will find all the Jewish month names in the provided download pdf file: era-monateDeutsch.pdf (83KB), If you have a little luck, you can read the month in a legible inscription without problems. For example, in the already known to us inscription of Charlotte Spitzer in line 8:

Grabstein / gravestone Charlotte (Schwarzl) Spitzer, 05/06/1914

Grave stone / gravestone Charlotte (black) Spitzer, 06.05.1914, younger Jewish cemetery / younger Jewish cemetery in Eisenstadt, detail / detail

Here the Jewish month of Sivan (May / June).

And while we're at so far, only we still lack the Tag a month to be able to read the complete date of death.

Since we already know that the numbers are always displayed in Hebrew inscriptions with Hebrew letters, it is quite simple: we just need them again only the numerical values ​​of the letters. Here י Iodine = 10 and א Alef = 1 (Alef's the first letter of the Hebrew alef-bet), ie 11 Charlotte Spitzer therefore died on the 11th of Sivan 674 and that was the 05 June 1914th

A tip from practice: Use best not a website but a good mobile app for conversion. Both the apps for iPhone (Jewish Calendar – CalJ() As well as for AndroidHebDate) Are free, excellent and English!

Furthermore, it is, especially for genealogical matters, nor to note that the Jewish day begins at sunset always in the evening. We have very often the case that someone died, for example, after the death register on 13 May 1914th This was according to Jewish Date 17 Iyar 674. However, noted in the death register that the death occurred at 23 o'clock. Thus we have a correct date of death civil May 13 and Judeo already 18 Iyar.

Der Vollständigkeit halber und damit Sie nicht beim ersten Grabstein mit hebräischer Inschrift, den Sie lesen, gleich die “Flinte ins Korn werfen”, noch eine Anmerkung:

A very good example is also the date of death on the grave stone of Samuel SchlesingerSamuel ben Moses Güns, brother of the famous rabbi Akiba Eger! Samuel Schlesinger is buried at the older Jewish cemetery in Eisenstadt.

Grabstein / gravestone Samuel Guens-Schlesinger, 16/05/1835

Grave stone / gravestone Samuel Guens-Schlesinger, 16.05.1835, older Jewish cemetery / older Jewish cemetery in Eisenstadt

In line 3 and 4 of the Hebrew inscription reads,

His soul departed in purity in the month Iyar, on the night of the holy Shabbat to Lag ba-Omer on the number (= Omerzählen) of the children of Israel, and was buried on Sunday Lag ba-Omer on the number of children of Israel in 595th

If you now Lag ba-Omer Lag B'Omer can read and know that Lag ba-Omer is always the 18th Iyar, you know that Samuel Schlesinger died on Friday evening and was buried on Sunday.

But as I said earlier, that's at least one step higher difficulty and necessary for the most important data that we want to see a Hebrew inscription, although not as strongly. For the year (Line 5 and 6), you can read without difficulty in any case: Year allocate Peck “Schnat 595 nach der kleinen Zeitrechnung”: ת Gave = 400, ק Kof = 100, צ Zadi = 90 and ה He = 5, that is 595 = 1835. Both the Year “schnat” in Zeile 5 als auch die drei Buchstaben Peck für “nach der kleinen Zeitrechnung” in Zeile 6 können Sie problemlos erkennen und daher die Jahreszahl schnell festmachen! Selbst auf einem Grabstein eines Mannes aus prominenter gelehrter Familie mit langem und nicht einfach zu übersetzenden Eulogie-Teil in der hebräischen Inschrift.

You see the way here that the introductory text with the two letters Penn (Pe und Nun) “Hier ist begraben” nicht ganz am Anfang der Inschrift, sondern erst nach dem Namen und dem Datum kommt, unmittelbar vor der Eulogie.

So that we get when we analyze a Hebrew inscription from top to bottom, called the last unit to the final unit to


This is the praise at the end of the inscription, at the conclusion of securities held in Lobteil the inscription on loving and manner taught communing with the dead.
This final eulogy is almost always abbreviated written with the five letters Tntzbh Taw, Well, Zadi, Bet and He. Written out they form the set Let himself \ herself bound in the bond of life “Seine / ihre Seele möge eingebunden sein im Bund / Bündel des Lebens”. Dieser schöne Satz ist eigentlich ein Zitat aus 1 Samuel 25,29, wo Abigail zu David sagt: “…so soll das Leben meines Herrn eingebunden sein im Bündlein der Lebendigen…”. Beispiel: Grabstein Abraham EidlitzDied 16 May 1868 buried in the older Jewish cemetery in Eisenstadt:

Grabstein / gravestone Abraham Eidlitz, 16/05/1868

Grave stone / gravestone Abraham Eidlitz, 05.16.1868, older Jewish cemetery / older Jewish cemetery in Eisenstadt

Naturally, the final blessing, the final eulogy place at the end of the inscription, at least 99.9% of all Hebrew inscriptions. One of the few exceptions sure: The inscription Moses ben Josef Wertheim, D. 1713, the older Jewish cemetery in Eisenstadt. Moreover, he is the brother of the famous rabbi and court factor Samson Wertheimer! The Schlusseulogie is at the beginning of the inscription! Meaningful explanation but I have not:

Grabstein / gravestone Mose Wertheimer, 18/07/1713

Grave stone / gravestone Moses Wertheimer, 07.18.1713, older Jewish cemetery / older Jewish cemetery in Eisenstadt

In modern Jewish grave stones, the introductory text and the Schlusseulogie found in recent decades often just more than Hebrew element in the grave inscription.

Also, I am about to finish my presentation.

Hebräische Grabinschriften zu bearbeiten, zu übersetzen und zu kommentieren, wird üblicherweise nicht als genealogische Arbeit gesehen. Bestenfalls als eine Art “Zuliefer-Arbeit” für die eigentliche Kernarbeit. Es wäre wünschenswert, dass der Stellenwert der hebräischen Inschrift ein wenig mehr in den genealogy Center disengaged.

Two examples may illustrate this:

When I traveled, and some time ago to Croatia to Jewish cemetery of Fiume / Rijeka visited, I noticed upon entering the cemetery a very prominent grave stone: Antonio and Ernestina Mattersdorfer are buried in Fiume. Your name is the name of the sacred Jewish seven municipalities in the area of ​​today's Burgenland: Mattersdorf, today Mattersburg.

The grave stone of Antonio and Ernestina has on one side an Italian, on the other hand, a Hebrew inscription. In both we find in the Italian inscription only the birth and deathyear, No date, and no mention of their parents.

We find all these genealogically important data just in the - by the way very nice - Hebrew inscription. And only this Hebrew inscription made it possible for us the origin of Antonio Elchanan Mattersdorfer to find his parents and his siblings in Southern Burgenland:

Geburtsbuch / birth book Elkan Mattersdorfer, 1854

Births / birth book Elkan Mattersdorfer, 1854

Because of course we see the Geburtsmatriken of Schlaining only the Hebrew name: Elchanan or Elkan Elhanan (And father: Hebrew: Seev Wolf, Geburtsbuch: Wolf!) Mit “Antonio” wie wir in der italienischen Inschrift lesen, wären wir nicht weitergekommen!

Wirklich erfreulich ist, dass Sie jetzt, so wie ich es versprochen habe, nach etwa einer halben Stunde die wichtigsten für genealogische Belange hebräische Elemente erkennen können: Die Einleitungsformeln, die Schlusseulogien, das Sterbedatum, zumindest das Sterbejahr (wenn auch bei beiden Jahreszahlen ohne die drei nachgestellten Buchstaben “nach der kleinen Zeitrechnung”) und den hebräischen Namen sowie die Namen der Väter der Verstorbenen:

Grabstein / gravestone Antonio / Ernestina Mattersdorfer, 1910 / 1932

Grave stone / gravestone Antonio / Ernestina Mattersdorfer, 1910/1932, Jewish cemetery / Jewish cemetery in Fiume / Rijeka

We come again, for the last time, to the grave stone of Resl Theben-Nassau back:

Grabstein / gravestone Resl Theben, 21/04/1755

Grave stone / gravestone Tessa Thebes, 21/04/1755, Jewish cemetery / Jewish cemetery in Mattersburg

Über das faszinierende Akrostychon haben wir schon gesprochen, die Abkürzung “nach der kleinen Zeitrechnung” können wir am Ende des Rundbogens und die Schlusseulogie am Ende der Inschrift problemlos erkennen. Die Inschrift von Resl Theben-Nassau ist ausgesprochen komplex, allein die Eulogie rund um ihren Namen und ihre Abstammung macht 4 lange Zeilen aus.

But I have chosen this grave stone for the circuit because the Hebrew inscription is the only known witness to Tessa Thebes Nassau's death, for her exact date of death, the wise way, pronounced and formulated deeply rooted in the biblical tradition.

The Hebrew grave inscription as a single and reliable primary source for genealogical research. I published the grave stone in the December 2014 online. On geni.com we find in Resel Thebes Nassau no date of death and not of death. Moderator Randy Schoenberg and Randy, you're in good company! Because none other than the librarian of Israel Jewish Community Vienna, Dr. Bernhard Wachstein to whom we owe the pioneering publications on the Jewish cemetery in Seegasse in Vienna and the older Jewish cemetery in Eisenstadt early 20th century, knows her father Wolf ben Leib NassauBrilinOn whose grave stone the way between a headline and text glasses is engraved. Also Wachstein knows of the existence of the daughter Rösel, but does not know when she died and Where she was buried (Bernhard Wachstein, The inscriptions of the old Jewish cemetery in Vienna, the second part (1696-1783), Vienna 1917, No. 907th).

We know this because the Hebrew inscription!

Grabstein / gravestone Malka Austerlitz, 04/04/1743

Grave stone / gravestone Malka Austerlitz, 04.04.1743, older Jewish cemetery / older Jewish cemetery in Eisenstadt

but sometimes everything is a little different from what I've told you now ... one of which I have shown initially two grave stones, was that of Malka AusterlitzDied 1743. And I'm afraid that you can not see anything except the final eulogy. In such cases, please send me an email ;-)

Thank you.