A remarkable find

That the Jewish cemetery Kobersdorf, at least for me, in the autumn exerts a special fascination (see here or here), Is no secret. So I was in the last two weeks twice in this cemetery, both times there was rainy and foggy weather.

Jüdischer Friedhof Kobersdorf, 25. November 2019

Kobersdorf Jewish Cemetery, November 25, 2019

Much is new in this cemetery. The grave stones were stripped of ivy, many inscriptions are now more readable. It has been invested in recent years, however, solely from the cemetery fund 445,000 Euros (we can, because according to law the cemetery fund, ie the public sector, only half paid for, so well start from the double total investment). were made mainly gardening works, tree care measures, stonework and a static secure the grave stones, as on the the Fund's website read is.

Was allerdings nach wie vor fehlt, ist eine Dokumentation, die nicht nur die Namen und Sterbedaten auf den Grabsteinen erfasst, sondern, so weit wie möglich, die gesamten Inschriften. Und die vor allem auch der Öffentlichkeit zugänglich ist. Denn die Inschriften werden durch die geleisteten Arbeiten im Grunde noch weniger geschützt als vorher (weil die “Efeudecke” fehlt) und sind zunehmend schlechter zu lesen.
It is completely incomprehensible that the 2009 agreed in principle and laudable Act for the preservation of Jewish cemeteries a penny for the much-needed documentation provides.

All grave stones a small leaflets have now screwed with a number, which indicates that a survey of the cemetery took place and a plan with the drawn numbers exist.

Grave stones and grave stone fragments are stacked on the front cemetery wall, which apparently were at the cemetery and (still) could not be installed. Most of these grave stones and grave stone fragments also carry numbers fortunately, can be so hopefully assumed that the original location of the stones is known. Too bad, of course, that the grave stones are sized so that it is practically impossible to realize what grave stone is or to read an inscription.

On the bottom right, we see that small grave stone fragments were collected on a separate course. And on these fragments there is unfortunately no numbers.

But among these fragments, especially one is particularly noteworthy: A grave stone fragment of a Genisa tomb (see below the Exkurs zu “Genisa”)!

Grabsteinfragment von Genisagrab am jüdischen Friedhof Kobersdorf

Grave stone fragment of Genisagrab the Jewish cemetery Kobersdorf

Most notable because we of the present in Austria than in the Central Cemetery in 1987 established Genisagrabes know not a single Genisagrab of desecrated Torah scrolls in the Shoah.

And now we find the Jewish cemetery of Kobersdorf a grave stone fragment of the single Genisagrabes in Austria before 1945 and do not know where the grave was originally located at the cemetery!

Update January 14, 2020: In the book published in 2015 “” Frischman H., The Sheva Kehillos: Memories of Torah Life In The Western Hungarian Oberland Communities”Is a picture of the still complete tombstone (but without a copy of the inscription and without translation). Therefore, the inscription is added below.
Many thanks to Mag. Dieter Szorger for the tip and the image scan!

Vollständiger Grabstein des Genisagrabes in Kobesdorf

Complete tombstone of the Genisa grave in Kobesdorf

The Hebrew inscription

Inscription Genisagrab Kobe village: Line righteous transcription and translation
[1] 3. Z (wi) SCH (s) f (eggs) t (ag) of P (esach) 698 (= 20 April 1938), Tuesday, the RPF will kill
[2] as the expulsion [the Jews] to G (Ottes) Sanctuary solid took place. For exile foot D
[3] Here are hidden Here shelved
[4] 13 Torah scrolls, Thirteenth Book of the Covenant
[5] the Urim and Tummim, The lights and the innocents
[6] as if going into exile When they went to the Diaspora
[7] Fathers and children. Fathers and Sons
[8] N (after the small time calculation). ל


Line 2: Literally: “At the time of the Galut (eviction) at the pilgrimage festival G (ottes)”.

line 3: Typo: It must of course Shelved and not Ngnzr be called.

Line 4: Literally: “Books of the Confederation”. [1]

Zeile 5: Exodus 28,30 u.a. Light and innocentUrim and Tummim". The "Urim" literally mean "lights", "Tummim" about "perfection" (Luther translated with "right", Buber with "the lightening and mediating"), both are presumably lottery and oracle stones of the high priest in the Jerusalem temple.

The April 20, 1938

As long as we have not found the bottom of the grave stone, we do not know whether and, if so, continues as the text. That would be not only in principle, but very interesting mainly because of the date:

In any case, the date of the gravestone is very interesting:

After an official note from the district administration Oberpullendorf Rabbi Simon was Goldberger on the initiative of the Nazi mayor of Kobersdorf Thrackl without higher order on 20. April 1938 taken away by force from Kober village with a truck. ... Rabbi Goldberger should be deported in Neckenmarkt across the border to Hungary. On the occasion of his transfer across the border, he was by customs guards Werner M. and the forester Anton K., both severely beaten in Neckenmarkt and 3m are from the border on Hungarian territory left. R. Simon Goldberger lay there on April 20, noon to 21 April in the afternoon until it was brought by Hungarian side of Sopron. [2]

You can find a detailed report on Rabbi Simon Goldberger's fate on the Hungarian border in our blog article: Rabbi Simon Goldberger.

Rabbi Simon Goldberger was in Auschwitz murdered, His wife Paula (Perl) was also in Auschwitz murdered. All three children, Lazar Goldberger, b. May 20, 1935, Hermann Goldberger, born December 8, 1936 and Isidor, born March 25, 1938, were in the Shoah murdered.

On this April 20, 1938, the 13 Torah scrolls were buried at the Jewish cemetery Kobersdorf. Having said that was: The Jews of Kobersdorf were expelled faster and persecuted as the Jews of other communities of today's Burgenland. Already the end of May 1938, almost two months after the so-called terminal in March 1938, there were no more Jews in Kobersdorf.

What now for the burial of Torah scrolls in this April 20, 1938, in the midst of Pesachtagen led, we can only guess and there remain questions:

  • Has Rabbi Goldberger before his martyrdom in the end still own the Torah scrolls led to bury or burst into the community (understandably) panic and they decided to take this step? In any case, haste was probably offered what perhaps could indicate (see above) and the engraving error on line. 3
  • If it is not ritually suitable for Torah scrolls that had been (more) stored in Genisa spaces in the synagogue and now, were not to fall to the Nazis in their hands, buried or was it not to have used Torah scrolls, which one wanted to protect them from the Nazis? (For example, because it was believed that they once they fall to the Nazis in the hands of what was only a matter of time, raped anyway)
  • A question for the leaders: Why does this significant and unique in Austria grave stone fragment no number like almost all other grave stones, with which it would have been at least very likely possible to know the original location?

Small digression: Genisa

The word “Genisa” or “Geniza” is actually a Persian foreign word and means “treasury”. In Mishna Shabbat 9 we read: Sphacelus books in and Mkk Mtfhotihm, Cl Shoa, Smtzniain Aotn lgnzn “Gnawed / worn pieces of scrolls or their covers, however, are kept around them hide“.

“Genisa” denotes both the rooms (usually in or near synagogues) in which liturgical scriptures that are no longer usable, but also prayer straps etc. are kept, as well as the graves in which these are then buried. At the central cemetery in Vienna, Gate IV, there is such a genesis room. It is essentially about protecting the name of God from misuse in these scriptures and liturgical objects.
The most significant and best known is built Genisa those in the 7th century I Esra Synagoge in Fustat, Cairo, which was discovered in the 19th century and were found in the 300,000 Jewish manuscripts and manuscript fragments, covering a period from the 8th to the 19th century.

In Germany, especially in southern Germany, some were of such Genisaräume found, mostly from the 19th century, although these rooms are even better than ever really properly (ie about exclusively created, etc. for the purpose of collection of disused writings). So they found about 2009 in Genisaraum the synagogue of Bayreuth even Yiddish sheet from the pressure Homburger Eulenspiegel of 1735th

Genisa Tombs, however, there are (at least in German-speaking) few, probably because the grave sites were often not identified. In addition to the mentioned grave for desecrated Torah scrolls in the Shoah on the Central Cemetery Vienna, IV. TorWe know in Germany about the Genisa-grave at the Jewish cemetery Würzburg or the graves in the Jewish cemetery in Altengronau in Main-Kinzig-Kreis and in Adelsheim-Sennfeld (Neckar-Odenwald). [3]

Frowald Gil overseer puts it as follows:

It was probably orthodox enough to such writings and objects not to throw away, but not orthodox enough to provide a separate room for them or as used to in Germany, to bury in the cemetery. [4]

Without the dramatic events surrounding the April 20, 1938, we can most likely assume that you would not bury the Torah scrolls in Kobersdorf.

The grave stone fragment of Genisagrabes in the Jewish cemetery Kober village is in a scientific perspective, a very important fund.
Above all, it shows in a dramatic way the end of a centuries-old Jewish community from a purely internal Jewish perspective.


[1] Book Alliance“Covenant book” actually refers to the oldest Israelite legal collection, the word itself is taken from Exodus 24.7: “He [Moses] took the book of the covenant and read it to the people”. [Back from footnote (1)]

[2] Haus Steiner Erwin J., The former Jewish community Kober village. A book of remembrance, nd, 172, and cited in: Susanne Uslu-Pauer and Eve Holpfer: Before the People's Court. Burgenland proceedings against Nazi war criminals from 1945 to 1955. Burgenland Research, Volume 96, 171, Eisenstadt 2008. [Back from footnote (2)]

[3] Frowald Gil overseer, The Genisot as a historical source, in: Jewish life in the country: studies on German-Jewish history, ed. by Monika Richarz and Reinhard Rürup, Tübingen 1997, page 207.
The issue is dealt with very differently overseas, for example: We find an extremely impressive Genisa tomb, actually “Genisa Mausoleum”, built in 1947, in the Jewish cemetery of Santiago de Chile, in which 14 during a synagogue fire on 26/27 . October 1944 destroyed Torah scrolls are buried.
[Back from footnote (3)]

[4] Frowald Gil overseer, The Genisot as a historical source, in: Jewish life in the country: studies on German-Jewish history, ed. by Monika Richarz and Reinhard Rürup, Tübingen 1997, 207f. [Back from footnote (4)]