The contribution title is a quote from the epitaph of the oldest Jewish gravestone from Ebenfurth of December 11, 1622.

A sensational find: 28 gravestones and gravestone fragments in Ebenfurth

Landesrabbiner Schlomo Hofmeister

State Rabbi Schlomo Hofmeister visiting the tombstones in Ebenfurth Castle

At the beginning of 2020, renovations in Schloss Ebenfurth 28 Jewish tombstones or tombstone fragments from the 17th century were found in the foundation of a wall that was built to protect against the Ottoman advance in 1683. The oldest tombstone has the date of death 8th Tevet 383 = December 11th 1622. The find can in any case be described as a sensation, since it was not known until now that these tombstones or tombstone fragments from the heyday of the Jewish community of Ebenfurth still exist.

Restaurierte Mauer im Schloss Ebenfurth, in deren Fundament die 28 jüdischen Grabsteine bzw. Grabstein-Fragmente 2020 gefunden wurden

Restored wall in Ebenfurth Palace, in the foundations of which the 28 Jewish tombstones or tombstone fragments were found in 2020

On the history of the Jews in Ebenfurth

When the building of the former Ebenfurth synagogue was razed in 1994, research into the city's Jewish history also began.[1]
The synagogue was on Annaplatz, later the shoemaker's house Mayer, in the middle of the Jewish quarter.[2] A gate to the synagogue with the Hebrew quote "This is the gate to the Lord, the righteous will enter there(Psalm 118.20 as Notarikon Z"h"l"iitz"i"b ") could be saved and renovated.

Possibly was already in the Middle Ages, before the so-called "Wiener Panic“, The complete annihilation or expulsion of the Jews from the Duchy of Austria, a Jewish community in Ebenfurth.

In any case, the resettlement took a very long time, only the expulsions from the duchies of Styria and Carinthia in 1496/97 led to a new settlement of Jews in Austria under the Enns. With imperial permission, those Jews who had not moved to Gorizia, Trieste or Istria or to Hungary, Bohemia and Moravia initially settled in the Hungarian border region in the area of ​​today's Burgenland, and a little later also in Lower Austria. In 1614 Jews were first documented in Ebenfurth.[3]

Between 1652 and 1671, Ebenfurth was the largest Jewish community of a total of 48 Jewish communities in Lower Austria. The Urbar of the rule of Ebenfurth from 1644 (HKA, Urbar No. 944) lists 25 houses in the city that are inhabited by Jews. In 1652, 1662 and 1666, 24 Jewish families were registered in Ebenfurth, in 1669 there were even 45 families. We do not know the reason for the strong growth of the Jewish population in just three years, at that time the Jewish population was about 20-30% of the population of Ebenfurther.

The Ebenfurther Jews were mainly active in the minting sector, crafts and similar activities were prohibited to the Jews.

... in a report of the Court Chamber Archives on April 28, 1622, 'Gold, Silver, Groschen, Halbpazen in the Truchen' by Israel Marxen and Solomon, both 'Judt von Ebenfurth' is reported ... A deputy of the Landjuden was a 'Phöbus from Ebenfurth ', who was responsible for the tax distribution around 1666. Furthermore, in a statement dated July 24, 1662, an estimate deputy 'H. Feibisch Ebenfurter Judt called 'Beloved'. The tax assessment on August 3, 1662 was: 116 guilders 24 Kr, the rest was on April 17. 1663 due in the same amount.[4]

The eviction of the Jews of Ebenfurther began on August 26, 1671. From 1671 we have little information about Jewish life in the city. Only after 1867 did some families resettle in Ebenfurth.

The so-called Anschluss in March 1938 sealed the beginning of the end of every Jewish life in Ebenfurth. In 1941, 47 Jews of unknown origin were forced laborers of the estate administration in Ebenfurth.

[1] Philapitsch Anton, Die Juden in Ebenfurth, in: David, 7th year, No. 26, September 1995, 12f. [Back from footnote (1)]

[2] Glatz Sandra, synagogues of the Middle Ages and early modern times in the Lower Austria area. Virtual reconstruction of the synagogues of Oberwaltersdorf and Ebenfurth (diploma thesis), Vienna 2013, pp. 60ff; Genée Pierre, Synagogue in Austria, Vienna 1992, 40. [Back from footnote (2)]

[3] Brugger Eveline, Keil Martha and others, History of the Jews in Austria, Vienna 2013, 237ff; Staudinger Barbara, Gantze Dörffer full of Jews, Vienna 2005, esp. 93 [Back from footnote (3)]

[4] Philapitsch Anton, Die Juden in Ebenfurth, in: David, 7th year, No. 26, September 1995, 12f. In 1581 Ebenfurth became the pawn of the gentlemen of Unverzagt. Gundacker continued to sell. The founding of the Jewish community coincided with their time and the castle received its current appearance. [Back from footnote (4)]

Although from the Jewish perspective, so to speak, off-topic, an almost unbelievable network discovery can also be mentioned here: The only surviving sound recording of the Austrian Nobel Peace Prize winner Bertha von Suttner (as Aunt Boulotte) in Ebenfurth Palace, on May 23, 1904. Thanks Silvia Freudensprung-Schöll for finding and advice!