Unfortunately, the author does not mention any names of the Jewish community and we can only guess where the world-famous Seven communities of today's Burgenland he visited his grandmother ... and we're pretty sure it around Lackenbach is.
The text gives a remarkable insight into glory and misery, in everyday life and a Jewish holiday rural community in the late 19th century.
Every summer, when the nerve-wracking city glow began to weigh on me too painfully, I drove to a poor, forgotten village to visit my grandmother, who was no longer far from her hundredth year. She had such a warm joy when I came, and I often heard only one reproach from the almost hundred-year-old: that I am getting old, even so old.
Yes, who could have stayed as young as the grandmother, who described the Duke of Reichstadt in vivid colors, whom she saw on her last stay in Vienna, and who told me what nice taffeta dress she received from her father when she was with him in Vienna in 1814. And then Grandmother went to work: tidied up her room, which she had been living in for almost eighty years, fed the chickens, cleaned the vegetables, was now in her room, now in the poultry yard, and the cousin monitored that despite my stay not too much Eggs are wasted, nagged here, improved there, occasionally made a very nice little scandal when the maid did not act exactly as she was instructed, and at noon she appeared nice and neat in her simple dress with the blooming white bonnet at the table; nowhere a wrinkle, nowhere a little dust: a good old grandmother from the good old days.
Grandmother had bravely alone her Heimathsdorf has become old and dilapidated. Some of the small house like only a ruin; restrict the movement of sunshine and rain by the roof; much has been entirely abandoned by its inhabitants and is now orphaned in the middle of the village; the window sash hanging loose in their frames, the doors have been torn out, the bars are striving to Earth, and mortar and bricks are the threshold which entered cheerful people in better times.
Once upon a time, many years ago, grandmother Heimathsdorf was a rich, flourishing town, the richest and most respected among the seven parishes that were founded in intolerable times on the estates of the princes Esterházy. Trade and traffic were in full bloom, on the holidays the 'alley' was crawling with rich and festively dressed people; the women, when they sat head to head in the synagogue on New Year's Day, glittered with gold and silk, the men donated large sums of money to the Torah for benevolent purposes, and many distinguished men, according to Barone Schey's regular owner, took his from here Exit to be envied in the world for its rank and millions.
It's long gone, long ago! The railways have distracted traffic; who were able to gather up some fortune have moved to large cities, and only the poor devils whom hunger banishes have stuck to the local floe. The precious places in the synagogue, where the wealthy merchants once spread, have become worthless and are used by poor villagers, and the 'alley', where once happy life reigned, now shows only a few people on holidays; Everything has turned out to be different; nothing reminiscent of splendor and wealth, and only in the large cemetery on the quiet Anger outside there is an eloquent silence of former size, of former prestige.
Stunted and decayed as the village are also its inhabitants. laden with heavy packs pull the men on weekdays in the surrounding villages also to search for yours Brod; panting they wander through the forest and valley, poor mocked Jews, while their wives at home get the husbandry, a poor, poor husbandry, in which it lacks most of the necessaries, where many children do not go hungry to bed rarely.
The poverty of the inhabitants is located in the village, is a reflection of in the air. Old, ancient memories from the gloomy Middle Ages creep up the human heart at the sight; all memories of misanthropy and Racenhaß to sorrowful, fearful faces of fleeing, hunted, mocked the children of Israel.
'But every Friday night,
In the Dämm'rungsstunde suddenly
Gives way to the magic and the dog
Will be 'a human being again.'
Ja, wenn der Sabbath herantritt, dann verwandelt sich der arme, in Lumpen gehüllte Dorfgeher in ein menschlich Wesen, in einen glänzenden zauberhaften Prinzen. Sabbath ist es, der Tag des Herrn, und selbst die düstere Schwere, welche in der Luft lag, ist verflüchtigt. Heiterer, milder, feiertägiger Sonnenschein lächelt auf das Dorf hernieder, beleuchtet mit hellem Lichte die verfallenen Häuser, blickt hinein in die armen verkümmerten Herzen. Sorgen und Mühen, Hohn und Spott der Woche sind vergessen und durch die Gasse schreiten die Männer in ihren guten Gewändern, begrüßen einander in herablassender Weise, halten Cercle vor der Synagoge, debattiren über den Rabbi, und wie der Chason so unverträglicher Natur und mit dem Vorbeter ewig im Hader liegt; erzählen von dem schönen Karpfen, welcher gestern bei dem Vorsteher der Gemeinde gekocht wurde, und treten dann in die Synagoge, um die erbauliche Predigt anzuhören. Und wenn der Vorbeter geendet, eilen sie zum Ausgange und erwarten ihre Frauen, die mit ihren besten Kleidern angethan, bewegt von ihrem innigen Verkehr mit Gott und von allerlei interessantem Klatsch, mit niedergeschlagenen Augen die alte Treppe herunterkommen, das Gebetbuch und das weiße Schnupftuch in den Händen. Und sie erzählen sich auf dem Heimwege, was der Rabbi für ein goldener Mensch sei und wie jedes Wort seiner heutigen Predigt eine Perle, ein Diamant gewesen. Und dann wird das Mittagessen aufgetragen, duftend, daß der Hausherr wonneselig mit der Nase schnuppert und mit einem Schwur bekräftigen würde, was Heine gesungen:
'Scholet is the heavenly dish,
The love God himself
taught cook once Moses
On the mountain Sinai. '
And in the afternoon, when the sun sets against the west, the girls come out of the dilapidated houses and proudly stroll along the banks of the stream; beautiful, slender girls in dresses made of out-of-date fabrics, the train daintily in their left hand, hats with feathers and flowers on their heads and delicate veils against the blushing faces. Poverty and misery, which she held in the dark, low rooms for the week, have been shaken off, they walk majestically, like the noble ladies in the wake of Princess Sabbath. They giggle and whisper, smile and flirt, they speak of Heine and love, of Schiller's bell and of Kotzebue's wonderful plays. They left poverty and worries in the dull rooms, and with their beautiful clothes they took education out of the box. They speak fine and dainty and chosen, the gruesome weekday jargon is frowned upon; Blümchen is now called Bertha and Vögele Fanchette, and they don't ask themselves like on the poor working days: 'What is the stupid deer running after us for?' They ask in real German: 'Why is this simple-minded Heinrich constantly following us?'
And the sun sinks lower and lower. The poor girls return to the small houses back, still is the Promenade, still is the alley. The heavy air of poverty and misery lies back wide and dark the village. The Princess Sabbath is gone, the beautiful hat that fine veil and the fine education migrate back into the box and the poor Jew, who now stood in the synagogue and is proud wandered through the alley, now hang up his eyes dull to the heavy packs with which it early in the morning, groaning and panting must wander out from his village and he sighs and groans ...
'It feels like ice cold
Witches finger in his heart,
even the showers sift him
Dog metamorphosis. '