Jewish Austria

The first traces of Jewish life in the area of ​​today's Burgenland go back to the 13th century while continuous Jewish settlement began in the 17th century.

The goal of civic equality was reached in 1867 at a time when Burgenland belonged to Hungary and had a Jewish population of around 8,000. From 1880 an exodus of many Jewish citizens started to the major economic centres of Budapest, Vienna and Graz.

Burgenland was annexed by Austria in 1921 after the end of World War I.

There was a lively Jewish communal life between the two World Wars which was reflected in the number of religious, educational and social welfare organisations that existed. This came to an end with the Nazi takeover of Austria in 1938, and the level of antisemitism increased dramatically. Systematic expulsions and collective transports to Vienna and other countries were to follow.

Of the approximately 3,900 Jews in 1938 resident in Burgenland, one third were murdered in the Shoah. The majority were able to escape to the United States, the United Kingdom, Israel and other countries.

After 1945, only a very few Jewish families returned to Burgenland and today there are scarcely a dozen Jews across the region. However a rich legacy of Jewish life remains.

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