Gross-Enzersdorf (Districts Essling, Markgrafneusiedl, Leopoldsdorf, Oberhausen, Ober-Siebenbrunn, Orth, Raasdorf)

Synagogue built in: 1865
Earliest record of community: 1860
Last rabbi: Dr. Albert Schweiger
Community members: 1932 - 220; 1938 - 150
Pogrom Night: Damaged and expropriated
After 1945: 1963 demolished
Today: Apartment building
Summary: In 1860, Jews were allowed to return to Gross Enzersdorf—a town in Lower Austria—having been banned from settling there for four centuries. The first families to arrive came from Mähren, as well as from Slovakia, the Austrian town of Deutsch-Wagram, Bohemia and Galicia. Soon the requirements for public prayers (the presence of ten adult males) could be reliably met, and a minyan association was established.

In 1865 the community built a large synagogue on Kasier Franz Joseph Strasse. This was an impressive building with two towers in the neo-Roman style. The community established a walled cemetery on Wittauerstrasse. A chevra kadisha was founded to maintain the cemetery and conduct funerals.

In 1898 the Israelitische Kultusgemeinde Gross-Enzersdorf (Israelite Congregation of Gross Enzersdorf) was officially founded. The rabbis who served the congregation were: Dr. Rosemann from Floridsdorf; Dr. Salomon Funk from the Pazmanitentempel synagogue in Vienna; and Dr. Albert Schweiger from Mödling.

Following the Anschluss (annexation of Austria to Hitler’s Germany in March 1938), Jews in the rural areas around Gross-Enzersdorf were forced to move to Vienna. Jewish property in the Gross-Enzersdorf district was confiscated or stolen. On Pogrom Night, November 9/10, 1938, Nazis inflicted severe damage on the synagogue. The Jewish cemetery was destroyed. Dr. Karl Katz, the congregation’s cultural director, later reported:

At around three o’clock in the morning, we Jews—in the midst of thundering noise and shattering windows—were dragged from our beds by a band of hate-filled Nazis, led by the infamous Willi Bernt; after which a thorough plundering began in which cash, jewelry, and everything that could be carried was stolen. Afterwards, we—there were 81 of us in total—were herded together into a side room of the community’s guesthouse on Hauptplatz, whilst being insulted in the crudest fashion. Here they took everything from us down to our last pennies; they physically abused the engineer Hugo Winkler (a former cultural director of the congregation), and I was struck in the face on the orders of the perfidious senior Nazi, Alexander Misziak, from Rotzbuben Mertl, who was foaming with rage. They loaded us like cattle, men and women separately, onto two trucks and transported us via Vienna to a place near the town of Winden am See in the Burgenland province. Here they unloaded us: men, women, children and elderly, healthy and sick, onto the open street, and I was told to march on with the whole group and never to come back to Gross-Enzersdorf. By chance, two country policemen passed by, who told us to wait for them in the town. In Winden we were given a friendly reception by the local people and were well looked after. When the policemen returned, they took us on two trucks to the Morzinplatz district of Vienna, where they received an order from the Gestapo to take us to Gross-Enzersdorf; we arrived there late in the evening. A screaming, hate-filled, raging, fanatical mob was already waiting for us…then, suddenly, after ten o’clock at night, they herded us onto two trucks that took us to the school building on Karajangasse in Vienna’s 20th district, where we men were detained, while the terrified women and children, out of their minds with fear, were brought to a cow shed belonging to a cattle trader, Neumann, located at Gross-Enzersdorf, number 56, where they spent five full days hungry and with no hope of a solution. They were never permitted to enter their houses and were later expelled to Vienna. We men had to run a human gauntlet composed of murdering SS thieves, whilst we were kicked with boots and struck with rifle butts, and we handed over everything that we possessed: watches, rings and fountain pens, to the “custody” of the police. All of it disappeared for good. We were forced into single classrooms, hundreds of us at a time, and then the customary torture began….Following inhuman, bloodthirsty “interrogations,” a few of us were released, but most were brought to Dachau. We were not permitted to return to Gross-Enzersdorf, where in the meantime, all Jewish houses had been plundered and robbed of everything down to the last item. (From Hugo Gold, Geschichte der Juden in Österreich, Tel Aviv, 1971).

Of the 150 Jews who lived in Gross-Enzersdorf in 1938, 86 were murdered in the Nazis’ prisons and concentration camps. The former synagogue was used as a warehouse during the Second World War and was torn down in 1963. Today, a house stands on the former synagogue’s site.
Sources: - Genée, Pierre, Synagogen in Österreich, Wien 1992
- David, Jüdische Kulturzeitschrift in Österreich
- Gold, Hugo, Geschichte der Juden in Österreich, Tel Aviv 1971