Kobersdorf

Synagogue built in: 1860
Earliest record of community: 1529
Community members: 1569 : 18 Familien/Families; 1735 : 184; 1828 : 776; 1880 : 334; 1900 : 327; 1910 : 256; 1934: 172
Pogrom Night: Destroyed
Today: Currently empty and under renovation
Summary: A Jewish community was first established in Kobersdorf—a town in the middle of the Burgenland province of today’s Austria—in the 16th century. In 1671, the Jews of Kobersdorf became victims of an expulsion order issued by the Holy Roman Emperor Leopold I. Jews were later allowed to return to the town under the protection of Count Esterházy.

Kobersdorf became one of the Sheva Kehillot (Seven Holy Communities) in the 18th century; in so doing, it took the Jewish communities of Oberpetersdorf, Oberrabnitz, Weppersdorf, Kaiserdorf, Weingrabben, Drassmarkt, Karl, Lindgraben, St. Martin and Neudorf under its wing.

A new synagogue was inaugurated in Kobersdorf during the Passover holiday of 1860. The new synagogue’s predecessor had burned down two years previously and had in any case become too small for the growing congregation (at that time Kobersdorf’s Jewish population had reached 600 and constituted half the total number of residents in the town). After the new synagogue, a yeshiva (a school for young men’s religious studies) was established at the end of the 19th century, under the direction of Rabbi Abraham Zwebner-Schag.  

Following the annexation (Anschluss) of Austria to the Third Reich in 1938, Kobersdorf’s Jews were driven out and their possessions confiscated. Most of them went to Vienna; from there they attempted to escape abroad.

On the night of the pogrom of November 9/10, 1938, the interior of Kobersdorf’s synagogue was gutted and its windows smashed. The building itself survived, however, and still stands today. Some progress has been made recently concerning plans for its restoration.
Sources: Magnus, Naama, Die Synagoge von Kobersdorf, in: DAVID, 11. Jhrg. Nr. 43 Dez. 1999
Magnus, Naama: Klaus-Nachrichten
Bohlman, Philip V.: Kobersdorf – Spannungsfeld zwischen geistlicher und weltlicher Musik. In: Zweistromland –die Vielfalt der jüdischen Klanglandschaften im europäischen Grenzgebiet, Internetseite des Österreichischen Jüdischen Museums in Eisenstadt (http://www.ojm.at/artikel/zweistromland04)
http://vhs.a-business.co.at/judgem/oskobersdorf.pdf
http://www.ojm.at/gemeinden/kobersdorf
Located in: Burgenland