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Uherský Brod

Town in southeastern Moravia, in the present Czech Republic. Jews probably settled in Uherský Brod (Ger., Ungarisch Brod) as early as the thirteenth century, but they are first mentioned in a municipal document dating from 1470. In 1558, there were 4 Jewish families, presumably attracted by the growing trade between the German lands and Hungary, and in 1615 the number rose to 18.

During the Thirty Years’ War (1618–1648), the Jewish community suffered extortionate taxation and wanton destruction. The synagogue (probably built in the sixteenth century) and many Jewish houses were destroyed in the first decade of fighting. Many Jews came to Uherský Brod in 1670 following their expulsion from Vienna, but attacks by Hungarian Kuruc rebels on 14 July 1683 devastated the community. Several hundred Jews were killed, 65 Jewish houses were left in ruins, and several hostages were taken. (An elegy, recited on the 20th of Tammuz, which was the corresponding Hebrew date of the attack, was composed in memory of these attacks.)

Many refugees then crossed the border to northern Hungary (present-day Slovakia), where they established Jewish communities in Trenčin, Nové Mesto nad Váhom, and Vrbové. For the next 50 years, these “daughter communities” remained under the religious jurisdiction of the Uherský Brod Jewish community, which was reconstituted a few years after the Kuruc rebellion. The synagogue was also rebuilt. The population numbered 936 in 1745 (it was allocated 160 families by the Familiants Laws) and 882 in 1848. The Jewish population peaked at 1,006 in 1857. There were 826 Jews in 1869; 873 in 1880; and 825 in 1900.

Uherský Brod’s first known rabbi, David ben Shemu’el ha-Levi (Taz; named after the initial letters of his work Ture zahav, on the Shulḥan ‘arukh, published initially in 1646) lived there around 1635 and drafted the community’s takanot (ordinances). In the nineteenth century, Uherský Brod was regarded as Moravia’s most Orthodox community. Nevertheless Moses Nascher (1811–1885), rabbi from 1844 to 1854, introduced German-language sermons; and Hermann Roth (1834–1864), rabbi from 1854 to 1864, organized a German Jewish school.

Moses David Hoffmann (1824–1889), rabbi from 1864 to 1889, witnessed a period of religious strife. When S. Brammer, the head of the community, introduced moderate synagogue reforms in 1872, a more traditional faction established a separate prayer service. At Brammer’s behest, gendarmes shut down the latter, but government authorities subsequently allowed it to continue. In 1891 Moritz Jung (1859–1921), rabbi from 1890 to 1912, founded a Jewish high school combining secular and Jewish studies, which attracted students from Moravia, Galicia, Hungary, and Russia. In 1910, he founded a yeshiva. Kalman Nürenberger, Uherský Brod’s last rabbi, served from 1913 until the Holocaust.

There were 489 Jews in Uherský Brod in 1939. In 1941, Felix Brunn, the head of the community, and seven other members were executed based on charges of anti-German activities. In the same year, local fascists burned down the main synagogue. In August 1942, 350 Jews were brought to Uherský Brod from Uherské Hradištĕ; the former became an assembly point on the way to Terezín and Auschwitz. A total of 2,837 Jews were deported from Uherský Brod, of whom 81 survived the war. Thirty Jews returned after the war, and the community was reestablished in 1949. A year later 20 Jews immigrated to Israel, with the remaining Jews served by the nearby Kyjov Jewish community.

Among the natives of Uherský Brod were Yehudah Leib Prossnitz (ca. 1670–after 1736?), Sabbatian leader; Moses Samuel Zuckermandel (1836–1917), rabbi and Jewish scholar; and Adolf Frankl-Grün (1847–1916), rabbi and historian of Moravian Jewry. The Jellinek brothers were born in the nearby village of Drslavice: Adolf (1821–1893), rabbi and scholar; Hermann (1823–1848), Austrian revolutionary; and Moritz (1823–1883), political economist and founder of the Budapest Tramway Company.

Suggested Reading

Adolf Frankl-Grün, Die Geschichte der Juden in Ungarisch-Brod (Vienna, 1905); Hugo Gold, ed., Die Juden und Judengemeinden Mährens in Vergangenheit und Gegenwart (Brno, Cz., 1929), pp. 549–559; Hugo Gold, ed., Gedenkbuch der untergegangenen Judengemeinden Mährens (Tel Aviv, 1974), pp. 113–116.