Large Auction of Rare Books, Slavuta, Zhitomir, Chabad, Chassidut, Letters, Manuscripts & Silver.

Lot 382:

Pinkas Hazkarot Neshamot of the Shiff Shul in Vienna 1819-1938. Copy made for their last Rabbi Shlomo Baumgarten when he fled the Nazi terror.

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Start price: $500

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Auction house commission: 25%

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This copy was done for the last Rabbi of the Kehila Rabbi Shlomo Baumgarten, before he fled Vienna for London in 1938, & thus the information was saved from destruction.


83 written sides. + 21 index cards (one of them written on the reverse of a notice from 193.. that the Chazzan must stand by all Minyanim at the Amud from the saying of Yigdal until the Bracha of Mekadesh Es Shimcha Berabim)


The earliest date mentioned is 1819 [ At the end are several names marked ‘Verschiedenes’ & there is mentioned the passing of Maran the ‘Pri Megadim’ in 1792]

& the last ones are from 1938.


The first part is arranged according to the months of the year & has information on approx. 767 names. The Pinkas records whether only the Yartzeit  is held or also Hazkaroz Neshamos is said.


The second part is arranged according to family names & records the names of the deceased, the date of passing, who paid, how much they paid, date of membership.& has information on approx. 660 names.



Until 1848, the Galician Jews and those from the Hungarian areas of the monarchy met for prayers in the Alter Lazenhof. When these groups later parted ways, the Polish Jews established their own “Beth Israel” (House of Israel) association (at the Polish schul – or synagogue). The Hungarian and Slovakian Jews initially changed their place of worship to Ankergasse (today: 3 Hollandstrasse).


In 1864, this strictly orthodox community moved to 8 Grosse Schiffgasse, into a newly built synagogue named the “Schiffschul” after its location. The synagogue was simple, in line with the East European model. In the sparsely furnished inner room, only the Holy Ark was accentuated by oriental-style decorations. The bimah (platform for Torah reading) was located in the middle of the room. There were 500 seats for men and a further 250 on the ladies’ gallery. The synagogue’s association, called “Adass Jisroel” (Community of Israel) was officially founded in 1897.



From 1853 until his death in 1893, Rabbi Binyomin Shlomo Zalmen  Spitzer was the Schiffschul rabbi; he was the son-in-law of the Chatam Sofer of Pressburg.


In 1892, the front wing of the synagogue building was renovated to make room for a Beth Midrash (house of study), which was named “Torah Etz Chaim.” After the First World War, Rabbi  Jeschaja Fürst became the Schiffschul rabbi. He was one of the most important personalities in the worldwide “Agudath Israel” organization. The community’s Dayan (rabbinic judge), Rabbi Josef Baumgarten, worked side by side with Rabbi Fürst. Records indicate that another Schiffschul rabbi, who served later in community’s history, was Meir Fleischmann.


Among the other institutions belonging to the Adass Jisroel synagogue association were: a school for religious studies called the “Jesod HaTorah” (located at 11 Nestroygasse); a women’s charitable association on Grosse Schiffgasse; a matzo (unleavened bread) bakery; 10 butchers’ shops; two smokehouses; a traditional “black and white pastry” bakery, and a confectioner’s. These businesses made Schiffschul the only Bethausverein (Prayer House Association) in Vienna that was financially independent of the greater community.


During the 1938 pogrom, in the early hours of the morning of November 10, the Schiffschul synagogue was destroyed. The building’s whole interior was smashed to pieces and set on fire. By 11:16 am, the synagogue had completely burned out and the roof had fallen in. The fire brigade’s report included the following dispassionate statement: “[…] The temple was fully ablaze upon arrival. The roof of the neighboring house, number 10 Schiffgasse, was protected using a hose; incidentally, six hoses were deployed to extinguish the large fire. The entire structure burned down. The dilapidated tin roof, in so far as it had not collapsed of its own accord, was torn down. Damages estimated to be 100,000 Reichsmarks.” At around one o’clock in the afternoon, Jewish prayer books and Torah scrolls were burned in the street on Grosse Schiffgasse.


Eyewitness reports from the pogrom spoke of the trauma these frum (strictly observant) Jewish people suffered, as Torah scrolls were dragged out of the synagogue and trampled by the mob, and as young boys had to watch while their mothers’ head coverings were torn off and their mothers were publicly humiliated.