Czech Republic

mogen david




LOCATION: Břeclav is a small town in Moravia, located at 48.45 longitude and 16.50 latitude, 50 km SE of Brno, 7 km SSE of Podivin
Map on Google.)

HISTORY:  The earliest record of the Jewish community of Břeclav dates from 1414, although the community may have existed since the founding of the town in 1030.  In the 16th century the community was large enough to have a temple. In 1572 Yehuda ben Bezalel Löw-Liva was chairman of the synod of Moravian rabbis in Břeclav.  As in other Moravian cities, in 1574 the Jews of Břeclav suffered a brutal pogrom until Kaiser Maximillian II took them under his protection. 
                      The war years of 1605, 1619-1622 and 1643 hit the Jews of Břeclav particularly hard because the town itself became a battleground.  On 28 June 1605 the troops of the Hungarian Prince Bocskay plundered the town.  At the beginning of the 30-years war the castle and the town were burned to the ground by the Kaiser's troops.  The town was afflicted by the Turks and the Tatars.  In 1638 the town had just 20 Jewish inhabitants in 6 houses.  The invasion by the Swedes on 3 May 1643 and the following plague caused many deaths.  The temple and cemetery were destroyed and the community practically annihilated.
                      In 1651 a second group of Jewish inhabitants came to the town from Feldsberg, Austria (now Valtice, Moravia) with the permission of Prince Karl Eusebius Liechtenstein and his wife Johanna Beatrix.  The temple was rebuilt in 1672.  In 1697, as the men assembled outside the synagogue in the bitter cold for the evening prayers and waited for the temple servant who was late bringing the key, the roof fell in.  To commemorate the miracle, the day 11 Tebet became a holiday and fast day in Břeclav. 
                      In 1702, 30 Jewish families lived in 12 houses in Břeclav.  Around 1723, the Prince was engaged in a fierce chess match in Vienna with a visiting Marquis from France.  Seeing no way out of his position, and fearing the loss of his princely wager, the Prince asked the Marquis to postpone the match so that he could call on one of his tenants in Břeclav, who he was convinced could win the match.  The pieces were put under glass and the game was postponed while the Prince sent for the Jew Juda Löb.  Juda looked over the position and said that although it looked bad for the Prince, the game was not yet lost.  He took over the game and ultimately prevailed against the angry Marquis.  In thanks, the Prince sent Juda home in his own wagon and allowed him to build a house on the Prince's land in Unter-Themenau where Juda's descendants, the Kuffner family, lived from 1723 to 1871.
By decree of 24 October 1726, the number of Jewish families was limited to 66.  During the war of succession between Empress Maria Theresia and the Prussian King Friedrich II, on 25 March 1742 the town burned to the ground as a result of a smoking accident by a careless Hussar soldier.
                      In 1787 the Jews of Breclav were required to take family names.  A document dated 29 September 1787 shows the old and new names of 61 families.  It is reproduced in Hugo Gold's 1929 book.  The names taken include:  Sternfeld, Kuffner, Schwitzer, Stern, Brum, Fischer, Neubach, Singer, Mai, Altbach, Volk, Weiss, Neumann, Rosenbaum, Klinger, Ditz, Bohrer, Grünbaum, Reich, Künstler, Fränk, Sulzer, Stein, Heiliger, Mallowan, Hoffmann, Haas, Zechner, Reiner, Gröger, Glück, Zeilinger, Petersel, Bittner, Schwoner, Lang, Goldschmidt, Blau, Weinberger, Goldreich, Morgenstern, Stöhr, Weiss, Nascher and Schlesinger.
In 1797 there were 325 Jews in Břeclav; 363 in 1830; 434 in 1848; 457 in 1857; 532 in 1869; 649 in 1879; 740 in 1890; 759 in 1900; and 589 in 1930 (4.3% of the total population).
                      On 21 November 1805 French troops occupied the town before the battle of Austerlitz.  The town remained occupied until 3 January 1806.  On 24 March 1812 a fire broke out at the Jewish butcher's and destroyed all the Jewish houses.  16 Jews died in the cholera epidemic of 1831, and 10 Jews during the epidemic of 1866.  16 Jews from Břeclav died in World War I, while the community cared for thousands of refugees from Galicia and Bukovina.  In 1942, all the remaining Jews were deported and none survived. 

GENEALOGICAL RESOURCES:  Birth, Death and Marriage record books for Břeclav dating from 1784 may be located at the Czech State Archives in Prague, Statni istredni archiv, tr. Milady Horokove 133, CZ-166 21 Praha 6, Czech Republic, tel/fax: +42 (2) 333-20274.  Search JewishGen/Internet resources for Břeclav

NOTABLE RESIDENTS AND DESCENDANTS:  Břeclav is the native town of the opera singer Julius Lieban (b. 1857 Břeclav, d. 1940 Berlin).  The factory owner Ignac Kuffner and Rabbi Dr. Heinrich Schwenger are buried in the cemetery.
                      The rabbis of Břeclav were:  Salomo Schmol b. Chajim Meisterl (lived 1606 in Israel); Simson; Meir from Feldseberg; Petachja b. Mosche from Eisenstadt; Elieser b. Jizchak Halewi (1697, also went to Israel); Nata Katz; Efraim Katz Hakadosch (martyred); Eljokim Götzl b. Zewi Halewi; Kalonymos (Kalman) Hakohen; Josef Morgenstern (1760); Jechiel b. Nesanel Schemuel (d. 1786); Mordechai Banet (1787-1789, later Mikulov); Juda Löb Glück (1789-1809); Abraham Bäck (1809-1819); Salomo Fried (1819-1830); Israel Chaim Schrötter (1833-1839); Abraham Rabel b. Mosche from Austerlitz (d. 1841 age 29); Wolf Mühlrad (1841-1862); Dr. Nathan Müller (1862-1872); Dr. Siegmund Gross (1872-1911); Dr. Heinrich Schwenger (1907-1911).
                      The judges of Břeclav were: Alexander Süsskind (1734), Isak Hirsch Schwoner (1787); Samuel Goldreich (1801); Wolf Kuffner (1803-1806); Jakob Sternfeld (1810); Jakob Schück (1819, 1832); David Kuffner (1827-1829, 1831); Markus Rosenbaum (1830); Simon Schwitzer (1833-1835); Markus Goldschmidt (1836); Markus Bittner (1840-1845); Jakob Rosenbaum (1846) and Jakob Kuffner (1847-1848).  The Jewish mayors and community leaders were Markus Goldschmidt (1849); Jakob Rosenbaum (1850-1856); Hermann Kuffner (1857-1860, 1867); Markus Bittner (1860-1866); Gabriel Stein (1866-1867, 1872-1876); David Kuffner (1868-1871); Leoipold Stein (1871-1872); Jakob Hoffmann (1876-1879); Samuel Goldschmidt (1879-1882); Samuel Glück (1882-1887); Jakob Fischer (1887-1902); Moritz Holländer (1902-1918); Hermann Stern (1883-1886); Adolf Schreiber (1886-1904); Josef Holländer (1904-1919); Karl Frank (1919-1922); and William Gold (from 1922).
                      The ggg-grandson of Moriz Hoffmann (b. Břeclav), E. Randol Schoenberg, is a moderator of Jewishgen's Austria-Czech SIG and the submitter of this page.


CEMETERIES:   The cemetery location is suburban, on flat land, and isolated with no sign but with inscriptions on the pre-burial house.  The cemetery is reached by turning directly off a public road. Access to the cemetery is open.  The cemetery is surrounded by a continuous masonry wall with a gate that locks.  The size of cemetery is 0.8534 hectares, unchanged since before WWII. Most of the 500-1,000 gravestones in the cemetery are in their original location, with 20-100 not in their original locations and 50-75% of the surviving stones toppled or broken.  The oldest known gravestone is 1709.  Tombstones in the cemetery are datable from the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries.  Tombstones and memorial markers made of marble, granite, limestone, and sandstone.  Tombstones are flat shaped stones, finely smoothed and inscribed stones, flat stones with carved relief decoration, double tombstones, multi-stone monuments, and obelisks, some with traces of painting on their surfaces, iron decorations or lettering, bronze decorations or lettering, and/or metal fences around graves.  Inscriptions are in Hebrew, German, and/or Czech.  The cemetery contains no known mass graves.  The present owner of the cemetery property is the municipality.  The property is now used for Jewish cemetery purposes and recreational use (park, playground, sports field.)  Properties adjacent to the cemetery are residential. Private individuals visit the cemetery occasionally.  The cemetery is known to have been vandalized during World War II, and repeatedly since then.  Care of the cemetery consists of re-erection of stones and clearing of vegetation by local non-Jewish residents, local or municipal authorities, regional or national authorities, and Jewish groups within the country.  Restoration work was carried out in the 1980s.  Care now consists of occasional clearing or cleaning authorized by local/regional authorities and performed by a caretaker paid by a local contribution.  A pre-burial house with wall inscriptions and a custodian's house are located within the boundaries of the cemetery.  Security (uncontrolled access), weather erosion, pollution, vandalism, and vegetation are moderate threats.  Incompatible nearby development (existing, planned or proposed) is a serious threat.  The vegetation overgrowth in the cemetery is a constant problem, disturbing stones.  Water drainage at the cemetery is a seasonal problem.  The cemetery survey was conducted on 8 March 1992 by: ing. Arch. Jaroslav Kelovsky, Zebetinska 13, 623 00 Brno.



CONTACTS: Town officials: magistrate ing. Jan Stejskal, Mestsky urad, Masarykovo nam. 1, 690 02 Břeclav, tel. 0627/22935.  Regional political authorities: ing. Arch. Lydie Filipova, Okresni urad -referat kultury, address as above, tel. 0627/414.  Also interested in the site: 1. Regionalni muzeum, dir. Dr. Dobromila Brichtova, zamek, 692 01 Mikulov, tel. 0625/2255; and 2. Ing. Jaroslav Zika, Postorenske ul., 690 02 Břeclav, tel. 0; and 3. Otto Pisk, Sovadinova 5, 690 02 Břeclav, tel. 0627/23144.  The key to the cemetery is held by the caretaker: Metsky urad Brechlav, ing. Kostrhun. 

SOURCES:  Gedenkbuch der Untergegangenen Judengemeinden Mährens, Hugo Gold ed. (1974), pp. 79-80; Die Juden und JudengemeindenMährens in Vergangenheit unde Gegenwart, Hugo Gold ed. (1929), pp: 321-329 (pictures); Jiri Fiedler, Jewish Sights of Bohemia and Moravia (1991), p. 136; International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies Cemetery Project, Czech Republic, Břeclav

Compiled by E. Randol Schoenberg
Webmaster: Ann  L. Fuller (

Last updated 4 August 2022
Copyright © 2013 E. Randol Schoenberg (

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