PROPERTY FROM THE DISTINGUISHED PRIVATE COLLECTION OF DR. RICHARD TELTSCHER
The oldest documentary evidence of a Jew from Nikolsburg (present-day Mikulov, Czech Republic) dates from 1369, but a Jewish community was probably first founded by those expelled from Vienna and Lower Austria in 1420 and from Brno and Znojmo in 1454. By 1590, the Jewish population of the town numbered about 460 to 480 souls belonging to 96 households. Meanwhile, around the last quarter of the sixteenth century, Nikolsburg passed from Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian II (1527-1576) to Baron Adam von Dietrichstein (1527-1590), and in 1591 Adam’s son Maximilian (1561-1611) issued the present privilege.
According to this document, instead of having to perform forced, unpaid labor, Jews would be required to pay 200 gulden annually to the lord of the manor (as already established by Adam von Dietrichstein the year before), and in exchange for not having to deliver mail within Nikolsburg and its immediate environs, they would now pay 50 gulden quarterly. They would also be taxed 50 pounds of fresh beef weekly and 60 pounds of animal fat annually. Most significantly, the document grants the Jews the right to elect their own impartial judges for two-year terms in return for one ton of oil per annum. Under the relatively favorable provisions of this and subsequent privilegia, Nikolsburg Jewry began to thrive, growing to become the largest and most important Jewish community in Moravia up to the middle of the nineteenth century.
Dr. Richard Teltscher (1888-1974) was born in Nikolsburg (Mikulov) and trained as a lawyer in Vienna before joining the family wine business. Fascinated by the history and culture of Moravian Jewry, he built up an important private collection of Judaica. Some of these items were sent to London, where he spent the war years and lived out the rest of his life.
Marie Buňatová, “Die Nikolsburger Juden 1560-1620: Wirtschaftliche Prosperität unter adeligem Schutz,” in Sabine Hödl, Peter Rauscher, and Barbara Staudinger (eds.), Hofjuden und Landjuden: Jüdisches Leben in der Frühen Neuzeit (Berlin: Philo, 2004), 333-361.
Jaroslav Klenovský, Historic Sites of Jewish Mikulov, trans. Ernest E. Rosenbluth (Mikulov: Regional Museum, 2000), 5.
Soňa Nezhodová, Židovský Mikulov (Brno: Matice moravská, 2006), 34, 109-110.
Bruno Mauritz Trapp, “Geschichte der Juden in Nikolsburg,” in Hugo Gold (ed.), Die Juden und Judengemeinden Mährens in Vergangenheit und Gegenwart: Ein Sammelwerk (Brno: Jüdischer Buch- und Kuntsverlag, 1929), 417-444, at p. 419.
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