Agriculture & Plant Breeding in Moravia #austria-czech

Celia Male <celiamale@...>

One of the greatest joys of the internet is that one can find unlikely connections
between people, events and subjects.

Fanni LOW*, a new dweller on my family tree, was born in Zborowitz/Zoborowitz,
Kremsier in ca 1831 and died in Vienna in 1923. She is buried with her husband
Abraham [Albert] BAUER and son Carl in the ZF, Vienna ZF Tor 1 Group 20, Row 8,
Grave 36. Descendants of the BAUER family married into the LANGRAF & GEYERHAHN
families of Zagreb/Vienna and Nikolsburg/Vienna respectively.

I had never heard of Zborowitz but did manage to find a reference to the "blue
poppy" of Zoborowitz and the wheat variety, Zborowitzer Kolbenweizen. These
appear in a fascinating website:
[nb: one long URL - paste it all into your browser]

which reveals that many of the places we write about in Moravia were in the
forefront of innovative plant breeding experiments at the turn of the 20th

The experimental stations had been set up by the famous Viennese Mendelian
scholar, Erich von Tschermak, himself a distant relative of the Moravian monk,
Gregor Mendel.

Hodonin [Goding]*, Krumlov [Krumau /Frainspitz], Zborovice [Zoborowitz],
Nezamyslice, Nezamieslitz, estate Dolloplass); Straznice [Steinitz]; Breclav
[Lundenburg], Uhersky Ostroh [Ungarisch Ostra] - were all Moravian trail-blazing
locations for development of new varieties of cereals, poppies, legumes,
soya-beans, pulses and other plant varieties.

Two prominent Moravian-Viennese Jewish families were involved in large-scale
19th century agriculture: the Rohatetz-Bisenzer Zucker Fabriken Rudolf AUSPITZ
und Co. became the only sugar manufacturer in northern Moravia and the STRAKOSCH
family had huge interests in sugar, cereals and integrated agricultural in Lower
Austria [Hohenau].

It is likely that some our SIG members had forbears who were attached to these
establishments.** But who and when and where? A few minutes surfing brought up
the interview with one of our most famous Viennese plant geneticists/physiologists
- Otto HERZBERG-FRANKEL [Vienna 4 Nov 1900 - Canberra 21 Nov 1998]:

Otto's father was Ludwig HERZBERG-FRANKEL, a successful Viennese lawyer, and his
mother was Therese SOMMERSTEIN. Otto had three brothers. One of his cousins was
the famous historian Lewis NAMIER [Warsaw 1888 - London 1960] born as Ludwik
BERNSZTAIN vel NIEMIROWSKI]. After obtaining his doctorate, hampered by
anti-semitism, Frankel says:
"I had nowhere to go, nothing to do in life. It was very hard. One of my father's
clients, an Austrian baron, had a large sugar factory and farms producing sugar
beet in Slovakia, [at Diosegh] ....... and my father arranged that I would be able
to work there without pay."

In the 1920s, Frankel went to the Plant Breeding Institute, Cambridge [UK] to work
with A E Watkins, a very good wheat cytogeneticist and evolutionist. He already
had experience in this area as he tells us that he had worked on wheat breeding
in Czechoslovakia.

Otto Frankel's life history is briefly described in
[One long URL]

So not only did many of us have Moravian forbears but some of the genetic
varieties in the cereals and other vital crops we eat and use today may have
originated >from one of the very same towns they came from.

Celia Male [UK]

* with umlaut on the letter "O"

** Rudolf AUSPITZ remembered five pensioners of
this company in his will. I noted them down when I
attended the opening of the exhibition at the Jewish
Museum in Vienna on Nov 10, 2004: "The Liebens -
150-year History of a Viennese Family": These lucky
pensioners were:

Lucie BAUER 16.2.1871; Bertha BRODA 1.8.1855
Frau J ROTHMANN 1.8.1875; Josef KOHN 1857
and Rosa GOGELA 20.5.1866

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