Re: ABELES/AREND #austria-czech

Celia Male <celiamale@...>

Susan Lubow >from ? is researching the family of David
ABELES and Eva KUSSY of Bohemia. She writes: I have
come across a number of ABELES family members who
changed their surname to AREND, probably shortly
after WWII. I understand that there are other
(unrelated) ABELES families whose members have made
the same change. It was probably done to sound less
Jewish. Does anyone know why the name AREND was

My answer would be why not? Abeles was an archetypal
Jewish name and the butt of many jokes. There are 788
listings of ABELES and variants on Yad Vashem.

If you check on AREND and variants you will find 157
victims - many >from the Netherlands. Were they
originally ABELES? I suspect not. Perhaps they were
variants of Aaron? Perhaps some Bohemian and Moravian
ABELES were also *Aaron* before the Joseph II name

There is some confirmation of my snap amateur
judgement in this website, but we will no doubt hear
more >from our real name experts:

...... "we come to great-great-grandson Adolf
HINRICHSEN. Of him, I have a photograph. Adolf married
Sophie nee AARON. Of the people with this very
beautiful and very Jewish surname, many have changed
into the very usual surnames AHRENS, AHRENDT, AHRNDT,
probably 90% of the people with these names originate
from Jewish families named AARON."
The standard reason [in Vienna] for choosing a name
starting with the same letter as the original was that
one could still use the monogrammed handkerchiefs,
table linen, and silverware.

Two well-known Viennese ABELES families, who were
business partners but were unrelated, changed their
names to ARENS [in 1892] and ANNINGER [in 1888].
The ARENS family came >from Reichenau, Bohemia and
the ANNINGER family are descended >from a David
ABELES >from Waltsch [Valec], Bohemia. Waltsch as well
as being famous as the origin of the ABELES/ANNINGER
family of Vienna, is probably more famous for its
fossils and the famous watermouse [Carl Linne 1758].

These ABELES name changes took place at the end of the
19th century. There were obviously many other early
ABELES name changes - see:

where AREND and ANNINGER are listed as well as many
ABELES Czech holocaust victims.

NOw to return to the name ABELES and the use of the
name in phrases and jokes. In May 2004, Martin Tompa
of Seattle wrote to us about the phrase *Cafe Abeles*
[please search the Austria-Czech message archives]:

I replied at the time: So when Martin's father called
out "Wo spielen wir, im Cafe Abeles?" [where are we
playing ... in Cafe Abeles?] he was obviously
referring to the chaotic state the card game had
degenerated into. It would be interesting to know if
this was a phrase used by Viennese referring to any
chaotic conditions.

A few months ago I did some research on Viennese cafes
and I did indeed find a cafe in the Mariahilferstrasse
whose proprietors were called ABELES in the early
years of the 20th century. I walked along the street
to find it - but I think it had turned into dingy
digital watch emporium! Could this perhaps have been
the notorious *Tarock Den* where many Viennese Jews
congregated and which gave rise to the now "homeless

There is a 1927 Austrian film {Dir. Hans Steinhoff}
called "Familientag im Hause Prellstein" with the
alternative Title: Cafe Abeles. Although I visited the
Film Museum in Vienna, no one had seen the vintage
film or could tell me where the phrase occurred.

I live in hope that there will be a remake perhaps
entitled "Cafe Arend" or "Cafe Anninger" and we may
get the answer to Martin Tompa's original query - see:

Celia Male [U.K.]

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