Celia Male <celiamale@...>
I was most interested to read Hanus Grab's careful analysis of the name
changes in Schwarz Kostelletz Kaurzimer Kreis. First of all, I apologise
that I made minor mistakes in the spelling of both *Schwarz* and *Kaurzimer*,
in the subject line, which are now rectified.
Perhaps I should have written an introductory sentence to my original
posting, as I fear I may have mislead Hanus. I had *only* picked out the
name in the census of this Herrschaft which showed previous names.
Thinking of Hans Weigl, I was particularly struck by the number of Herschels!
My interest was the actual choice of names - thus it was not a statistical
There are actually 51 families in this Herrschaft and a surprisingly large
number - 18 - are without Schutz status, ie about 35% compared with an
overall figure of 6% throughout all the Kreis. Out of the 51 families only
the 19 I mentioned are listed with name changes - so there are over 30
families who apparently did not need to change their names by the deadline
of Jan. 1 1788; alternatively any name change which took place has not been
recorded in the census.
If I understand Hanus correctly, the majority of Bohemian families already
had their "Czech and Germanic" names well before 1788, so perhaps these 30
families had old-established family names?
It seems odd to record 19 name changes and not the others, so I suspect
Hanus's suggestion is indeed correct. In my family, I know that many family
names were listed in the BMD records of Grossbock and Kolin, many years
before the Toleranz Patent Edict deadline. You can also find family names
in the 1783 census of Bohemia.
The names listed in Schwarz Kostelletz Herrschaft in 1793, with no comment
of a name change are:
AKER BERNER BRAUNER DUB* DONATH HEKSEH GANSZ
GRUNBERG HORACK* KAIS KAM KATZ KAUFMANN KOSCHERAK
KRAUS LASCH LENOCH* LIPA* MARTINOWES* PACOWSKY*
PATZOWSKY* PICK POPPER REICHMAN STRANSKY* TAUSIK
This makes me wonder why some Bohemian families did adopt "Czech or Germanic"
names so early - was it perhaps because they were already well-established
in business and trade, ie secularized, emancipated and perhaps even *middle
class*, before their time?
They realised, without any enforced legislation, that a name change would
help them get on in society at large and in the "world of trade " as it
However Hanus writes to me [I have his permission to quote] refuting this
commercial connection, suggesting that the background to the early name
change was *linguistic*. Bohemian Jewish families no longer spoke Yiddish -
in areas with a Czech majority they spoke Czech and in areas with German
majority, German was the language of choice. Thus depending on which areas
they lived in, they chose Czech or German family names.
Private and business letters were often written in German or Czech but
with Hebrew characters. After the reforms of Emperor Joseph II [compulsory
German schooling for Jewish children], fewer and fewer Jews used the Czech
language at home and German became their main language.
The opposite trend was noted in Bohemia after 1918, because the Jews
identified with the Czechoslovak democracy in opposition to the totalitarian
systems in Germany, Austria, Hungary and Poland.
In the list of surnames above, those with an asterisk are Czech names.
KOSCHERAK is a Jewish name with a Czech ending. AKER and HEKSEH [probable
KAIS too?) are Jewish names. Czech and Jewish names became Germanised
with change of style of writing and Hanus gave me many examples. It is
hard to display the changes because we cannot show the diacriticals:
HORACK; KOSCHERAK; LIPA; MARTINOWES; PACOWSKY/PATZOWSKY; STRANSKY; POLLAK;
RAUBITSCHEK/ROBITSCHEK; KOLLINSKY; BENESCH; WOTTITZKY; ZALUD; SUCHARIPA;
Thinking about this, surely apart >from the linguistic aspects pointed out
by Hanus, these pre-Joseph II name changes point to an early secularization
of Bohemian Jewry as well?
Was the situation in Moravia similar?
Celia Male [U.K]