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JEWS AND AUSTRIAN FINANCE* 

Samuel Oppenheimer und sein Kreis. By Max Grunwald. 
Leipzig, i 91 3. pp. xii + 358. 

This is a book that will gladden Prof. Sombart's heart, for 
it shows the important influence that a certain number of 
' Hofjuden', connected by family or business with Samuel Oppen- 
heimer, had upon the Austrian finances at the end of the 
seventeenth century, and for the first half of the eighteenth 
century. They were mainly centred at Vienna, though Jews 
had been expelled from the imperial city as recently as 1670. 
A favoured number, however, including Oppenheimer, were 
allowed to return and live there with a special Schutzbrief, which 
freed them from all taxes except the special contributions made 
directly to the treasury. This especial privilege was granted them 
owing to the experience the Austrian treasury had gained of 
their usefulness in obtaining money. Before the expulsion in 
1670 they could be depended upon to supply 50 or 100,000 
gulden at a day's notice, whereas after the expulsion the court 
could not get ten or fifteen thousand gulden after a week's delay. 
At that time there were 477 families scattered throughout fifty- 
nine localities in Austria, and merely for protection they brought 
in an income of over 50,000 florins. It was reckoned that their 
expulsion cost the state 80,000 florins a year, and the various 
lords of the land, under whose protection they resided, another 
20,000. It was not, therefore, surprising that individuals were 
allowed to drift back almost immediately after the expulsion; 
and we find Oppenheimer the first of these applying for repay- 
ment of moneys due to him for supplies to the army in 1672, 
only two years later than the expulsion. Ten years later he 
undertook to provision the whole of the Austrian army, and 
made all the arrangements for the siege of Ofen in 1686. His 

* These reviews were put in type after the lamented death of Dr. Joseph 
Jacobs and could not have the advantage of his revision, [Editor.] 
VOL. VII. 113 I 



114 THE JEWISH QUARTERLY REVIEW 

advances had reached 1,200,000 florins by the end of 1688, by 
which time he had acquired a practical monopoly of the fiscal 
policy of Austria, at least as regards military operations, providing 
the troops with clothing, weapons, food, transport, train, siege, 
and bridge materials, as well as hospitals and even pensions and 
decorations for the officers. He was practically the founder of 
the Austrian marine, sending in the same year, 1688, one hundred 
ships to Belgrade, and making a loan of 60,000 florins without 
any interest for that purpose. His operations extended through 
Austria, the west and south of Germany, Hungary, Transylvania, 
and Servia, and even to Switzerland and Italy. He got powder 
from Holland, Poland, and Russia; saltpetre from Bohemia, 
Silesia, and Hungary ; weapons from Styria and Carinthia ; linen 
from Holland ; wool from Bohemia, horses and rafts from 
Salzburg and Bavaria ; corn from Bamberg, Mayence, and 
Treves ; wine from the Rhine and Moselle ; brandy from 
Moravia. 

His agents and correspondents were scattered through forty- 
five places, from Amsterdam to Italy, from Brussels to Nurem- 
berg, from Breslau to Philippsburg, from Prague to Berlin and 
Frankfort. Instead of direct profits, Oppenheimer often claimed 
various privileges, like free transport, priority among state creditors, 
monopoly of powder manufacture and the like. He provided 
the court with jewels, wine, spices, liveries, forage, and arranged 
for any special undertaking like entertaining princes, pensions to 
generals or presents to ambassadors. Oppenheimer hoped by 
this means to keep his place against competition of other com- 
missaries, often including members of the high nobility. He was 
enabled to do this solely through his credit, which was often 
supported by that of his protector Prince Ludwig. By November 
1695 he had supplied 5,159,441 florins, and had only received 
back 2,783,600. Payments were made mainly through setting 
aside the various taxes like the military, Turkish, and Jewish tax 
of Bohemia, the brewery tax of Silesia, the customs of Linz, 
Vienna, as well as the salt and mint monopolies of the latter. 
Even the imperial contributions were put aside for this purpose. 



JEWS AND AUSTRIAN FINANCE — JACOBS 1 1 5 

By 1700 even these were insufficient to cover the debt of three 
millions owed to Oppenheimer. At times even worn-out horses, 
unused uniforms, confiscated contraband and the like were 
delivered in payment. Notwithstanding all this he was not 
allowed to have a prayer-room in his own house, though he had 
founded a synagogue in Padua. He charged six per cent, with 
addition of a half to three and one-half per cent, 'provision', 
and three and one-half to five per cent, agio ; but interest was 
accumulated upon interest. Debts to him rose from 52,600 
florins in 1685 to 700,000 in 1692; and in 1695 he was owed 
over three and a half millions, which had only been reduced to 
three millions by 17 01. He supplied for the Italian and Imperial 
War eight million florins, and kept the state credit for over ten 
years. 

There was, however, some popular outcry against putting the 
fate of an empire into the hands of a Jew, which led to a tumult 
on July 21, 1700, in the Peasants' Market where Oppenheimer 
had dwelt. His house was attacked and entered, and damage 
done to the extent of 100,000 florins. At that time the court 
owed him seven million florins. Yet in 1701 he lent three 
and a third millions. Oppenheimer himself died in 1703. 

All this work was undertaken in the midst of a mass of 
lawsuits against him, notwithstanding which he was entrusted 
with the money of many Christians, even spiritual nobles. He 
helped to ransom the Jews taken at Ofen, 1686, and helped in 
the production of many books, including Gans, Zemach David, 
in Yiddish, Frankfort, 1689. Prince Eugene used to send him 
Hebrew manuscripts and books. He helped to prevent the 
appearance of Eisenmenger's malicious books. He was called 
'imperial factor' 1674, 'Oberfaktor' 1699, and ' Oberkriegsfaktor ' 
from 1 701. With his death his firm failed and the Austrian 
finances fell into disorder. The claims of Oppenheimer's son 
on the Imperial treasury was supported by Elector George of 
Hanover (afterwards George I of England), Prince George of 
Brunswick, and the Elector of Treves. 

Nor did the assistance of Jewish capital to Austrian finance 

I a 



Il6 THE JEWISH QUARTERLY REVIEW 

cease with Oppenheimer's death. Dr. Grunwald reckons that, 
from 1698 to 1739, Wertheimer, Sinzheim, D'Aguilar, Hirschl, 
Schlesinger, Spitz, and Oppenheimer's son supplied the Austrian 
treasury with no less than seventy-eight million florins, an average 
of about two million florins per annum, or about a third of the 
total revenue of the state. These loans were secured on salt 
excise, the Jewish tax, and the copper, cotton, and tobacco 
monopolies. It was not to be wondered at that the Viennese 
Jews were, during that period, the leaders of European Jewry, as 
was shown in the Eisenmenger case and other instances. 

All this information and much more is contained in Dr. Grun- 
wald's elaborate work, which has gained the Rappaport prize and 
is published by the historical commission of the Jewish com- 
munity of Vienna. He has obtained his materials from the 
Viennese archives, which are naturally full of papers relating 
to the activity of the commissaries of the army during the period 
when Prince Eugene and the Duke of Lorraine were obtaining 
their great triumphs, which curbed the ambition of Louis XIV 
in the West and thrust back the Turk in the East. It is impos- 
sible to praise too highly the industry with which Dr. Grunwald 
has brought order out of the chaos of these state papers and 
elaborate accounts. The summary contained in the table, in- 
serted at p. 170, must have cost him an enormous amount of 
work, and enables one to know the exact state of affairs between 
any of the Jewish ' factors ' mentioned there and the Austrian 
treasury for over forty years. Besides these contributions to 
financial history, the book contains much information about 
family history, and one only regrets that the pedigree of the 
Wertheimers, of which a summary is given on pp. 250-2, was not 
printed in full. They were connected with no less than 150 
other families scattered over fifty-eight communities. We are 
beginning to appreciate the importance of family relations in 
accounting for the influence of Jews on the financial history of 
Europe. 

This is the chief criticism that one feels inclined to make 
upon Dr. Grunwald's work. He gives us elaborate details but 



JEWS AND AUSTRIAN FINANCE — JACOBS 117 

does not sufficiently connect them with general tendencies and 
movements. Where and how did Oppenheimer and his circle 
get the large sums which they lent to Austria? Occasionally 
Dr. Grunwald mentions that some of the princes, secular and 
spiritual, entrusted their money to Oppenheimer and his friends, 
and it may be conjectured that he and they were lending not so 
much their own capital as that of others. It may be conjectured 
that, when Samuel Oppenheimer's son Emanuel was supported 
by the Elector George of Hanover (afterwards George I of 
England), Duke George of Brunswick, and the Elector of Treves, 
in attempting to get his claims on the Austrian treasury recognized, 
these illustrious personages were not without personal interest in 
the result. It would have been of importance to know how much 
they were interested or, in other words, how much of their capital 
had been thus advanced. So, too, in giving some account of the 
wide activities of Oppenheimer in supplying the Austrian army, 
it would have been of interest to know how far local Jewish firms, 
or individuals, at Lemberg, or Prague, or elsewhere, were adven- 
turing their own capital with Oppenheimer and were willing to 
wait till he had been paid by the state. And if they so waited, 
had they claim for interest on the amount thus advanced from 
Oppenheimer ? Or had they shares in his ultimate profits ? In 
other words, it would have been illuminating to have had some 
notion of the modus operandi of these great Jewish loans to 
compare with the present-day practice. 

Another point on which light is wanted is, why the Jews had 
more accessible and more fluid capital than others. It is all very 
well to talk with Prof. Sombart of the innate Jewish tendency to 
commerce, but what these Viennese Jews did for the emperor in 
the eighteenth century had already been done by the Fuggers, 
the Welsers, and others in the sixteenth century ; and one would 
like to know how the loan capital had passed from Christian to 
Jewish hands in the interim. The Thirty Years' War had inter- 
vened it is true, but why had not this ruined Jewish capitalists 
as well as others. All these questions are not even raised, 
still less answered by Dr. Grunwald, and this makes his book, 



Il8 THE JEWISH QUARTERLY REVIEW 

valuable as it is, rather raw material for the study of Jewish 
finance in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries than an 
adequate treatment of it. We still want work more analogous 
to Ehrenburg's Zeitalter der Fugger, which, while giving details, 
will also give the general tendencies upon which these details 
throw light. 

JEWISH IMMIGRATION INTO THE UNITED STATES 

Le Juif errant d'aujourd'hui. By L. Hersch. Paris : Giard 

and BRiiRE, 1913. pp. 333. 
Die Wanderbewegungen der Juden. By Wlad. Kaplun-Kogan, 

Bonn : A. Marcus and E. Weber, 1913. pp. 164. 
Jewish Immigration to the United States. By Samuel Joseph. 

New York : Longmans, Green & Co., 1914. pp. 206. 

During the past fifteen years or so the Commissioner- 
General of Immigration has been publishing reports in which 
the race and provenance of the immigrants are duly rubricated, 
and the ' Hebrews ' thus entering the United States are accord- 
ingly classified according to numbers, countries they come from, 
literacy, sex, ages, civil condition, destination, occupations, and 
the amount of money with which they are provided. By a 
curious coincidence, during the past year, three sociological 
inquirers, Swiss, German, and American, have brought together 
and analysed the information contained in these reports with 
regard to Jewish immigration in the United States, on which we 
have at last full and authentic information for at least the years 
1899-19 1 4. 

All three inquirers deal not alone with the immigrants on 
their arrival in this country, but also with their condition in their 
countries of origin. But Dr. Joseph deals with the subject 
historically, Drs. Hersch and Kaplun-Kogan more statistically, 
and therefore more in the general line of the rest of their investi- 
gations. One cannot help thinking that Dr. Joseph has wasted 
a good deal of time in giving his history of the political condition 
of Eastern Europe in regard to the Jews, which might almost