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A Noisy and Noisome Marketplace: The Jewish Tandelmarkt in Prague

  • Michael L. Miller (a1)

Abstract

The Jewish Tandelmarkt in Prague's Old Town was a nonresidential Jewish exclave, situated outside of Prague's Jewish Town. This thriving marketplace afforded Jewish merchants and peddlers an opportunity to ply their wares in the Old Town, but it also left them unprotected in the face of physical and verbal attacks. This article examines memoirs, travelogues, guidebooks, newspapers, novels, and visual images to understand how the Tandelmarkt (junk market) functioned in various discourses about Prague Jewry, especially in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Jews were vulnerable and exposed in the Tandelmarkt, but the centrality and visibility of this marketplace also allowed non-Jews to observe their “exotic” Jewish neighbors. A nineteenth-century novelist described the Tandelmarkt as a “theater” where passersby could “lose themselves” for half an hour in its disarray and commotion. At times it was a theater of violence, where Jews fell victim to attack. It was also a theater of emancipation, where Jews could show their Christian neighbors that they were capable of self-improvement and change.

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References

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1. [von Schirnding, Ferdinand], Prag und die Prager: Aus den Papieren eines Lebendig-Todten (Leipzig: Reclam, 1845), 8283. This work was published anonymously. On Schirnding's authorship, see Österreichisches Biographisches Lexikon 1815–1950, vol. 10 (Vienna: Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, 1991), 163.

2. Státníková, Pavla, Zmizelá Praha: Trhy a tržište (Prague: Paseka, 2010), 2224.

3. Robinson, G. W. S., “Exclaves,” Annals of the Association of American Geographers 49, no. 3 (September 1959): 283–95.

4. Lundén, Thomas, “Exclaves—Geographical and Historical Perspectives,” in European Exclaves in the Process of De-Bordering and Re-Bordering, ed. Jańczak, Jaroslaw and Osiewicz, Przemysław (Berlin: Logos Verlag, 2012), 1119; Vinokurov, Evgeny, A Theory of Enclaves (Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2007); Catudal, Honoré M., The Exclave Problem of Western Europe (University, AL: University of Alabama Press, 1979). There is also a vast scholarly literature on “ethnic enclaves,” written by urban sociologists interested in the distinctive cultural and economic characteristics displayed by neighborhoods—like Chinatown or Little Italy—with high concentrations of a single ethnic group.

5. Greenblatt, Rachel L., To Tell Their Children: Jewish Communal Memory in Early Modern Prague (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2014), 1112. The four towns had both Czech and German names: the Castle (Hradčany, Burgstadt), the Lesser Town (Malá Strana, Kleinseite), the Old Town (Staré Město, Altstadt), and the New Town (Nové Město, Neustadt).

6. For studies of Prague's Jewish Town, see Roubík, František, “Drei Beiträge zur Entwicklung der Judenemanzipation in Böhmen. II. Die Verhandlungen über die Erweiterung der Prager Judenstadt in der ersten Hälfte des neunzehnten Jahrhunderts,” Jahrbuch für die Geschichte der Juden in der Čechoslovakischen Republik 5 (1933): 338–91; Vince, Agnès, “Une ville dans la ville: La Judenstadt de Prague,” Les nouveaux cahiers (1988): 2128; Goldberg, Sylvie Anne, “La Judenstadt: Ségrégation sociale ou tissue urbain?,” Pardes 13 (1991): 1325; Vilímková, Milada, The Prague Ghetto (Prague: Aventinum, 1990).

7. Prokeš, Jaroslav, “Der Antisemitismus der Behörden und das Prager Ghetto in nachweissenbergischer Zeit,” Jahrbuch der Gesellschaft für die Geschichte der Juden in der Čechoslovakischen Republik 1 (1929): 124–33; Putík, Alexandr, “The Prague Jewish Community in the Late 17th and Early 18th Centuries,” Judaica Bohemiae 35 (1999): 16. After a fire destroyed much of the Jewish Town in 1689, the Old Town municipality asked Emperor Leopold I to expel the Jews from Prague. The Jews were allowed to remain in Prague and rebuild the Jewish Town, but a Special Commission for the Reconstruction of the Jewish Town proposed reducing the size.

8. Lieben, S. H., “Die Prager Brandkatastrophen von 1689 und 1754,” Jahrbuch der Jüdischen literarischen Gesellschaft 18 (1926): 175–93; Žáček, Wenzel, “Nach dem Brand des Prager Ghettos im Jahre 1754,” Jahrbuch der Gesellschaft für Geschichte der Juden in der Čechoslovakischen Republik 6 (1934): 157–92.

9. Henry Reeve, “Sketches of Bohemia, and the Slavonian Provinces of the Austrian Empire,” Metropolitan Magazine, 1837, 285.

10. A Handbook for Travellers in Southern Germany, being a guide to Bavaria, Austria, Tyrol, Salzburg, Styria &c., the Austrian and Bavarian Alps, and the Danube from Ulm to the Black Sea (London, 1844), 389.

11. Wischnitzer, Mark, “Origins of the Jewish Artisan Class in Bohemia and Morava, 1500–1648,” Jewish Social Studies 16 (1954): 335–50; Jakobovits, Tobias, “Die jüdischen Zünfte in Prag,” Jahrbuch der Gesellschaft für Geschichte der Juden in der Čechoslovakischen Republik 8 (1936): 57145.

12. Putík, “Prague Jewish Community,” 64.

13. Leininger, Věra, Auszug aus dem Ghetto (Singapore: Kuda Api Press, 2006), 251.

14. Katzenellenbogen, Pinḥas, Yesh manḥilin, ed. Feld, Yiẓḥak Dov (Jerusalem: Mekhon Ḥatam Sofer, 1986), 473 (siman 141). Italics my own.

15. When Emperor Charles VI ordered the confiscation of Hebrew books in Prague at the beginning of the eighteenth century, he specifically instructed his officials “to search every Jewish vault in the Tandelmarkt,” where “they found many books that the Jews had smuggled into the [market], and all of them were confiscated.” See Zinz, Aryeh Leib, “Toledot ha-rav ha-ga'on ha-r[av] r[abeinu] Yehonatan Eibeschütz,” Ha-ẓofe le-ḥokhmat Yisra'el 12 (1928): 135. For an extensive discussion of the Jewish Town's seven gates, see Roubík, “Drei Beiträge,” 420–22. The gates were finally torn down in 1822–23.

16. Schottky, Julius Max, Prag wie es war und wie es ist, vol. 1 (Prague: J. G. Calvesche Buchhandlung, 1831), 290–92. Hus was a preacher at the nearby Bethlehem Chapel, where he preached in Czech. He preached at least once (in Latin) at the Church of St. Gall.

17. A Handbook for Travellers in Southern Germany (London, 1844), 389. The Bethlehem Chapel, where Jan Hus preached, was at the other end of the Tandelmarkt.

18. Reeve, “Sketches of Bohemia,” 287.

19. K. L. Zap, Popsánj kr. hlawnjho města Prahy (Prague, 1835), 53f. Translation into English by Jindřich Toman.

20. Prag in seiner jetzigen Gestalt (Meissen, 1835), 174.

21. White, Walter, A July Holiday in Saxony, Bohemia, and Silesia (London: Chapman and Hall, 1857), 138. See HaCohen, Ruth, The Music Libel against the Jews (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2011).

22. White, July Holiday, 138.

23. Věra Leininger, Auszug aus dem Ghetto, 227–28 n. 5; Joseph Strasser, “Der Prager Tandelmarkt. Ein ehemaliges Kuriosum Prags,” Prager Tagblatt, March 12, 1916, 1–2.

24. Leininger, Auszug aus dem Ghetto, 227–28 n. 5.

25. Strang, John, Germany in MDCCCXXXI (New York: Theodore Foster, 1836), 251.

26. Prag in seiner jetzigen Gestalt (Meissen, 1835), 174. See also Wünsch, Christian Ernst, Rabinismus, oder Sammlung Talmudscher Thorheiten (Amsterdam, 1789), 216–56.

27. Leininger, Auszug aus dem Ghetto, 232–33.

28. Greenblatt, To Tell Their Children, 89–90. Greenblatt relates the travails of Hirsch ben Selig Yampels and Jacob ben Mendel Rofe, who received a death sentence (eventually commuted to three years’ hard labor) for purchasing stolen goods from a pair of Christian merchants. She also mentions Judah Leib ben David Hoschmann Hayyat, a cobbler who was arrested after allegedly striking a Christian pickpocket. In 1808, the silver pocket watch of Johan Adam Rang, a Christian muslin dealer, was stolen in the Tandelmarkt; see “Was gestohlen und verloren worden,” Kaiserlich Königlich priv. Prager Intelligenz-Blatt, November 9, 1808, 179.

29. [Selig Korn], Der jüdischer Gil Blas (Leipzig, 1834), 56. On Selig Korn (also known as Joseph Seligman Kohn), see Kestenberg-Gladstein, Ruth, Heraus aus der “Gasse”: Neuere Geschichte der Juden in den Böhmischen Ländern Zweiter Teil: 1830–1890 (Münster: LIT Verlag, 2002), 5768.

30. [Selig Korn], Der jüdischer Gil Blas, 59–60.

31. Ibid., 62.

32. Ibid., 62–63; Kestenberg-Gladstein, Heraus aus der “Gasse,” 65.

33. Karl Schram, “Elkele und Eleonore. Ein Bild aus dem Prager Ghetto,” Die Neuzeit, September 12 - November 14, 1862, 441–43, 453–55, 475–77, 487–90, 501–2, 510–13, 525, 536–38, 549–50. On Karl Schram (1828–1905), see Constant von Wurzbach, Biographisches Lexikon des Kaiserthums Oesterreich, vol. 31 (Vienna: L. C. Zamarski, 1876), 259.

34. Schram, “Elkele und Eleonore,” Die Neuzeit, November 14, 1862, 549.

35. On Georg Emanuel Opiz, see Hansjörg Krug, “Georg Emanuel Opiz (1775–1841),” Philobiblion 16 (1962): 227–59, and Richard I. Cohen, “The Visual Dreyfus Affair—A New Text?,” Studies in Contemporary Jewry 6 (1990): 83–84.

36. Prospect des Marckt oder Platzes in der Alt Stadt Prag gegen den Thein anzusehen; Prospect des so genannten Kleinen Ringes oder Platzes in der Alt-Stadt Prag; and Prospect gegen der Carmelitter-Kirch zu S. Gallen und danneben befindlichen Juden Tandel-Markt in der Alt-Stadt Prag. J. G. Ringlin also engraved a general overview of Prague: Prag, Gesamtansicht von der Neustätter Seiten aus dem Weingebürge anzusehen. All of these engravings can be found online at http://www.deutschefotothek.de/.

37. Walter S. Gibson, Pieter Bruegel and the Art of Laughter (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2006), 28–66.

38. Putík, “Prague Jewish Community,” 9; Tomáš Pěkný, Historie Židů v Čechách a na Moravě (Prague: Sefer, 2001), 302.

39. Gottlieb Bondy and Franz Dworský, Zur Geschichte der Juden in Böhmen, Mähren und Schlesien von 906 bis 1620, vol. 2 (Prague, 1906), 719–20.

40. Putík, “Prague Jewish Community,” 24.

41. Ibid., 25.

42. Ibid., 25–26.

43. S. H. Lieben, “Briefe von 1744–1748 über die Austreibung der Juden aus Prag,” Jahrbuch der Gesellschaft für Geschichte der Juden in der Čechoslovakischen Republik 4 (1932): 366; Stefan Plaggenborg, “Maria Theresia und die böhmischen Juden,” Bohemia 39 (1998): 11.

44. Miniaturgemälde von Prag (Prague, 1853), 87–88; Legis Glückselig, Illustrirter Wegweiser durch Prag (Prague: Carl Wilhelm Medau, 1853), 83; Roubík, “Drei Beiträge,” 365.

45. Joseph Schiffner, Gallerie der interessantesten und merkwürdigsten Personen Böhmens (Prague, 1804), 340. Thanks to Michael K. Silber for bringing this to my attention.

46. Leininger, Auszug aus dem Ghetto, 248. On the Hep Hep riots, see Stefan Rohrbacher, “The ‘Hep Hep’ Riots of 1819: Anti-Jewish Ideology, Agitation, and Violence,” in Exclusionary Violence: Antisemitic Riots in Modern German History, ed. Christhard Hoffman, Werner Bermann, and Helmut Walser-Smith (Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press, 2002), 23–42.

47. Roubík, “Drei Beiträge,” 364, 368.

48. Ibid., 367.

49. Jindřich Toman, “Making Sense of a Ruin: Nineteenth-Century Gentile Images of the Old Jewish Cemetery in Prague,” Bohemia 52, no. 1 (2012): 109.

50. Ibid., 108–22. German-language authors began writing about the Old Jewish Cemetery in the 1830s–1840s; Czech-language authors only in the 1880s–1890s.

51. Roubík, “Drei Beiträge,” 341.

52. Ibid., 352.

53. Christoph Stölzl, “Zur Geschichte der böhmischen Juden in der Epoche des modernen Nationalismus,” Bohemia 14, no. 1 (1973): 203–4.

54. Roubík, “Drei Beiträge,” 362; Leininger, Auszug aus dem Ghetto, 359–66.

55. Leininger, Auszug aus dem Ghetto, 372–73.

56. On the workers’ riots in June 1844, see Arnošt Klima, “Die Arbeiterunruhen in Böhmen 1844,” in Demokratische und soziale Protestbewegungen in Mitteleuropa, 1815–1848/49, ed. Helmut Reinalter (Frankfurt-am-Main: Suhrkamp, 1986), 230–64; Stanley Z. Pech, The Czech Revolution of 1848 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1969), 18–20; Martina Niedhammer, Nur eine “Geld-Emancipation”? Loyalitäten und Lebenswelten des Prager jüdischen Großbürgertums 1800–1867 (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2013), 56–58.

57. Hillel J. Kieval, “The Social Vision of Bohemian Jews: Intellectuals and Community in the 1840s,” in Assimilation and Community: The Jews in Nineteenth-Century Europe, ed. Jonathan Frankel and Steven J. Zipperstein (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992), 264.

58. [Ferdinand von Schirnding], Das Judenthum in Oesterreich und die böhmischen Unruhen (Leipzig: Wilhelm Engelmann, 1845), 138–39.

59. Ibid., 146.

60. Roubík, “Drei Beiträge,” 363–64; Cathleen M. Giustino, Tearing Down Prague's Jewish Town (Boulder, CO: East European Monographs, 2003), 161.

61. Giustino, Tearing Down Prague's Jewish Town, 161.

62. Roubík, “Drei Beiträge,” 369–70, 381; Leininger, Auszug aus dem Ghetto, 385–87.

63. Oesterreichisches Central-Organ fuer Glaubensfreiheit, Cultur, Geschichte und Literatur des Judenthums (1848): 114–15; “Das Jahr 1848,” Prager Tagblatt, May 1, 1898, 4; Leininger, Auszug aus dem Ghetto, 404.

64. Allgemeine Zeitung des Judenthums, May 15, 1848, 305.

65. Der Orient, May 20, 1848, 161.

66. M. Teller, “Bitte und Vorschlag an den israelitischen Handelsstand Prags, zu allernächst an die Kleinhändler des Tandelmarks,” Oesterreichisches Central-Organ fuer Glaubensfreiheit, Cultur, Geschichte und Literatur des Judenthums (1848): 107.

67. I have borrowed and adapted this concept from Kenneth Stow, Theater of Acculturation: The Roman Ghetto in the Sixteenth Century (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2001).

68. Roubík, “Drei Beiträge,” 389.

69. Giustino, Tearing Down Prague's Jewish Town, 165.

70. Ibid., 169.

71. Ibid., 94.

72. Brod, Lev, “Před 100 lety zmizel židovský tandlmark v Praze,” Věstník židovské obce náboženské v Praze 12, no. 15 (April 14, 1950): 176. Brod dates the “disappearance” of the Jewish Tandelmarkt to 1850.

73. White, July Holiday, 132.

74. Světlá, Karolina, Upomínky (Prague: L. Mazáč, 1931), 224–25. Thanks to Jindřich Toman for bringing this to my attention.

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