Samuel Kessler and Bertha Charipper were married in 1886.  At some point in time they lived in Vienna before immigrating to the United States around 1894.

What was Vienna like in the 1880’s and 1890’s?

Emperor Franz Joseph
Franz Joseph, Emperor of Austria from 1848 – 1916

After the Revolution of 1848, the Jewish people in Austria were allowed unrestricted right to reside and practice their religion throughout Austria.  That gave rise to the growing Jewish community in Vienna.

Starting in the second half of the 19th century and into the beginning of the 20th century, Jewish population increased in Vienna with an influx of Jews from Hungary, Galicia, and Bukovina.  Bertha, and probably Samuel, fit into this category coming from Brody, which was in Galicia.  The Galician Jews were mostly non-German speaking, and usually religiously observant. Before 1880, harsh economic conditions in Galicia inspired the people to relocate to Vienna. 

In 1880, Jews represented about 12.1 % of the population in Vienna numbering about 99,444 people.  By 1890, they represented about 8.8% of the population numbering 118,495 people and in in 1900, they represented 8.7% numbering 146,926 people.

From 1868 – 1900 many Jews converted to Christianity often to try to fully assimilate into Austrian society. They often found they were still seen as outsiders. Vienna was a center for Hebrew literature, while sports was seen as a way to shed the stereotype of the “soft and weak Ghetto-Jew”.   The gymnastics club “Maccabi” was formed in 1897. During this time period, there was about 59 synagogues representing all phases of Judaism throughout Vienna. Also, Theodore Herzl made Vienna the center of Zionism activities, in response to anti-Semitic activities.

Vienna during the big expansion
Old, small houses (foreground) that were destroyed and replaced during the big expansion under Emperor Franz Joseph

The late 19th century would be called the “Golden Age” of Viennese Jewry in not only business and finance, but also in science and learning.

To view amazing photos depicting who civilized Vienna was in the late 19th Century, click here .



  • File:Franz joseph1.jpg
  • Old Houses, photo from Vienna Description=Hinterhof in der Liechtensteinstraße 117, Wien-Alsergrund (IX.) |Source=Blickfänge einer Reise nach Wien – Fotografien 1860-1910; Ausstellungskatalog des Wien Museums, 2000/2006 |Date=um / about 1900 |Author=Augu US Public Domain: