Josef Pressburger was not just a fine musician and zither player; as a prominent local figure, he left his mark on the life of Creglingen’s Jewish community for more than half a century.
Following his transfer to Creglingen in 1877 as a very young man, he spent 46 years as a teacher at the Jewish Religious School. Entire generations of students were influenced by his classes. He was also active as a cantor at the synagogue, and in the community council. He worked as a shochet, that is, as a ritual slaughterer of animals according to the laws of kosher slaughter. For 61 years, he was a member of the Verein israelitischer Lehrer in Württemberg, the association of Jewish teachers in Württemberg, and served on its board from time to time. In addition to all these duties, Pressburger still found time to run Creglingen’s non-religious male choir.
In 1885, eight years after arriving in Creglingen, he married Karoline Oberndörfer, a great-granddaughter of Raphael Blumenfeld, the man who owned the mappah. One of their sons emigrated to Brazil at an early age; a second son died childless, while their daughter Friederike remained in Creglingen.
Josef Pressburger ran the religious school for almost half a century and rose from senior teacher to principal in that time. But due to rural depopulation, emigration or the move to secondary schools, the number of students dropped from almost 30 in the beginning to under 10. When Pressburger retired at the end of March 1924, the Jewish Religious School was closed and the remaining children moved to the Protestant school.
But Pressburger continued to be responsible for religious education and also served as cantor at the synagogue until his 70th birthday. He was almost 80 when he died in April 1938, and he was buried in the Jewish Cemetery above the town.
His widow Karoline and his daughter Friederike fled to Brazil the following year to join Karoline’s son and Friederike’s brother, Sally.
Now please turn to your right, towards the elaborately decorated buffet, where you’ll find out about another Creglingen family.
Foto: © Jüdisches Museum Creglingen, Fotograf Oleg Kuchar