Since the Exodus, freedom has always spoken with a Hebrew accent.

Heinrich Heine

Origin of the name Weinberg

The rather spread today family name Weinberg became widely spread already by the end of the 18-th century on the territory of the Austro-Hungarian empire and modern Germany.

The very ethimology of the word "weinberg" is quite interesting. Literally the word is translated from Yiddish and German as "wine mountain". Grapes, as many researchers think, were always raised in Europe on southern-eastern slopes of mountains so that fruits could enjoy Sun's rays. The word "weinberg" that gradually became a family name means "vineyard" in German. Part of the researchers suppose that the family name Weinberg appeared for the first time on the territory of modern Hungary (then part of the Austro-Hungarian empire). The name was received by those Jews who owned vineyards and those who just worked at them as hired workers. The emperor of the Austro-Hungary Joseph II issued a law in 1787 which assumed that all Jews were to adopt German names. Together with that they were to preserve Biblical personal names. This was done so that to distinguish Austrians and Germans from Jews with the same family names. Often Jews received names according to their occupation or a nickname. If a Jew refused to take a family name, an especially established committee gave him a family name according to their own considerations.

By that time, the revolutionary France attracted attention of many members of this family. By the beginning of the 19-th century we may find Weinbergs in foreign legions of the Napoleon army. Moris Feingold found interesting facts studying his family tree. His great-great...grandmother, Hana, a young girl from Transilvania met a gorgeous brave young man Shmul'. She was beautiful, he served in Napoleon's cavalry and they fell in love with each other. She married him and became Madam Weinberg. They had something to talk about in Yiddish during pictoresque sunsets.

Since that time Europe underwent many cataclisms and Weinberg families were becoming denizens of the Russian empire, citizens of Prussia, residents of Poland and then again of Russia. By the end of the 19-th century, and the beginning of the 20-th century one could meet a Weinberg almost in every Polish district, in Ukraine, in France, England, in the American continent, in Romania, Hungary, Russia and so on. Among members of this family are industrialists and wholesalers, rabbis, physicist - laureate of Nobel prize and many many others.

Article author: Am haZikaron

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