Wolf Bikard (1790-1878) and other Jewish Kaiserjäger at the End of the Napoleonic Period

von Ilya Berkovich

Image 1: Rabbi and historian Aron Tänzer during his service as Jewish military Chaplain of the German army during the First World War. His books on the history of the Jewish communities in which he served, are still considered standard works to this day. Image Credit: Wikipedia Commons [Public Domain]

In the history of the Jews in Hohenems and Vorarlberg by Rabbi Dr. Aron Tänzer (1871-1937), we are told that in 1812 a mutual aid society was formed in the Jewish community of Hohenems to help members who were to be drafted into the army. After Austria’s defeat in 1805, the whole of Vorarlberg and Tyrol were ceded to the Kingdom Bavaria, then an ally of Napoleon. Following the Prussian and Habsburg models, conscription in Bavaria was administered through territorial recruitment districts. Initially, Jewish subjects in Bavaria were spared from military service, but the communities were compelled to pay hefty exemption charge of 185 Gulden per recruit, with predetermined quotas set according to the proportion of Jews in the general population. In 1808, this arrangement was abolished. Like any other young Bavarian man, a Jew who was issued with a conscription notice had two options: he could either report for military service in person or raise a substitute to enter the army in his place. The statutes of the society in Hohenems stipulated that if one of its members was to be drafted and went into the army himself, the society would pay him an enlistment bonus of 200 Gulden. Alternatively, the society offered to disburse up to two-thirds of the cost of hiring a substitute, with a maximum overall replacement fee capped at 650 Gulden.[1]

This latter rule was very much in line with practice of the time of trying to buy oneself out from military service. Even in Napoleonic France, where constant warfare depleted the young male population, one could still hire a replacement man, albeit the price would come to thousands of Francs. Those not wealthy enough to afford this could pool resources. In Great Britain, where militia was drafted by ballot, clubs and associations formed whose membership fees would then be used to hire a substitute if one of members was balloted into the militia.[2] However, as we have already said, the society in Hohenems functioned not only as an insurance club – to safeguard its members from conscription – but also to support its members who decided to serve. In fact Hohenems was not the only society of its kind in the Kingdom of Bavaria. The Jewish community of the twin cities of Alten- und Burgkunstadt prompted local Jewish conscripts to serve in person, by offering to augment army pay by an additional Gulden per week and award a further discharge bonus of 300 Gulden at the completion of the service period. This later case is mentioned by Michael Brenner as an example of changing attitudes of Jewish communities in the generation since the Habsburg Monarchy became the first state in modern times to make its Jewish population liable for conscription. Societies such as those in Hohenems show that European Jews were beginning to view obligatory military service not merely as a necessary evil to be complied with under the principle of obeying the law of the land (Dina d’malkhuta dina). Serving as a conscript was gradually becoming something to be proud of.[3]

Referring back to Rabbi Tänzer’s history, the first member of the Jewish community of Hohenems to serve in the army was Wolf Bikard, who enlisted in 1817 and after several commendations successfully completed his service term.[4] Tänzer was a trained historian and his studies of the Jewish communities of Hohenems – as well as Göppingen, where he served as Rabbi later in life – were extensively researched in local archives. However, in the case of Wolf Bikard, it seems that Tänzer obtained his information from the members of the community, who still remembered Wolf as an old man living in the local poor house. Bikard’s original enlistment papers survive in the Austrian State Archives. Together with the regular manpower report of his regiment, these amend and append Tänzer’s account. Firstly, Bikard was not a conscript, but joined the army as a volunteer. Secondly, he served in Tyrolean Jäger Regiment ‘Kaiser’– the military forerunner of the famed Kaiserjäger, the elite Austrian light infantry of the First World War. In fact, Wolf was neither the first nor the only Jewish soldier in that unit. As for his experience in the army, Wolf served in peacetime and there is nothing in his military record to suggest exceptional service. The references to commendations were probably subsequent hearsay. Finally, Wolf was precluded from completing a full service term. His deteriorating health forced him out of the army, roughly halfway through his original enlistment contract.

Image 2: Wolf Bikard’s original enlistment certificate (Assent-Liste) survives in the Military Archive (Kriegsarchiv) of the Austrian State Archives. The certificate makes clear that Wolf enlisted voluntarily. His physical description is shown in the rightmost column: ‘Schlanker Statur, blatternnarbichten Angesichts, Breite Nase, Grossen Aufgeworfenen Mund, Braune Augen, Schwarze Haare, derley Augenbrauen’. Image Credit: ÖStA KA ML 5332 IR 64 (1817) AL/TL – AL Nr. 1 (Bregenz 25/04/1817)

Wolf (or Wilhelm) Bikard was born on 6th May 1790 in Hohenems as the fourth of six children of the pedlar Michael Bikard and his wife Jeanette Gutmann. Wolf’s father moved to Hohenems from the free imperial city Wangen im Allgäu, while his mother belonged to one of the oldest Jewish families in town, whose presence in Hohenems could be traced to the first settlement permit in 1617. Wolf’s two older brothers, Heinrich and Moritz, followed their father’s footsteps as merchant and pedlar respectively. Wolf, on the other hand, became a shoemaker. Even without the restrictive policy introduced during the Bavarian rule, which capped the Jewish population of Hohenems at ninety families, Wolf’s prospects as a third-born son were substantially constrained. As with Christians at that time, younger sons could neither take over the family business nor expect more than a small fraction of the family inheritance. For the same reason, younger sons (and daughters) also tended to remain unmarried, as they lacked the means or the steady income to support a family. After the Habsburgs regained control of Vorarlberg in June 1814, the restriction on the maximum number of Jewish families in Hohenems was retained. Wolf’s decision to pursue a military career might be understood as the only means of escaping the fate of remaining a perpetually single dependent of his father and then his older brother. In spring 1817, Wolf travelled to the nearest garrison in Bregenz to enlist into the army.

Image 3: Uniform and equipment of the Tirolean ‘Kaiser’ Jägers from the period in which Wolf served. Image Credit: @ Stiftung Bergisel, Kaiserjäger Museum Innsbruck

By the time Wolf decided to serve, Jewish military presence in Vorarlberg was an established fact. Soon after Emperor Joseph II issued the Jewish conscription edict, Jewish drivers from the kaiserlich-königlich Militär-Fuhrwesens Corps were allocated to the transport detachment of the locally based 46th Line Infantry Regiment ‘Neugebauer’ (formerly the Tyroler Land- und Feld-Regiment). In November 1790, as part of the short-lived demobilisation at the end of the last Habsburg-Ottoman War, the regimental transport divisions were dissolved. Together with another 36 military train drivers, supply waggoneer (Proviant Fuhrknecht) Juda Herschel and baggage driver (Packknecht) Michael David were discharged from active service on indefinite furlough. They were issued with pay and provisions to travel from Innsbruck to Linz where they were to be provided with a further instalment of money and bread to take them to Vienna. From there they were to continue their journey home,[5] presumably to Galicia. By 1796, the expansion of Jewish conscription obligations saw an influx of Jewish recruits into the infantry. In the autumn muster of 1802, the 46th Line Regiment had 28 Jewish soldiers including three non-commissioned officers and one grenadier. These were mostly veterans of the defence of Vorarlberg in spring 1799, and the subsequent campaigns in Graubünden and northern Italy. In the same year, another unit associated with Vorarlberg – the Outer-Austrian 41st Infantry Regiment – had 11 Jewish soldiers in its ranks.[6] It should be mentioned; however, that none of these men were natives of Vorarlberg and Tyrol. The first known case of a Jewish soldier from these regions to take service in a local regiment was Johann Dannhauser of Innsbruck who enlisted in July 1815 into the Free Jäger Corps of the Tyrolean General, Baron Franz Philipp Fenner von Fennerberg (1762-1824). In January 1816, these Fennerjägers, as they were called, were re-formed into the Tiroler Jäger Regiment Kaiser.[7] Three months later, Johann’s younger brother Elias also volunteered into the same regiment. Finally, on 25th April 1817 Wolf Bikard became the first documented Jewish soldier from Hohenems to take military service in the Habsburg army.

Wolf was entered on to the enlistment certificate as a 27 year old native of Hohenems in Vorarlberg. His religion is given as Jewish, his personal status as single, and his profession as shoemaker. His height is shown as 5 Schuch, 4 Zoll, 2 Streich (slightly under 1.69 metres). While it was not typical to have a physical description in an enlistment certificate in that period, Wolf’s papers are an exception. His appearance is described as slim in stature, with a broad nose and wide mouth with pouting lips, brown eyes, black hair and black eyebrows. The term blatternnarbichten Angesichts means his face was scarred with smallpox. The certificate was issued in the name of Major Wilhelm von Weikersreutter (1776-1820). The medical examination was conducted by Oberartzt Dr. Johann Hermetter who confirmed that the recruit was fit for military and combat service. As a native Habsburg subject, Wolf was paid the minimum enlistment bounty of three Gulden in Vienna convention currency. By comparison with modern day, this was roughly equivalent to one month’s minimum wage. Following the formal filing of his enlistment in the regiment, Wolf was allocated to the 16th Company under the command of Hauptmann Karl Ritter von Flam to begin his training.

Image 4: While their officers converse in the foreground, a pair of Jägers deploy in the background. While the man on the left observes the surroundings, the men on the right advances forward using the fence and the trees for cover. On their backs the Jägers carry a calfskin rucksack (Tornister), with overcoats rolled and attached on top of the bag. Image credit: Wikipedia Commons, Tiroler Jäger-Regiment, Abbildung der k.k. Oesterreichischen Armee durch alle Waffengattungen, (Vienna: W. Waniek, [1820]) [Public Domain]

As light infantry, Jägers were to fight in open formation, either independently or in small groups. They were used for patrols, pickets and operations in forests and mountains. To operate more easily in such terrain, Jägers were issued with carabines which were shorter than army muskets. One third of the Jägers carried rifled carabines whose grooved barrels spun the bullets when shoot, allowing for longer range and better precision. However, rifled weapons took double the time to load compared to smoothbore firearms. For that reason, the other two thirds of the Austrian Jägers were issued with smoothbore carabines, which could maintain a quicker rate of fire. As their name denotes, Jägers were expected to become expert marksmen. Training was by firing at human-size wooden boards from 400 steps, a little over 200 metres.[8] For combat, Jägers were issued with 60 paper cartridges, each containing a round lead bullet and a powder charge. These were carried inside a cartridge box worn across the chest on a broad leather belt hanging on the righthand side. For close combat, the Jägers carried a heavy sword bayonet 65 centimetres long.[9] When fixed to the muzzle the Jäger’s carabine became a fearsome slashing weapon akin to the medieval glaive. The belts, on which the cartridge box and the sword were worn, was dark brown. This was because the Jägers wore an early version of camouflage uniform. Unlike the line infantry, which wore white jackets with cuffs, collars, and turnbacks of 30 diverse colours to mark one’s regiment, the Jägers wore dark grey with dark greens cuffs and lapels. The Jager’s headgear was a black felt Korséhut (i.e. ‘Corsican hat’) with a high crown whose notable feature was a brim turned up on one side.

Wolf’s original service contract was for six years, but before autumn most service contracts in the regiment were prolonged to eight years. Wolf’s entry on the October 1817 muster puts his year of discharge as 1825. In December 1817, the 16th company marched out of Bregenz to Kufstein where it was quartered in the local fortress. The following autumn, the company moved to Innsbruck where Wolf spent much of the 1819 training season in the local hospital. After recovering, on 27 October 1819 he was released on furlough and issued with a viaticum (travel allowance) for 25 miles. With one Austrian mile measuring 7.6 kilometres, Wolf was thus provided with the means for a journey of 190 kilometres which corresponds almost exactly to the distance between Innsbruck and Hohenems. On 14 September 1820 Wolf reported back for duty in Innsbruck. However, the regimental revision held on 6 October 1820 classified him as Reale Invalid and thus unfit for further military service. Nevertheless, Wolf remained in service until next summer, presumably to determine whether medical recovery was still possible. Eventually on 20th July 1821, the Upper- and Inner-Austrian High Command in Graz ordered him to be discharged as incurable invalid. Wolf Bikard was issued with his formal discharge from the army exactly one month afterwards on 20th August 1821.

Unlike Wolf’s time in the army, which did not appear particularly eventful, the service records of the two Dannhauser brothers offer diametrically opposed experiences: Johann rose to become a senior non-commissioned officer, while Elias deserted from service under ignominious circumstances. As mentioned, Johann Dannhauser enlisted voluntarily in Baron Fenner’s Tyrolean Jager Corps on 1st July 1815 with a six year service contract. Within two months, he was made Patrouilleführer and after one more month in service he was promoted to Unterjäger (the equivalent of corporal in the army. His rapid rise to non-commissioned officer demonstrates two things. Firstly, Johann was literate, as this was the prerequisite for service as corporal and upwards. Secondly, promoting a 20-year-old volunteer to senior non-commissioned rank meant Johann was a model soldier with excellent leadership skills. By that stage, the Fenner Corps had numerous veterans among its men and there were plenty of other candidates for the post. As for being Jewish, while official prejudices remained strong, this was not an impediment as the Habsburg army needed capable men. Johann was not the only Jewish non-commissioned officer who was quickly promoted in the recent wars against the French.[10] Johann served initially with the 14th and then with the 15th company, in garrisons in Bregenz, Kufstein and Innsbruck.

Image 5: The Fortress of Kufstein, where Wolf Bikard and Johann Dannhauser served in garrison in 1818. Image Credit: Wikipedia commons, Festung Kufstein, Tirol, Österreich, User Simon Koopman – Own Work [Creative Commons]

In March 1816, Johann’s younger brother Elias also volunteered into the Tyrolean Jäger Regiment ‘Kaiser’ with an eight-year service contract. He was allocated to the 22nd company, initially serving in Innsbruck and then in Trient. There, on 25th May 1819, Elias was granted a six week furlough and was issued with bread rations for another week, presumably to cover his journey home to Innsbruck. Apparently Elias carefully planned his moves as he had enough provisions and a legitimate military pass to enable his to travel freely, provided he stayed ahead of the pursuit. His desertion was formally recorded only on 31st May 1819. His plan was successful as he was not apprehended, suggesting that he escaped abroad. Interestingly, Elias’ father Abraham died shortly after on 22nd July. Although this might have been a coincidence, one cannot rule out that his son’s desertion played a role in this. Firstly, by deserting Elias condemned himself for life on the run as a fugitive and exile. Secondly, there was also the punishment he would incur if caught. First time deserters could expect a renewal of their original service contract (Erneuerung der Capitulation), reimbursement of the costs (Entschädigung der Arerai) caused by his desertion (pursuit, deserter bounty, imprisonment, and transportation back to the unit), and a corporal punishment of 40 canes (Stock Streifen). However, because Elias’ desertion appeared to have involved a further abuse of a trust and misuse of a legitimate military document, his case would be aggravated by fraud (Betrug). If caught, he would be likely to receive the corporal punishment for repeat offenders: at least six gauntlets through 300 men.[11] Knowing what fate would await his son – if arrested – could not have made the last days of Abraham Dannhauser comfortable.

Elias’ desertion bore no apparent influence on Johann’s further service. When his company was rotated out of Innsbruck in June 1820, Johann was transferred to the 18th company which remained in town, presumably to enable him to remain close to his recently widowed mother. Following the completion of his service contract, Johann was discharged from the army on 31st October 1821. Several years later, Johann emigrated to France where he worked as a trader in gemstones. His son Adolphe-Léopold Dannhauser became an accomplished composer, a renowned Music teacher, and a professor at the National Academy of Music in Paris. As for Wolf Bikard, after his discharge he returned to Hohenems, where his name reappears in the local records when in 1836 he inherited one third of his mother’s apartment. Wolf Bikard died on 1st August 1878 and was buried at the Jewish Cemetery of Hohenems, where his tombstone still survives.

Image 6: Wolf Bikard’s gravestone at the Hohenems Jewish cemetery. Image Credit: @ Jüdisches Museum Hohenems.

Appendix: Full Service Records of Jewish Soldiers of the Tyrolean Jäger Regiment ‘Kaiser (1816-1821)

1. Unterjäger Johann DANNHAUSER

Ort: Innsbruck, Landesgericht: Sonnenburg, Kreis: Schwatz, Land: Tirol, Geburtsjahr: 1795, Religion: Jüdischer, Stand: Ledig, Ohne Profession, Maß: 5.5.2 [171.6 cm], Capitulant Inländer (1821)

01/07/1815 A 10Fl Handgeld C.M. auf 6 Jahr zu Baron Fenner Tyroler Jäger Corps assentiert [ML 1817]

01/09/1815 Zum Patrouilleführer avanciert [ML 1817]

01/10/1815 Zum Unterjäger avanciert [ML 1817]

01/01/1816 Nach Auflösung des Fennerischen Tyroler Jäger Corps Fenners zum Tiroler Jäger Regiment ‚Kaiser‘ [IR 64] transferiert und zur 14. Kompanie eingeteilt [ML 1817]

01/12/1816 Von 14. zur 15. Kompanie transferiert [ML 1817]

04/10/1817 Musterung: IR 64 15. Komp. Nr. 14

29/12/1817 Marsch nach Kufstein [ST Dec 1817]

14/01/1818 Die Kompanie kommt nach Kufstein [ST Jan 1818]

25/09/1818 Musterung: IR 64 15. Komp. Nr. 14

17/11/1818 Die Kompanie verlässt Kufstein [ST Nov 1818]

20/11/1818 Die Kompanie kommt nach Innsbruck [ST Nov 1818]

12/10/1819 Musterung: IR 64 15. Komp. Nr. 13

29/04/1820 Die Kompanie verlässt Innsbruck [ST April 1820)

01/05/1820 Ankunft und Einquartierung der Kompanie in der Festung Kufstein [ST May 1820]

21/06/1820 Von 15. zur 18. Komp. transferiert [RL 1820 & ST June 1820]

13/10/1820 Revision: IR 64 18. Komp. Nr. 15

31/10/1821 Als ausgedienter Capitulant mit Abschied entlassen [GB KJR 27]


ML 5118-20 IR 64 (1817): 14. Komp. Zuwachs & Abgang (Bregenz 04/10/1817), 15. Komp. Nr. 14 (Bregenz 04/10/1817)

ML 5321-23 IR 64 (1818) – 15. Komp. Nr. 14 (Kufstein 25/09/1818)

ML 5324-26 IR 64 (1819) – 15. Komp. Nr. 13 (Innsbruck 12/10/1819)

ML 5327 IR 64 (1820) – 18. Komp. Nr. 15 (Innsbruck 13/10/1820)

ML 5331 IR 64 (1817) – ST December (Innsbruck 26/03/1818)

ML 5333 IR 64 (1818) – ST January (Innsbruck 19/04/1818), November (Innsbruck 12/01/1819)

ML 5336 IR 64 (1820) – ST April (Innsbruck 20/05/1820), May (Innsbruck 24/06/1820), June (??/07/1820)

GB Kaiser Jäger Regiment 27: Abgang Klasse III 1820-1840 Heft 10 S. 183. 

2. Gemeiner Elias DANNHAUSER

Ort und Landesgericht: Innsbruck, Kreis: Schwatz, Land: Tirol, Geburtsjahr: 1797, Religion: Jüdischer, Stand: Ledig, Ohne Profession, Maß: 5.3.1 [166.1 cm], Capitulant Inländer (1824)

22/03/1816 Gegen 10Fl Handgeld in C.M. auf 8 Jahr ins IR 64 in loco assentiert und zur 22. Kompanie eingeteilt [ML 1817]

27/09/1817 Musterung: IR 64 22. Komp. Nr. 67

20/10/1818 Musterung: IR 64 22. Komp. Nr. 60

01/11/1819 Die Kompanie verlässt Innsbruck [ST Nov 1818]

05/11/1819 Die Kompanie kommt in Kasernen in Trient [ST Nov 1818]

22/01/1819 Krank im Bürger Spital in Trient [ST Jan 1819]

15/02/1819 Rekonvalesziert [ST Feb 1819]

25/05/1819 Auf 6 Wochen beurlaubt mit Bezahlung und Brot bis 31. Mai [ST Juni 1809]

31/05/1819 Von der Station Trient aus dem Urlaub desertiert [ML 1819 & ST Juni 1809]


ML 5318-20 IR 64 (1817) – 22. Komp Nr. 67 (Innsbruck 27/09/1817)

ML 5321-23 IR 64 (1818) – 22. Komp. Nr. 60 (Innsbruck 20/10/1818)

ML 5324-26 IR 64 (1819) – 22. Komp. Abgang (Trient 24/09/1819)

ML 5333 IR 64 (1818) – November (12/01/1819)

ML 5334 IR 64 (1819) – January (Innsbruck 15/03/1819), February (Innsbruck 31/03/1819), June (Innsbruck 31/07/1819)

Image 7: An entry in the regimental book summarising Wolf’s service. Note that this source states that Wolf was a conscript. In such instances of inconsistency between individual documents, original enlistment papers should be preferred to later sources. We can therefore conclude that Wolf’s Grundbuch entry is erroneous on that point. Image Credit: ÖStA KA GB Kaiser Jäger Regiment 27: Abgang Klasse III 1820-1840 Heft 10 S. 183. 

3. Gemeiner Wolf BIKARD

Ort: Hohenems, Landesgericht: Dornbirn, Kreis: Bregenz, Land: Vorarlberg, Geburtsjahr: 1790, Religion: Jüdischer, Stand: Ledig, Schuhmacher, Maß: 5.4.2 [169 cm], Capitulant Inländer (1825)

25/04/1817 Hat sich in Bregenz gegen 3Fl Handgeld auf 6 Jahre zum Kaiser Tyroler Jager Regiment [IR 64] freiwillig engagiert und zur 16. Kompanie eingeteilt [AL April 1817 & ST May 1817 & ML 1817]

25/04/1817 Von Land gestellter Rekrut gegen 3Fl Handgeld auf 8 Jahre assentiert [SIC!] [GB KJR 24]

[Nach der Assentierung wurde die Capitulation von 6 auf 8 Jahre verlängert]

04/10/1817 Musterung: IR 64 16. Komp. Nr. 94

29/12/1817 Marsch nach Kufstein [ST Dec 1817]

15/01/1818 Die Kompanie rückt in Kufstein mit ordinärem Kasernen Service ein [ST Jan 1818]

25/09/1818 Musterung: IR 64 16. Komp. Nr. 88

17/11/1818 Die Kompanie verlässt Kufstein [ST Nov 1818]

20/11/1818 Die Kompanie kommt nach Innsbruck [ST Nov 1818]

16/09/1819 Mit Viaticum auf 25 Meilen von unbestimmtem Urlaub zurück [ST Sept 1819)

21/09/1819 Krank im Loco Spital [ST Sept 1819]

12/10/1819 Musterung: IR 64 16. Komp. Nr. 76 [Krank im Loco Spital zu Innsbruck]

20/10/1819 Rekonvalesziert [ST Oct 1819]

27/10/1819 Mit Viaticum auf 25 Meilen auf unbestimmten Urlaub entlassen [ST Oct 1819]

29/04/1820 Die Kompanie verlässt Innsbruck [ST April 1820)

01/05/1820 Ankunft und Einquartierung der Kompanie in der Festung Kufstein [ST May 1820]

01/09/1820 Die 16. Kompanie verlässt Kufstein [ST Sept 1820]

04/09/1820 Ankunft und Einquartierung ins Kasernen Service in Innsbruck [ST Sept 1820]

14/09/1820 Von unbestimmtem Urlaub in die Kompanie eingerückt [ST Sept 1820]

06/10/1820 Revision: IR 64 16. Komp. Nr. 150 [Real Invalid]

20/08/1821 Laut Verordnung det. Gratz am 20. Julius 1821 R. 5485 als Reale Invalid mit Abschied entlassen [GB KJR 24]

ML 5318-20 IR 64 (1817) – 16. Komp Nr. 94 (Bregenz 04/10/1817)

ML 5321-23 IR 64 (1818) – 16. Komp. Nr. 88 (Kufstein 25/09/1818)

ML 5324-26 IR 64 (1819) – 16. Komp. Nr. 76 (Innsbruck 12/10/1819)

ML 5327 IR 64 (1820) – 16. Komp. Nr. 150 (Innsbruck 06/10/1820)

ML 5331 IR 64 (1817) ST – ST June (Innsbruck 19/07/1820), December (Innsbruck 26/03/1818)

ML 5332 IR 64 (1817) AL/TL – AL Nr. 1 (Bregenz 25/04/1817)

ML 5333 IR 64 (1818) – ST January (Innsbruck 19/04/1818), November (Innsbruck 12/01/1819)

ML 5334 IR (1819) – ST September (Innsbruck 28/10/1819), October (29/11/1819)

ML 5336 IR 64 (1820) – ST April (Innsbruck 20/05/1820), May (Innsbruck 24/06/1820)

GB Kaiser Jäger Regiment 24: Abgang Klasse III 1820-1840 Heft 2 S. 85.  

* I am grateful to Renate Domnanich, Debbie Bryce, Raphael Einetter, and the re-enactors of the 1st Feldjägerbataillon for all their help.

[1] Aron Tänzer, Die Geschichte der Juden in Hohenems und im übrigen Vorarlberg, (Meran: Ellmenreich, 1905), pp. 201-2, 226-7; Ernst Eichner, ‘Das bayrische Heer in Napoleonischen Kriegen’, in: Hubert Glaser (ed.), Krone und Verfassung: König Max I. Joseph und der neue Staat: Beträge zur Bayerischen Geschichte und Kunst, 1799-1825, Wittelsbach und Bayern III.1, (Munich and Zurich: Hirmer and Piper, 1980), pp. 239-53 [here p. 244 and 250-1].

[2] Isser Woloch, ‘Napoleonic Conscription: State Power and Civil Society’, Past & Present 111 (1986), pp. 101-29 [here pp. 111-18]; Alan Forrest, Conscripts and Deserters: The Army and French Society During the Revolution and Empire, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1989), pp. 57-61, Graeme Callister ‘Napoleonic Conscription in Indre-et-Loire 1798-1814’, British Journal of Military History 7 (2021), pp. 2-19 [here pp. 11-12]; John E. Cookson, The British Armed Nation, 1793-1815, (Oxford: clarendon Press, 1997), pp. 101-3. 

[3] Michael Brenner, ‘Von Untertanen zum Bürger’, in: Michael A. Mayer (ed.), Deutsch-Jüdische Geschichte in der Neuzeit: Band II, Emanzipation und Akkulturation, (Munich: C.H. Beck, 1996), pp. 260-84, [here pp. 266-8].

[4] Tänzer, Geschichte, p. 227. This is repeated verbatim in Hannes Sulzenbacher, ‘Die Juden von Hohenems’ in: Hanno Loewy (ed.), Heimat Diaspora. Das Jüdische Museum Hohenems, (Hohenems: Bucher, 2008), pp. 46-201 [here p. 75].

[5] Austrian State Archives [ÖStA], Military Archive [KA], Musterlisten [ML], 10.426 IR 46 (1790) ‘Neugebauer’ – Standestabellen [ST] November: ‘Proviant Fuhrwesens Personale’ and ‘Pack Personale’.

[6] OStA KA ML 46 10.403 IR 46 (1802) ‘Neugebauer’; IR 41 (1802) ‘Vacant [Bender]; On the regional affiliation of these regiments, see Alfons von Wrede, Geschichte der k. und k. Wehrmacht, 5 Vols, (Vienna: Seidel, 1898-1905), Vol. 1 pp. 407-8 and Vol. 2, p. 250.

[7] Wrede, Wehrmacht, Vol. 2 p. 529.

[8] For a contemporary example of Austrian Jägers successfully engaging targets from that distance, see: Ilya Berkovich, Sabine Miesgang and Wenzel, ‘Als österreichische Jäger das Stift Klosterneuburg beschossen: Eine Episode aus dem Kriegsjahr 1809 im Spiegel der Quellen’, Frühneuzeit Info 33 (2022), pp. 183-91 [here pp. 187-9],

[9] Erich Gabriel, Die Hand- und Faustfeuerwaffen der habsburgischen Heere, Schriften des Heeresgeschichtlichen Museums in Wien 11, (Vienna: Österreichischer Bundesverlag, 1990), pp. 64, 156-57, 226-231, 542-43.

[10] For example: ÖStA KA ML 2635/6 IR 30 (1817) ‘Nugent’ – 2nd Fus. Comp. Nr. 9 ‘Feldwebel Isaac Ungar’ and ÖStA KA ML 4924/5 IR 58 (1817) – 14th Fus. Comp. Nr. 8 ‘Feldwebel Aron Sax’. For one of the earliest Jewish non-commissioned officers in modern times, see: Ilya Berkovich and Michael Wenzel, ‘The Austrian Army’, in: Alan Forrest (gen. ed.) The Cambridge History of the Napoleonic Wars, 3 Vols. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2023), Vol. 2, pp. 106-28 [here p. 111 n. 5].

[11] In the first three months of 1819, the punishments of the eight arrested deserters from the Tyrolean Kaiserjäger Regiment were as follows: eight days’ arrest in irons (1 man), 40 cane blows (2 men), 4 gauntlets (1 man), 6 gauntlets (3 men) and 10 gauntlets (1 man). The latter case, deserter Christian Schandler was also found guilty of theft (Diebsthal) and fraud. ÖStA KA ML Tiroler Jägerregiment (1819): ST January to March.

Ilya Berkovich is a Research Associate at the Institute of Habsurg and Balkan Studies. He is working on a new history of the Habsburg Army during the Napoleanic Wars.


How did the Habsburg Monarchy rose to become one of the greatest military powers in European history? Come to our book presentation on 2nd February 2023 at the Great Hall of the Austrian Academy of Sciences: The Habsburg Monarchy as a Fiscal-Military State: Contours and Perspectives 1648–1815

Diesen Blogbeitrag zitieren
Michael Portmann (2023, 16. Januar). Wolf Bikard (1790-1878) and other Jewish Kaiserjäger at the End of the Napoleonic Period. Die Habsburgermonarchie. Abgerufen am 25. Mai 2024, von https://doi.org/10.58079/pewf

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