Page 204 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 51

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be spread over other countries which are engaged in the print­
ing of such works.”2
However, Kurzbeck lacked the personnel for carrying out his
program. The Emperor therefore ordered that steps be taken
to provide proper help. Two of Kurzbeck’s apprentices, who
had learned typesetting at his press and who appeared to be
able young men, were sent to the Royal Academy for Oriental
studies in Vienna in order to learn Hebrew and deepen their
background. The first book printed and published by Kurzbeck
in the Hebrew division of his press was a new edition of the
Mishnah “with all the commentaries and beautifully printed
with the type of Joseph Proops that had been newly cast.”
Following this book Kurzbeck printed some tractates of the
Babylonian Talmud and a Mahzor “in large letters with a com­
One of the two young men who had been sent to study at
the expense of the owner was Anton Schmid whose name is
worthy of being remembered in connection with the history of
modern Hebrew literature. Schmid, who was not Jewish, exhib­
ited throughout his long life a great devotion to the Hebrew
book. He was meticulous about the quality of its technical pro­
duction and took the trouble of inviting learned proofreaders
to work for his press. He took great pains to disseminate the
Hebrew book throughout the Austrian Empire, which encom­
passed at the end of the 18th and beginning of the 19th cen­
turies part of Galicia, Bohemia and Moravia (later Czechoslo­
vakia), Hungary and part of Italy. The cultural influence of
the Empire extended far beyond its boundaries.
The young Anton Schmid proved to be so capable a worker
that he advanced rapidly from typesetter to manager. His duties
soon included overseeing the Hebrew division, involving also
the financial aspect of this undertaking. He showed much ini­
tiative in developing the division and hired various Hebrew
scholars who could advise him as to the books that were worthy
of being published for the Hebrew readership. The list of He­
brew books from this press which was recorded in the literary
2. Ibid., page 22.