BIEDERMANN (Freistaedtl), MICHAEL LAZAR (1769–1843), Austrian financier, entrepreneur, and communal leader. Born in Pressburg, Biedermann first took up engraving. He settled in Vienna when a youth, and in 1798 was commissioned to engrave the imperial seal. In 1800 he opened a store for jewelry and antiques. He subsequently turned to the wool industry into which he introduced modern production methods. In business with L.A. Auspitz , Biedermann succeeded in transferring the center of the wool trade in the Hapsburg Empire from Budapest to Vienna. He founded one of the first banks in Austria, and in 1816 gave the emperor an interest-free loan of 300,000 florins to combat famine in Vienna. In 1830 he became court jeweler. Biedermann played a leading role in organizing a congregation in Vienna, of which he became a representative in 1806. He was instrumental in the foundation of a Jewish school in 1812 and of the first synagogue in Vienna (the Seitenstettengassetempel) in 1826. He encouraged welfare activities and built a hospital. I.N. Mannheimer was invited to Vienna to officiate as rabbi on his recommendation. An advocate of moderate reform , Biedermann was one of the leaders in the struggle for jewish emancipation. -BIBLIOGRAPHY: S. Husserl, Gruendungsgeschichte des Stadttempels der Israelitischen Kultusgemeinde Wien (1906); A.F. Pribram, Urkunden und Akten zur Geschichte der Juden in Wien, 2 vols. (1918), index; M. Rosenmann, Isak Noah Mannheimer (Ger., 19152); B. Wachstein, Die ersten Statuten des Bethauses in der inneren Stadt (1926), 12; idem, Inschriften des alten Judenfriedhofes in Wien, 2 (1917), 514; L. Bato, Juden im alten Wien (1928); M. Grunwald, Vienna (Eng., 1936); J. Fraenkel (ed.), Jews in Austria (1967), 11.

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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