David Herzog was born on November 7th, 1869 in Tyrnau (Trnava). He was the eldest of eight children born to the textile trader Leopold Herzog and Cäcilie Herzog née Süß. David Herzog attended an elementary school in Tyrnau (1876-1881) and then the (archi)episcopal grammar school (1881-1889). In 1889, he enrolled at the University of Berlin, studied Semitic linguistics and obtained his doctorate on January 4th, 1894. He then continued his studies in Paris (1896) and Vienna (1899/1900).
On October 20th, 1907 the Council of Cultural Affairs of the Jewish Community (IKG) elected David Herzog as rabbi of Styria, Carinthia and Carniola (until 1918). He joined the staff at the Karl-Franzens-University Graz in 1909, and taught Semitic philology there until 1938. In 1926 he was appointed associate professor. David Herzog received numerous honours, e.g. the “Golden Decoration of Merit of the Republic of Austria” in 1934 and in 1929 he was given the freedom of the city of Graz.
David Herzog had been exposed to anti-Semitic movements his whole life long. After being arrested and held in custody for 14 days in March 1938 and experiencing the Kristallnacht pogrom in November 1938, Mr. and Mrs. Herzog left Austria for England. They spent a year living modestly in London before David Herzog was able to resume his scientific work in Oxford in 1940.
David Herzog died on March 6th, 1946 in Oxford.
Also by Dr Karl Wolf; a Personal tribute:
David Herzog was Chief Rabbi for Styria, Carinthia and Krain (now part of Slovenia I believe). For the 2 years that I was in secondary education (the Oeversee Gymnasium), I attended his Hebrew and Judaism classes. The Graz Synagogue was rebuilt and rededicated in November 2000. My late cousin from Nottingham and I went to to Graz for this occasion (It had of course been burnt and razed during Kristallnacht) 9th November 1938. I did know that his grave was somewhere in UK, but did not try to visit it (mea culpa). Rabbi Herzog was not very popular with pupils. If anybody missed too many Shabbat Services, he would get a bad grade and sometimes could not go up into the next higher class. The present address of Graz Synagogue and the office of the Kehilah is David Herzog Platz.
During Kristallnacht the nazis almost drowned Rav Herzog in the Mur River, and almost all male adult Jews (including my father) were rounded up and transported to Dachau.