Kontakt /
                      contact     Hauptseite / site
                      principale / pagina principal / home      zurück / retour
                      / indietro / atrás / back
backprevious     nextnext

Encyclopaedia Judaica

Jews in Austria 03: From the revolution 1848 to 1918

Emancipation and wealthy Jews - revolution 1848 and freedom of the press with anti-Semitic and Jewish newspapers - Herzl - war refugees from Eastern Europe bring Jewish culture back

from: Austria; In: Encyclopaedia Judaica 1971, vol. 3

presented by Michael Palomino (2007)

Teilen / share:


<19th Century.

The position of the Jews in Austria deteriorated after the death of Joseph II, though the (col. 893)

Toleranzpatent remained in force.

[New laws for the schooling of the Jews]

Francis I (1792-1835) introduced the Bolletten-tax (see *Taxation), and ordered that measures should be taken against "Jewish superstitions" and "vain rabbinical argumentation". Efforts to "enlighten" the Jews during his reign included the activities of Herz *Homberg, whose catechism "Benei Zion" was introduced into schools for the teaching of religion. Until 1856, Jews were compelled to pass an examination in it before they were permitted to marry.

A decree issued in 1820 required all rabbis to study philosophy, and to use only the "language of the state" for public prayers; Jewish children were required to attend Christian schools.

[Wealthy Jews: Jewish industrialists in Austria - National Bank of Austria with Jewish bankers - Jewish middle class]

The period between the issue of the Toleranzpatent and 1848 saw further fundamental changes in Jewish life. A number of Jews were instrumental in the expansion and modernization of industry, transportation, commerce, and banking in the Hapsburg Empire. Lazar Auspitz, Michael *Biedermann, and Simon von *Laemel developed the textile industry; Solomon von *Rothschild built the first railway; the Rothschilds, Arnstein-Eskeles, and *Koenigswarters were the outstanding bankers and were on the board of the newly founded National Bank. Many Jews had a university education and became prominent in journalism and German literature. Prominent among them were Moritz *Saphir, Ludwig August *Frankl, Moritz "Hartmann, and Leopold *Kompert.

The less wealthy classes of Jews also prospered, opening workshops, or selling and peddling products of the developing industries. Their heightened awareness of human dignity evoked by their economic and cultural attainments and the relaxation of humiliating restrictions emphasized the basic inequality of their status, even among the wealthy and the nobility. It was even more bitterly resented on the background of Jewish emancipation in France, the liberalizing edict passed in Prussia in 1812, and the budding liberal, revolutionary, and nationalist ideologies in Europe.

[[The rich Jews did not consider a balance of power with the Christians, and this was always a reason for anti-Semitism, above all after the collapse of the stock market of 1873]].

[Corrections of the law for a possible integration of the Jews in the state]

During the Congress of Vienna (1814-15), Nathan von Arnstein with other Jewish notables applied unsuccessfully to the emperor for the conferment of civil rights on Austrian Jewry. Joseph von *Wertheimer's anonymously published a work on the status of Austrian Jewry (1842) advocated extensive reforms. In 1846 the humiliating *oath more Judaico [[Jewish customs oath, Jewish oath]] was abolished.

[1848: Revolution - right to vote for Jews - freedom of the press with Jewish and anti-Semitic newspapers - movement "Forward to America!"]

The number of Jews actively participating in the 1848 revolution, such as Adolf Fischhof, Joseph Goldmark, Ludwig August Frankl, Hermann *Jellinek (later executed) - some of whom fell victims in the street fighting, among them Karl Heinrich *Spitzer - in part reflected the spread of assimilation among Jews who identified themselves with general political trends, (col. 894)

and in part expressed the bitterness of those already assimilated. The new election law passed in 1848 imposed no limitation on the franchise and eligibility to elective offices. Five Jewish deputies, Fischhof and Goldmark from Vienna, Abraham Halpern of Stanislavov, Dov Berush *Meisels of Cracow, and Isaac Noah *Mannheimer of Brody, were elected to the revolutionary parliament meeting at Kromeriz (Kremsier; 1848-49).

On the other hand, the revolution resulted in anti-Jewish riots in many towns, and the newly-acquired freedom of the press produced venomous anti-Semitic newspapers and pamphlets (see Q. *Endlich, S. *Ebersberg, S. *Brunner). Isidor *Busch published his short-lived but important periodical Oesterreichisches Central-Organ fuer Glaubensfreiheit, Cultur, Geschichte und Literatur des Judenthums, in which Leopold Kompert was the first to advocate emigration as a solution of the Jewish problem in Austria (and initiated the Auf nach Amerika! ("Forward to America!") movement).

[1849: Jewish taxes abolished, discrimination laws abolished, freedom of movement for all Jews]

After the revolution the specifically Jewish taxes were abolished by parliament. The imposed constitution ("Octroyierte Verfassung") of 1849 abrogated discrimination on the basis of religion. The hated Familiantengesetz became ineffective. Freedom of movement in the empire was granted. As a result old communities were dissolved and new ones emerged. Some Jews were admitted to state service.

[since 1852: Some new restrictions against the Jews - Jewish press - Jewish journalist tradition begins]

On Dec. 31, 1851, the imposed constitution was revoked. Although religious freedom was retained in principle, Jews were again required to obtain marriage licenses from the authorities, even if the number of marriages was no longer limited. The right of Jews to acquire real estate was suspended. Other restrictions were introduced up to 1860. In 1857 the establishment of new communities was prohibited in Lower Austria. Attempts were made to expel Jews from cities, based on the rights afforded by medieval charters. In 1860 a new, more liberal, legislation was promulgated, although in some parts of Austria Jews still were unable to hold real estate.

In general, however, the position of the Jews was now improved. Jewish financiers in partnership with members of the nobility founded new industries and banks, outstanding among them the Creditanstalt. Jews founded leading newspapers and many became journalists. In 1862 Adolf *Jellinek founded his modernized bet ha-midrash in Vienna.

[since 21 Dec. 1867: Full emancipation of the Jews in Austria-Hungary]

The new constitution of Austria-Hungary of Dec. 21, 1867, again abolished all discrimination on the basis of religion. The Vienna community then rapidly grew, attracting Jews from all parts of the monarchy. Jews increasingly entered professions hitherto barred to them and assimilation also increased. Communal organization remained, based on laws of 1789; in towns where there had not formerly been a Jewish community, only a *congregation for worship" (*Kultusverein), could be established.

A law issued in 1890 authorized the existence of one undivided community in each locality, supervising all religious and charitable Jewish institutions in the area, and entitled to collect dues; only Austrian citizens were eligible for election to the communal board.

In 1893 a rabbinical seminary, the *Israelitisch-Theologische Lehranstalt, was founded which also provided instruction for teachers of religion, and received aid from the authorities.

the upper strata of Austrian Jewry identified themselves with German culture and liberal trends. This was reflected in the views of Jewish members in both houses of parliament such as Ignaz *Kuranda, Heinrich Jacques, Rudolph *Auspitz, Moritz von *Koenigswarter, and Anselm von *Rothschild. The German Schulverein (Association for German minority schools) supported Jewish schools in non-German towns.


[[Supplement: Collapse of the stock markets in 1873 and no help for the Austrians provokes anti-Semitism]]

Anti-Semitism in Austria was enforced by the international collapse of the stock markets in 1873. The Austrian government and the Emperor of Vienna helped the rich Jews and the Jewish banks, but did not help the normal Austrian citizens and farmers. This provoked an anti-Semitic movement against the government and against the Jews in general. Schoenerer - one of the leaders - was model for Hitler. The movement of course was generalizing all arguments against the Jews though many Jews were also hit and poor by the collapse of the stock markets. Anti-Semitism did not at all solve any problems, but the Emperor did not either solve the problems...]]

Toward the latter part of the 19th (col. 895)

century, anti-Semitism rapidly developed in the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the blood libel case of *Tisza-Eszlar being followed by rioting and other false accusation. Anti-Semitism manifested two tendencies. The Catholic-religious form later found expression through Karl *Lueger and his *Christian-Social party; and in its pan-Germanic nationalistic form it was expressed by Gerog von *Schoenerer and his party (see *anti-Semitic political parties). The government, however, opposed anti-Semitic propaganda.

[[Supplement: At the end Schoenerer was brought into prison because he had attacked a Jewish newspaper office after the Jewish newspaper had reported the death of the Emperor of Berlin too early and had to report the death of the German Emperor two times and made much profit by this manoevre. The German Austrian crowd was cheering Schoenerer going to and coming from prison. But Schoenerer never realized that no problems are solved with anti-Semitism, and the Emperor at Vienna was playing with the nations in his empire. Schoenerer also was a fan of Bismarck and at the end was burried in Germany in the same forest where Bismarck has his grave...]]

[Jewish newspapers combating anti-Semitism - Jewish congregations in Austria]

The manifestation of anti-Semitism brought a change in ideological attitude on the part of the Jews, strengthening the national elements. Efforts were made to combat anti-Semitism in Austro-Hungary by Joseph Samuel *Bloch with the help of his weekly Oesterreichische Wochenschrift (founded 1884) and the *Union Oesterreichischer Juden (founded 1885). An association to combat anti-Semitism ("Verein zur Abwehr des Antisemitismus"), consisting of members of the higher strata of Austrian society, was founded in 1891 under the presidency of Eduard Suess.

The historian Heinrich *Friedjung continued to urge complete Jewish integration into the German nation. Some Jews ascribed the wave of anti-Jewish hostility to the immigration at this period of masses of "uncultured" Jews from Eastern Europe. In opposition to the assimilationist Oesterreichisch-Israelitische Union [[Austrian Israelite Union]] a Juedisch-politischer Verein [[Jewish Political Association]] (later Juedisch-nationale Partei [[Jewish National Party]]) advocated an independent Jewish policy. Jewish nationalist ideology penetrated Austrian circles through the influence of Perez *Smolenskin, Leon *Pinsker, and Nathan *Birnbaum. The first Jewish national students' society, *Kadimah, was founded in Vienna in 1882.


[Jewish Herzl "Nationalism"]

Vienna was the city of Theodor "Herzl, and the Zionists combined to strengthen the Jewish national standpoint and opposition to assimilation.

[[Zionist Herzl says in his booklet "The Jewish State" that an Israel could be found and all Arabs could be driven away like the natives in the "USA". This would be a "modern solution" of the "Jewish question"]].

[1907-1911: Jewish Parlamentsklub]

After the passage of the General Franchise Law in 1907, four representatives of the Jewish National Party were elected to parliament. They founded a Jewish *"Parlamentsklub" [["Parliamentary Club"]]. In the 1911 elections the Jewish national candidates were not returned.

[1914-1918: Zionist influence on the Jews - Jewish refugees from Galicia and Bukovina bring Jewish culture back to Vienna]

The Zionist influence in Jewish public life increased during World War I, and was significantly reinforced after Hirsch Perez *Chajes became chief rabbi of Vienna in 1917. During the war, 36,000 Jewish refugees arrived in Vienna from Galicia and Bukovina alone. The *Zentralstelle fuer juedische Kriegsfluechtlinge [[Central office for Jewish war refugees]] was formed to provide them with social assistance. Many stayed on after the war and influenced the revival of Jewish culture and life in hitherto stagnant communities.

[1918: Jews in the new formed mini-Austria]

In 1918 there were 300,000 Jews in 33 communities in the Austrian Republic, with 200,000 Jews living in Vienna in 1919. Distribution of the communities was as follows: 10 in Burgenland, 1 in Carinthia, 16 in Lower Austria, 1 in Salzburg, 1 in Styria, 1 in Tyrol, 2 in Upper Austria, 1 in Vorarlberg.> (col. 896)

Teilen / share:


Encyclopaedia Judaica 1971:
                                  Austria, vol. 3, col. 887-888
vergrössernEncyclopaedia Judaica 1971: Austria, vol. 3, col. 887-888
Encyclopaedia Judaica 1971:
                                  Austria, vol. 3, col. 889-890
vergrössernEncyclopaedia Judaica 1971: Austria, vol. 3, col. 889-890
Encyclopaedia Judaica 1971:
                                  Austria, vol. 3, col. 891-892
vergrössernEncyclopaedia Judaica 1971: Austria, vol. 3, col. 891-892
Encyclopaedia Judaica 1971:
                                Austria, vol. 3, col. 893-894
vergrössernEncyclopaedia Judaica 1971: Austria, vol. 3, col. 893-894
Encyclopaedia Judaica 1971:
                                Austria, vol. 3, col. 895-896
vergrössernEncyclopaedia Judaica 1971: Austria, vol. 3, col. 895-896
Encyclopaedia Judaica 1971:
                                Austria, vol. 3, col. 897-898
vergrössernEncyclopaedia Judaica 1971: Austria, vol. 3, col. 897-898
Encyclopaedia Judaica 1971:
                                Austria, vol. 3, col. 899-900
vergrössernEncyclopaedia Judaica 1971: Austria, vol. 3, col. 899-900
Encyclopaedia Judaica 1971:
                                  Austria, vol. 3, col. 901-902
vergrössernEncyclopaedia Judaica 1971: Austria, vol. 3, col. 901-902
Encyclopaedia Judaica 1971:
                                Austria, vol. 3, col. 903-904
vergrössernEncyclopaedia Judaica 1971: Austria, vol. 3, col. 903-904

backprevious     nextnext