The Jews of Vienna and the First World War

BookThe Jews of Vienna and the First World War

The Jews of Vienna and the First World War

Littman Library of Jewish Civilization

2008

December 1st, 2008

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The First World War marked the final chapter in the history of Habsburg Viennese Jewry. In this book, the first study of Viennese Jews in this period, David Rechter explores the community's crises of ideology and identity during the traumatic war years. The book is also a study of modern Jewish politics. Viennese and Austrian Jewish political culture was a unique amalgam, combining the nationalism and radicalism of eastern Europe with the liberalism of the west. During the war, Zionism emerged the victor. The Jewish experience resembled that of other minorities in central and eastern Europe in this period, where ideologies of nationalism and ethnic self-determination became the prevailing norm. Despite this political transformation, Jewish world-views whether liberal, nationalist, or Orthodox survived the war remarkably intact. In analysing how Viennese Jews made the difficult transition from the Habsburg empire to the Austrian Republic, David Rechter offers a case study of Jewish politics and society in the crucible of war and brings to light an unexamined episode of modern Jewish history.

The First World War marked the final chapter in the history of Habsburg Viennese Jewry. In this book, the first study of Viennese Jews in this period, David Rechter explores the community's crises of ideology and identity during the traumatic war years. The book is also a study of modern Jewish politics. Viennese and Austrian Jewish political culture was a unique amalgam, combining the nationalism and radicalism of eastern Europe with the liberalism of the west. During the war, Zionism emerged the victor. The Jewish experience resembled that of other minorities in central and eastern Europe in this period, where ideologies of nationalism and ethnic self-determination became the prevailing norm. Despite this political transformation, Jewish world-views whether liberal, nationalist, or Orthodox survived the war remarkably intact. In analysing how Viennese Jews made the difficult transition from the Habsburg empire to the Austrian Republic, David Rechter offers a case study of Jewish politics and society in the crucible of war and brings to light an unexamined episode of modern Jewish history.

'A pioneer work in this field ... an excellent book.'
Albert Friedlander, European Judaism

‘Excellent.’
Daniel Unowsky, Historical Journal

‘A very valuable contribution.’
Maureen Healy, Journal of Modern History

‘The research Rechter has carried out in this work is thorough and top-notch. He has mined the archives and mastered the details of the Jewisd political scene in wartime Vienna. This is an invaluable guide to scholars in the field as well as graduate students who wish to understand the politics and the players involved . . . a piece of quality research . . . will serve as a valuable resource for scholars and students of Jewish history.’
Ian Reifowitz, Shofar

‘Rechter analyses the effects of the wartime crisis on Jewish thinking with considerable skill, drawing on an impressive range of sources . . . He gives a particularly effective account of the disorientation and dislocation of Viennese Jews at the fall of the Empire and their efforts to forge a new collective vision of their place in stunted post-imperial Austria.’
Bernard Wasserstein, Times Literary Supplement

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Author Information

David Rechter is Professor of Modern Jewish History at the University of Oxford.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Section TitlePagePrice
Cover1
Half Title2
Title Page4
Copyright5
Dedication6
Acknowledgements8
Contents10
Note on Place–Names12
List of Abbreviations13
Introduction16
1. The Political Culture of Viennese Jewry31
2. The Refugees82
3. Warring Youth116
4. In Pursuit of Unity144
5. A Jewish Revolution176
Conclusion202
Bibliography206
Index228