Gesher Galicia SIG #Galicia Re: Citizenship after WWI #galicia

Brian J. Lenius <brian@...>

I don't usually (maybe never before) wade in on a debate without very
concrete information, but I find this question rather interesting. The
answer, once discovered, can provide all researchers with a small piece of
history to add to their family histories.

Lancy Spalter:

Fellow researcher M. Goldberger drew my attention to the relevant clauses
the Treaty of Peace between the Allied and Associate Powers and Austria.
answer is that Galitzianers were automatically granted Polish citizenship
BUT they had a 12-month period to opt for Austrian citizenship. Very few
them did.

My new question is: WHY?
= Were they unaware of this option?
= Were they too "busy" trying to survive the post-war rigors to care for
= Were there guidelines of the Jewish Councils as to which nationality to

If any of the GG mavens has answers, please share them.
Thanks to Lancy Spalter for this thought provoking and relevant question and
to M. Goldberger for the subsequent info re: "Treaty of Peace" clauses. Is
it possible that there might be other clauses in this treaty that might
spell out conditions to opt for Austiran citizenship?

The answer to Lancy's question should be of interest, not only all Jewish
Galicianers but, to those of all other ethnic groups in Galicia as well. It
is also a question where maybe looking at other ethnic groups might provide
some insight for Jewish researchers.

While mulling this over in my mind, it seems that one point would be
obvious. Those who were ethnic Poles would not wish to become Austrian
citizens for one obvious reason - the new country was created effectively
for them. As for all the rest, Ukrainian, Jewish, and German (to name the
major ones) - it seems the same decision (or "none decision" really) was
made. It is always easier to "not" make a decision (i.e. "do nothing") and
so that might have been part of it. While Lancy's third possibility might
have been true (I don't know), it seems that perhaps one of the first 2
possibilities or maybe even a 4th could have been the main reason -
something more universal.

The vast majority of not only Ukrainians, but also those of German
ethnicity, did not become Austrian citizens. This I can personally state
this with fair certainty. It is perhaps most striking that almost all
German "colonists" also did not take up this offer. They had such a strong
tie to being "Austrian" partially due in part to their German culture and
language and also due in part to their gratitude to the Austrian Monarchy
for the invitation and opportunity to settle there in the first place (late
1700's & early 1800's). In fact, if one looks at the Canadian 1911 census,
it seems that Ukrainians >from Galicia most often identified themselves as
"Galician", but the German immigrants >from Galicia most often identified
themslves as "Austrian. So to me this is what makes the question even more

Maybe a fourth universal possibility might be that there were conditions
applied to that citizenship that most Galicians regardless of ethnicity
(other than ethnic Poles), did not find attractive. For example, maybe
Austrian citizenship required relocating to the "new" Austrian soil. This
would not be attractive to most residents in Galicia, because it would mean
leaving relatives, friends, land, businesses, and more behind. Also, land
and opportunities in the much smaller, and now economically recovering,
Austria might not be as attractive. This requirement might also make sense
politically as one would be hard-pressed to see how citizens of one country
(new Austrian citizens) would be allowed to remain resident in another
country (the "new" Poland) especially when the former had just recently been
enemies with the later. One can think of all kinds of potential problems,
such as the potential for the new "Austrian" citizens to form some sort of
insurgency. That is but one of many scenarios that one could conjure up.

I do apologize for the long message especially since it is not filled with
known facts, but I am hoping that it might be a bit thought provoking. I
too am interested in discovering the answer to Lancy's second question and
hope others will weigh in. Again, maybe the answer lies in further clauses
of the "Treaty of Peace".

Brian J. Lenius
Selkirk, MB, Canada

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