Gesher Galicia SIG #Galicia Post WWI Austrian citizenship #galicia


Suzan & Ron Wynne <srwynne@...>
 

This is in response to Lancy Spalter's provacative posting a couple of days
ago. I've been re-reading Wm. O. McCagg Jr.'s book The Story of Hapsburg
Jews, 1670-1918 and, while McCagg doesn't specifically discuss the issue of
post WWI citizenship, he does discuss the social and economic context of
post-war conditions. The war had created tremendous physical disruption in
Galicia. Galician Jews were expelled by the invading Russian army, whole
towns along the path of battle were destroyed, and many Jews returned
post-war, to find that they had to start all over again. Moving to Vienna,
where about 200,000 very poor Galicians had lived in overcrowded and
underemployed conditions pre-war, must have seemed a less attractive option
than trying to stay in familiar surroundings where they had family and
community support.

I say Vienna, because, in Austria proper, few Jews lived outside of that
city. Austria's punishment for the war was harsh. The country lost its
territorial possessions and was reduced to a poor, mostly agricultural
country with virtually no industry and very little economic power. Vienna
had suffered badly in the 1873 economic downturn and never really recovered.
Then, there was rampant anti-Jewish fervor in the rural and small town
population outside of Vienna because the very conservative, Catholic
populace was fearful of Socialism, which they associated with Jews.

Altogether, not a very welcoming place. There were massive problems in
Poland as well, of course. I don't mean to minimize them. But, it makes
sense that people would have been seeking safety, a way to make a decent
living, and comfort. It just doesn't seem that Vienna would have offered any
of those features.

I'd be interested in hearing >from others about their point of view on this
topic.

Suzan Wynne
Kensington, MD

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