Was someone born in Galicia considered a Pole or an
[Please sign your posts with name and city/country you are writing from
Peter Jassem <jassep@...>
In response to my recent posting on Gesher Galicia SIG I received a letter
from one of our members. I think the issue is important so I decided torespond in public.
The letter says:
Thanks, any Jew born in Galica should be considered Jewish, not Polish,Dear H..., your comment is very emotional and I understand this. The
historical fact however is that some Jews, especially in large cities like
Krakow or Lwow and in particular intelligentsia considered themselves
Polish. Those who live in Poland now and are aware of their Jewishness, like
famous intellectual Adam Michnik, consider themselves Polish just as much as
Senator Libermann considers himself American. The same logic applies to
And as ill as it may sound to you (and I don't like it either) many Jews
before the Holocaust were proud to be German. I think it is important to
realize this historical truth in order to understand the true dimension of
the Holocaust tragedy and betrayal.
Peter Jassem <jassep@...>
Harvey [SMTP:panthercat644@...] wrote:
Was someone born in Galicia considered a Pole or an Austrian ?
The term Galicia was the name Austrians applied to the traditional part of
Poland inhabited mostly by Poles, Ukrainians (eastern part) and Jews, that
they annexed in the process of partitions of Poland. Therefore people who
lived there between 1772 and 1918 (only) under Austrian administration were
in political sense Austrian subjects and documents >from that period such as
civil and immigration records, ship manifests etc. will reflect this. In
national, ethnic or linguistic sense however they were not Austrians and
referred to themselves as Poles, Ukrainians or Jews.
Peter Zavon <PZavon@...>
On Tue, 15 Aug 2000 Harvey <panthercat644@...> asked:
Was someone born in Galicia considered a Pole or anAnyone born in Galicia when it existed as a province of the
Austro-Hungarian Empire or, earlier, of the Hapsburg Empire, was a Subjec=
of the Emperor of Austria for official purposes. Such a person would hav=
been recorded as "Austrian" for most official purposes, such as obtaining=
However, The Austro-Hungarian Empire was a multi-ethnic empire. It
subjects generally maintained their ethnic identities. So an Austrian
subject might describe himself as a Pole or a Czech, etc. Jews were
generally seen as an ethnic group, so many would dscribe themselves as Je=
rather than Poles, for example. The more secularized might have prefered=
to call themselves Poles rather than Jews,or Austrians rather than Jews,
but official procedures might have prevented that.
People born in what had been Galicia but was then part of inter-war Polan=
(>from 1920 until WWII) would have been citizens of Poland and would have
been recorded as such. They would be Poles for purposed of obtaining US
Peter Zavon, Editor
Gesher Galicia Family Finder
In a message dated 8/17/00 11:53:15 PM Central Daylight Time,
<< The letter says:
>Thanks, any Jew born in Galica should be considered Jewish, not Polish,
>Ukrainian, etc. The thought of my grandparents being "considered"
>Ukrainian (or any of the others) makes me physically ill. The governments
>and most of the people did not consider the Jews to be Polish, Ukranian,
>nor, God forbid, German. And neither should we. Regards, H...
Dear H..., your comment is very emotional and I understand this. >>
I was married to a Russian Jew. He too, if asked what his nationality was
would respond Jewish. So did all his relatives that I met. I found it an
interesting and somewhat confusing statement. Since I was not Jewish, I had
considered him American of Russian extract since both his parents were born
in Russia, but his religion as Jewish. Just as I considered myself American
of Irish, English and Czech extraction (most of my grandparents or
great-grandparents were born in those countries), and my religion Catholic.
At this point, since I have been unable to discover his father's immigration
papers or naturalization papers, I have not been able to get past this point.
However, a possible real last name would suggest that his father was
possibly of Polish extraction.
The only reasoning I could come up with is that because of anti-Semitism
throughout the ages, the Jewish people felt alot like the Germans >from Russia
do -- they are Germans who happen to have ancestors who spent 200 or less
years in Russia.
Neither my husband nor his relatives really gave me an answer to why they
felt their nationality was Jewish, but they do.