The Cholera Pandemic in Galicia #austria-czech #poland #galicia

Stephen Denker <spdenker@...>

Several years ago, I searched 19th Century Jagielnica vital records for my Denker and Geller families. 

There were usually less than 100 deaths per year. Then I noticed a disturbing change. By 1865 the total number was about 300 - most caused by Cholera.




During the 19th Century, Cholera had spread across the World from its original source - the Ganges River delta in India. Six subsequent pandemics killed millions of people across all continents. Deaths in India, in three pandemics between 1817 and 1860, were estimated to have exceeded 15 million people. During the next three Indian pandemics between 1865 and 1917, another 23 million died.


The fourth Cholera pandemic (1863-1875) spread to Europe. During the Austro-Prussian War (1866), Cholera is estimated to have taken 165,000 lives in the Austrian Empire. The same year 1866, Cholera claimed 90,000 lives in the Russian Empire.


Cholera deaths in the Russian Empire during this entire period exceeded 2 million.

My own Great-Great Grandfather, Asriel Geller died October 1, 1848 from Cholera.

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Hello Fellow Genners,
I should like to add just one citation of many that I have collected:
Anonymous, “Einweihungsfeier des S. B. Latz’schen Alten- und Siechenheims” (with illustration of the building), Posener Neueste Nachrichten, Thursday, 16 December 1909, Issue 3207, 2nd supplement, 1st and 2nd pp.  Mf 06867; and at Leo Baeck Institute, New York City, Edward Luft Collection, AR 6957, location S42/5.  The article discusses Akiba Eger and the 1831 cholera epidemic in Posen, reproducing the text of the letter sent by King Friedrich Wilhelm to Chief Rabbi Jacob Moses [Akiba] Eger], thanking him for his efforts, 1st unnumbered p.
Unfortunately, every article that I have found is in German; none is in English.  The copy that I donated to my Collection at the Leo Baeck Institute came from the Biblioteka im. Adama Mickiewicza; each year has its own microfilm number.  That was the only other location where I found the holdings.
To summarize, the Jewish deaths from cholera in the 1831 epidemic in the city of Posen, today Poznań, Wielkopolska, Poland, was 17 while the total deaths were over 2,000.  Von Flottwell, the Provincial President (= governor), and the King discussed appointing Eger to be in charge of managing the epidemic, not for reasons of health but to be able to blame him if things went wrong.  In the end, the King merely sent a letter.  The original of that letter is lost although the copy continues to be available from news reports in newspapers.  Many historians attribute the low number of Jewish deaths to sanitation rules in Jewish law enforced by Eger, the last Gaon of Posen.  I found perhaps 20 other citations to the same or similar information in books and in newspapers.  This same King contributed liberally to the London Society for the Conversion of the Jews.


Presumably Asriel Geller died of cholera in Galicia in October 1848.
In June 1848 three members of my ancestral Glazer family died within a week of each other in Lipcani, Bessarabia - two brothers and the wife of one of them. 
It was a world-wide pandemic that reached its zenith in 1848, the year of European revolutions.