Becoming Habsburg

Becoming Habsburg : The Jews of Habsburg Bukovina, 1774-1918

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Habsburg Bukovina no longer exists, save in the realms of historiography, nostalgia, and collective memory. Remembered for its remarkable multinational, multi-faith character, Bukovina and its capital city Czernowitz have long been presented as exemplars of inter-ethnic co-operation, political moderation, and cultural dynamism, with Jews regarded as indispensable to the region's character and vitality. This is not mere rhetoric: the Jews of Bukovina were integral to, and at home in, local society. David Rechter's important new history conveys the special nature of Bukovina Jewry while embedding it in the broader historical and intellectual frameworks of Galician, imperial Austrian, and east central European Jewries. Carefully tracing the evolution of the tangled relationship of state and society with the Jews, from the Josephinian Enlightenment through absolutism to emancipation, he brings to light the untold story of the Jewish minority in the monarchy's easternmost province, often a byword for economic backwardness and cultural provincialism. Here, at the edge of the Habsburg monarchy, Jews forged a new society from familiar elements, a unique hybrid of eastern and western European Jewries. Bukovina Jewry was both and neither: understanding its history can help us grasp the east/west fault lines within European Jewry, a key element in the Jewish experience in Europe.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 232 pages
  • 155 x 235 x 23mm | 499g
  • The Littman Library of Jewish Civilization
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Maps
  • 1904113958
  • 9781904113959
  • 1,301,114

Table of contents

Note on Transliteration
List of Abbreviations
Map 1: The Habsburg Empire
Map 2: Bukovina

Introduction: A Jewish El Dorado?

1 A New Land
2 Military Rule, 1774 - 1786
3 The Making of Bukovina Jewry: The Galician Years, 1786 - 1848
4 Revolution, Absolutism, Emancipation, 1848 - 1867
5 The Rise of Bukovina Jewry 6 State, Society, and Minority: Jewish Politics

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Review quote

'Argues that Bukovina served as a unique
site for Jewish integration. Its diverse character, frontier setting, and
balance among its different ethnic groups created the conditions necessary for
the development of the "supranational society" idealized in the politics of the
Habsburg Empire. These conditions in turn enabled the formation of a unique
form of Jewish society . . . written in fluid, readable prose that will appeal
to both beginners and more advanced readers.'
J. Haus, Choice
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About David Rechter

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