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Jews in cultural space of Austria-Hungary in the last third of XIX - the beginning of the 20th century


UDC 940.2 (436) "18-19" (112.28)


© 2010 of D.H. Bekmukhametov

Stavropol state university, Stavropol State University,

Pushkin St., 1, Stavropol, 355009, Pushkin St., 1, Stavropol, 355009,

The role and the place of Jews in intellectual life of Austria-Hungary are investigated. They had many opportunities for self-realization as Vienna was the city in which cultural life did not concede on the importance social and political, and each person was brought up as the citizen of the world.

This article is devoted to investigation of Jews role and place in intellectual life ofAustria-Hungary. They had many possibilities for self-realization because Vein was the city where cultural life was as important as social and politic ones, and each person was brought up as a citizen of the world.

Josef Roth meant not only a geographical location [1, page 123]. So, the Jews who are on the periphery of political life of the empire nevertheless were the most faithful supporters of the monarchy. The fidelity was shown first of all by those who, being devoted German and culture, at the same time were not perceived as full-fledged citizens of the Habsburg monarchy, i.e. the Jewish creative intellectuals. Jews felt quite comfortably in the multinational state in which culture they occupied not peripheral, but the leading positions.

In motley ethnoreligious structure of the empire of Gabsburgov the specific weight of Jews was small, but they should play the role incommensurable of their number in the begun modernization processes.

It should be noted that after association in 1867 the high-quality changes happened in all spheres of life of society: the monarchy entered a strip of economic recovery and modernization of outdated social and political structures.

The first stage of the accelerated transformation of economy was short-term. It began in 1848 and it was temporarily interrupted, as well as around the world, universal exchange crash of 1873. Then the depression which in Austria-Hungary proceeded almost before the end of the century followed. New rise began in 1896 and ended before World War I in 1913. During this period the curve of growth crept up is almost unceasing, except for insignificant recession in 1903 - 1904

What implies the concept "modernization"?

Modernization, modernism, a modernist style - concepts the related, expressing phenomenon or process of new things -

the line in various spheres of public life and culture, nevertheless each of them has strictly certain scope: the modernist style and modernism - in spheres of culture, literature, art, modernization belongs to society in general, to its fundamental structures [2, page 47].

Modern as the new direction in art culture, appears at a boundary of the XIX-XX centuries. New forms reflected those changes which happened in public consciousness at this time, and in society in general in art and literature.

Emergence of mobility of a new type and communications was one of consequences of social transformations that was promoted by industrialization, by means of construction of roads and new means of communication. As a result mass migrations which were one of the most important elements of process of modernization began. And, naturally, migrations caused the accelerated urbanization. So, from 1830 to 1910 the population of Vienna increased from 400 thousand to 2,083 thousand persons. In 1910 a quarter of the Vienna population was from Bohemia and Moravia [3, page 15]. In Hungary the population of Budapest from 1889 to 1900 increased from 360 up to 716 thousand [4, page 23]. As one of the reasons of migrations to the large cities of the empire the economic factor served. The cities gave the chance of professional growth. Besides in connection with processes of industrialization and an urbanization the migrants joined ranks of working class more and more. Among other things the cities attracted with the fact that were the cultural centers, the center of the mass culture which appeared at the end of the 19th century

During this period also the Jewish population of Vienna increases (1857 - 15,116 people, 1890 - 118,495,

1910 - 175,319 people) [5, page 179]. Besides what the city attracted with a possibility of economic growth, existence of educational prospects was an important factor of migration of Jews.

In the Jewish tradition the ideal of education was a symbol of progressive development of humanity. Having education, the Jew could protect the independence and apply for equality. It, but not the economic power or the political rights was that tool by means of which Jews sought to win to themselves the place in Christian society and to become his full members. Education was considered in the Christian environment surrounding them as the only legitimate means which granted to the Jew the right to take the appropriate place in society. So, S. Zweig in the memoirs noted that idea of aspiration of Jews only to economic prosperity is false: "Original will of the Jew, his immanent ideal - take-off in spiritual heights, to higher cultural sphere" [6, page 17]. By means of education they tried to assimilate in the environment. However it is not necessary to believe that assimilation was their ultimate and only goal. Jews attended mainly Jewish schools. Two thirds of all Vienna grammar-school boys, Jews by origin, studied in gymnasiums in I, II and IX areas. Non Jews were outsiders in them. The schoolmate of Artur Shnitsler who became later a nationalist gloomy drew a picture of the school class: "I had to be trained together with many Jews!" [4, page 131]. Even finally assimilated Jews of Vienna went to school with other Jews. Possibly, it was connected with the fact that, despite processes of emancipation and assimilation, at them still there was a feeling of community (Gemeinschaft). Besides society (Christian) which they so sought to join did not hurry to accept them.

As for school education, still Joseph II in the "edikt about tolerance" allowed Jews to build own schools. It is necessary to emphasize that Orthodox Jews were essentially against visit of public schools at which children did not observe religious instructions; besides, according to them, regular school lessons do only harm. As a rule, when business concerned training, preference was given to boys, and girls were trained only in reading and a small amount of prayers. Therefore sent to their thicket to public school (therefore, they got more secular education, than boys). So, for example, in Galicia in 1900 the number of the Jewish boys at public schools equaled 32,964, and girls - 45,502 [7, page 923]. But, despite all bans, classical education attracted the Jewish pupils showing interest in ancient and modern European art. Pious Jews branded the gymnasium which was bringing up their sons in the non Jewish atmosphere. Here the diplomaed young people definitely knew more about Horace, Cicero and about "The song about Nibelun-

ga", than about the Talmud and the Torah. Weekly two hours taught all Jewish pupils the Scripture, but these two hours were not enough for perception of the Jewish religious values.

For most of the Jewish pupils these school lessons were very attractive. So, Siegmund Maier, the wealthy Vienna sales agent visiting a gymnasium in Presburg in the 40th of the 19th century noticed: "The school became for us, the Jewish boys, the real oasis in the social desert which surrounded us" [4, page 130]. Possibly, such perception of educational process was promoted by the fact that during this period the emancipation of Jews was not still complete. And in school they could feel as full members of society. During later period some sometimes considered, like S. Zweig, classical education "the stupid, empty doctrine" and "constant, boring satiation", revolted from rigid benches of a gymnasium first of all grieved for participation in a rich life of the city. They took all pleasures which were offered by modern culture outside a gymnasium. All friends of S. Zweig absorbed magazines and newspapers, were fond of literature and often visited theaters. S. Zweig wrote: "... during lessons, on the way to school and from school, in cafe, in theater, on walk we, teenagers, years only also said that about books, pictures, music, philosophy" [6, page 131].

Despite similar opinion on school, the number of the Jewish pupils on statistical data steadily increased. So, in the Austrian lands in 1880 71,414 Jewish children (from total number, going school,

2 377,624) attended public and private schools, in 1890 - 96,797 (from 2,872,928), in 1900 - 110,269 (from
3 329,783). The number of the Jewish children in Austria grew for 1880 - 1900 by 54.5% (Christian - approximately for 39.5%) [7, page 923]. According to a population census of 1910, more than 87.6% of the Jewish children of six-year age could read and write in Hungary, at the same time the average level of literacy over the country was only 68.7%. This difference is even more noticeable if to consider data of high schools. So, in 1910 in Hungary 4.6% of all male population finished 4 classes of high school; 2.9% - 6 classes and 2.3% - 8 classes, and the Jewish male population of-21,8, 12,9 and 10.1% respectively [8, page 105].

Jews achieved considerable achievements at the universities of Austria-Hungary. As B. Hamman notes: "Christians visited the university where the number of Jews made about 24.5%. The Jewish students made in Vienna, as well as in Prague - first of all at the German university - nearly one third of students. Favourite objects of the Jewish students were medicine - in 1913 they made more than 40% of medical students in Vienna - and the right: in 1913 the Jews made the fourth part of all students of law department" [9, page 469].

One more sphere which, according to statistical data, Jews of the empire were interested, was journalism. Here for 1890 - 1910 their share took away -


it chitsya from 36.8 to 42.4% [7, page 921]. Many researchers in relation to this period use the concept "Jewification" of the press. And it is valid how V. Svatkovsky noted, the editorial offices of the major Vienna newspapers ("Neue Freie Presse", "Fremdenblatt", "Neues Wiener Tagblatt", "Zeit", "Arbeiter Zeitung") generally consisted of Jews. For comparison he provided newspapers to which edition the Jews had no relation: "Following two newspapers & #34; Reichspost" and & #34; Deutsches Volksblatt" represent Aryan group among large bodies of the German Vienna press. In the editorial offices of these newspapers there is no Jew, at least, on leading roles. This Aryan group compared with Jewish is how insignificant, best of all it is visible that at two Aryan newspapers together circulation about 34 - 35000 copies, and at above the called large Jewish bodies, apart from & #34; Mittagszeitung" - from 190,000 to 200,000" [10, l. 23]. What it is possible to explain such prevalence of Jews in journalism with? As it was already noted above, education played an important role in life of Jews. And the journalism was one of three areas (two others - medicine and law) to which they gave preference. Perhaps, through the press the Jews tried to become full members of society. It made the strongest impact on public opinion. Besides, as Svatkovsky, all main newspapers where Jews dominated noted, were pro-governmental, "moderately liberal direction". From the middle of the 19th century they actively supported liberals. Therefore the anti-Semitic movement in the slogans closely bound anti-Semitism, anti-capitalism and liberalism.

Speaking about "Jewification" of the Hungarian press, marked out S. Bart that the Jewish publicists the influence on public opinion showed a certain readiness for assimilation that resulted in good results in their madyarization. Legal emancipation of Jews was one of results of their journalism. They had such impact on the public that the political and intellectual elite of the country accepted emancipation without special objections [8, page 114]. At the beginning of the 20th century in Hungary the press almost completely appeared in hands evrev. In 1907, apart from two-three exceptions, Jews owned 16 most readable Budapest newspapers; 70% of the journalists working in editions were Jews [8, page 117]. The new style which they introduced was sharply opposite to old traditions of the press. Bart complained about that, "that older, more or less assimilated journalists were replaced newly arrived and while the first tried to arrange the views under Hungary, the new generation did not care for assimilation at all. Though they spoke in Hungarian and used well learned patriotic phrases in the articles, nevertheless their spirit was to new and foreign Hungarians. This generation did not feel any gratitude for the emancipation, on the contrary, expected honoring and recognition as rasprostranya-

Leningrad Region culture and civilization, new European spirit" [8, page 116]. It is necessary to treat these statements of the Hungarian researcher critically. First, he wrote the work in the 40th of the 20th century, and, considering a Jewish problem, found possible use of methods of national socialists "in fight against the Jewish race" in Hungary. He explained that circumstance that it did not occur with features of a Jewish problem in Hungary. Secondly, speaking about new generation, the author exaggerated a little. Unlike other part of the empire, Cis-leytanii, Transleytaniya pursued purposeful policy of a madyarization of Jews which was actively welcomed by Jews. Many of them, like György Lukács's father, considered themselves patriots and took Magyar surnames. For most of Jews an ultimate goal was assimilation, aspiration nothing to differ from surrounding society. However growth of anti-Semitic moods at the end of the 19th century caused a certain reaction from Jews. The ideas that full assimilation is impossible began to appear, and the only exit for Jews is a creation of own state. Naturally, with distribution of Zionism which founder was T. Gertsl also the number of his supporters increased. Apparently, it meant S. Bart, speaking about "new generation". However it should be noted that most of the assimilated Jews considered Gertsl the utopian, and his ideas unreal.

So in what after all the reason of "domination" of Jews consisted in the intellectual sphere?

The culture of the second half of the 19th century became bourgeois more and more that was caused both by sociocultural development of the empire, and indifference to it from the yard and especially Franz Joseph [11, page 328]. In such conditions the Jewish bourgeoisie showed readiness to help to keep gloss and glory of the Vienna culture. Jews from the very beginning loved this city and became attached to it with all the heart, but only thanks to attachment to the Vienna art felt full and true wreaths. In social and political life they, as a rule, were only of little importance; high state posts were descended, aristocrats knew diplomacy, representatives of the nobility filled with army, as a rule. According to Jews, they perceived such state of affairs as due. So, S. Zweig's father for reasons of sensitivity could refuse a lunch near the count, but did not feel remorse if he sat in theater near the archduke [6, page 26].

Only in the face of art all in Vienna felt equal each other because the love for art in Vienna was considered as universal obligation. The Jewish bourgeoisie made a huge contribution to development of the Vienna culture by the support and direct participation. Jews were the main public, they filled theaters, concerts, bought books, pictures, attended exhibitions, and thanks to more flexible, less connected by tradition perception became advocates and initiators everywhere

all new. U. Johnston asks a question why the Austrian Jews unlike German always strove for novelty, and finds the answer that the Austrian Jews were generally villagers by origin. In Germany, as well as in France, almost all Jews lived in city ghettoes therefore they lost contact with the rural environment and feeling of mysticism, and in Austria the rural Jews naturally entered city life, without breaking at the same time the settled life of polycultural society [12, page 39].

And Jews created art by no means not specifically Jewish, and opposite, is deep and emphasized Austrian, Vienna in fact. K. Goldmark, G. Mahler and A. Schoenberg became the international authorities on the latest music; O. Strauss, L. Fall, I. Kalman refreshed tradition of the waltz, and for the operetta there came the Golden Age. G. Gofmanstal, A. Shnits-ler, R. Beer-Hoffman, the Item Altenberg brought the Vienna literature to the European level; A. Zonnental, M. Reinhardt revived theatrical glory of the city around the world. Thus, Jews are scientists, musicians, artists, directors, architects, writers it is indisputable approved for themselves high places in spiritual life of Vienna. Thanks to love for this city, aspiration for assimilation they strongly took the worthy place in cultural space of Vienna. With sincere love S. Zweig described Vienna: "Hardly in any other city of Europe the thirst for culture was as passionate, as in Vienna. Ready to apprehend and, this city blessed with the special gift to susceptibility attracted to itself the most polar forces, discharged, released, combined them; it was nice to live here, in this atmosphere of spiritual benevolence, and spontaneously each citizen of this city was brought up nadnatsionalno as the cosmopolitan, as the citizen of the world" [6, page 19]. Perhaps, thanking such atmosphere, such variety of cultures and ethnic heterogeneity, i.e. the horizontal differentiation characteristic of the Vienna modernist style, Jews felt comfortable in this city.

Noting achievements of Jews in the intellectual sphere, U. Johnston allocates a number of factors which promoted it [12, page 31]. First, learning Hebrew language by the Jewish boys (at least till 1880). In spite of the fact that they quickly forgot it and at the same time ceased to perform religious practices, nevertheless learning of texts on Hebrew strengthened their memory, and studying the Talmud learned to investigate attentively its formulations to catch their ethical value. In Hebrew the vowels are transcribed not as alphabet letters, and as diacritical signs which often fall therefore speaking this language faced uncountable cases of word-play. At any Jew who learned to read on Hebrew without diacritical signs a sharp eye on word-play of any sort developed. This exercise stimulated native wit and helped the Jewish writers to create associations, not -

imaginable for non Jews. Besides, the ban on the image of God forced Jews to perceive it by means of abstractions. Early training in subtleties of the right and theology developed in them art of dialectics to such an extent that only the few Catholics who were trained by Jesuits could be compared to them.

G. Brokh marked out one more aspect of the Jewish religious education. The supreme Jewish value - respect for life; this prerequisite is the cornerstone of all Jewish right, especially the norms regulating kosher food. The similar respect for life distinguished the Jew from anti-Semitic contempt for it. For it everything that prolongs life, fairly, and everything that reduces it, unfairly. The casuistry of the Talmud taught children to analyze what actions do well and what threaten the living being [12, page 32].

Thus, Jews of Austria-Hungary took the leading positions in the intellectual sphere. It was caused by a number of factors.

First, their exit from community which had the big power over the members was an important incentive for development of mental abilities and entry of Jews into the European culture. It is known that in traditional Jewish community it was allowed to study only the Talmud and works of the Jewish mystics. Having left a ghetto, Jews greedy absorbed in themselves a civilization of the 19th century, giving vent to energy which is saved up for ages of isolation. To them in the conditions of such transformation the feeling of vulnerability was natural. Therefore their aspiration to education is not surprising. Excellent study of Jews at the university was absolutely a commonplace as in the course of education in family inspired in them that it is necessary to study well to overcome prejudice of people around.

Secondly, this consequence of process of assimilation. By means of the intellectual sphere, through perception of the European culture the Jews sought to join the society surrounding them. But society did not hurry to accept them as in it idea of the Jew as the usurer and the businessman still dominated, chasing a profit and incapable of anything bigger. It is no wonder that Jews tried to prove the return that an ultimate goal of their economic activity is spiritual enrichment. By the way, for the same reason many of them sought to become noblemen, representatives of the nobelitet.

Thirdly, the culture of a modernist style which arose at the end of the 19th century was close of Modern is characterized by denial and criticism of all traditional and search of new. Many Jews in connection with processes of emancipation and assimilation tore with a traditional way of life (some even with views, having undergone deeper, spiritual assimilation) and now were in search of the place in society. And very often art was substitute of social activity. Aestheticization of public life was attempt of flight from re-

alnost, from the world real to the world ideal. And this world was given for valid, for more significant, than that which existed actually.


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on June 10, 2009

Kimber Berg
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