Part I: Galicia and Lemberg/ Lwów/ Lviv 
2. From the Ausgleich to the Outbreak of World War I 

2.1. Autonomy and Polonisierung 

This trend towards Germanization came to an end in the late 1860s, as new reforms came into force establishing Galicia's new autonomous status within the Hapsburg Monarchy. From this point on, it was above all Poles who assumed the key positions in the provincial government; the educational and judicial systems were oriented toward Polish traditions and culture, and the Polish nobility could strengthen its position of power. This process also had effects upon linguistic hegemony. In 1871, the Polonisierung (Polonization) of the University of Lemberg was completed10; in 1872 the German-language theater Deutsche Schaubühne was forced to close its doors.11 This trend toward Polonisierung was likewise evident within the Jewish population. The German-Jewish poet Alfred Nossig provides a literary illustration in this connection: In his 1892 novel 'Prophet Johannes,' published in Lemberg and set there in the year 1880, the rather biographically-drawn protagonist depicts a group strolling along the Lemberg Promenade: the adults walk at the head of the group, among them the narrator who "hears only chitchat in German all around him." The young people follow slightly behind, "conversing among themselves in splendid Polish." 12 

Leo Herzberg-Fränkl maintains that, in the 1880s and 1890s, it was "the younger generation, particularly in the larger cities, which first began to assimilate Polish culture, though without completely distancing themselves from German language and education."13 This generalization is consistent with figures from the University of Lemberg. At the School of Law, the percentage of Jewish students dropped by about two-thirds from 1863/64 (instruction in German) to 1873/74 (Polish), at which point it slowly began to climb again, though it was only in 1893/94 that the percentage again equaled that of the 1860s. In the Department of Philosophy as well, it was not until the 1890s that a higher proportion of Jewish students was reached.14 In 1880 in Lemberg the survey asked only for the respondent's language of everyday use 8.3 % of the local population spoke German; by 1910, the figure had sunk to 2.8 %. Even taking into account the persistent underreporting of minority groups in national censuses, the proportion of Galician Jews who specified German as their language of everyday use in 1910 was a mere 2.9%. In contrast, 92.7 % of Galician Jews specified Polish as their language of everyday use. The "Deutsch-Israelitische Bethaus" received a new Polish name after the turn of the century. The percentage of Jews who gave German as their language of everyday use dropped particularly in the decade 1900 - 1910; according to a survey taken at the turn of the century in which respondents could name only one language, this group had still made up 15.3% of the total.15 In spite of the fact that enormous pressure was frequently placed upon Jews to report Polish to the census takers16, we can nevertheless work under the assumption that there was a massive tendency towards Polonisierung among Galician Jews. 

The socialist movement opened a specific way to Polonisierung in the second half of the 1880s. The Polish socialists advocated equal rights for Jews and called for their linguistic and cultural assimilation. Like most European socialists, they also regarded the Jewish religion as a collection of superstitions and a symptom of backwardness. Their tolerance was accorded to Jews as individuals but not to Judaism. Jewish socialists in Galicia were in come cases themselves radical proponents of Polonisierung Hermann Diamand, one of the movement's leaders in Lemberg, was a prominent example17. Zionistic points of view had also become widespread beginning in the 1880s within a small circle of Jewish socialist intellectuals and 'progressive' thinkers. The first Zionist newspaper in Lemberg was published in Polish. Majer Balaban and the young Martin Buber are examples of Zionists who tended to assimilate Polish culture during this phase. Buber was born in Vienna and then raised by his grandfather in Lemberg where he attended the Polish high school; it was during this time that he attempted to translate Friedrich Nietzsche into Polish18

In considering data available regarding the social and economic situation of the Jewish population and comparing it with that of the non-Jewish population, it becomes clear that these statistics at least do not contradict the hypothesis which has been advanced thus far. The 1910 census offers the opportunity for a comparison of this kind. Here, it is evident that, on the level of aggregate data, there were doubtlessly differences in social stratification between the Jewish and non-Jewish populations. Self-employment was much higher than average among Jews. It is interesting to note, however, that laborers were not underrepresented, a fact that becomes clear upon comparison with, for instance, data from Vienna. Calculating a Disparity Index (Difference/ 2) on the basis of social-statistical difference, the value for Galicia comes to 26.7; this means that 26.7% of the Jewish or non-Jewish population would have had to change professions in order to display the same distribution percentages as the other group. The corresponding Disparity Index calculated for Vienna in 1910 is clearly higher: 35.0. The value for Galicia lies closer to that of Budapest (23.4), a city well-known for its social climate favoring integration in the years before the outbreak of World War I19

The differences become even clearer in the case of the distribution of Jews and non-Jews according to employment by economic sector, whereby the Disparity Index calculated for 1910 came to 70.7. This can be traced back to the enormous overrepresentation of the non-Jewish workforce in agriculture where Jews were strongly underrepresented, whereas Jews were over-represented in commerce and transportation. Nevertheless, in Galicia we find a broad class of low-income Jews comprised of approximately 80,000 laborers (day laborers and apprentices) and 80,000 unskilled hands. This demonstrates the existence of a large underclass (about 50%) of the population. The Jewish population thus by no means constituted a small economic elite. For this reason, the chances of integration by means of Polonisierung do not appear completely unrealistic at this point in time. In any case, a degree of social inequality dividing Jews and non-Jews, such as that which then existed in Vienna or Czernowitz (Bukovina), did not seem to be present. 

Table 1: Occupational Breakdown of the Jewish and non-Jewish Workforce, Galicia , 1910
 
GALICIA
Total
Jews
%
Non-Jews
%
Proportion
of Jews
Difference
Self- 
Employed
1,548,194
168,151
49.1
1,380,043
33.2
10.9
15.9
Lease- 
holders
7,096
3,546
1.0
3,550
0.1
50.0
0.9
Employees
90,709
18,535
5.4
72,174
1.7
20.5
3.7
Laborers
520,228
52,979
15.5
467,249
11.2
11.2
4.3
Apprentices
33,084
8,665
2.5
24,419
0.6
26.2
1.9
Day 
Laborers
226,470
10,779
3.1
215,691
5.2
4.8
2.1
Employed in Family 
Business & Farming
2,078,120
80,087
23.4
1,998,033
48.0
3.9
24.6
TOTAL
4,503,901
342,742
100.0
4,161,159
100.0
7.6
(53.4)
Source: Österreichische Statistik, Neue Folge, Vol. 3, Heft 10, Vienna 1916, p. 225.

Table 2: Jewish and non-Jewish Population by Economic Sector, Galicia , 1910
 
GALICIA
Total
Jews
%
Non-Jews
%
Proportion
of Jews
Difference
Agriculture
3,545,042
46,066
13.4
3,498,976
84.1
1.3
70.7
Industry & 
Crafts
304,827
78,691
23.0
226,136
5.4
25.8
17.6
Commerce & Transportation
288,591
174,711
51.0
113,880
2.8
60.5
48.2
Public Servants & Professionals
365,441
43,274
12.6
322,167
7.7
11.8
4.9
TOTAL
4,503,901
342,742
100.0
4,161,159
100.0
7.6
(141.4)
Source: Österreichische Statistik, Neue Folge, Vol. 3, Heft 10, Vienna 1916, p. 225.
 
 

In view of the Polish hegemony, those who viewed Polonisierung with skepticism had no opportunity to form alternative cultures or countercultures. After all, massive anti-Semitism was highly prevalent among non-Jewish elites. One alternative was migration. Many emigrated to North America, motivated above all by economic factors: of 281,150 Jewish emigrants during the period 1881-1910, 85% came from Galicia. Decade after decade beginning in the 1870s, 20,000-30,000 migrated to Vienna and Lower Austria as well. The proportion of Galizianer among the Jews of Vienna rose continuously. From approximately 11% in 1880, this figure rose to about 20% by the outbreak of World War I. In 1910, 42,695 individuals residing in Vienna had been born in Galicia20; of whom not all were Jews. As to their motives, it may be assumed that the cultural element played a role alongside many other motives and there is, in fact, good reason to suspect that other migrational movements, such as the one to the USA and to New York in particular, were more strongly determined by purely economic motives21. Following the wave of refugees during the years 1914-1919, the number of Galician Jews in Vienna climbed even further22. Those intellectuals and writers who migrated to Vienna such as Joseph Roth or Manes Sperber subsequently turned completely to the German language. For this group, the question of hegemonies had been decided once and for all by means of migration. 

2.2. Contradictions and Countertendencies 

The tendency toward Polonisierung beginning in the late 1860s up until the outbreak of World War I is uncontested. In concrete terms, however, this process played itself out in a much more complex and contradictory fashion than the 'smooth' trend would suggest. Thus, in the 1860s Moritz/Maurycy Rappoport, an influential representative of the Jewish Community, composed a poem which can be regarded as a Polish Nationalist ode. Indeed, the original version had been written in German, the language Rappoport preferred to use since his mastery of Polish was far from perfect. 

"From Orient, the Fantasy, 
In the breast, a Slavic fire, 
How my young soul was inflamed, 
Songs flowed from the golden lyre, 
How melancholy filled my heart 
From Sarmatians' bitter wails, 
How my soul rose heavenward 
At my father's wondrous tales, 
How lustrous in the twilight's gleam 
Ancient ruins in pallid glow; 
To be a Pole as well as Jew, 
Is the double crown of woe...." 23 

Moritz/Maurycy Rappoport is by no means an isolated instance. The idea of the ethnically and linguistically homogenous national state, the idea of the 19th century, contradicted the fundamental principle of the Hapsburg Dynasty and the imperial-dynastic conception. In Austria, a state comprising numerous nationalities, this led to deep-seated conflicts which ultimately contributed decisively to the dissolution of the Hapsburg Empire. Neither the spirit of the age nor individual sensibilities admitted multiple loyalties; instead, they steered a course in the direction of either/or. Contradictions emerged in great numbers and often in one and the same person. Jewish intellectuals often ran the danger of getting caught in the crossfire between nationalist fronts. Particularly in regions such as Bohemia, Moravia and Galicia, anti-Semitic elements among the 'smaller' national groups (Czechs, Hungarians, Poles, Ukrainians) employed as their leading anti-Jewish argument the fact that the Jews regarded themselves as Germans and, since they were on the side of the German-speakers, were a threat to the nationalist movements in their own countries, or that they were indeed not "Deutschen" but rather loyal Hapsburg subjects devoid of nationalist loyalties. Those confronted by this were placed under massive pressure to conform, not only in the 1860s and 1870s but in later decades as well24

A second example, which can serve to document the contradictory nature of developments as well as the emergence of countertendencies, is the process leading to the erection of a new school in Brody, a city 70 km from Lemberg in East Galicia close to the Russian border. In 1880, Brody had 20,000 inhabitants of whom 76.3% were Jews, and thus displayed the highest proportion of Jewish population of all Galician cities. Of the three public elementary schools in Brody at that time, one offered instruction in German and two in Polish. The School Board of the Province of Galicia then approved the construction of two additional elementary schools but rejected the demand of the Brody municipal authorities that the language of instruction in both of them be German. The tendency toward Polonisierung of the Jewish population of Galicia can be seen in this attitude of the provincial school board in Lemberg. As a consequence, the city filed a complaint in 1880 with the k.k. Reichsgericht (Royal Supreme Court) in Vienna. Brody argued its case as follows: "Four fifths of the population profess the Mosaic Confession; at the same time, because they employ the German language as their mother tongue, they consider themselves to be members of the German nationality." They regarded the decision of the provincial school board as a violation of their national rights. The court found in favor of the City of Brody, allowing that German schools might be built in Galicia even in the year 188025. Brody also had a German high school which would later become a national bone of contention reaching as far as the Imperial Parliament. Along with anti-Semitism, this affair once again had to do with the massive pressure of Polonisierung exerted upon the Jewish students at this school26


© 1996 Lichtblau & John, Jewries in Galicia and Bukovina, in Lemberg and Czernowitz
 
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