Part I: Galicia and Lemberg/ Lwów/ Lviv

"If Lemberg has enjoyed times of prosperity and well-being," ran the description in a widely-read travel guide published at the turn of the century, "then these were also times of affluence and good fortune for the Empire. But when troubled times came for the Empire, then Lemberg was the first gate at which the foe came knocking. If the Empire was a foremost bulwark of western culture and values, then Lemberg was its most advanced bastion which had to absorb and withstand the initial impact of the wild, hostile hordes. And a mighty defense it was against the raging turbulence of the east, though at the same time a bridge linking Europe and the Orient..."4 The affiliation with 'western culture' can be viewed as a paradigmatic principle of a segment of the Jewish population of Galicia, and Lemberg in particular, a claim which at least partially characterized the behavior of this group over a period of decades. In Galicia as well as in Lemberg over the entire period under consideration here, a considerable portion of the Jewish population remained true to Orthodoxy and under the sway of Chassidism. Aside from this, however, we can distinguish three chief phases in the history of Jewish acculturation within the geographical area of Galicia: 

  1. the epoch from 1772 until the end of the 1860s
  2. from circa 1870 to the re-establishment of the Polish Nation in 1918
  3. the period of the Second Polish Republic from 1918 to 1939 

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