Part I: Galicia and Lemberg/ Lwów/ Lviv 
1. From 1772 to 1867: The Phase of Germanization 

The Austrian occupation and settlement began with 'colonization' in the truest sense of the word. The first point on the Austrian agenda was to precisely survey and map its newest possession; more than a thousand surveyors, cartographers and their assistants were involved in this effort in Galicia during this period. Even as early as the 18th century, several measures were put in place directed toward the emancipation of and the provision of equal rights for Galicia's Jewish population and it was the 'policies of tolerance' followed by Kaiser Joseph II during the 1780s which encouraged a pro-Austrian attitude on the part of the majority of the Jews. In 1788, regulations allowing for the enlistment of Jews into military service were put in force in Galicia. This form of integration was then accepted by both sides — the military and the Jews. Thus, an officer stationed in Galicia wrote in his report dated 1788: "We have just been assigned 18 Hebrews who were recently drafted as surveyors’ assistants. These are nice-looking young men, conducting themselves well and, since they speak German, are coming along better than the Poles. They have shaved off their beards. They have been granted celebrate Shabbes....After the rabbis had explained everything clearly to them and impressed them with the fact that a lot of other boys were in the same position they are, they were soon able to regain their good spirits and are now shaping up quite nicely, as if they had already been soldiers for years."5 The Polish writer Stanislaw Wasylewski, who reported on the Austrian occupation with deep resentment, commented in a derogatory way on the subject of collaboration during the first decades: "The Jews were won with privileges...the nobility with titles."6 

A trend was totally clear in this phase of development: those Jews for whom 'out of the ghetto' was the solution, whose goal was the modernization of the Jewish sphere of life in Galicia and who included above all the middle classes, threw in their lot with the Austrian colonializing elites of the Hapsburg State and strove to assume a German-Austrian identity at this time. There were two reasons explaining the strong influence exerted by German Kultur. First, forces advancing the cause of the modern reform of Judaism emerged almost exclusively from those circles of educated Jews for whom German was the primary language of culture. Second, the vast majority of all Galician Jews spoke Yiddish, which is considered a German dialect to which German would presumably provide a natural correspondence as a literary language.7 In the 1820s and 1830s, Jewish children in Galicia increasingly attended German elementary schools and German high schools, and many began studying at the university level. Over the course of the 1830s, Jewish university graduates, for the most part physicians and lawyers, began to appear in Lemberg and other Galician towns. It was precisely in this group of educated Jews that a process of cultural convergence could be especially clearly recognized. "One secretly read Schiller and Lessing, hidden behind Talmud folios," wrote the Jewish-Galician historian Majer Balaban."8 The reform synagogue erected in Lemberg in 1846 bore the name "Deutsch-Israelitische Bethaus" (German-Israelite House of Prayer). Following the suppression of the Revolution of 1848, which also displayed Polish nationalist traits in Galicia, the Jewish communities there were the first to pay homage to the young Hapsburg monarch Franz Joseph. (This was by no means a matter to be completely taken for granted, since Jewish intellectuals had been among the leading forces of revolution in Vienna.) Until the 1860s, thousands of Jewish children attended Jewish-German elementary schools. 

For example, in his description of the Jewish population as the author of the volume on Galicia in the deluxe commemorative series "The Austro-Hungarian Monarchy in Words and Pictures" issued on the occasion of the 50-year jubilee of the reign of Kaiser Franz Joseph, Leo Herzberg-Fränkl summarized the period from the 1840s to the 1860s as follows: "Nowhere are there so many autodidacts to be found as among this particular group of Polish Jews...Naturally, it is by no means a systematic, scholarly body of knowledge that these....people acquire; hardly able to read, they take up Schiller and are delighted by his melodious pathos, or study the philosophical writings of Mendelsohn or even Kant's 'Critique of Pure Reason.' But the sons of these men are already permitted to attend school and enjoy proper instruction. The first book to which an autodidact reaches is, without exception, a German one because his Jewish-German idiom certainly makes this language more accessible to him; furthermore, for him, German embodies everything European — culture, art and progress."9


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