|Part I: Galicia and Lemberg/ Lwów/ Lviv
3. Poland in the Interwar Period
With the 1918 proclamation of the Polish Second Republic, in whose dominion Lemberg fell, Polish was solidly established as the language of political power and culture. Lemberg, now known as Lwów, became the capital of Malopolska (Little Poland), and the name Galicia was no longer used. On the linguistic level, Polish influence was amplified even further. The now mandatory use of the Polish language in government, the educational system and the military furthered this development. Throughout Poland in 1925-26, the network of minority schools which had existed until then was replaced by institutions of learning marked by a Polish nationalist character. From this time forth, a strict policy of Polonisierung was pursued27. A number of Jewish intellectuals resettled in other parts of Poland: the historian Majer Balaban as well as writers Jozef Wittlin, Filip Friedmann and Raphael Mahler moved to Warsaw or to Lodz. A segment of assimilated Jews underwent conversion, thus completing the final step to full assimilation and Polonisierung.
If we now compare Lemberg with Czernowitz during this phase, we notice the surprising fact that, with respect to culture and identity, out-of-the-way Czernowitz presented a much more 'western' image than Lemberg which actually lies 300 km further to the northwest. In Czernowitz, the economic and cultural elites, including many Jewish citizens among them, continued even into the 1920s to cast their eyes toward Vienna and could thus write a new chapter of their quasi-colonial history; in Lemberg, on the other hand, the new Polish state and the traditional Polish elites permitted only the path to linguistic Polonisierung to remain open. The 1931 census results showed that the proportion of German speakers among Lemberg's 99,600 Jews (35.1% of the population ) was under 1%. A quite significant German-language literary output and cultural scene casts some doubt upon this figure28. It is also interesting to note that there was an increasing concentration and urbanization of the Jewish population in the highly tense atmosphere of the interwar period. The pace at which urbanization took place was far higher among the Jewish population than among non-Jews. This can be concretely illustrated using the example of Lemberg: in 1910, 6.6% of all Jews in the Crown Land of Galicia lived in Lemberg, whereas in 1931, 12.6% of the Jews living in the administrative districts corresponding to the former Galicia lived in Lemberg/Lwów29.
As to the question of the identity of the Jews of Lemberg and Galicia, Zionism, together with Jewish national consciousness and self-confidence, had gained increasing influence. In the face of the massive anti-Semitism with which Galician Jews in the Polish state were confronted, ranging from the introduction of restrictive university admissions policies aimed particularly at Jews all the way to the staging of pogroms, a majority of Jews oriented themselves toward these outlooks in which their own national identity played an increasingly prominent role. To a certain extent, however, religious orthodoxy and Chassidism along with the rejection of Zionism continued to dominate rural Jewish communities30. This can also be seen in the results of the 1921 Polish census, which polled not only religious confession but also affiliation with a 'Jewish nationality.' In Lemberg/Lwów 76,783 individuals professed a Jewish religious affiliation, of whom an overwhelming majority (60,417 persons, representing 78.7% of the total) acknowledged a Jewish nationality as well. The contrast to the Jewish communities in the small towns and outlying villages in the District of Lemberg/ Lwów is striking indeed: out of 11,568 Jews professing no religious affiliation, a mere 5,440 (47%) acknowledged a Jewish nationality31.
In summary, with respect to the so-called 'post-colonial setting' in the sense of the usage of the concept 'colonial' as previously defined to refer to 'internal colonialism,' the following points can be maintained, whereby it should be kept in mind that the first phase of this setting can be dated to the last two or three decades of the Hapsburg Monarchy whereas the definitive implementation of these principles occurred during the time of the Polish Second Republic: 1) the Jewish minority as a former segment of the German-speaking minority reacted to the new situation by gradually adopting the new hegemonial language and the new hegemonial culture; 2) emigration by those who rejected the new hegemonial language and culture; 3) intensified concentration of the minority in urban centers (centralization); 4) as a specific reaction of the Jewish minority, the increasing redefinition of the group in the sense of its own individual national self-conception. The triumphal procession of Zionism through European metropolises was indeed a general phenomenon; in Lemberg, however, as a consequence of growing anti-Semitism and massive Polonisierung, the broad acceptance accorded this form of self-definition was particularly rapid and long-lasting.