Apr 12, 2010

The Pesach-Schwarz family (from Bukovina) (my other half)

In regard to the total Jewish population of Austria, in 1857, 72.3% lived in Galicia, 14% in Bohemia, 6.7% in Moravia, 4.7% in Bukovina and in the remaining crown lands, 1 to 1.1%. In 1869, 70% lived in Galicia, 11% in Bohemia, .2% in Maehren, 5.8% in Bukovina and in Lower Austria (really, Vienna) 6.4%7 .

While Galicia, Bohemia and Moravia showed a decrease in the total percentage of the Jewish population living there, there was an increase in Bukovina and Vienna.

This increase in Jewish population in Bukovina can be attributed to immigration of Jews from Galicia, Russia, and Romania8 .

In contrast to the first half of the XIX century when Jews were not allowed to live everywhere, in the second half of the century, the Jewish topography was altered.

This increase in population after 1849 lead to their settling on the plains.

They became scattered over the entire land. In 1880, there were only 11 villages that had no Jewish inhabitants9 .

In most cities and villages, the Jews constituted 10% of the total population.

Jewish Businesses and Professions

Since 1848, business life of the Bukovina Jews improved so vastly that the contemporary Jewish press in 1851 was able to state that in a material sense, the Jews of Bukovina were much better off than those of Galicia10a . Also, the social conditions got better with every day that passed.

Over 50% of the Jews were involved in wholesale. The number in agriculture was also appreciable. The Jews also helped to increase trade with Russia, Walachia, Moldavia and Turkey.

Until the constitution of 1867, there were no impediments to the growth and prosperity of Jewish businesses.

The reduction of property rights introduced on October 2, 1853 reintroduced the restrictions that the Jews were subjected to in both their business life and private lives before 1848.

The ordinance of February 18, 186011 effecting the Jews of Galicia, Bukovina and Krakow, forbid the owning of real estate unless you had achieved a certain level of education. This made it difficult for the Jews of Bukovina to own property since they had not achieved this level of education.

The central government was flooded with requests from Galicia and Bukovina for relief from this ordinance. Exceptions could only be granted by the justice minister, Joseph Lasser Freiherr von Zollheim11a .

The law of February 28, 186411b gave the Jews of the capital city Chernivtsi, some relief insofar as it removed the education requirements for property ownership.

The constitution of the Austro-Hungarian Empire of December 21, 1867 concerning the general rights of citizens finally removed all restrictions from the Jews.

Article 6 of the law stated: Any citizen of the state can take up residence in any part of the state and acquire real estate of any kind as well as take up any profession allowed under the law.

Until 1867, bar keeping and commerce was their main occupation.

After 1848, the amount of Jewish brandy distillers, whose number was restricted previously by law, increased so drastically that in 1884, out of 1894 wine, beer and brandy producers in Bukovina, approximately 98% were in Jewish hands.

Thanks to the equality introduced by the constitution of 1867, the Jews were given free rein to pursue their business interests.

The removal of the restrictions on owning property (art. 6) provided the initiative for the Jews to acquire land and led to the creation of a sizable class of Jewish land owners.

They immediately made use of the law.

The first large estate that came into Jewish hands as a result of the ordinance of February 18, 1860 was acquired 1862.

After 1867, the number of Jewish large landowners grew.

In 1875, in the voting class of large estate owners out of 112 voters, 1414 were Jewish and in 1888 out of 141 voters 31 were Jews (22%15 ) who owned 37 estates.

Before the beginning of World War I (1910) 42% of the large estates were in Jewish hands and 85% of the Bukovina estates were either owned by Jews or worked by them as tenant farmers.

The majority of the brilliantly and intensively run model farms were run by Jewish economists and Agronomists and Jewish personnel schooled in agriculture, mostly graduates of the Agricultural School in Chernivtsi

Most estates went from father to son so a solid Jewish estate owner and tenant farmer class was maintained which ran its farms using rational and modern methods of agriculture.

There were also Jewish small farm tenants and owners of small farms, who efficiently worked the land with their families and would grow fruit and raise fish, bees and were brilliantly successful with raising cattle.

On many Jewish estates, there were industrial undertakings that were closely related to agriculture. Such as brandy distilleries which existed in 1908 on 61 Jewish farms. In addition, there were breweries, yeast factories like the large Frankel yeast factory in Mihowa, mills, brick works, turnip sugar factories and saw mills.

Also on Christian estates, there were Jewish industrial enterprises. They were chiefly distilleries, breweries, and sawmills that the Jews either rented from the estate owner or built on their own initiative.

Since 1867, the Jews took an active part in the industrialization of the land. Jewish initiative and work as well as Jewish capital from inside and outside Bukovina developed the industry. They founded the first factories and were active in breweries and mills with the steam mill set up by Jews from Breslau a leader in the field. In addition, the sugar and leather tanning industry was entirely in Jewish hands and they were also active in the wood and construction material business.

In the course of the XIX century, new professions such as engineering, law and medicine were opened to Jews who had graduated from college.

Already at the middle of the XIX century, young Bukovina Jews studied at the university and joined the academic ranks.

As early as the end of the XVIII century, Jews in Austria were allowed to practice law and were given the authority to represent Jews and Christians.

In Bukovina, Jews started to practice law in the 1850s.

With justice minister Graf Nadasy's reorganization of September 29, 1855, 18 Jewish lawyers from Galicia and 2 from Bukovina given seats on the Regional Court in Chernivtsi, among them, Doctor Josef Wohlfeld and Doctor Josef Fechner19 .

There were also Jewish doctors and surgeons. With the growth of the number of Jewish students at the university, the number of Jews in the free academic professions grew apace.

In 1889, out of the 69 doctors in Bukovina, 37 were Jewish and of the 59 lawyers, 45 were Jewish.

In 1905 a series of pogroms erupted at the same time as the 1905 Revolution against the government of Tsar Nicholas II. The chief organizers of the pogroms were the members of the Union of the Russian People (commonly known as the "Black Hundreds").[12]

In June 1906 a pogrom in Bialystok, in which eighty people were killed, marked the end of three years of sporadic anti-Jewish violence.[13]

From 1911-1913 the anti-Semitic tenor of the period was characterized by a number of blood libel cases (accusations of Jews murdering Christians for ritual purposes). One of the most famous was the two-year trial of Mendel Beilis, who was charged with the murder of a Christian boy (Lowe 1993, 284-90). The trial was showcased by the authorities to illustrate the perfidy of the Jewish population.[14]

From March-May 1915, in the face of the German army, the government expelled thousands of Jews from the Empire's border areas, which coincide with the Pale of Settlement [15][16]

The February 1917 revolution brought a liberal Provisional Government to power in the Russian Empira. On 21 March/3 April, the government removed all "discrimination based upon ethnic religious or social grounds".[17] The Pale was officially abolished. The removal of the restrictions on Jews' geographical mobility and educational opportunities led to a migration to the country's major cities.[18]

One week after the 25 October/7 November 1917 Bolshevik Revolution, the new government proclaimed the "Declaration of the Rights of the Peoples [Nations] of Russia," promising all nationalities the rights of equality, self-determination and secession. Jews were not specifically mentioned in the declaration, reflecting Lenin's view that Jews did not constitute a nation.[19]

Separation of Church from State and School from Church", depriving religious communities of the status of juridical persons, the right to own property and the right to enter into contracts. The decree nationalized the property of religious communities and banned their assessment of religious tuition. As a result, religion could be taught or studied only in private.[20]

1 February 1918

The Commissariat for Jewish National Affairs is established as a subsection of the Commissariat for Nationality Affairs. It is mandated to establish the "dictatorship of the proletariat in the Jewish streets" and attract the Jewish masses to the regime while advising local and central institutions on Jewish issues. The Commissariat is also expected to fight the influence of Zionist and Jewish-Socialist Parties.[21]

27 July 1918

The Council of People's Commissars issues a decree stating that anti-Semitism is "fatal to the cause of the ... revolution". Pogroms are officially outlawed.[22]

20 October 1918

The Jewish section of the CPSU (Yevsektsia) is established for the Party's Jewish members; its goals are similar to those of the Jewish Commissariat. The Yevsektsia is at the forefront of the anti-religious campaigns of the 1920s that lead to the closing of religious institutions, the break-up of religious communities and the further restriction of access to religious education.[23] To that end a series of "community trials" against the Jewish religion are held. The last known such trial, on the subject of circumcision, was held in 1928 in Kharkiv.[24] At the same time, the body also works to establish a secular identity for the Jewish community.[25]

In July 1919 the Central Jewish Commissariat dissolves the kehillot (Jewish Communal Councils). The kehillot had provided a number of social services to the Jewish community.[26]

From 1919-1920 Jewish parties and Zionist organizations are driven underground as the Communist government seeks to abolish all potential opposition.[27]

31 January 1924

The Constitution of the USSR is confirmed. The USSR consists of the Russian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic (RSFSR), Ukrainian SSR, Belorussian SSR and Transcaucasian SSR.[28] The Commissariat for Nationalities' Affairs is disbanded.[29]

29 August 1924

An official agency for Jewish resettlement, the Commission for the Settlement of Jewish Toilers on the Land (KOMZET), is established. KOMZET studies, manages and funds projects for Jewish resettlement in rural areas.[30]

January 1925

A public organization, the Society for the Agricultural Organization of Working Class Jews in the USSR (OZET), is created to help recruit colonists and support the colonization work of KOMZET.[31] For the first few years, the government encourages Jewish settlements, particularly in Ukraine. Support for the project dwindles throughout the next decade.[32]

In 1928, in an effort to establish a Jewish territorial region, KOMZET sends a number of Jews to the confluence of the Bira and Bidzhan Rivers in the Far East. Colonization of this area will help to create a buffer between the Soviet Union and the Far Eastern countries, and to stimulate development in the remote region.[33]

8 April 1929

The new Law on Religious Associations codifies all previous religious legislation. All meetings of religious associations are to have their agenda approved in advance; lists of members of religious associations must be provided to the authorities.[34]

In 1930 the Yevsektsia is dissolved,[25] and there is now no central Soviet-Jewish organization. Although the body had served to undermine Jewish religious life, its dissolution leads to the disintegration of Jewish secular life as well; Jewish cultural and educational organizations gradually disappear.[35]

When the Soviet government reintroduced the use of internal passports in 1933, "Jewish" is considered an ethnicity for these purposes.[36]

7 May 1934

Birobidzhan Province, the Far Eastern area where Jews are being encouraged to settle, is granted the status of an Autonomous Region in an effort to revitalize the settlement program. Between 1928 and 1934, fewer than 20,000 Jews migrate there; approximately 60 percent return in the same period.[37]

In 1938 OZET is disbanded, following years of declining activities.[38]

The cities with the largest populations of Jews in 1926 were Odessa, 154,000 or 36.5% of the total population; Kiev, 140,500 or 27.3%; Kharkiv, 81,500 or 19.5%; and Dnipropetrovsk, 62,000 or 26.7%. In 1931 Lviv's Jewish population numbered 98,000 or 31.9%, and in Chernivtsi, 42,600 or 37.9%.[39]

As the Soviet government annexes territory in Poland, Romania and the Baltic states,[40] roughly two million Jews become Soviet citizens.[41] Restrictions on Jews that had existed in the formerly independent countries are now lifted.[42] [The Baltic states had begun their brief period of independence as democracies.[43] Policies of "Latvianization" and "Lithuanization" also caused friction with all minorities, although the Lithuanian government at the same time supported minority-language schooling.[44]] At the same time, Jewish organizations in the newly-acquired territories are shut down and their leaders arrested and exiled.[45] Approximately 250,000 Jews escape or are evacuated from the annexed territories to the Soviet interior prior to the Nazi invasion.[46]

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