Demographic Avant-Garde: Jews in Bohemia between the by Jana Vobecka

By Jana Vobecka

This ebook reviews the original demographic habit of Jews in Bohemia (the historical a part of the Czech Republic), ranging from a second in historical past while industrialization in crucial Europe was once nonetheless distant sooner or later, and while Jews have been nonetheless dwelling legally constrained lives in ghettos. Very early on, despite the fact that, from the 18th century onwards, Jews constructed styles of lowering mortality and fertility that used to be now not saw one of the gentile majority in Bohemia; styles which verified them as a demographic avant-garde inhabitants in all of Europe. Demographic Avant-Garde elucidates what made Jews in Bohemia actual forerunners of the demographic transition and why this happened while it did. It scrutinizes demographic statistics from the mid-eighteenth to the mid-twentieth century, and examines what made Bohemian Jews' facts exact from the tendencies saw within the gentile group and between Jews in different lands. In look for the solutions, Vobecka's research touches additionally upon the cultural, social, political and monetary setting.

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Jews migrating to these areas retained their religious identity, and they basically identified with the German environment. German culture and the German education system were unifying elements across the Central European region and had the effect of opening up more opportunities for Jews than those they would have had by aligning themselves with the Czech culture and language. Because of the Jewish alignment with German culture many of their successes in the field of industry and commerce during this period were interpreted as German achievements.

It was supposed to break up the corporate identity of the Jews, but formal and informal obstacles impeded Jewish integration into civil society. Jews, whose economic status and education levels were rising faster than their social prestige and civic equality, optimistically welcomed the revolutionary events of 1848. They participated in the political developments as citizens, politicians, and 26 Demographic Avant-Garde journalists. Emancipated Jews saw civil rights and Parliamentarism as the guarantee of freedom and equality for all minorities.

They could become moneychangers, wholesalers, or run stores with drapery, mercantile, and miscellaneous goods. Jews were allowed to eat in taverns and live under the same roof as Christians. For the first time they were required to perform compulsory military service. Legal reform in 1784 made Bohemian Jews subject to the same legal authority as Christians, and this seriously impinged on the traditional administrative autonomy that Jewish communities had enjoyed in the past. From then until 1848, Jewish administrative communities were regarded more as religious-administrative corporations.

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