Search
Print
Share
Your Selected Item:
1 \ 7
Removed
Added
Would you like to help us improving the content? Send us your suggestions

The Jewish Community of Galicia

Galicia

Yiddish: גאַליציע (Galitsye); Polish: Galicja ; German: Galizien; Ukranian: Галичина (Halychyna); Russian: Galitsiya; Hungarian: Gácsország; Romanian: Galiţia; Czech, Slovak: Halič

Geographically part of east Europe, in S.E. Poland and N.W. Ukraine. Galician roots derive from the name of the Ukrainian town Halicz (in Ukranian: Halych), in the Middle Ages part of the Kyivan Rus.
 

21st Century

The special life and culture of the Galician shtetl of the olden days remain with us in the history, in the shtetls of the past, and in Hassidic stories and books.

The Galicia Jewish Museum in Kazimierz established in 2004 commemorates the victims of the Holocaust and holds on to Jewish Galician culture.

 

History

Galicia had great significance in the history of the Jewish European Diaspora. The Jews of Galicia formed a bond between the Jews of East and West Europe.

The Kingdom of Galicia was first established on land given to the Habsburg Empire with the first partition of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth of 1772. Six towns amongst them Brody, Belz and Rogatin were close to entirely Jewish populated. Previous to the 1772 partition, Galicia was the Little Poland. The Galician Kingdom as such lasted until the early 20th century. The first chief rabbi (Oberlandesrabbiner) of Galicia was Aryeh Leib Bernstein with seat in Lemberg. After 1772 further lands were acquired to the Kingdom, and extended Galicia to the north and north west. The small Republic of Krakow joined the Kingdom in 1846 with the territory encompassing over an area of 20,000 square miles and this remained as such until the end of the Kingdom (1918). The 1860’s saw efforts toward democratic changes ensued by a period of an autonomous Galicia from 167-1918. Galicia was covered in the Emperor Joseph II (Josef Benedikt Anton Michel Adam), Holy Roman Emperor, statutes for the betterment of Jewish life. Amongst others, Jews were to take on German family names and governmental schools were set for the education of Jews. 

Galicia had historically during its existence under the Habsburg regime, been the land with one of the highest percentages of Jewish populations worldwide. At the time of the region's annexation to the Habsburg Empire in 1772, the Jewish population numbered 224,980 (9.6% of total), in 1857 448’971 (9.7%) and 871,895 (10.9%) in 1910. Distinguishing them from the rest of the Habsburg population was their Orthodox Judaism with distinctive mannerism, clothes and language. Their communities established commercial and trading platforms. In the towns, also smaller ones, Jews occupied retailing and craftsmanship work for household and garment ware such as textile, tailoring, hatters and furriers. Foreign trade was largely Jewish business with Russia, Turkey and Germany.

The last decades of the 18th century already saw the beginnings of the Haskalah with flourishing social and cultural Jewish life in those days and early 19th centuyr with its golden days from 1815-mid 19th century in Galicia with its center in Brody. Euducation and literature blooming in the 19th century, formed Galicia into a center for Judaism in creation and intellect while traditional Jewish learning was nevertheless not neglected in that century. Those days did see struggles between Hassidim and Mitnaggedim, Hassidim and Haskalah. Prominent figures came from the Belz dynasty, Zanz and Ruzhin. In the large cities Reform synagogues were sacred, the Lvov leadership placed a Reform Rabbi Abraham Kohn in the late 1830s who however faced severe adversity in 1848. There were Jewish schools with German as language of instruction and the 1830 and 1840s saw growth and increased influence of Maskilim. This twin striving for Haskalah and assimilation towards German culture took a change in the 60s and 70s, with the reigns shifting to more university oriented representatives alongside a trend accompanied by the strongly Orthodox to an absorption to more local Polish culture and policy. In the revolutionary parliament of 1848 sat a few Jews from Galicia. At the time some adverse policies were revoked by the government. In parallel there was an amelioration in the economic situation of Jews which also saw a heightened shift of Jews into the farming sector including the development of experimental Jewish farms.

From the late 1860s a separation occurred of the Aggudat Ahimm, the Polish assimilationists, from the German assimilationists. The former adherents of Orthodoxy brought together a rabbinical conference in Lvov which ruled that community voting was dependent upon adherence of members to the Shulhan Arukh. In that century there were several weekly and monthly periodicals published in Galicia in Hebrew and Yiddish. There occurred also from the 1860-1880s an anti-assimilationist tendency and new directions in Haskalah. This was greatly influenced by Peretz Smolenskin a Zionist and Hebrew writer. He was concerned with the Halaskah movement, an early and strong proponent of Jewish nation-state building and rejectionist of Judaism’s westernization. A first society for Palestine settlement was established in 1875 in Przemysl, south-east Poland and in the 1880s the Hovevei Zion gained ground. This was accompanied by increasing antisemitism on Polish territory with the assimilationist Aguddat Ahim halting publication in 1884 of written materials and going insofar as declaring the only Jewish future as emigration of Palestine or conversion to Christianity. Early Zionist organizations were established and publications were issued in the region of Lvov. In the early 1890s economic boycotts were imposed on Jews from exclusion on trade in agricultural goods and merchandize, alcohol and more. The Jewish population in Galicia faced poverty. Nevertheless, Zionist movements continued their efforts.

Alongside, the early 20th century saw the development of neo-romantic Yiddish literature mostly coming from the area of Lvov and influenced by a corresponding phenomenon in Vienna. One prominent writer was Shmuel Yosef Agnon (1888-1970) who would come to monument the Galician shtetls. Those days also saw the translation into the Yiddish of foreign literature. Such representatives were the Oscar Wilde, of which one of his most famous works are the humorous ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’. World War I saw many Galician Jews flee to Hungary, Bohemia and Vienna, and in particular educated Galician Jews find refuge in Vienna. Those remaining suffered greatly under the Russians entry into Galicia. Ensuing in 1918 with the Polish-Ukranian war the unfortunate situation of minorities on Polish land increasingly led to the crumbling of the once Jewish-inspired Kingdom of Galicia. The Polish Republic took over the Galician land. Notwithstanding, deference to German and Polish culture and to the Polish nation, Hassidism and Zionist striving continued to sprout in the years until 1939, inklings of the Galician world remained with Hassidic communities as in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and New York. 

Galicia had historically during its existence under the Habsburg regime, been the land with one of the highest percentages of Jewish populations worldwide. Distinguishing them from the rest of the population were their Orthodox Judaism with distinctive mannerism, clothes and language. Their communities established commercial and trading platforms. With the mid-19th century nevertheless this population saw beginnings of wearing out. Those were the days of the onset of the Haskalah (Jewish enlightenment) with family life adhering to Orthodox Judaism while modernizing outwardly and seeing an improved standing in society and economy and reduced isolation. The trend was of assimilation of Galician Jews to Germans and then to Poles. This trend of the last decades of the 19th century amongst Galician Jews went in parallel to the Marxist striving for a workers’ revolution.

Place Type:
Region
ID Number:
201717
Written by researchers of ANU Museum of the Jewish People
Nearby places:
Related items:
our Open Databases
Jewish Genealogy
Family Names
Jewish Communities
Visual Documentation
Jewish Music Center
Place
אA
אA
אA
Would you like to help us improving the content? Send us your suggestions
The Jewish Community of Galicia

Galicia

Yiddish: גאַליציע (Galitsye); Polish: Galicja ; German: Galizien; Ukranian: Галичина (Halychyna); Russian: Galitsiya; Hungarian: Gácsország; Romanian: Galiţia; Czech, Slovak: Halič

Geographically part of east Europe, in S.E. Poland and N.W. Ukraine. Galician roots derive from the name of the Ukrainian town Halicz (in Ukranian: Halych), in the Middle Ages part of the Kyivan Rus.
 

21st Century

The special life and culture of the Galician shtetl of the olden days remain with us in the history, in the shtetls of the past, and in Hassidic stories and books.

The Galicia Jewish Museum in Kazimierz established in 2004 commemorates the victims of the Holocaust and holds on to Jewish Galician culture.

 

History

Galicia had great significance in the history of the Jewish European Diaspora. The Jews of Galicia formed a bond between the Jews of East and West Europe.

The Kingdom of Galicia was first established on land given to the Habsburg Empire with the first partition of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth of 1772. Six towns amongst them Brody, Belz and Rogatin were close to entirely Jewish populated. Previous to the 1772 partition, Galicia was the Little Poland. The Galician Kingdom as such lasted until the early 20th century. The first chief rabbi (Oberlandesrabbiner) of Galicia was Aryeh Leib Bernstein with seat in Lemberg. After 1772 further lands were acquired to the Kingdom, and extended Galicia to the north and north west. The small Republic of Krakow joined the Kingdom in 1846 with the territory encompassing over an area of 20,000 square miles and this remained as such until the end of the Kingdom (1918). The 1860’s saw efforts toward democratic changes ensued by a period of an autonomous Galicia from 167-1918. Galicia was covered in the Emperor Joseph II (Josef Benedikt Anton Michel Adam), Holy Roman Emperor, statutes for the betterment of Jewish life. Amongst others, Jews were to take on German family names and governmental schools were set for the education of Jews. 

Galicia had historically during its existence under the Habsburg regime, been the land with one of the highest percentages of Jewish populations worldwide. At the time of the region's annexation to the Habsburg Empire in 1772, the Jewish population numbered 224,980 (9.6% of total), in 1857 448’971 (9.7%) and 871,895 (10.9%) in 1910. Distinguishing them from the rest of the Habsburg population was their Orthodox Judaism with distinctive mannerism, clothes and language. Their communities established commercial and trading platforms. In the towns, also smaller ones, Jews occupied retailing and craftsmanship work for household and garment ware such as textile, tailoring, hatters and furriers. Foreign trade was largely Jewish business with Russia, Turkey and Germany.

The last decades of the 18th century already saw the beginnings of the Haskalah with flourishing social and cultural Jewish life in those days and early 19th centuyr with its golden days from 1815-mid 19th century in Galicia with its center in Brody. Euducation and literature blooming in the 19th century, formed Galicia into a center for Judaism in creation and intellect while traditional Jewish learning was nevertheless not neglected in that century. Those days did see struggles between Hassidim and Mitnaggedim, Hassidim and Haskalah. Prominent figures came from the Belz dynasty, Zanz and Ruzhin. In the large cities Reform synagogues were sacred, the Lvov leadership placed a Reform Rabbi Abraham Kohn in the late 1830s who however faced severe adversity in 1848. There were Jewish schools with German as language of instruction and the 1830 and 1840s saw growth and increased influence of Maskilim. This twin striving for Haskalah and assimilation towards German culture took a change in the 60s and 70s, with the reigns shifting to more university oriented representatives alongside a trend accompanied by the strongly Orthodox to an absorption to more local Polish culture and policy. In the revolutionary parliament of 1848 sat a few Jews from Galicia. At the time some adverse policies were revoked by the government. In parallel there was an amelioration in the economic situation of Jews which also saw a heightened shift of Jews into the farming sector including the development of experimental Jewish farms.

From the late 1860s a separation occurred of the Aggudat Ahimm, the Polish assimilationists, from the German assimilationists. The former adherents of Orthodoxy brought together a rabbinical conference in Lvov which ruled that community voting was dependent upon adherence of members to the Shulhan Arukh. In that century there were several weekly and monthly periodicals published in Galicia in Hebrew and Yiddish. There occurred also from the 1860-1880s an anti-assimilationist tendency and new directions in Haskalah. This was greatly influenced by Peretz Smolenskin a Zionist and Hebrew writer. He was concerned with the Halaskah movement, an early and strong proponent of Jewish nation-state building and rejectionist of Judaism’s westernization. A first society for Palestine settlement was established in 1875 in Przemysl, south-east Poland and in the 1880s the Hovevei Zion gained ground. This was accompanied by increasing antisemitism on Polish territory with the assimilationist Aguddat Ahim halting publication in 1884 of written materials and going insofar as declaring the only Jewish future as emigration of Palestine or conversion to Christianity. Early Zionist organizations were established and publications were issued in the region of Lvov. In the early 1890s economic boycotts were imposed on Jews from exclusion on trade in agricultural goods and merchandize, alcohol and more. The Jewish population in Galicia faced poverty. Nevertheless, Zionist movements continued their efforts.

Alongside, the early 20th century saw the development of neo-romantic Yiddish literature mostly coming from the area of Lvov and influenced by a corresponding phenomenon in Vienna. One prominent writer was Shmuel Yosef Agnon (1888-1970) who would come to monument the Galician shtetls. Those days also saw the translation into the Yiddish of foreign literature. Such representatives were the Oscar Wilde, of which one of his most famous works are the humorous ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’. World War I saw many Galician Jews flee to Hungary, Bohemia and Vienna, and in particular educated Galician Jews find refuge in Vienna. Those remaining suffered greatly under the Russians entry into Galicia. Ensuing in 1918 with the Polish-Ukranian war the unfortunate situation of minorities on Polish land increasingly led to the crumbling of the once Jewish-inspired Kingdom of Galicia. The Polish Republic took over the Galician land. Notwithstanding, deference to German and Polish culture and to the Polish nation, Hassidism and Zionist striving continued to sprout in the years until 1939, inklings of the Galician world remained with Hassidic communities as in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and New York. 

Galicia had historically during its existence under the Habsburg regime, been the land with one of the highest percentages of Jewish populations worldwide. Distinguishing them from the rest of the population were their Orthodox Judaism with distinctive mannerism, clothes and language. Their communities established commercial and trading platforms. With the mid-19th century nevertheless this population saw beginnings of wearing out. Those were the days of the onset of the Haskalah (Jewish enlightenment) with family life adhering to Orthodox Judaism while modernizing outwardly and seeing an improved standing in society and economy and reduced isolation. The trend was of assimilation of Galician Jews to Germans and then to Poles. This trend of the last decades of the 19th century amongst Galician Jews went in parallel to the Marxist striving for a workers’ revolution.

Written by researchers of ANU Museum of the Jewish People