A History of East European Jews

A History of East European Jews

Heiko Haumann
Copyright Date: 2002
Edition: NED - New edition, 1
Pages: 307
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.7829/j.ctt2jbms0
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  • Book Info
    A History of East European Jews
    Book Description:

    The origins and life of East European Jewry took on new historical and political importance after the Holocaust. Two thirds of European Jewry and about one third of the world's Jewish population were murdered by the Nazis. In Poland alone - 99 per cent of Polish Jews - three million in all were killed; Yiddish as a spoken language more or less disappeared. This volume presents a history of East European Jewry from its beginnings to the period after the Holocaust. It gives an overview of the demographic, political, socio-economic, religious and cultural conditions of Jewish communities in Poland, Russia, Bohemia and Moravia. The structure of the book is chronological: a 'history of events' description enriched with cultural elements. Interesting themes include the story of early settlers, the 'Golden Age', the influence of the Kabbalah and Hasidism. Vivid portraits of Jewish family life and religious customs make the book enjoyable to read.

    eISBN: 978-615-5211-52-2
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-x)
  3. LIST OF MAPS
    (pp. xi-xii)
  4. AUTHOR’S PREFACE
    (pp. xiii-xvi)
  5. PART I. POLAND AS A PLACE OF REFUGE FOR JEWS
    • THE POLISH PRINCES’ OFFER OF PROTECTION FROM PERSECUTION
      (pp. 3-32)

      Israel saw how its sufferings were constantly renewed, impositions increased, persecutions grew, servitude became more onerous, and the rule of evil led to disaster after disaster and heaped up expulsion after expulsion, so that it could no longer withstand those who hated it, and so it took its leave and sought and inquired concerning the paths of the world, with a view to discovering which way it should take to find peace. Then came a message from Heaven: go to Poland!

      So they went to Poland and gave an entire mountain of gold to the king as a gift, and...

  6. PART II. EAST EUROPEAN JEWRY AS A ‘CULTURAL PATTERN OF LIFE’ IN EASTERN EUROPE
    • THE CATASTROPHE OF 1648
      (pp. 35-98)

      In April 1648 a torrent of Cossacks from the lower reaches of the Dnieper poured into Ukraine attacked Poland from the east and annihilated the Polish army which was stationed there. Encouraged by this victory, Ukrainian peasants rebelled and joined forces with the Cossacks. The Crimean Tatars, vassals of the Turks who had long been in conflict with the Poles, also supported the rebels. In campaigns of unprecedented cruelty which lasted over many years, with short breaks and varying success, the Cossacks and their allies plundered large parts of what was then Poland and Lithuania: Ukraine, White Russia, and Polissya,...

  7. PART III. THE CRISIS OF THE JEWS IN EASTERN EUROPE AND A NEW IDENTITY
    • TRANSFORMATION OF THE TRADITIONAL INTERMEDIARY FUNCTION
      (pp. 101-204)

      The role of intermediary between town and countryside had been the central economic function of Jews in Eastern Europe. As inn-keepers, small shopkeepers, traders, peddlers, lessees, and administrators they linked together noble landowners, peasants, country or urban craftsmen, big merchants, and entrepreneurs in an economic circulation system. As a result, they were caught up in the social conflicts between the nobility and the peasants. In the seventeenth and eighteenth century the symbiosis between the Jews and the nobility had begun to come apart. Time and again from the end of the eighteenth century, one encounters among legislative measures attempts to...

  8. [Illustrations]
    (pp. None)
  9. PART IV. ATTEMPTED ANNIHILATION AND NEW HOPE
    • THE JEWS IN THE RUSSIAN REVOLUTION AND IN THE SOVIET UNION
      (pp. 207-244)

      During the First World War, many Jews played an important role in the growing democratic and revolutionary movement. Many left-wingers were Jews. They were active in organizations which sought to provide relief for the victims of war or were occupied with the problems—for example, economic questions—of the post-war period. They were also involved in political groups, from the Jewish Workers’ Bund and Poale Tsiyon, through various socialist parties, to the Bolsheviks, the radical wing of Russian social democracy. Few leading well-to-do Jews supported this stance. To be sure, they were involved in humanitarian work, but they traditionally wanted...

  10. AFTERWORD: THE SIGNIFICANCE OF MEMORY
    (pp. 245-250)

    Memory is an essential part of the Jewish conception of the world. The following words are ascribed to Ba’al Shem Tov: “The desire to forget prolongs exile; the secret of redemption is memory.” To remember the Holy Land and the Holy Scriptures, as well as the history of the Jewish people before and after their expulsion from Israel, is to recall the prehistory of the redemption. The Messiah may come at any time. In the figurative sense this is also true for the secular realm. Whoever rejects the history and culture of the Jews loses his Jewish identity, his ‘Jewishness,’...

  11. NOTES
    (pp. 251-262)
  12. SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY
    (pp. 263-270)
  13. INDEX
    (pp. 271-281)
  14. Back Matter
    (pp. 282-282)