For large segments of the Jewish population of Habsburg Galicia, the latter half of the First World War was characterized by a deterioration of conditions, which included wide-spread anti-Jewish violence, with the state increasingly backing away from maintaining order and protecting the population. While an increasing number of people felt abandoned by the central authorities, the Zionist movement played a crucial role in organizing responses to violence; both on the local level and in formulating political strategies vis-a-vis the central government. Both. Anti-Jewish violence and discrimination, as well as Zionists’ responses continued and intensified after the collapse of the Empire. In this respect, November 1918 represented more a shift rather than a radical break. I argue that Zionist strategies for providing security and protecting Jews’ place in both the imperial and the nationally-framed society were not only of vital importance in peoples’ daily lives, but that they also offered new forms of belonging and self-identification for many Jews.
Seminar will take place on 27th November 2018, 11am.
Jan Rybak holds a master’s degree in history from the University of Salzburg. He is a PhD Researcher at the Department of History and Civilization at the European University Institute in Florence and currently a GEOP Doctoral Research Fellow at POLIN: Museum for the History of Polish Jews and the Emanuel Ringelblum Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw. He regularly teaches at the University of Salzburg’s Department of History and Center for Jewish Cultural History. Earlier in 2018, he was a Global Visiting Scholar at the School of History at New York University.