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[Page 45]

Independent Crown Land [A] [B] [C] [D]

by Dr. N. M. Gelber

Translated by Jerome Silverbush

Thanks to George Fokschaner for reproducing and mailing me the original text.
Thanks to Sarah Amitt and Yitzkhak Rosner for helping me with Hebrew words and concepts.

The revolution year of 1848 caused no unusual disturbances for the people of Bukovina. The only reaction of the population was the sending of a petition (August 3, 1848 1 ) demanding independence for Galicia to the Ministry which was also distributed to all Reichstag delegates.

Also the Jewish population was relatively undisturbed by the events of the revolution. There were no consultations among Jewish leaders and no delegations were dispatched to Vienna as was done by Galician Jews1a .

Even the Jews desired a release from the Galician administration. Naturally, they greeted with joy the constitution of March 4, 1849 granting all Jews in the monarchy equal rights and they were even more satisfied with the proclamation of October 1849 removing the special “Jew tax” which left them paying the same tax as all other citizens of the land.

The federal constitution of March 4, 18492 separated Bukovina from Galicia and made it a autonomous duchy (§§1) whose internal affairs as defined by the constitution would be regulated by a Diet or Regional Parliament (§§70).

These internal affairs were defined (§§35, I-III)as concerning public buildings paid for by government funds, charitable institutions, churches and schools, maintenance and housing of the army and finally, any other functions assigned to the Bukovina parliament by the federal government.

At the head of the Autonomous Duchy of Bukovina, was a President named by the central government.

This independence lasted only 32 months, because with the emperor's “patent” of December, 31, 1851 reforms were introduced that negated the political rights3 granted by the March 4, 1849 constitution to the various crown lands including Bukovina. Bukovina remained however, as before, separated from Galicia as an independent crown land.

In 1860 Graf Agenor Goluchowski, who had been named as interior minister on August 1859 attempted to reunite Bukovina and Galicia in a single administrative entity.

On December 24, 1860 representatives of the people of all classes and religions of Bukovina4 presented a petition to the minister of state, Anton Ritter v. Schmerling (1805-1893). which demanded autonomy for the land. Kaiser Franz Joseph I fulfilled the wish of Bukovina .and with the patent of February 26, 1861 Bukovina again became a independent duchy with its own coat of arms, the earlier regional constitution established again and a regional law established (§§3) in which a Regional Parliament [E] consisting of 31 members, the Bukovina Bishop and 29 elected representatives (10 from the large land owners, 7 from the cities and chambers of trade and commerce, and 12 from the rural districts.)

On April 6,1861 the first session of the Regional Parliament took place.

The Jews, above all the intelligentsia took an active part in the fight for the independence of Bukovina. They not only helped to draft the petitions, their representatives were active in all the deputations.

Since 1849 the Jews in Bukovina were the true representatives of Austrian state policy, upon whose loyalty and adherence, the central government and the monarchy could depend.

This adherence was demonstrated clearly during the Kaisers visits in 1851, 1855 and on Yom Kippur1880 when Jews of all classes showed their devotion to the Kaiser.

The full equality, liberal freedom, which they received in full measure, raised their self confidence and their adherence to the country whose interests they considered the same as their own.

The political and legal position which they got in the spirit of the constitution made them into one of the most important factors in the development of Bukovina.

2.

Jewish population, birth, death and marriage statistics

In this period, which lasted 65 years, the Jewish population grew in number, a development which was made possible above all by the unbounded liberality of the government.

The Jewish population of 77265 souls in 1830 grew in 1846 to 11,581 souls out of a total population of 371,131 souls (3.12%).

An almost faster population growth took place after 1849, considering the fact that in 1848 and 1849, a cholera epidemic claimed many victims in Southeast Galicia and Bukovina.

In 1850 the total population of Bukovina was 380,826 inhabitants, including 14,581 Jews (3.82%). In 1857, the Jewish population numbered 29,187 souls out of a total population of 456,920 (6.38%).

In the years 1857 – 1869 the Jewish population grew to 47,754 souls out of a total population of 511,964 (9.32%) and in 1880 there were 67,418 Jews in Bukovina out of a total population of 571,671 (11.79%).

In the period 1850 – 1880, the total population grew by 1.67% while the Jewish population grew by 12%. On the average, for every 11 inhabitants, there was one Jew6 .

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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.

In the year 1857 out of a total population of 456,920 souls, there were 29,187 Jews (6.53%). In 1869 out of 513,404 residents, there were 47,772 Jews (9.31%).

In 1880 out of 571,671 inhabitants, there were 67,418 Jews (11.79%) which was 6.71% of the total Jewish population of Austria.

According to the census of 1880, the Jewish population was divided among the following cities in Bukovina.

City Total Residents Jewish Residents Jewish Percentage
Chernivtsi 45,600 14,449 31.7
Suceava 10,104 3,750 37.1
Wiznitz 4,165 3,795 91.9
Siret 7,240 3,122 37.1
Kimpolung 5,534 799 14.4
Waschkoutz 4,277 781 18.3
Sadagura 4,836 3,888 80.3
Storozhinets 4,852 1,601 32.8
Gura Humorului 2,957 963 32.5
Boyany 5,227 781 14.9
Vatra Dornei 3,980 494 12.4
Unter Stanestie 2,727 690 25.3
Uscle Putila 691 80 11.5

In 26 villages the Jews made up from 10.2 to 49.1% of the total population10 .

In the villages, Jewish farmers gradually disappeared. They took up professions in the cities. In 1873, there was only one Jewish village, Terescheny, which was previously a Tartar colony, where there were 50 Jewish farm families.

In the region of Nepolokoutz there were many Jewish tenant farmers. Also scattered throughout Bukovina there were Jewish landowners who worked farms of 1 to 2 Acre.

Since 1848, the Jews left farming because they saw no possibilities of success in that endeavor because of the unfavorable rules for leasing and parceling out the land. They were lured to the cities where they thought it would be possible to find work.

In 1900, there were 96,135 Jews, in 1910, 102,900 and in 1914, 120,000.

The Jewish population grew particularly fast in Chernivtsi. In 1890 out of 54,171 residents, 17,359 were Jewish (32.04%). In 1900 out of 67,622 residents, 21,587 were Jewish (31.92%).and in 1910 out of 87,235 residents, 28,613 were Jewish (32.10%).

The Jewish population grew at a faster rate than the Christian population. The growth of the Jewish population in the years 1869 – 1880 was 41.33% as compared to 11.35% for the total population. In the years 1880 – 1890, the Jewish population grew 22.69% as opposed to 13.11% for the total population and in the years 1890 – 1900, 16.24% versus 12.93%.

Here are some interesting statistics concerning the Bukovina Jewish population in the years 1881 – 1903.

In 1881, 797 pure Jewish marriages were performed out of 6393 total marriages. In 1890, there were 435 Jewish marriages out of a total of 5130 marriages. In 1895, there were 505 Jewish marriages out of a total of 5539 marriages. In 1900, there were 547 Jewish marriages out of 6141 total marriages and in 1903, 705 Jewish marriages out of 6539 total marriages. Of course, these numbers only include Jewish marriages registered with the government.

From 1881 to 1885 in Bukovina, on the average out of every 100 marriages, 5.25 were Jewish, from 1888 to 1892, there were 5.35 Jewish marriages per 100 and in the period 1900 to 1903, there were 8.83 Jewish marriages.

In Bukovina in 1895 out of 1000 births, 92.33 and in 1900, 93.88.

For every 1000 Jewish girls born in 1895 and 1896, 1217 boys were born. In 1900, 1201 Jewish boys were born for every 1000 Jewish girls. This abundance of boys was vastly different from the ration of children's genders in the other crown lands.

Great differences were also noted in the infant death rate and the legitimacy of the births.

In 1895, for every 1000 Jewish births, 27.12 children were born dead. In 1902, for every 1000 Jewish births, 23.65 were born dead.

In 1895, out of every 1000 births, 699.54 were illegitimate. In 1902, for every 1000 births, 582.9 were illegitimate. This can be attributed to the fact that Jewish ritual marriages were not recognized by the state

In 1895, 957 men and 917 women died. In 1901, 820 men and 755 women died.

Out of every 1000 deaths in Bukovina in the years 1895 to 1900, 29.8 were Christians and 17.9 were Jews.

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.

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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.

The oldest brewery, the Aktienbierbrauerei was founded by Jews and of the 7 largest breweries established in the second half of the XIX century, 6 were in Jewish hands, 3 in Chernivtsi, 3 in Radauti, 1 in Siret and 1 in Solka.

In the mill industry, the Jews were leaders and owned the three largest mills.

All the brick factories were in Jewish hands and the first modern cement factory was founded by Emanuel Axelrad in Putna.

Jews were active in glass production since the end of the XVIII century and the only modern glass factory was built by a Jew (Friedrich Fischer).

Jews were also leaders in mineral oil refining and all 6 refineries were Jewish owned16 .

The food, building material, and ceramic tile oven industries were entirely in Jewish hands

The largest Jewish industry, however, was the wood industry.

Timber cutting, sawmills, lumber wholesale and retail as well as exporting was all in Jewish hands.

In large measure, the modern lumber industry was started by Baron Popper who exploited the extensive forests of the Greek Orthodox church and erected large sawmills in the forests to prepare lumber for export.

Also, the firms outside of Bukovina that dealt in lumber were mostly in Jewish hands.

In addition to Popper, Max Anhauch also built large sawmills and opened overseas markets.

Of the 34 large sawmills in the land, 28 belonged to Jewish owners.

At the beginning of the 20th century, privately owned industrial enterprises began to go public and were absorbed by large banks and “big capital” in the form of joint-stock companies whose chief investors were Jewish.

Most of the managers and workers in these industries were Jewish. The Jews in Bukovina were both capable and diligent.

The second Jewish sphere of business was trade, encompassing retail, wholesale and export trade.

The export of grain and other agricultural products, cattle, hides and lumber as well as the import of the necessary industrial articles was managed by Jews.

The retail trade with all articles, above all, clothing, shoes, dry goods, notions, stationary, books and cards, in the country and in the city was almost completely in the hands of Jewish businessmen who maintained an active traffic with the Austrian trade centers, mainly Germany.

Likewise, the restaurant, coffeehouse, hotel and carting businesses in the cities, in Jewish hands.

Jews also had the concessions for Lotto sales, the tobacco trade and the salt monopoly.

In 1866, in Vienna, an anonymous royal petition from Czortkow requesting that these concessions be taken away from the Jews in Bukovina and Galicia. It was claimed that the Jews bribed officials and the lottery and tobacco traffic was bad for the peasants in these provinces.

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According to a report of the Bukovina government, the petition was submitted by a retired government official, Moritz Wohlfeld from Czortkow who claimed that he received the petition from Luttinger in Chernivtsi. The Chernivtsi Police Director Dits confirmed in his report of March 13, 1866 that the description of the oppression the peasants had to suffer from the Jews was no exaggeration16a .

The anonymous petition, in spite of this report had no success.

Tightly connected with industry and commerce was transportation, including highways as well as forest and local railroad tracks all of which were built and perfected thanks to Jewish initiative, work and capital.

Jews had a very substantial part in providing capital and acting as contractors and workers in the building of houses in the cities. Since 1867, they built outside of the Jewish quarters, built new residential areas, and expanded the central street network in Chernivtsi.

No less important was the Jewish contribution to the trades: tailors, shoemakers, tinsmiths, locksmiths, wainwrights, bronze workers, blacksmiths, coppersmiths, carpenters, wood turners, printers, gold and silversmiths were almost exclusively in the hands of Jewish expert craftsmen who distinguished themselves through precise and skilled work17 .

In Chernivtsi alone, in 1886 out of 15,000 Jews (of 45,000 residents total) there were 446 Christian and 397 Jewish craftsmen. There were distributed as follows:

Trade Christians
in Trade
Jews
in trade
carpenter 61 27
tailor 38 93
wainwright and smith 79 36
furrier and bookbinder 7 10
shoemaker 189 50
butcher   34
barrel maker and basket weaver 14 2
barber 3 21
plumber and sign painter 15 40

When trade schools were opened, Jews were allowed to enroll and in 1907, there were 240 Jewish students.

At the end of the XIX century, a Jewish worker class began to develop which grew from year to year through the immigration of Jews from the villages and small towns and which led to the stratification of Jewish society.

In the course of the XIX century and even in the years before the outbreak of the First World War, Jewish business suffered many set-backs that restricted its growth such as the business crisis of 1873 that caused the impoverishment of thousands of Jews and also the crisis of the Austro-Hungarian tariff war in 1886

The Romanian customs tariff of 1886 raised the tariffs to such an extent that the import of Austrian goods became impossible which caused Jewish merchants in Bukovina to loose their market share.

Then came an increase in the Russian tariff rates which caused great damage to Jewish commerce.

These crises made it difficult to obtain credit and brought many Jewish enterprises to a standstill.

Many members of the middle class and the artisan class were forced to emigration to America and Canada

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.

3.

Jewish Community Life

In the period we are discussing, there also were changes in community [F] life.

New communities were founded in areas where the number of Jews had grown.

Groups split off from existing communities to form their own community.

In 1858, there were 8 communities.

The first split was made by the Siret Jews in the 1850s who formed their own community because Suceava, the main community couldn't hold onto a rabbi.

On August 24, 1859, Kimpolung with agreement of the Regional government split from the Suceava community. Boyany and Radauti next split from Sadagura and Siret to form their own communities.

Then followed the founding of new communities in Gura Humorului and Storozhinets.

In 1873, there were 10 communities with 32,933 members. Chernivtsi had 10,000 members, Boyany 200, Sadagura 3591, Kimpolung 1665, Radauti 2358, Siret 3433, Storozhinets and Stanestie 3911, Suceava 4000, Gura Humorului 80, and Wiznitz had 2975 members

The Chernivtsi Jewish congregation temporarily split after continued internal fighting. On July 9, 1876, after the congregation reunited, new congregation bylaws from the Regional Government confirmed its legal status. After this, other congregations attempted to solidify their legal standing.

On March 22, 1877, the bylaws were accepted by the Siret congregation, on March 30, 1877 the Storozhinets congregation accepted them, on October 31, 1878, the Suceava congregation accepted them and finally, on June 12, 1881, the Radauti congregation accepted them.

The remaining congregations kept their legal status under the Josephinischen Jewish law.

The Jewish congregations had according to the constitution of December 21, 1867 autonomous administration (art. 15) of all internal affairs and maintained ownership and use of all institutions, grants and funds for community, instruction and charity purposes. and were as every other organization, subject to the general federal laws.

At the head of every congregation was a executive committee and a community council who were chosen by the congregation members who were eligible to vote.

The number of members of the committees was not the same in every congregation and was determined by the by-laws of the relevant congregation.

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According to the Reichsrat [G] decision of March 21, 1890, the composition of the governing bodies of the congregations was as follows:

In Chernivtsi, the Executive Committee had 7 members, the Community Council had 7 members and in addition, there was a 10 member Temple and a 9 member Synagogue management committees, a 12 member hospital committee and a 7 member burial committee.

The committees in other towns had the following makeup:

Town Executive
Committee
Community
Council
Boyany 2 5
Gura Humorului 2 6
Kimpolung 3 6
Radauti 3 3
Sadagura 3 3
Siret 4 11
Storozhinets 4 12
Suceava 2 3

Wiznitz on the other had only a Executive Committee of three members.

The congregation's income was provided by contributions, fees for kosher slaughter, temple fund, interest from the endowment, and other collections.

The congregation expenses included the rabbi's salary, Dajanim [H] , kosher slaughter and administrators, maintenance of the synagogue and prayer houses, charitable donations and donations for religious purposes and support.

The congregation budgets in the last decades of the XIX century ran over 20,000 Fl. for Chernivtsi, and in the remaining congregations varied from 350 Fl. for Wiznitz to 7,500 Fl. For Suceava.

In Chernivtsi, there was a great number of charitable institutions, while in the remaining congregations, there were usually 3 to 4 such institutions such as asylum for the poor, invalid support organization, and support organization for Jewish school children.

A final uniform regulation of the status of all Jewish congregations in Austria, including Bukovina was obtained with the constitutional law of March 21, 189019a decided by the Austrian. Royal house and the Reichsrat.

After heavy infighting in the Jewish community which was going on since 1878, as well as after long consultations over the concept in the Council of Ministers in the years 1880 to 1888, the Minister for Religion and Education, Freiherr von Gautsch was in the position on January 19, 1888 to report a positive Council of Ministers decision and to submit the laws that he wrote to the royal house and then the Reichsrat for inclusion in the constitution.

In this law, only the regulation of the individual Jewish community, not the totality of Jews was undertaken.
There were some Jewish communities who had their own bylaws which fit into the framework of the law established by the Reichsrat.

This aside, the regulations meant a great progress in building autonomy for Jewish communities.

According to the special provision of the Ministry for Religion and Education of Bukovina of June 26, 189120 attached to the basic law, the 15 following Israelite communities are recognized: Boyany, Chernivtsi, Czudin, Vatra Dornei, Gura Humorului, Kimpolung, Kotzman, Radauti, Sadagura, Siret, Unter-Stanestie, Storozhinets, Suceava, Wiznitz and Zastavna.

In addition, Jews who lived outside of established communities, on estates for example were covered by the law..

During the period of Austrian rule not all communities in Bukovina had synagogues and a regulated administration.

Only Chernivtsi, Suceava, Sadagura, Siret and Wiznitz had their own Synagogues. Services were also held in private houses.

In the course of the XIX century, the communities attempted to improve conditions and to adapt to the spirit of the times.

In 1888, the communities already had modern temples or synagogues built in the old style. In addition, there were public and private prayer houses.

For example, Chernivtsi had one temple, 1 synagogue and 28 private prayer houses. Boyany had 1 prayer house and 4 private houses. Gura Humorului had 2 Synagogues and 3 private prayer houses. Kimpolung had 3 public prayer houses. Radauti had 1 temple and 8 public prayer houses. Siret had 1 temple, 4 public and 4 private prayer houses. Suceava had 1 synagogue and 8 public prayer houses. Wiznitz had 9 public prayer houses21 .

The communities had their rabbis and religion teachers. Storozhinets and Suceava had only religion teachers22 .

They also contributed to the support of the Chernivtsi rabbi who was District Rabbi and after 1849 also Regional Rabbi. In 1849, his salary was raised from 400 to 600 fl. per year. out of which the Chernivtsi community contributed 350 fl. in addition to a housing allowance of 125 fl. In 1859, the salary of the Regional Rabbi was raised to 1200 fl. plus a housing allowance. Out of this, the Chernivtsi community contributed 813 fl., 75 kr. Radauti contributed 42 fl., 53 kr. Siret contributed 76 fl., 17 kr. Sadagura and Boyany, contributed 113 fl., 30 kr. Wiznitz contributed 69 fl., 52 ½ kr. Suceava contributed 70 fl., 24 kr. and Kimpolung contributed 14 fl., 471/2 kr.

The communities didn't want to recognize the Regional Rabbi and because of this, there were many fights and appeals to the government based on the fact that there was no longer a legal basis for the position. Finally, in 1878, as ordered by the Regional Government, based on Article 15 of the constitution of July 21, 1867 as written by the Religion and Education Ministry the position of Regional Rabbi was abolished22 . From then on, the Chernivtsi Rabbi, who since 1872, had a second rabbi, carried the title, “head rabbi,” and his salary was paid entirely by the Chernivtsi community.

The Chernivtsi community which thanks to its enlightened leaders, Isak Rubinstein, Isak Kohn, Moses Zucker, Moritz Amster, Jakob Rottenberg, and Peritz Nadler had seen rapid growth in the years 1849 to 1872, went through a crisis.

In addition to the erection of a school (1854), which we will discuss elsewhere, a hospital (1855) and miscellaneous useful institutions, the community leadership under their president, Isak Rubinstein and vice president, the banker and industrialist, Markus Zucker, both members of the enlightened party, provided for the establishment of a Synagogue.

The community, which was significant because of the number of its members and their prosperity, wanted to restore their dilapidated synagogue in 1851.

The Jews of Chernivtsi, “the city of prosperity” according to a contemporary report were indifferent, without regular religious services, the youth grew up “completely wild” and “without education” and the young men appeared at picnics as “modern dandies.”

The Jews also began to play a roll in politics.

In the first city council election, that took place after the granting of the cities autonomy, the Jews took part and a number of Jewish councilmen were elected. In the makeup of the city government, Doctor Josef Fechner was elected as vice mayor.

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In spring of 1854, the construction of the synagogue finally began. Hersch Welwel Juster, an educated man who since 1824 was a member of the Executive Committee, was largely responsibly for this. He had also worked enthusiastically for the construction of the hospital and the Jewish school25a .

In 1855, at the initiative of the Executive Committee, lead by Isak Rubinstein26 and the banker Moritz Amster, a diligent worker at the Allgemeine Zeitung des Judentums in which he published interesting Bukovina letters, a hospital was constructed under the leadership of the surgeon, Doctor Osias Wagner. Markus Zucker and his wife contributed 9,500 fl. for the building of the hospital26a .

Since 181, the Executive Council wanted to recreate the District Rabbi. The orthodox [I] Jews wanted to select Rabbi Horowitz-Meisels, against which the enlightened with Rubinstein, Zucker and Amster who already dominated the leadership26b of the community, rebelled. This dispute continued for over two years.

Finally, in 1853, after consultation with the Viennese minister, Doctor Adolf Jellinek, it was decided to select Dr. Elieser Elijahu Igel with the confidence that because of his great and deep talmudic knowledge and his highly moralistic view of his rabbinical duties, he would be accepted by the whole community.

Dr. Igel (February 28, 1825 – March 26, 1892) was descended from a family that was in the antique book business in Lemberg for many generations. His father Sanwel, although, a strictly religious orthodox Jew and a well know Talmud scholar, was also an expert in the field of Polish bibliography and ran a successful antique book store which had a brilliant reputation in both Polish and Austrian scholarly circles.

In his childhood and youth, the young Igel, enjoyed, together with his brother Mendel Eisik, who was also a well known bibliographer who ran his father's book store and left it to his children and grandchildren who owned it until 1940. a strict traditional upbringing, and in addition, instruction in secular subjects. He graduated from the Lemberg Gymnasium at 18 and moved to Padua where he studied at the Collegium Rabbinicum under the direction of the well known Jewish researcher, Samuel David Luzzalo, Hillel dela Torre and Mordechai Samuel Gironde and after five years received the Doctorate of Theology. In 1894 he returned to his home town , Lemberg and established himself as a docent for oriental languages at the university and in addition, in 1851 he was named the first Jewish religion teacher in the middle school. In Lemberg on the basis of his work, “The Syrian Guide,” he was awarded the Doctor of Philosophy.

When the Lemberg sermonizer [J] , Dr. Moritz Loewental retired, Dr. Igel sought the position of Sermonizer without success. He also had difficulty being named a university professor. Therefore, he gladly accepted the Chernivtsi rabbi position.

The orthodox Jews in Chernivtsi started to agitate against his selection.

Since 1850, the orthodox fought the enlightened community leadership under Rubinstein and Zucker's leadership. In May, 1851 they protested in the “Judengasse [K] ” because the Chernivtsi meat packing plant hired a ritual slaughterer, Pinkas Scheckler who they didn't approve of. The angry crowd wanted to stone Scheckler, but the police stepped in and arrested the mob leaders, Abraham Herschmann, Chaim Berl and Sender27 .

The relationship between the Orthodox and the enlightened community leadership
was strained. It was no wonder that the appointment of an academically educated rabbi only increased the tension.

Dr. Igel himself divulged in the March 6, 1854 Allgemeinen Zeitung of Judiasm that a nest of snakes breeding in secret in our community is working against our well being and sending letters to high ministers and to his majesty vilifying me and the community.

After Dr. Igel's article appeared, the number of fanatics dwindled to a few nameless individuals who were incited by Galician fanatics who were active in the persecution of the Lemberg rabbi, Abraham Kohen.

For this reason, the Ministry [L] , even before Dr. Igel arrived in Chernivtsi, delayed the swearing in until the resolution of the complaints.

At the government's direction, the community leaders annulled the results of the election and a second rabbi election was held on May 10, 1854. Dr. Igel received 147 “yes” votes and merely 34 “no” votes29 . This was the first clear cut victory for the enlightened Jews in Chernivtsi who already had a considerable intelligentsia consisting of doctors, lawyers, surgeons and educated businessmen.

Maskil Wolf Schiffer was chosen as community secretary.

In 1857, the regional president, Baron von Schmueck made the leaders of the Jewish community aware of the urgent necessity of a temple society. At the initiative of banker Marcus Zucker, they began to collect money30 . The Executive Committee, however in view of the circumstances couldn't start the construction. At last in 1872 with the approval of the Regional Government, the Chernivtsi Jewish Temple Society energetically went to work. Mrs. Amalia Zucker contributed a building loan account and the Temple Society started collecting money for the construction costs. The hundred founders of the Temple Society contributed a considerable amount, which however was not sufficient.

On my 8, 1873, the cornerstone was laid, but the temple construction was first completed in 1877.

Dr. Igel was responsible, along with his Rabbi and Sermonizer functions for the leadership of the Jewish school which was founded in 1853. At the Gymnasium, which already had 30 Jewish students, Dr. Igel taught religion in two sections, totaling 4 hours per week. In addition, he held services on Saturday.

With Dr. Igel, the Chernivtsi Jews got a personality who knew and accepted his responsibilities. He carried on his activities as rabbi and educator in the spirit of his Padua teacher Samuel David Luzzatto, who was constantly a Jewish “road map” for him.

He lead the school and educated the youth with a positive Jewish spirit. In his sermons, he stressed continually the Jewish way of life and stood up against any attacks on Judaism.

He continued his scientific activities in Chernivtsi. Some of his works are “Juwal Schai” (Padua 1849), “Michtawim Schonim” (Lemberg 1850), the translation of S. D. Luzzato's “Jessodei Thora” (Breslau 1870), his treatises on the Syrian translation of the bible, the Talmud, religious instruction and the collection of his sermons.

He also took an active part in public Jewish life and founded a branch of the Vienna Israelite Alliance.

With the election of Dr. Igels the traditional Jews and the Chassidim saw a blow to Rabbi Horowitz-Meisels and this lead to continued internal conflict which finally in the 60s resulted in a split in the community.

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Translators Endnotes

A My footnotes are keyed by capital letters. The author's footnotes are keyed by numbers. I didn't translate the author's footnotes. Return

B The author's style is a bit unusual. The first line of each “paragraph” is indented and he uses no line feed between paragraphs. Typically each paragraph is one sentence and often, the sentences are extremely long. I followed the author's style faithfully. In addition, the author doesn't use headings. I added headings to make the article easier to read. Return

C Please don't read the previous footnote as a criticism. This is a monumental work with hundreds of facts, figures and stories that gives us an interesting and insightful look at Jewish life in Bukovina from 1848 to 1914. Return

D I make no claims to being an expert on this period in Bukovina. When a concept in the text is not clear, I make my best guess as to its meaning in my footnotes. Return

E Whenever the author uses terms like “Landtag” or “Landesregierung,” he is referring to the government of Bukovina and I use the expressions Regional Parliament or Regional Government. The Regional Parliament can also be called the “Diet.” Return

F Whenever the author uses the term “Gemeinde” or “Kultusgemeinde.” I have interpreted that to refer to the whole Jewish population in any particular town and used the term “Community.” I believe that this reflects government requirements. The Jews of any town or group of towns had to be represented to the government as a body by their elected council and leaders and had to pay certain taxes. The government in Austria-Hungary regulated religious bodies to an extent incomprehensible to us. In the same vein, every Jewish community had two governing bodies which are called the Kultusvorstand and the Gemeinderat which I interpret as executive committee and community council. Return

G Reichsrath: A parliament for the whole Austro Hungarian empire. Created by constitution of 1861. Return

H Judges in a religious court. Return

I Judaism didn't seem to be organized into the three branches, Orthodox, Conservative and Reform that we are familiar with today. The author does use the term Orthodox. He also uses the term “Aufgeklaerten Juden” which I translate as Enlightened Jews, who are obviously more liberal than the Orthodox. The author also uses the term “Fortschrittliche Juden” which translates to Progressive Jews. He also talks about more traditional groups like Hassidim and Maskilim. Return

J Prediger: The author uses the term “Prediger” which directly translates as preacher. You would normally think of this as a Christian function, but it seems in this period they had Jewish “prediger.” I translate the word as “sermonizer.” Return

K Jew Street. Return

L I assume the author means the Ministry of Religion and Education. Return


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