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[Page 127]

The Jewish Press in Bukovina

by Dr. Elias Weinstein (Tel-Aviv)

Translated by Jerome Silverbush

This title was not chosen without intent. The following description will not only deal with periodical publications published by Jewish groups, parties and movements in Bukovina, but all newspapers and magazines in which Jews were employed in responsible positions. One of the most senior Jewish journalists in Bukovina was Adolf Wallstein who in the second half of the previous century was co-editor of the Bukowina Nachrichten[1] (Bukovina News). Wallstein belonged to the staff of this publication until the time that it changed from a liberal newspaper to mouthpiece of the German Christians. The first Jewish newspaper publisher in Bukovina was Herman Czopp, owner of the Bukovina “Rundshau.” Dr. Mayer Ebner who was later to become a leader of the Romanian Jews was on the staff of this publication which existed in about the same period as the Bukovina Nachrichten. It is hard to speak about the Bukovina Rundshau without mentioning Jakob Huth who one could well call “the first Czernowitz reporter.” In later years Huth worked in the same capacity for the Czernowitzer Tagblatt. (Czernowitz Daily Paper)”

The modernization of the Czernowitz daily newspapers which took place at beginning of this century (1903) was the work of the prominent journalist, Dr. Philipp Menczel. Julius Weber, about whose journalistic work in Czernowitz we will report later, characterized Menczel in his brochure, “Czernowitz portraits” as “a lawer by profession, a journalist by calling.” Philipp Menczel served as a leading defender and his pleading in sensational cases awoke interest in wide circles of the public. His lead articles, however stirred even stronger interest. He founded in 1903 together with Leon Koenig and Josef Horowitz the “Czernowitzer Tageblatt” which had a modern editorial department and equipment like rotary presses and linotype machines. A short time later, a little more than a year Menczel departed from the “Tageblatt” and soon after that (1904) founded the “Allgemeine Zeitung.” He hired for the staff of this newspaper journalists from the West: Alios Munk, Dr. Martin Weissmann, Emanuel Goldenberg, journalists who up to then were active in Vienna. Karl Klueger, who from the founding of the paper has worked in a subordinate position stepped in to lead the Czernowitzer Tageblatt. Up to that point, Klueger's journalistic talent had been expressed in humorous essays. Now it became obvious that he could play a major roll as a writer of lead articles in Bukovina journalism. At that time, Dr. Marco Covler wrote for the political part of the paper with a skilled pen. Hermann Menkes and for a short time, Dr. Nathan Birnbaum belonged to the non-resident staff of the paper. For several years, Herman Menkes wrote the theater and art reviews for the “Tageblatt,” until he was replaced in this department by Julius Weber. At that time, the Tagblatt as well as the Allgemeine Zeitung looked favorably on the young Zionist movement and willingly made their columns available for contributions that were dedicated to thoughts of the Jewish renaissance. This position of both newspapers was due to the personal attitudes of their leading editors, As a student, Philipp Menczel was already interested in Zionistic ideas and Karl Klueger belonged to “Hasmonaea,” the oldest Czernowitz student organization.

In 1907, Loebl Tauber, who was know as a Yiddish publicist and a leading personality in the Zionist movement of East Galicia and Bukovina founded the weekly newspaper, the Jiddisches Volksblatt (Jewish People's Paper) in the Yiddish language. The newspaper dealt mainly with national and Zionist concerns. A special column was dedicated to Yiddish literature. Among other things, the newspaper arranged for the 1908 Yiddish Language Conference in Czernowitz. When the publisher and editor Loebl Tauber moved to Lemberg, the newspaper stopped appearing

A few years after the founding of the two large daily papers, the Czernowitzer Tagblatt and the Czernowitzer Allgemeine Zeitung, the Bukowinaer Rundschau which technically, editorially and in appearance was far overshadowed by the two large dailies went out of business.

Right after the beginning of World War I and the immediate occupation of Czernowitz by Russian troops all newspapers including the “Tagblatt” and the “Allgemeine” were shut down. While Dr. Philipp Menzel together with other leading citizens of the city were transported to Siberia as hostages, Karl Klueger escaped to Vienna.

After the collapse of the Austro Hungarian Empire in the Fall of 1918, of the two leading newspapers of Czernowitz only the Czernowitzer Allgemeine Zeitung continued publishing. The owner of the paper changed. Dr. Philipp Menzel was replaced by Mendel Abraham representing the firm Eminescu as publisher while Arnold Schwartz who was active for years as an editor became chief editor for the Allgemeine Zeitung.

Around the turn of the century the “Bukowiner Post” which appeared three times weekly existed in Czernowitz. It was edited by Moritz Steckler. The tone of this paper was set by the leader of the Bukovina Ukrainians, Nikolai Ritter von Wassilko who worked for political cooperation between the Ukrainians and the Jews. One of the employees of this paper was Josef Koller, who later became chief editor of the New Vienna Journal.

Between 1904 and 1912 for several years the Volkswehr appeared three times weekly as an organ of the leader of the Bukovina Jews, Dr. Benno Straucher. The editor of the paper was Julius Weber who as a young man had left Lemberg for Germany where for several years where he worked in the Frankfurter Zeitung which was published by Leopold Sonnemann. Immediately after his arrival in Czernowitz he joined the editorial department of the Allgemeine Zeitung and later he became the art editor and local editor of the Czernowiter Tagblatt.

Before the 1910 elections for the Bukovina parliament, the Jewish political party founded by Prof. Dr. Leon Kellner and Dr. Mayer Ebner had a weekly paper, called the Volksrat (People's Advisor), edited by Dr. Abraham Robinsohn. Among the employees of the paper was high school teacher Dr. Hermann Sternberg, who when at the Czernowitz University was named “Doctor of Philosophy sub auspiciis Imperitoris.

Shortly before the end of the First World War in May 1918 Julius Weber and Dr. Elias Weinstein founded the Czernowitzer Morgenblatt (Czernowitz Morning Paper) which replaced the Czernowitzer Tagblatt. The annexing of Bukovina which took place in fall of the same year brought difficult times for the German language newspapers published by Jews. Especially endangered was the existence of the Morgenblatt when Julius Weber wrote a widely read article, entitled “Who does that help?” against the issuing of a decree by the Bukovina Romanian President, Dr. Jancu Ritter von Flondor. The decree contained the words ”the minority must subject itself to the new regime.” The president ordered that the paper cease publishing for three days and that Julius Weber's name must be removed from the mast head.

In 1919, the Jewish Unity Party led by Dr. Mayer Ebner brought out the Ostjuedische Zeitung (East Jewish NewspaperJ) which originally appeared once a week and later 3 times a week. The article by Dr. Mayer Ebner severely criticizing the anti-Jewish tendencies of the government created strong interest even in Romanian official circles. At the same time, the paper was the official mouth piece of the Bukovina State Zionist organization whose president was Dr. Mayer Ebner

At the beginning of the thirties, Arnold Schwartz founded a new daily newspaper, Der Tag (The Day) which ceased publication after a few years. The successor to Arnold Schwarz at the Allgemeine Zeitung was Dr. Adolf Niederhoffer.

The annexing of Bukovina by Romania brought about a change in the condition of the Jewish community as well as basic changes for the press.

In addition to the afore mentioned newspapers, several newspapers in Yiddish, German and also Hebrew appeared in Bukovina between the years 1919 and the end of July, 1940 when the Russians occupied North Bukovina. In the memory of our contemporaries, they live on: The Freiheit (Freedom), founded on May 1, 1919, printed in Yiddish, under the leadership of Dr. Feiwel Sternberg. His chief fellow workers were Dr. Leo Schaefler, high school teacher Dr. Chaim Lecker, Dr. Schlomo Bickel and S.A. Soifer. In July, 1920 Dr. Schlomo Bickel took over the editing of this paper. Dr. Bickel remained in this position until he moved to Bucharest in September, 1922. After that, the Freiheit appeared only irregularly. Dr. Bickel's successor was Chaim Kraft. Dr. Bickel confined himself after that to occasional contributions. After Dr. Bickel moved to Bucharest, the newspaper went out of business. Moreover, in the Yiddish language appeared the periodicals, Juedisches Volksblatt (Jewish People's Paper) edited by Schamschon Schaechter, Arbeiterzeitung (Worker's Newspaper), Poal Zion (edited by S. L. Steinmetz), Dos naje Leben (organ of the Bund[2] ) edited by Dr. Joseph Kissman and Sarah Kaswan. In this connection, special mention should be given to Dr. Jakob Pistiner who departed this life at a relatively young age. Dr. Pistiner who had a leading position in the Bund was chief editor of the weekly German language publication, the Volkspresse (People's Press) of the Social Democratic party which eventually became a daily paper under the name Vorwaerts (Forwards). Czernowitzer Bletter (independent) edited by S.A. Soifer, Kultur published by the Jewish Culture Federation, Schoiben (Literary Society pamphlet) edited by Jakob Sternberg, Aufbau (to “build up”) which was earlier the Worker's Newspaper Poal Zion edited by B. Engler, Yiddish.

In German language appeared in the time period being discussed (between 1919 and 1940) the young people's newspaper Hador Hazair published by an editorial committee composed of Dr. Manfred Reifer, Prof. Julian Silberbusch, Dr. Hermann Glaser and Dr. Leon Schmelzer, Das Freie Wort (Free Speech) edited by Dr. Benjamin Fuchs, Neue Juedische Rundschau edited by Manfred Reifer and Bukowiner Volkszeitung (Bukovina People's Newspaper) (organ of the Union of Romanian Jews) edited by Dr. Salomon Kassner. In the Hebrew language appeared the Hacheruth edited by Dr. Zwei Ellner and M.D. Rabinowicz and Hatechiah edited by Prof. Dr. Herman Glaser and Naftali Siegelboim.

In conclusion it can be said that the newspapers published by Jews in Bukovina, in the main supported the realization of Zionist goals and therein supported the official organs of the Zionist organizations. As far as the German language newspapers (Czernowitzer Algemine Zeitung and the Czernowitzer Morgenblatt) are concerned it is characteristic that the Dr. Mayer Ebner and the other leading figures of the Bukovina State Zionist Organization were among the employees of these papers and regularly published articles with Zionist content.

The Jewish press in Bukovina as well as the papers supporting particular political parties like the daily Czernowitzer Allgemine Zeitung and the Czernowitzer Morgenblatt led a hard fight in the period from the end of 1918 to 1940 to protect the political rights of the Jews of Romania which were guaranteed in the constitution, but which were repeatedly weakened by administrative attacks. In this fight, the Ostjuedische Zeitung, published by Dr. Mayer Ebner had an important part.

On January 1, 1938, a decree issued by the Cuza-Goga government ordered that all newspapers in Romania published by Jews cease publication. Because of the proposal of Prof. Nicolai Jorga, two daily papers, the Allgemeine Zeitung and the Morgenblatt were able to start appearing again. The papers were no longer entirely printed in German; parts of the papers had to be in Romanian.

Written by Dr, Elias Weinstein (Tel Aviv)


  1. Nachrichten: I'll translate the German newspaper names that make sense in translation. Return
  2. Bund: Jewish Socialist political movement founded in Vilnius in 1897 by a small group of workers and intellectuals from the Jewish Pale of tsarist Russia. Return

[Page 129]

The History of the Jewish Worker
Movement Bund in Bukovina

by Dr. Joseph Kissman (New York)

Translated by Jerome Silverbush

I. Up to the First World War

In the Period of “Naïve Cosmopolitinism”

The Jewish Worker Movement of Bukovina grew organically out of the international movement which started in the 90's of the previous century. At that time originated in Czernowitz the first labor unions and the first Social Democratic party groups. In the first years of the 20th century organizations were created in the cities of Radauti, Suceava, Siret and Storozynetz. In 1899, the Volkspress [Peoples' Press] originated as the organ of the party and the union. At first it was published once per month and quickly was changed to a weekly paper and after the First World War appeared as a daily newspaper under the name Vorwärts [Forwards].

While today, we can't say with certainty that the first Social Democrats of Bukovina or actually, the first union leaders were Jews, there was no doubt that Jews played an important part in the pioneering work of the movement. The building up and structuring of the organization followed the model prevalent in the rest of Austria. The party groups joined the Social Democratic state organization of Bukovina [“state” always refers to the political entity of Bukovina] and the Social Democratic party of Austria. It was the same with the unions: they were united in the Bukovina State Union Commission and the trade organizations joined the corresponding trade organizations of Austria. In addition, there were “General Union Associations” which led a more independent life. In the provincial cities, the General Union Associations were the rule.

The first trade unions in Czernowitz were the typesetters and the book printers followed by the tailors, wood workers, metal workers, waiters, backers, retail workers, etc.

There was a very harmonious relation between the party and the unions in Austria. In Bukovina, there was absolutely no difference between the two branches of the organization. Being a member of the Social Democratic party was obligatory in the unions and party dues were taken out of the pay along with union dues. Similarly, every party member also had to be a union member. So, every member of a Bukovina organization was a full member of the Social Democratic Party of Austria (Collective Party) and the membership was not merely a formality. The feeling of a close connection to the organized labor of the state lifted the self esteem of the new young members. In union as well as in political matters the Central in Vienna set the tone. Also, the young worker's movement happily used the flattering name of “Little Vienna” for Czernowitz. In addition the movement looked past Galicia to western Austria as the ideal example for its upward striving organization.

The leaders of the movement hardly noticed at the time, that just the characteristics that so beneficially differentiated Bukovina from the rest of Austria would make it, in spite of the lack of an industrial proletariat, would make it fertile earth for Socialist recruiting. At the turn of the century, the nationalistic strife in Austria was in full swing. In the mixed-language crown lands, it was steadily becoming more intense. In Bukovina, however, there was a barely perceptible echo of the clamor of discord in the West. Here lived five nationalities - in addition to small splinters of other nationalities - in complete harmony, listed by numerical strength as follows: Ukrainians (Ruthenians), Romanians, Jews, Germans and Poles. They understood and respected each other and didn't fight for a superior position.

It is not difficult to see that exactly these circumstances would not be favorable to the formation of workers organizations along national lines and also, the formation of a special Jewish organization.

The small weak organizations were permeated with high idealism, their public actions, even the smallest union fights were carried off with great élan. All-inclusive internationalism, however was the guiding theme of the new “world view” which was preached among workers of all nationalities. National separation within the movement, every type of national effort, must have appeared to them like a disharmony. This international concept of Socialism is a characteristic aspect of the beginning of the Socialist movement in all lands. Otto Bauer later gave it the apt name “Naïve Cosmopolitanism.” In Bukovina, this period, for understandable reasons lasted longer than in other countries.

For Jewish Socialists, there came another grave moment that was not amicable to the formation of special national organizations.

At that time, most of the members of the organization were hourly paid industrial workers from the cities. The workers of the lumber industry in southern Bukovina in which very few Jews were employed did not join the organization in appreciable numbers for a long time. Since hand work in Bukovina was largely done by Jews there was naturally a large Jewish majority in the organization. In the provinces, the membership was almost entirely Jewish. This made it easier to direct propaganda to the Christian workers that pictured the movement as the “Jewish party” and to warn against it. For the Jewish Socialists, this was not an encouraging situation. The responsible leaders saw that creating national groupings within the party would simply lead to an all Jewish Socialist movement while at the same time; the path to organization of the non-Jewish workers would be blocked. At the center of the Austrian Worker's Movement the discussion of the “national question” consumed ever more energy. Just when the first workers' organizations were coming into being in Bukovina, the narrow international [did the author mean “national?”] framework of the Social Democratic Party of Austria was blown to pieces. At the congress in Vienna in 1897, a new set of by-laws was adopted. Two years later in 1899 the congress took place in Brün.

Socialist delegates from all nations agreed on a nationality program for Austria and also agreed on new party by-laws. The unified international Social Democratic party which had been accepted up until then was replaced by a series of autonomous Social Democratic Parties which together composed the International Social Democratic Party of Austria and which were joined at the top level by the International Party Executive Committee.

The congress in Brün was of historic significance. The apparent conflict between nationalistic feelings and thinking and international socialist sensibilities was finally overcome. It was realized that the growth of a national consciousness was a natural outgrowth of the social awakening of the workers. It was no coincidence that in the same year, 1899, the first scientific socialistic writings concerning the “national question” appeared, Karl Renner's “State und Nation.”

It took some time before this realization penetrated to Bukovina. This development was accelerated by the great political events of the following years.

Spring Awakening

Outside the borders of the Austrian empire, in Tsarist Russia, the drama of the great revolution played itself out before the eyes of the world. The socialist organization of the Jewish workers, the Allgemeine Jüdischen Arbeiter-Bund [the General Jewish Worker's Alliance commonly known as the Bund] reaped great honors due to its roll in the revolutionary battles by the organizing of “self defense” groups to protect Jewish life and property from the pogroms of the Tsarists. Jewish members of the Social Democratic Party in Bukovina used all their resources to help the Bund in Russia by smuggling revolutionary literature - proclamations and brochures printed on thin cigarette paper - over the border at Nowosielitza into Russia.

After the defeat of the revolution in Russia in 1905, Bukovina became a refuge for the escaped freedom fighters. They came to Czernowitz not like soldiers after a lost battle, but with unbroken spirits like upright revolutionaries who have to temporarily escape the reach of the Tsarist thugs. Among the refugees were also many Bundists[1] who were warmly welcomed and supported by Jewish Socialists in Bukovina. The direct contact with new friends opened a new world for the Jewish Members of the Social Democratic Organization.

On the other side of the Bukovina border in Galicia, there occurred in the same year (1905) the founding of the Jewish Socialist Party of Galicia - called for short “ZPS” for the beginning letters of the name in Polish - which adopted the program of the Bund in Russia. The new party requested entrance into the Austrian Social Democratic Party, but because of agitation of the Polish Social Democratic Party (PPS) was not admitted. The Jewish Socialists who until 1905 were organized in the PPS were called “Separatists” by the PPS which was antagonistic toward the Jews. That however didn't reduce its attraction for the Jewish Social Democrats of Bukovina. The example of the up till then overlooked Galicia displaced in their hearts the Vienna ideal which they had been striving to achieve for many years. The wish to join their comrades in Galicia became ever stronger.

In Bukovina great events were soon to occur.

The fight to allow all citizens to vote for members of parliament which broke out with renewed vigor in autumn of 1905 and enveloped entire Austria from end to end also spread to quiet and traditionally Kaiser true Bukovina and stirred the masses of ordinary people to action. There followed a great influx to the workers' organizations: construction workers from the suburbs of Czernowitz, industrial and farm workers from the north of Bukovina, workers from the brick works, from the sugar factories and from Luzan and Zucka - Ukrainians, Germans and Romanians - found the way to organizations. The non-Jewish element quickly came into the majority.

The question of nationality groups in the party soon found, without much dispute, a practical solution. There soon came to life, without a statutory authorization, formless lecture groups which spread the propaganda for the common goal in all the languages of the Bukovina nation.

The victorious fight for general suffrage for parliamentary elections was rightfully called the “spring of the Austrian people.” Also, the people of Bukovina experienced their “spring awakening.” The Social Democratic Party became a great workers movement. The use of all national languages in the propaganda work mirrored outwardly, the once more harmonious living together in the Bukovina nation.

In the election for the first parliament in 1907 under general suffrage the separation of groups in the Bukovina Social Democratic Party was maintained and strengthened.

In the Jewish election district Czernowitz-East (with Sadagura) the party backed a well known Socialist Journalist from Vienna, Jakob Brod, editor of the monthly periodical Arbeiterschutz [Worker Protection] against Benno Straucher, the candidate for the Jewish National Party. It was clear from the beginning that the assimilated Jew from the West, in spite of the fact that he was a polished orator would have no attraction for the voters of Czernowitz, but the party couldn't back a local candidate for a reason that was very characteristic for that time: None of the Jewish intellectuals in the Social Democratic Party who could be considered had yet reached the minimum age of 30 years. The youth of the leaders matched the youth of the movement. The result of this “candidate by numbers” was very discouraging for the Jewish Social Democrats. Jakob Brod won a surprisingly large number of votes.

In the voting district Czernowitz-West the voting movement took a stormy course with bloody clashes that had to be suppressed by the military. A run-off election from which the Social Democratic Party emerged victorious had to be held. Georg Grigorovici was elected. A Bukovina Romanian born in Storozynetz, Grigorovice spent several years abroad after graduating from middle school - in Switzerland, in the Russian Caucasus and in other countries. When during the fight for the general Parliament suffrage the lack of intellectual resources became ever more apparent, Grigorovici followed the call of the party, interrupted his medical studies at the Vienna University and returned to Bukovina. The energetic, widely traveled and politically educated Georg Grigorovici took over the leadership of the party and union secretariats. He brought new energy to the movement. His wife Tatjana who had earned a doctorate in philosophy in the Zurich University was a Russian Jew, a member of the Bund in Russia. She was a well educated woman, an extremely gifted speaker and an author.

The parliament district Czernowitz West was created by the government in order to give an advantage to the German speaking residents. The conquest of the district by a Social Democrat - and a non-German Social Democrat to boot - was considered by the German nationalists as a great loss for German interests.

Grigorovici who also won in the second parliamentary election (1911) in Czernowitz West was one of the most highly respected members of the Social Democratic faction in both Austrian parliaments. He proved himself to be a true internationalist, a champion of the idea of national equality and the international brotherhood of man.

In the fight for general equal voting rights and in the election movement of 1907 Jewish Social Democrats used both spoken and written Yiddish for their propaganda. That was a great innovation. They were not the first Yiddish speakers in public gatherings in Bukovina, but in Social Democratic gatherings up to then, The Yiddish language had never been heard from the tribune.

While the intellectuals who had been educated in German schools could no longer speak Yiddish (and often didn't want to) workmen and business men acted as trailbreakers for Yiddish. Among the later should be mentioned the young plumber Nathan Tropper of whom more will be said later. In appearance, he was a proletarian figure, tall and broad shouldered, made for the sculptor, his eyes glowed and he was a speaker of captivating power. His language was unsophisticated and earthy and filled with true pathos. He captured the hearts of his ever growing audience.

The use of the Yiddish language was rapidly taken up by the Social Democratic Party. Participants in Jewish gatherings quickly discovered their love for the Yiddish language; it had to be used in every gathering, also in large international gatherings. For a new observer, these gatherings offered a moving picture of international brotherhood and mutual respect. Often hundreds of participants in the gathering sat together and listened to speeches in the German, Ukrainian, Romanian, Yiddish and Polish languages even though only a minority could understand the content of the individual speeches and only German was understood by the majority. Gradually even the intellectuals in the Social Democratic Party found their way back to the Yiddish of their childhood.

It was, however, just the language question which for some time prevented unconditional acceptance of the Bund platform.

Morning Red

After the parliamentary election of 1907, the demand of the Jewish Social Democrats for an autonomous national group within the Party became more insistent. They were able to point to the good experience that the Party had in the just fought political battles with the de facto national groups (functioning even though they were illegal). The Party leadership after some resistance had to give into the pressure. They agreed to the national groups with the condition that they would only concern themselves with education issues and on the other hand, the central unit would take care of political action. The Jews who had fought for this success were the first to use it in building up their cultural[2] organization. They had arrived at the threshold of the founding of the Bund. Also in Bukovina namely the Jewish Social Democrats had adopted the ideological foundation of the Bund in Russia. The fight for national recognition and equal rights for the Jews was preached by them as the chief task of the Jewish Socialists in all lands. Like the Bund in Russia, they considered it only possible to solve the “Jewish question” in the actual lands of settlement. They fought assimilation as well as Zionism.

National equality therefore included the right to schooling in the mother language and the right to use the national language in public life. Yes, that is the alpha and omega of national equality. In the Austrian state, there were informative examples of the practical carrying out of this demand.

That was also the standpoint of the Bund in Russia. Its program demanded national cultural autonomy for Jews with all consequences of the recognition and equality of the Jewish language in school and the workplace. Later, the newly founded Jewish Social Democratic Party of Galicia also followed this program. About the same time in the theoretical works of Otto Bauer and Karl Renner national cultural autonomy was described as the most suitable form of living together for peoples in a democratic state.

Only the Jewish intellectuals in the Social Democratic Party of Bukovina were hesitant about this demand. Influenced by the German culture in which they were educated, it wasn't easy for them to accept the Yiddish “jargon” as a legitimate language. Also, this wall which separated them from the Bund was soon to fall.

In 1908, the Yiddish language conference was held in Czernowitz.

The conference sprang from the initiative of Dr. Nathan Birnbaum. An highly gifted essayist of great learning with a masterful German style who himself spoke a labored Yiddish, Dr. Birnbaum became the trail breaker for the recognition and appreciation of the Yiddish language by the Jewish and non-Jewish intelligentsia. Shortly before announcing the conference he had moved to Czernowitz. He gathered around himself a circle of young followers and admirers, mostly students who promoted his work with youthful enthusiasm. Among them were also socialist intellectuals.

Jewish poets, authors and journalists answered the call to attend the conference. Most of them came from Russia (including Russian Poland). There were also numerous delegates from other countries and naturally, there was no lack of local attendees from Galicia and Bukovina.

In public sessions, often with full galleries ways and means to advance the Yiddish language were discussed and in passionate arguments, the conflict between Yiddish and Hebrew was fought out. Among the speakers who followed one another at the conference were (to name just few): J.L. Perez, Abr. Reisen, Schalom Asch, Dr. Chajim Zytlowski and naturally also Dr. Nathan Birnbaum who was one of the chairmen of the conference. A series of wonderful literary presentations crowned the work of the conference.

The Czernowitz language conference was noted by Jewish cultural historians as a milestone on the path of the Yiddish language to societal prestige and recognition. The most radical change it brought about however was in the attitude of the Bukovina Jewish intelligentsia. Also in the eyes of stalwart opponents the prestige of the Yiddish language was enormously raised. The scornful designation of “jargon” disappeared by itself. It was no wonder that also the last reservations of the Social Democratic intellectuals over the Yiddish language were dispelled.

There were also several Bund members from Russia participating in the conference and among them were the already well known Esther Frumkin who appeared as a speaker for the left wing at the conference and at seminars held within the framework of the conference. Friendly contacts between the Jewish Social Democrats in Czernowitz and the Russian Bund members were soon established. Esther Frumkin remained in Czernowitz for several months after the language conference.

In the Jewish group of the Social Democratic Party, the cultural work (just as in the other national groups) was managed by a committee chosen for this purpose. From the beginning this was considered too unstructured. Yiddish had to continually compete with German in the education work and only to often drew the short straw. The Jewish Social Democrats quickly went to work to give a firm form to, and through a legal framework to solidify and build up. the autonomy in cultural activity which had been granted to them by the Party leadership. They founded their own education association.

In fall of 1908 the charter of the first Jewish worker education association in Bukovina was granted under the name Morgenrot [morning red.] A new page was turned in the history of the Jewish worker's movement of Bukovina. “Comrade Esther” was the godmother at the birth of the new child.

Morgenrot was really the Bund's organization even though that wasn't stated explicitly in the charter. To the contrary: In the charter, in accordance with the strict requirements of the Austrian laws concerning associations, a clause had to be inserted stated that activity of the educational association in the political arena was strictly forbidden. Also, the division of the party assured that the cultural activity didn't extend into the area of political activity.

Merging with the Jewish Social Democratic Party of Galicia

The switch to autonomy, also in political activity appeared to be only a mater of time. Autonomy could only be complete realized by merging with the Social Democratic Party of Galicia. Merging with this party which was still not recognized by the Austrian International would result in the complete isolation of the Bukovina Jewish organization by the Austrian overall party. In earlier years, the tight connection with the international worker's movement of Austria was a source of inspiration and encouragement. Now the stakes were much higher for the Jewish Social Democrats who were completely emancipated from the naïve cosmopolitanism of earlier times: the implementation of the principals of national affiliation and independence. It was a dictate of national dignity, to brush off concerns about organizational matters. In autumn of the same year, 1908 a congress of the Jewish Social Democratic Party of Galicia took place. The Jewish Social Democratic Party of Bukovina which officially didn't exist yet sent two delegates to this congress as guests and “observers.” Both delegates, the plumber Nathan Tropper and the printer Markus Kaswan were accepted by the congress with great warmth and brought an enthusiastic report from the congress. Finally, the Party had to give in to passionate demands and again the Jewish party members were the first national group, whose autonomy including political matters had been guaranteed by an organization that was legally constituted and registered with the authorities. It registered with the state government the founding of a political association conforming to the restrictions set out in the Austrian association laws (members restricted to male Austrian citizens with a minimum age of 24 years). To eliminate any question about the aims of the organization, it was given the name “Bund.” A political action on a grand scale awaited the new organization, the fight for recognition of the Jewish nation at the Austrian census of 1910.

For all peoples of the Austrian nationality state, the census was an event of the highest significance because the official determination of their numerical strength would give them a weapon in the fight to expand their national vested rights. Jews were the only large national group in Austria who were still not recognized as such. To the nationally aware Jews of Austria, the census preparations appeared like a storm warning for the fight for national recognition. A true peoples' movement started in Galicia and Bukovina. Unobserved because of the common goals in the struggle, a complication arose which right from the beginning led to a split in the Jewish camp. In the questionnaire that was prepared for the census there was not a specific question for nationality, but merely one for “everyday language.” Using the answer to this question, the corresponding nationality would be registered. This methodology seemed made to order to bring to the foreground the old fight about the language question among nationally aware Jews.

The everyday language question gave the Jewish Social Democrats a welcome opportunity to combine the fight for the recognition of their nationality with the fight for the recognition of the Yiddish language. They therefore called for the choosing of Yiddish as the everyday language in the census questionnaire.

In the last weeks of 1910, gigantic gatherings were called by Z.P.S, Poale-Zion and the Zionists in all large and many small cities of Bukovina and Galicia. To carry out this action, a common committee was formed in Bukovina with representatives of all persuasions attending and in the Bund gatherings Poale Zion and Zionist speakers also appeared.

It was about this time that one of the most outstanding members of the international party leadership joined the Bund - Dr. Jakob Pistiner, the editor of the Volkspresse who already then worked with theoretical periodicals and in the political daily publications of the international socialist movement. Pistiner placed his great knowledge and his practical sense for the political questions of the day at the service of the Movement.

One year later after the Austrian parliamentary election of 1911 followed the “anschluss”[3] [absorption] of the Bukovina Jewish Social Democratic Party by the Jewish Social Democratic Party (Z.P.S.) of Galicia.

In the election movement of 1911, from which emerged the second parliament elected by general suffrage in Austria, parliamentary democracy had already lost some of its shine. In Galicia, election terror - which was also present in the election of 1907 - took on frightening forms. In Bukovina, the candidates of the Christian Socialist Party spread strong anti-Semitic propaganda.

In this election, the Social Democratic party gave support in all areas of Austria including Bukovina. In the district Czernowitz West which in the election of 1907 was only conquered after a hotly contested run-off election, Georg Grigorovici was elected in the first round of voting with a large majority.

For the election district Czernowitz East, the candidate backed by the Bund, Wilhelm Ippen was accepted by the Bukovina party leadership without protest. Wilhelm Ippen, a well-to-do merchant from a middle class milieu came as a young man to the Socialist movement and immediately joined the Jewish group. An educated sociable man, he enjoyed great favor in the worker's circles and unstinted admiration among the middle class.

The Social Democratic candidate in Czernowitz East was thought as in this election as a “sacrificial” candidate since the election of the Member of Parliament, Dr. Beno Straucher also this time had to be taken as a certainty. And that is what occurred, but the Social Democratic candidate Ippen received a respectable number of votes.

The joining of the Bukovina Jewish Social Democratic Party with the Jewish Social Democratic Party of Galicia (Z.P.S.) was completed in a festive manner at the party congress in Lemberg in the autumn of 1911.

The internal battles in the Socialist camp in Galicia had been laid to rest. The organizational principal of the Bund were completely accepted, also in Galicia. Shortly before the Parliamentary elections, the Polish Social Democratic Party (P.P.S.) gave up its Jewish organization that had been led with tendencies toward assimilation and agreed to its combining with the Z.P.S.

Bukovina was represented at the congress by three delegates: Dr. Jakob Pistiner, Nathan Tropper and Markus Kaswan. The short explanation of the Bukovina delegation concerning the unconditional joining with the Jewish Social Democratic Party was enthusiastically accepted. The combination called for a change in the name of the party to reflect its wider geographic span. Without further discussion, it was decided to include the word “Bukovina” in the party name which then became, “the Jewish Social Democratic Party of Galicia and Bukovina.”

The coordination of the party activity with the new center in Lemberg presented no problems for the Bukovina organization. Actually, party life in Bukovina long before the “anschluss” was permeated by the same spirit and moved along the same lines as the Jewish Social Democratic Party of Galicia. In matters of their own state politics, the Bukovina organization was given full autonomy.

Things were completely different when it came to technical questions about the organization. By and by all the national groups in the Bukovina Social Democratic state organization had joined the independent Socialist Parties of their nationalities in Austria (one exception was the Romanian group since there was no Romanian Socialist Party in Austria and outside of Bukovina there was no Romanian population)]. Neither the Jews nor the other national groups considered making membership in the Socialist Party of their nationality an exclusive party principal and to abandon the international organization of Bukovina. One had to take some contorted paths to make this arrangement work. In little Bukovina evolved the most complicated organizational structure of the Social Democratic Party of Austria.

It would go too far to explain here the details of the means and ways which were used to solve these technical problems. It is important only to say that the solution followed in a generally satisfactory and harmonious manner. Afterwards as before, union organizations collected the obligatory dues for the Social Democratic Party. In the unions the membership of the workers in the national party group was registered and the cashier sent the dues to the appropriate group without troubling the individual members about the convoluted web of the organizational structure. With mutual understanding and good will the national fragmentation was welded into a unity of striving and effectiveness which presented a pattern for the Worker's Movement of the industrial West.

With the “anschluss” lively organizational work commenced in Bukovina. It was important, to maintain the common interests and goals shared with the organized Jewish workers of Galicia.

Special tasks accrued to the Bukovina organization in the area of the press. Even before the anschluss, the organ of the Jewish Social Democratic Party of Galicia, the Yiddish weekly newspaper, the Social Democrat which was published in Lemberg had been declared the official organ of the Bukovina organization. From then on, a wider distribution of the newspaper had to be arranged for and also, the paper had to devote more attention to events in Bukovina then it previously had.

The multi-faceted work in the area of the organization and the press was accomplished with great prudence and devotion by the married couple Markus and Sarah Kaswan. The editing staff of the Lemberg Social Democrat which at that time was directed by a Bukovina resident, the writer of these lines unhesitatingly provided space for Bukovina news.

The Bukovina organization however was not satisfied with merely distributing and supporting the Lemberg weekly newspaper and other newspapers of the Party in Galicia. The energetic leader of the organization quickly went about getting their own articles about the united party into print. They founded a monthly Yiddish periodical for the youth organizations.

The Jewish Social Democratic Movement possessed a strong and well-disciplined youth organization in Bukovina as well as Galicia. The lack of their own organ was a palpable lack that the party executives couldn't correct because of a lack of funds. The offer of the Bukovina organization to take on the task of publishing a youth periodical was therefore accepted with the greatest joy.

The carrying out of the plan was done by the Kaswan family, of whom, Giza Rosenbaum[A], the sister of Mrs. Kaswan was a member. The former took over the management. In January 1912, the first issue of the monthly periodical appeared under the name, The Free Youth (Der Freie Jugend). The editor was at first Dr. Siegmund Jacob and later, the writer of these lines.

The Free Youth was published with great care given to technical maters and to the quality of the contents. The title page indicated two cities of origin, Czernowitz and Krakow which symbolized that the Jewish Youth Movement encompassed all of Bukovina and Poland. It appeared regularly until the outbreak of the First World War when the government forbid further publication. With the July issue of 1914, this modest but beautiful and courageous press organ of the worker youth Bund of Galicia and Bukovina was silenced. July 1914, however signified more than that. It was the end of an epoch of Jewish and mankind's history.

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