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[Page 69]

Part III
Przemysl Jews During Austrian Rule
(1772- 1918)


Chapter 1

From 1772 Until 1867

Y. Altbauer and L. Getz

Translated by Jerrold Landau

The city of Przemysl passed over to Austrian rule in the year 1772 along with all of Galicia. Despite the changes that took place in Galicia with its annexation to the monarchy, Przemysl and its environs did not experience any significant change.

The situation of the Jews worsened during the Hapsburg monarchy, both from a legal perspective (the restriction of autonomy, and anti-Semitic laws), and an economic perspective (restrictions of business and commerce). Debts that were not discharged after the disbanding of the autonomous institutions of the Jews of Poland (sejms and sejmiks) in the year 1764 reached levels that exceeded the financial capabilities of the Jews, and resulted not only in debts for the communities, but also for the regional autonomous institutions of Polish Jewry. The region of Przemysl, one of the 12 regions of the Council of the Four Lands, extended from Reisha (Rzeszow) in the northwest to Stryj in the southeast. The debts fell upon the shoulders of the communities with the disbanding of the regions.

The community of Przemysl, including all of the residents of its region, which had a Jewish population of 2,418 souls in 1765, owed 382,000 Polish zloty. In addition, the regional debt of the sum of 21,483 Polish zloty and the general (generalnusz) debt of 6,518 Polish zloty were imposed upon it. Preference was given to national debts, the principal obligation coming from the Jewish head tax and other government taxes.

The number of Jews in Przemysl itself reached 1,096 souls in 1765 (according to Moshe Kramer, “The Jews in Przemysl During the 17th and 18th Centuries). In an agreement with the city council from the year 1757, they were given permission to live outside of the bounds of the Jewish quarter.

The region of Przemysl (Ziemia), the Jewish population of which was 25,724 souls that year, was one of the largest regions in Galicia. It included 33 communities, which included such large communities as: Drohobycz (1,923 souls), Jaroslaw (1,884 souls), Stryj (1,727 souls), Rzeszow (1,202 souls), Dobromil (1,153 souls), Sieniawa (1,115 souls).

The new government found a variegated tapestry of local authorities and varying laws in Galicia. There were royal cities such as Przemysl, and cities under private authority such as Rzeszow. Each city had its own privilege, and the Jewish residents were granted their own similar privilege. In general, the Jews of Poland enjoyed a large degree of civic freedom, and the Polish government did not become involved with their private lives.

The Austrian government enacted a unified law with detailed statutes for all of Galicia. These new laws, whose actualization was the responsibility of strict bureaucratic officials, imposed difficulties upon the lives of the Jews. The character of these laws was somewhat liberal, giving expression to the enlightened absolutist spirit that pervaded other European countries. However the vast majority of the laws were designed to protect the upper hand of the Christian population, and to protect it from pillage, so to speak, by the Jews. The tendency toward compromise and opposition to each individualistic style that was characteristic of Austrian thought did not stand up to the test when it came to the enactments regarding the lives of the Jews in Galicia. All anti-Jewish laws were carried out with haste and with a strong hand.

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Already in 1773, one year after the annexation of Galicia to Austria, a law was enacted that forbade Jews to get married without a government license. The Austrians transferred the autonomous communities to the supervision and sole authority of the state. The communal officials and rabbis were responsible to the government for carrying out the enactments.

Empress Maria Theresa granted the rabbinical courts the soul authority to judge the Jewish population on religious and civilian matters. Even though Jewish affairs were placed under central authority (Generaldirektorium) headed by a state rabbi, this was not autonomy, since the supervision was dependent upon the national government. The head tax that existed during the time of the Polish government remained in force, and was even raised. Its name was changed to the tolerance tax (Toleranzgebührer). A special tax was also imposed upon kosher meat.

Przemysl was a small, poor city during the time of Maria Theresa, even though it had tradition and a splendid past. The situation of the city was so desperate that that it was sold to Count Ignace Cetner for a period of 6 years. Kaiser Josef II returned the city to its own autonomy only in 1789, and even expanded the rights of the civic leaders. However, its dependence upon the regional government lasted until 1867.

The Jewish population grew from 1,096 in 1765 to 1,486 in 1798, from among a general population of 2,902 souls. The growth of Jewish population was for the most part the result of natural growth, and partly as a result of the influx of those who had been expelled from the villages. On account of the low status of the city before the partition of Poland, it had many empty dwellings, which attracted the residents of nearby villages.

During the time of Maria Theresa, the Jews who lived in special quarters were cramped and poor. Most of them were completely removed from the influence of European culture, both for their own good reasons as well as for external reasons. The grinding poverty and the difficult struggle for livelihood even prevented the masses from studying Talmud, which was left to the domain of special people only. The residential crowding and poor sanitary conditions were causes of the lowest possible population growth of the Jewish population. This was aided by the fact that the Austrian government set as its goal the reduction of the population growth through restrictions and heavy taxes. The new tax was particularly depressing and burdensome: the candle tax that was imposed after several years. A Jew was obligated to pay a tax for every candle that was lit on the Sabbath, festivals or weddings. This tax was collected by Jewish lessees, who were hated by the people because of their means of collecting the tax. The tax turned in to a source of extortion and means of rule over the communities, because the right of voting in the community was only given to those who paid the tax for a minimal number of candles. In the community of Przemysl, this was for at least 7 candles.

Jewish autonomy was restricted with the ascension of Kaiser Josef II to the throne. The rabbis were given judicial authority on religious matters alone. The office of regional rabbi (Kreizrabbiner) was formed, and the authority of other rabbis was not recognized.

Galicia was then divided into 18 regions. The annual salary of the rabbi of the region of Przemysl was 300 guilder, the salary of “teachers of religion”. The salary of the rabbi of the districts of Przemysl were as follows: Huskow – 120 guilder; Moœciska – 40 guilder; Sieniawa – 55 guilder; Jaworów – 210 guilder; Krakowiec, – 100 guilder.

In 1785, Josef II issued a patent with extreme restrictions on the types of business permitted to Jews. They were forbidden to lease liquor distilleries, taverns, agricultural farms, castles of noblemen, road tolls, salt, sawmills, slaughterhouses, weights and measures. These decrees impinged upon the livelihood of one third of the Jewish population of Galicia, and caused people to abandon the villages and stream into the crowded cities. That year (1785), family names started to be assigned to all the Jews of Galicia. These names were primarily German.

In 1786, the Kaiser decided to establish Jewish schools in which the language of instruction would be German. These were designated for Jewish children up to the age of 13. These were elementary “normal” schools. The teachers, who were Jewish only, taught a curriculum that did not include the religion of Moses. The plan was implemented

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in 1787 in 46 communities, including Przemysl and a few other communities of the region. The vast majority of the Jews strongly opposed these schools, especially after the Czech Jew Hertz Homburg was appointed as superintendent of these institutions. He made himself and these schools hated in the eyes of his Jews due to his disdain for Jewish tradition, and his shameful behavior.

This school network existed until 1806. In the final year of its existence, the number of students in Przemysl was 1,200, contrasted with 389 in Lvov, 105 in the region of Tarnow and 623 in the region of Stryj. There were 7 schools in the region of Przemysl, including 1 in Jaroslaw and 1 in Moœciska. During the period of existence of these schools, the government conducted a struggle against the cheder teachers (melamdim), for accepting students without verifying if they attended the German Jewish schools; as well as against the parents, who attempted to get out of sending their children to school. After the liquidation of these schools, the children were obligated to attend public schools. However, this was to no avail, even though a graduation certificate from such a school was a prerequisite for obtaining a marriage license. The number of Jewish students in the public schools of the Przemysl area declined to 29 in the year 1817.

The Austrian authorities attempted to place obstacles for marriage contracts in order to curb the growth of the Jewish population. The young couple required government permits, which were only given after presenting documents attesting to their study of the German language. The couple was obligated to pass a test on religious studies based on the “Bnei Zion” book that was published by the man who had been the superintended of the Jewish schools. Large fees were charged for the permit, based on the means of the father of the groom. Businessmen had to pay 30 guilder for the first son, 60 guilder for the second son, and 120 guilder for the third son. The marriage was conducted with a religious ceremony, but did not acquire legal legitimacy until the rabbi had participated in the chupa ceremony. As a result, the marriage ceremony (chupa) was often conducted privately without official registration. The situation reached a state of absurdity, for in the government statistics from 1830, only 130 Jewish marriages were registered.

The patent of tolerance that was issued by Kaiser Josef II in the year 1789, and that appeared very liberal in its externals, did not stem the decline of the Jews at all. Most of the restrictions remained in place without any change. Out of the will to create equal rights, army service was imposed upon the Jews, a matter that did not encourage religious Jewry at the time for obvious reasons. For the most part, the Jews served in the supply division (trein). On the Sabbath, only those tasks that were imposed upon Christians on Sunday were imposed upon them. In the eyes of the Jews, army service was fraught with sin and transgression. From 1790, it was possible to be released from army service in return for a monetary payment that was paid by the draftee himself or the community.

After the patent, the doors to the guilds were opened to the Jews in a formal fashion, which served as a means against the Jewish craftsmen. Restrictions upon leaving their place of work were also imposed, as was the obligation for all Jewish residents to register. Before any trip, they had to obtain a permit to allow them into the specific area, as well as a special passport. In particular, their right to live in rural areas was restricted. The right of emigration was only given to Jews whose worth did not exceed 200 guilders. On the other hand, there was no ban on emigration to the Land of Israel.

Jews were forbidden to hire Christian assistants and apprentices. Restrictions were also placed on the types of employment for Jews: they were able to manufacture whiskey, liquor and mead, but they had no right to sell it. They were permitted to trade in flour, but were forbidden to acquire, lease or even manage a flourmill. They were permitted to manufacture potash, but were forbidden from manufacturing or trading in salt, gunpowder, any types of weapons, and any objects of Christian worship.

A third stream, the Haskala (enlightenment), began to arise and take slow steps alongside the two streams that existed in Jewry at the time, the Hassidim and Misnagdim (opponents of Hassidism). The relation of the Austrian government to the Hassidic movement

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was inimical. On the other hand, the government extended some form of support to the Haskala movement. During the first half of the 19th century, the Maskilim wrote primarily in Hebrew, even though they displayed some inclination toward the German language. The masses whom the Maskilim wished to influence were opposed to them and were not interested in the secular knowledge that they preached. The Maskilim were also involved in incitement against the Hassidim, who were then persecuted up to their necks by the government. Even the publication of Hassidic books was forbidden. In his book “Hassidism and Haskala” that was published by “Sifrit Hapoalim” in 1961, Rafael Mahler states that the police estimated the number of Hassidic heads of families in Przemysl to be approximately 100. The Jewish population of Przemysl at the time numbered approximately 2,000 souls (approximately 400 families).

According to Balaban, in 1800, the Admor Rabbi Mendel published in Przemysl an anthology of Hassidic stories on miracles and wonders of rebbes.

From among the people of the Haskala connected with Przemysl, there was Yitzhak Artur who was born in 1792 the village of Koniuszki in the region of Przemysl. His activities, however, were not centered in Przemysl, but rather in Lvov and Brody.

On the other hand, starting from the middle of the 19th century, the scholar, philosopher, and Haskala man Reb Mordechai Yonah Rozenfeld was active in the region of Przemysl. He was known as the Shochet from Soœnica. His life and activities are described in a special article in this book.

The Reaction once again strengthened in 1815, and all of the leniencies that were given via the write of tolerance were cancelled. The general and Jewish population in the region of Przemysl was as follows (according to Balaban):

Year General
1789 183,756 10,123
1821 213,057 15,045
1826 227,979 15,922
1827 247,095 16,498

Professor Hacquet[1] of the University of Lvov describes the city in 1790 in his book “A Journey Through the Sarmatish Carpathians” in the following words: “This ancient city is built in a disorganized fashion. It is populated primarily by Jews and priests. Some Germans also live there since a small army garrison is stationed there. Despite this, the priests and the Jews compete for first place. However, it is easy to guess who will win the competition, to the disgrace of Christianity. The Jews will be the victors here as well.”

According to Kramarz, the population of the city of Przemysl was as follows: (footnote in the text: “Ludnosc Przemysla w latach 1521-1921. Przemysl 1930.)

Year General
1715 4,979 1,558
1798 2,842 1,426
1830 7,538 2,298
1850 10,140 4,180
1870 15,185 5,692

In 1820, there were 17 Jewish thread merchants in the city, as well as 4 fur merchants, and 4 tavern owners and mead merchants. Przemysl had a total of 143 merchants out of which 137 were Jewish.

As the statistics of that time (according to Sztagar) make it clear that only 1% of the Jewish merchants were numbered among the official merchants. There were very few Jewish molders at that time in Galicia. A few of them lived east of Przemysl. There were 5 groat producers in Przemysl, and one honey maker. Some coopers were also mentioned.

In contrast to the situation in other European countries where Jews lent their money, the Jews of Przemysl only had limited sums of money in their hands. It may be that they had no trust in their customers. The Jews

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were among those who lent money to the nobility and the clergy. They lent these sums to the small man[2] with a large rate of interest. This expert banking business was also the reason that the nobility and clergy at times appeared as protectors of the Jews, with the motive of protecting their own interests.

In 1847, The Austrian government attempted to enact a law that would forbid the Jews to wear their traditional garb that set them apart from the rest of the population. This attempt was met with strong opposition from the traditional Jewish population. The protests were to little avail; however the law was not passed due to opposition from the manufacturers in Vienna and Czechia[3] who claimed that such a law would severely impinge on their livelihood, as they had large inventories of silk and tafetta[4] textiles.

The revolution of 1848 left a strong echo in Galicia. The delegation sent to Vienna by the city of Lvov under the leadership of Baron Lubomirski, which included some Jews, demanded reforms in the law, equality and emancipation. The revolution was celebrated in the city of Przemysl with a mass demonstration and special illumination. A “National Guard” was also established, consisting primarily of students of the philosophy course of the city. However, it disbanded by the end of the year. Its weapons were removed, and cannons were brought to the yard in front of the fortress (Zamek) in order to install fear upon the group.

The situation of the Jews did not improve greatly despite the new law of 1849, which was more liberal. The law was rescinded by Kaiser Franz Josef in 1851, and absolute absolutism pervaded until the year 1859. The situation improved in the wake of the attack upon Austria by Sulfarino that year. The emancipation began, and contrasts between the traditional and enlightened portions of the Jews population became exposed. The Poles, enthused by the freedom that they had attained, turned to the Jews at first with decrees of “our Jewish brethren”, and accepted them as partners in the battle for a better future.

However, the reaction against the government returned full force within a short time. Already in 1857, the ruler of Lvov forbade the Jews from employing Christian servants, but the law was repealed by Vienna. In 1858, the Bishop Wislicki of Przemysl issued a pastoral letter accusing all Christian servants in Jewish homes of a serious crime, banning them from all jobs in the church, and from assisting in baptismal and marriage ceremonies.

Many disasters affected the city in the first half of the 19th century. Famine afflicted the city in the year 1830. A cholera epidemic broke out in the city in June 1831, wreaking havoc upon the population. Floods afflicted the Jewish quarter very severely in 1836 and 1837. The Russians, who passed through Przemysl in 1839 on their way to invade Hungary, renewed the epidemic in the city. The epidemics reached their heights in 1852-1854. In one month, 30 corpses a day were buried.

In the elections for the Galician Sejm that first took place in the year 1861, the local government attempted to remove the right to vote from the Jews. The Jewish communities sent delegates to Vienna from Lvov, Przemysl and three other cities in order to thwart this threat. The delegate succeeded in its mission to Minister Schmerling, and the active and passive right to vote was granted to the Jews of Galicia.

The parliament in Vienna enacted a new law for Austria in 1867. From that time, the Jews of Galicia enjoyed full rights without restriction along with all the nations of Austria (at least on paper). The first elections to the parliament in Vienna took place in Przemysl in 1873. Among the candidates was the preacher Dr. Bernhard Levenstein of Lvov, the father of Dr. Nathan Levenstein, who was the leader of the assimilationists and a member of the last Austrian parliament before the breakup of the monarchy.

Translator's Footnotes

  1. Baltazar (Balthasar, Belsazar de la Motte) Hacquet (1740-1815) Back
  2. Probably referring to people of lower stature than themselves. Back
  3. Here this would mean Bohemia. Back
  4. Tafetta fabric, most likely satin. Back

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Chapter 2

In the City and Community

by D. N.

Translated by Jerrold Landau

The Increase of the Population of the City

Jewish sources on this topic are few and scattered. Polish sources are primarily concentrated in the following works: a) Leopold Hauser, “A Monograph on the City of Przemysl”, Przemysl, 1883 (see later, “Hauser”); b) Dr. Mieczyslaw Orlowicz, “A Guide to Przemysl and the Region”, Lvov 1917 (see later, “Orlowicz”); c) Dr. Walerian Kramarz, “Residents of Przemysl from the years 1521-1921”, Przemysl, 1930 (see later, “Kramarz”); d) Magister[1] Krzysztof Wolski, “Przemysl and the Region”, Przemysl 1956 (see later, “Wolski”).

Prior to the beginning of the constitutional era of 1868, the local government was reorganized on the basis of the laws of March 5 and August 12, 1866. A city council was established with 36 members, and a civic authority with 6 members including a mayor (burmistrz), a vice-mayor and 4 asesors[2]. The situation did not change, even when a new law was passed in 1889 regarding the organization of the large cities of Galicia (except for Lvov and Krakow), designed to organize the aforementioned civic authority.

The number of residents of Przemysl was: in 1808, 7,538 souls; in 1850, approximately 9,500 souls; in 1857, reaching 10,140 souls, an increase of 34.5% in 49 years. In 1870, when an organized and smooth registration of population began in accordance with the principles of demographic statistics, the number of residents reached 12,505. The growth during the previous 13 years was 23.3%. The subsequent years show: 1880, 22,040 souls; 1890, 35,209 souls; 1900, 46,295 souls; 1910, 54,562 souls. During the 40 years from 1870-1910, the population grew by approximately 289%. Kramarz, from whom I drew most of the aforementioned and following information (other information was from Hauser), explains the growth we described as based on four factors that were relevant in Przemysl (pages 50-54). These are: a) a concentration of various branches of government offices; b) the existence of high schools; c) the development of the railway; d) the militarization of the city.

a) It is appropriate to describe the development of the Cyrkul (the large center of the district), that in time was lowered to the rank of Starostowo; as well as the establishment of the regional courthouse, the regional directorship of the treasury, and the office of weights and measures.

b) The establishment of government high schools, especially the Gymnasium (in 1849), that attracted many children even from the more distant areas of the region; as well as the teachers' seminary which was founded in 1870, one of the few in all of Galicia. After it changes its language to Polish, around 1890, the Gymnasium opened classes in Ruthenian, from which a Ruthenian Gymnasium developed after a few years. In a similar fashion, a second Polish gymnasium sprung up in Zasanie from the Polish Gymnasium. Thus did Przemysl become an attractive center for youth studying in high schools. In 1880, the number of youth in Przemysl who came from outside the city was 2.9% of the general population. This grew to 3.5% in 1910. In 1913, the national autonomous government founded a “National School for Merchants”[3] the activity of which was not yet mentioned in the statistics. According to Orlowicz (page 89), 555 students attended the Polish Gymnasium on Slowacki Street at the end of the 1910/1911 school year,

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849 attended the Ruthenian Gymnasium, and 490 attended the Polish Gymnasium in Zasanie. In all 3 gymnasiums, there were 649 Poles, 878 Ruthenians, 350 Jews and 9 Germans. According to that same source (page 94), 326 women studied in the Government Teachers' Seminary, including 261 Poles, 59 Ruthenians, and 3 Jewesses.

c) The development of the railway was of particular importance. In 1859, the railway line reached from Krakow to Przemysl and beyond. In later years it was expanded to Lvov and Brody. In 1872, the first railway line from Galicia to Hungary laid its rails through Przemysl, going through Chyrow (Khyrov), Zagorz, and Lopuchow. The line to Sambor, Drohobycz and Stryj joined the rail line in Chyrow. At Zagorz, the line to Sanok, Jaslo and Nowy Sacz, etc. joined up. The level to which all of these railway lines influenced the growth of the number of residents testifies to the number of people in the city who earned their livelihoods connected to the railway. In 1880, there were 329 such people, who including their dependents were 6.2% of the population. 30 years later, in 1910, the number had tripled to 973 people, who along with their dependents formed 8.5% of the population (according to Kramarz 52/53). We should note that there were also large railway enterprises and a warming station for engines in Przemysl. At that time, there were no other mechanical vehicles that regularly made inter-city journeys, even though 6 paved roads extended out from Przemysl in the following directions: 1) to Lvov; 2) to Radymno and Jaroslaw; 3) to Dubiecko and Dynow, and from there to Hungary; 4) to Kroscienko Bircza and Sanok; 5) to Husakow; 6) to Niznakowce, Nowe Miasto and Dobromil. In any case, these roads, and the side streets, eased transportation and transport from Przemysl and onward.

d) In any case, the main influence in the growth of the population of the city was its establishment as a large army center through the stationing of an army garrison command there (at that time, one of the 15 army garrisons of the monarchy), and its development as an important fortress for the monarchy along with dozens of towns of the region. After the charter, large-scale building of heavy fortifications, ramparts, military roads, barracks, storehouses, workshops, and military hospitals began in the city and the country. As well, many variegated army units began to converge on the area. Units of the armies fortresses, divisions and brigades were established, each under its own command. The city turned into a large military camp. Orlowicz and Kramarz claim that this was decided starting from 1873, whereas others claim only from 1878, after the Berlin conference, due to the great danger from Russia with the rise of extreme panslavism. In any case it is clear that this plan started to be actualized slightly before 1880, since that year there were only 1,375 military personnel in the city, less than 1/5 the number of military personnel that were there in 1890.


The Professional Composition of the Population

The government accounts on this topic from the years 1869/70, 1880, 1890, 1900 and 1910 provide us with detailed and organized information. The first list exists from almost the beginning of the constitutional era, and the final one is from four years before the outbreak of the First World War in 1914. During that war, most of the residents of the city left, and residents of the towns, primarily Jews, entered. The conditions were not orderly during some of the war years, and there was no continuity of the development of the town from before the war. We do not have organized Austrian statistics from after those registered in 1910. Kramarz lists the totals of the population of the city from the years 1870, 1890, 1900, and 1910 according to profession, along with summaries of religious affiliation. Since the numbers of the professional statistics depended upon individual government registration, there are no suspicions about these numbers as published by the government, as a basis for professional statistics. On the other hand, the statistics relating to religious affiliation are to be treated with great suspicion. The suspicion exists that these numbers relate to statistical data that was not restricted to the bounds of the city, but rather included

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the jurisdictional boundaries of the Roman Catholic and Greek Catholic dioceses. The seats of these dioceses were in Przemysl, but almost always, villages that did not have their own church, or at least a priest, were included within the bounds of the city. These were included under the jurisdiction of the priest who lived in Przemysl. This was even more the case with regard to the Jewish population, for the Jews of dozens of villages around the city were listed in the statistics as belonging to the religious community city of Przemysl, whose seat was in the city.

The following is a table of the professional makeup of the population, as per the official numbers from the years 1869/70-1910 (See Kramarz, pages 55-87).

Professional type % 1870 % 1880 % 1890 % 1800 % 1910
Labor and manufacturing 26.6 3,320 25.0 5,513 23.7 8,323 21.8 10,064 19.7 10,768
Commerce (and similar professions) 18.6 2,330 14.5 3,186 13.8 4,863 19.5 9,042 19.7 10,728
Communication 5.8 734 8.0 1,759 4.1 1,435 9.4 4,357 9.3 5,093
Other professions 24.2 3,017 25.5 5,.611 18.0 6,351 16.9 7,808 17.4 9,486
Lacking a permanent profession 9.1 1,131 11.4 2,518 11.8 4,168 5.7 2,637 7.3 3,971
Lacking a profession or profession unknown 15.5 1,946 9.4 2,080 6.6 2,322 6.2 2,890 8.9 4,832
Military (and dependent professions) 0.2 27 6.2 1,373 22.0 7,747 20.5 9,497 17.7 9,684
Total 100 12,505 100 22,040 100 35,209 100 46,295 100 54,562

This table demonstrates that labor and manufacturing grew in significant numbers over the years, but dropped in percentage of the general population, from 26.6% prior to the militarization of the city to 19.7% in 1910, equal to the percentage of commerce that year. The percentage of the communication industry grew during that time from 5.8% to 9.3%, while the percentage of military grew from almost 0% to 17.7% (in 1890 it reached 22%).

The following breakdown of professional groupings from the above table is based on the final registry before the outbreak of the First World War (1910), with details of a) groups 1 to 2 separately; b) groups 3 to 6 separately – with percentages only. (There is a text footnote here as follows: all of the aforementioned numbers include the caveat: the data is illustrated in color to prevent misunderstanding.)

1) Industrial manufacturing in its entirety, (including labor) (There is a text footnote as follows: if the profession is listed in bold, it indicates that it is primarily Jewish.). 19.7% of the population, with the following breakdown:

a) Metalworking (excluding refined metals) 2.3%; including tin making 0.7%
b) Refined metal manufacturing, including watch making and optical 0.4%
c) Wood manufacturing 2.2% including carpentry, upholstery and brush making 1.8%
d) Manufacture of foodstuffs 3.2% including baking and butchers 2.6%
e) Manufacture of clothing and gallantry 5.5% including shoemaking 2.4%
f) Printing, photography, binding 0.6%
g) Building 4.3% including glassmaking, coloring and coating 0.9%
h) Other manufacturing, and undefined 1.2%

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2) Commerce and similar business 19.7% of the population – with the following breakdown:
a) Business with merchandise 11%
b) Hospitality (restaurants, coffeehouses, hotels, room rental) 6.2%
c) Other employment (money handling, insurance, brokerage) 2.5%
3-6) Other professions (aside from military) 42.9%
a) Communication (train, post, etc.) 9.2%
b) Communal officials, judicial, security and health 4.4%
c) Employees of schools and educational institutions (including cheders) 2.2%
d) Personal services (home servants, shaving, laundry, etc.) 8.0%
e) No set profession ( among others, day workers) 7.3%
f) Agriculture and similar jobs (gardening, forestry, fishing, etc.) 0.9%
g) Religious services and free professions (excluding medicine) 1.7%
h) Science, theater, music, writing, painting, etc. 0.2%
i) Without a profession or profession unknown 8.9%

(7) Military personnel and dependent professions 17.7%


Population Distribution by Religion

The following table shows actual numbers and percentages These do not correspond with the number of those registered, for there are significant differences with respect to the numbers registered according to the government statistics. (Orlowicz page 30, and Kramarz pages 54, 58, 65, 72, 78, 86).

Year Roman
% Greek
% Mosaic
% Others % Totals X X
1870 6,297 42.2 2,858 19.2 5,692 38.2 68 0.4 14,915 A
1880 9,563 43.4 4,712 21.4 7,645 34.7 120 0.5 22,040 B
1890 16,671 47.4 7,177 20.4 10,998 31.2 368 1.0 35,214 C
1900 21,320 46.0 10,429 22.5 14,109 30.4 446 1.0 46,304 D
1910 25,306 46.8 12,018 22.2 16,062 29.7 692 1.3 54,078 E

(There is a text footnote here as follows: According to those registered in the statistics by profession, the total number of residents for A is 12,505; C) 35,209; D) 46,296; E) 54,567.)

This table does not present an accurate picture of the residents of the city, since it includes the soldiers of the army stationed in the city, the vast majority of whom were not residents of Przemysl or even of the nearby area. Some even came from outside of the boundaries of Galicia (mainly military captains and officials). The military personnel were not connected to Przemysl, except for a small minority. They also do not enter into the numbers of those with a particular profession, except for the captains, military officials and sergeants of the regular army.

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The following numbers show the degree of influence that the military had on the aforementioned statistics, and demonstrate the changing of the correct picture of the numbers of residents. However, it is impossible to establish the exact religious composition of the army.

Number of Residents in Przemysl Excluding the Stationed Army

Year Number of residents including the military and their dependents Number of military personnel in the city Number of their dependents Military personnel including dependents Combined percentage Number of residents excluding military personnel and their dependents
1870 14,915 10 17 27 0.2 14,888
1880 22,040 1,373 -- 1,373 6.2 20,667
1890 35,214 7,197 550 7,747 22.0 27.467
1900 46,304 8,523 983 9,506 20.6 36,798
1910 54,562 8,524 1,160 9,684 17.7 44,878

Comparing the two above tables demonstrates: a) The number of military personnel caused a decline in the percentage of Jews in the city from 38.2% to 29.7% over the period of 40 years, despite the fact that the actual number of Jews almost tripled. b) The number of Roman Catholics almost quadrupled during that time, the number of Greek Catholics more than quadrupled, and the number of others increased tenfold. c) The number of residents, excluding the military, only tripled. Apparently, the army succeeded in enlisting only relatively few Jews. On the other hand, it enlisted many Christians. This is corroborated by the fact that the number of Jews in the army was less than 10%. There was significant portion of people of western Austrian origin among the captains and the artillery regiment of the fortress. (At that time, Jews comprised approximately 10% of the Galician population.)

A Comparison Between the Population of Przemysl (Excluding military personnel and their dependents) to that of three other cities of similar size in Galicia.

(There is a text footnote, as follows: With reference to Przemysl, the number of soldiers according to the government statistics shown in the aforementioned tables were subtracted from the general number of residents. An equivalent number of 20% of the Przemysl military personnel was subtracted from the numbers of the three other cities, proportional to the infantry brigades in each of them with respect to the numbers in Przemysl.)

Year Przemysl % Tarnow % Tarnopol % Kolomyja %
1870 14,888 100     21,154 142.1 16,909 113.6
1880 20,667 100 24,343 117.3 25,532 123.5 22,834 110.5
1890 27,467 100 25,693 93.5 25,861 94.2 28,686 104.4
1900 36,798 100 29,798 81.0 29,604 80.5 31,813 86.4
1910 44,878 100         40,255 89.7

The population of the other cities exceeded that of Przemysl already in 1880. However, the percentage in Tarnopol and Tarnow dropped in 1890, and in Kolomyja in 1910-1910.

[Page 80]

The Secular Education of the Jewish Children
During the Constitutional Era (1868-1918)

by D. N.

Translated by Jerrold Landau

During this period, the Jews of Przemysl, as in all of Galicia, were accepted in the public elementary and high schools without difficulty, with the exception of the teachers' seminaries. Nevertheless, the percentage of Jewish students with respect to the general student population was less than the percentage of Jews in the general population, especially during the first two decades of this era. The number of males was particularly small. The Polish historian of Przemysl, L. Hauser, noted to this fact in his monograph on the city, which was published in the year 1883. The statistics that he prepared about this for the year 1882 are presented in tables with the following details:


The Total Number of School Age Students: 3,408: including:

Sex a) Roman Catholic % b) Greek Catholic % c) Mosaic Religion %
Boys 1,720 616 35.8 324 18.8 780 45.4
Girls 1,688 774 45.9 350 20.7 564 33.4
Total 3,408 1,390 40.8 674 19.8 1,344 39.4


Actual Public School Attendance:

Sex a) Roman Catholic % b) Greek Catholic % c) Mosaic Religion %
Boys 924 554 60.0 227 24.5 143 15.5
Girls 1,062 547 51.5 142 13.4 373 35.1
Total 1,986 1,101 55.4 369 18.6 516 26.0

This table demonstrates that despite the fact that the number of Jewish school age children (1,344) was almost equivalent with the number of Roman Catholic children (1,390), the rate of public school attendance of Jewish children was less than half of that of the Roman Catholic children (516 – 1,101), and fewer than 40% of the Jewish children attended Public school. However, these numbers do not demonstrate the severity of the situation with respect to the boys. Not even 20% of the school age boys attended the civic public school (143 out of 780), whereas more than 90% of the Roman Catholic boys did (554 out of 616). The reason is clear: the religious Jewish parents (who at the time were the vast majority) were concerned about the negative influence that the Christian teachers would have on the religious education of their children, even if they would not be required to write on the Sabbath and would be exempted from school on Jewish holidays.

In the year 1882, there were 689 students in the only gymnasium that existed in Przemysl at the time: 327 Roman Catholics, 225 Greek Catholics, and 107 Jews (the remainder were apparently Protestants). Here the percentage of Jewish students was higher than in the public schools, for there were not many Catholics who jumped into gymnasium studies, despite the fact that Catholic students also came from the nearby towns.

The number of Jewish students was severely restricted in the teachers' seminary as a result of the polish policy of not hiring Jewish teachers in public schools. This policy against Jewish teachers further weakened the attendance

[Page 80]

in the year 1882, when 127 Roman Catholic students, 29 Greek Catholics, and 20 Jews studied in the seminary. The absolute and relative number of Jewish students was then high enough considering the fact that their possibilities of receiving teaching positions in public schools was very slim. At a later time, that seminary worked under the principle of only accepting one Jewish girl per year.

We should add that a school for the crafts with 3 grades existed alongside the seminary. Furthermore, there was a public school with 4 grades for boys in the city, and a mixed school for boys and girls with 3 grades in the suburb of Blonie. The Benedictine Monastery also maintained a school for girls with 7 grades.

As time passed, a growing number of Jewish parents were not content with their sons not receiving any secular education. They attempted to give them a substitute for secular education using private Jewish tutors. A child who was exempted from public school by a note from a doctor or some other means had to take an examination based on the curriculum of 4 grades. However, the study up to the grade 4 curriculum did not suffice in a large city such as Przemysl. Furthermore, it was difficult for most of the parents to give their children secondary education due to the expenses of private tuition (there was no shortage of Jewish teachers with the required knowledge), and the concern as to the effects of such study upon the religious faith of the students. Therefore, the parents had to be content with what was possible to achieve through the teaching of the written German language and the reading of classical German literature. There were few who were interested in studying the Polish language beyond the level of grade 4 public school.

Who were the private Jewish teachers who taught secular subject at the level of the four grades. In general, such teachers did not pass professional accreditation, but were rather autodidacts. Some had extensive secular knowledge, and had for the most part rebelled against their parents who were faithful to Jewish tradition. Other had knowledge in certain limited areas, and maintained some respect for tradition. With all this, the Jewish parents protected their children from the influence of the Christian teachers, even though it cannot be said that the Christian teachers attempted to exert religious influence upon the Jewish students. We will mention here some of the names of the Jewish teachers who taught secular subjects: the Scheck brothers, Siegel (Segal), Goldberg, Oestreicher, Rosshandler (the postmaster). Many Jewish students studied the curriculum of the 4 public school grades from the younger Scheck, including Moshe Schorr, who was later to become the rabbi of Warsaw and an important scholar. This information was given to us by Mr. Yoel Nacht, who in his time was also one of his students. According to that source, the number of students of the younger Scheck reached approximately 100.

Translator's Footnotes

  1. The term Magister or Mgr. is the European term for MA. Back
  2. An asesor is an associate judge. Back
  3. In Polish, this would be Szkola Kupiecka. Back


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