By Jana Vobecka
This booklet stories the original demographic habit of Jews in Bohemia (the ancient a part of the Czech Republic), ranging from a second in historical past whilst industrialization in imperative Europe used to be nonetheless distant sooner or later, and whilst Jews have been nonetheless dwelling legally constrained lives in ghettos. Very early on, even if, from the 18th century onwards, Jews constructed styles of lowering mortality and fertility that was once no longer saw one of the gentile majority in Bohemia; styles which validated them as a demographic avant-garde inhabitants in all of Europe. Demographic Avant-Garde elucidates what made Jews in Bohemia actual forerunners of the demographic transition and why this happened whilst it did. It scrutinizes demographic records from the mid-eighteenth to the mid-twentieth century, and examines what made Bohemian Jews' info distinctive from the developments saw within the gentile group and between Jews in different lands. In look for the solutions, Vobecka's research touches additionally upon the cultural, social, political and fiscal setting.
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Additional resources for Demographic Avant-Garde: Jews in Bohemia between the Enlightenment and Shoah
Failure to comply with the Familiant Law was punishable by flogging and expulsion from the country (Pěkný 1993, 77). The Familiant Law met strong opposition from the Bohemian and Moravian nobility that employed Jews as middlemen and merchants. For them, the services of Jews were a good source of income. The assertion of the Familiant Law in essence became a tool through which the Habsburgs Chapter 2. Historical Context: The Case of Jews in Bohemia 23 exerted their centralist authority over Jews in the Bohemian lands.
3 This brought important Viennese Jewish scholars, merchants, and craftsmen to Bohemia and especially southern Moravia, and significantly contributed to the economic development of this region. Once the difficult times of the Thirty Years War had passed, consequently, the number of Jews in the Bohemian lands again began to grow, and so did the calls for their expulsion or at least for restrictions to be placed on their numbers. ” The state authorities were driven by the conviction that the Jews were responsible for the stagnation of Christian business after the war and were depriving Christians of work.
By the midnineteenth century, however, the Czech national revival and Czech nationalism were getting stronger and the confident Czech bourgeoisie was growing in number and power. This polarized the Czech- and Germanspeaking inhabitants of Bohemia and presented Jews with the difficult choice of linguistic affiliation. The prevailing Jewish affiliation with German culture and language was a factor that exacerbated the already difficult process of Jewish integration into Czech society. At the turn of 28 Demographic Avant-Garde the twentieth century Jewish attitudes about ethnic identity began to change and Jews began gravitating more towards Czech culture and ethnicity (see Chapter 10).