Issue 20 /
December 2021 Focus

Heimweh: The Torn Identity of Lemberg-Lwów’s Intellectual Jewry

DOI : 10.48248/issn.2037-741X/13095

The concept of Heimweh conveys a set of emotions and images that have been described in different ways in different languages. This article intends to analyze the Heimweh experienced by Galician intellectual Jewry during the process of linguistic and cultural change that took place from 1867 until the mid-1880s. This will be discussed while focusing on the urban intelligentsia circles in Lemberg (Lviv), which had a tremendous influence on some Galician Jewish intellectuals during that period. I will analyze the nature of a clash of identities that eventually brought some of the urban intelligentsia in Lemberg to consider themselves as living a “spiritual” or “linguistic exile” (Sprachexil), regardless of whether they had migrated or not. Longing for the homeland as a nostalgic destination, whether they referred to it as Heimat or Ojczyzna, and whether they called it Lemberg or Lwów, was longing to be part of a group holding a distinct Kultur or Kultura, a set of values, culture and language, which coexisted with their Jewish identity.


The geo-political background

The self-image of the Jewish intelligentsia in Lemberg-Lwów

Between Lemberg and Lwów: The Bernfeld family

Concluding remarks: Self Criticism—A look from the inside

“A man is nothing but the shape of his native landscape”

After all everybody, that is, everybody who writes

Is interested in living inside themselves

In order to tell what is inside themselves.

That is why writers have to have two countries,

The one where they belong

and the one in which they live really.

The second one is romantic, it is separate from themselves,

It is not real but it is really there.1


The word Heimweh (“longing for one’s homeland”) conveys a set of emotions and images that have been described in many ways in different languages, as Gertrud Stein wrote in 1940.

This article shall claim that the liberal urban2 intellectual Jewry in Galicia suffered from Heimweh as a result of the geo-political turmoil towards the end of the nineteenth-century. In a period of political transition, these intellectuals were forced to choose their cultural and national loyalty—a situation in which they found themselves with no spiritual homeland, experiencing Heimweh. Yet, this Heimweh was for a Heimat which never existed, a Utopian imaginary one.

This internal-Jewish development was caused by the linguistic and cultural change that took place in Galicia from 1867, in which the region shifted from being culturally German to being politically Polish, as shall be explored in the first part of this article.

Those events influenced Galician Jewish intellectuals from 1867 until the mid-1880s, leading each of them to react differently on the basis of their self image, the topic of the second part of this article. In several cases their reactions led to a clash of identities which eventually brought some of the urban intelligentsia in Lemberg to conceptually consider themselves as experiencing a “spiritual” or a “linguistic exile” (Sprachexil ), regardless of whether they had migrated or not. The third part of the article shall describe this clash of loyalties as it played out inside one family, between two brothers: Isaac Aaron and Simon Bernfeld, who each held opposing views they expressed in a dispute between the two in the early 1880s.


The geo-political background

The weakening of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth led to the region of Galicia, being partitioned in three stages (1772, 1793, and 1795) between the political entities surrounding it: the Russian Empire, Prussia and the Austrian Empire.3 These partitions, as well as the disbandment of the Council of Four Lands, the Jewish representative organization in The Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth (1520-1764), had a tremendous impact on Galician Jewry.4 As they became citizens of the Austrian Empire, Galician Jewry emerged as a unique type, especially its urban population, which in turn fostered a modern political consciousness and led to a different development from the surrounding Jewish communities annexed to other political entities.

In general, the first decades of the annexation were characterized by a strict and rapid implementation of Joseph II’s Enlightened absolutist policies, which included a Germanization process.5 German was established as the official language for bureaucracy, academic and cultural writings and it was required to adopt German family names.6 This was accompanied by the standardization of education,7mandatory military enrollment, religious taxes as well as a centralization effort aimed at weakening all community structures.8

The period after the 1848 Revolutions was characterized by the emergence of a unique local identity which enabled different ethnic groups to share a sense of local cultural belonging that deviated from their national (or imperial) affinities.9 Alongside this, the authorities changed their approach and started to nurture minorities by providing gradual cultural and linguistic recognition to defuse their national aspirations. We can see the beginning of this approach with the local administration policy of 1849; it was then expanded during the 1860s, when significant changes took place after the call for minority emancipation, which resulted in the establishment of the Galician parliament, the Galician Sejm, in 1861, and later peaked with the constitutional reform of 1867, which provided all minorities with the right to maintain and develop their culture and language. This was followed by the emancipation of all minorities, including Jews, who later received voting rights (1868).10 Within the Habsburg Empire, there was no area where a national minority formed a local absolute majority,11 while in Galicia the heterogeneous structure of the local population established a common political arena for its three main groups, described as a “multinational triangle”:12 Polish, Ruthenians13 and Jews.14 In this scenario the Jews, with no national aspirations at that time, became the political swing force between the other two groups.15

Immediately following the emancipation, a Polish commissioner was appointed in Galicia and initiated a Polonization process in which Polish was recognized as an official language (1869), arousing Polish national aspirations as well as Ruthenian unrest.

The tensions between the two groups, Polish and Ruthenians, led both of them to try to join forces with Jewish political parties to shift power in their favor. The Austrian government’s coalition agreements, as well as the strengthening of Polish hegemony after the Polish commissioner was granted autonomy in 1867, provided legitimacy to openly expressed Polish nationalism (as reflected in language, administration, education etc.).16

The combination of the recognition of Galicia’s limited autonomy with representation rights in the Austrian Parliament, Emancipation, and the right to vote, all led to a generational change in the struggle between Maskilimand conservative groups. The Jewish community as a whole developed a new political awareness and became more diverse. The development of Jewish political movements, their use of new propaganda tools such as electoral agreements to share residual votes and the collaboration with Polish and Ruthenian parties, shaped a modern conceptualization of politics among Galician Jewry. Their parties were different from Jewish political movements in the West, and even more so from those in the East.17 Within a decade and a half after emancipation, Jewish society in Galicia was split into three major parties. The first two groups “originated” from the same metaphorical home: both were associated with liberal circles and in many cases had a Maskilic background:

  1. The integrationist-liberals, who were connected with the association Dorshey Shalom, whichlater merged into the Polish-Jewish organization Agudas Achim. This movement had a Polish cultural orientation and a pro-Polish political identity.
  2. The Jewish nationalist-liberals, who operated within the Maskilim association Shomer Israel (founded in 1867 and transformed into a political party in 1873) and aimed to encourage Haskalah, promote education and a Hebrew identity among Galician Jewry.18 The association had an urban orientation and was mainly based in Lemberg.19 This political movement had a pro-German cultural orientation, but it nonetheless included in its manifesto a clause encouraging the study of the Polish language. During its first years of activity, most of the members tended to support the contemporary idea of a centralist regime as expressed in the Austrian constitution. In the second half of the 1870s the Polonization process started a trend toward Polish culture and society within the party, yet the German cultural orientation remained.20
  3. The Orthodox, who operated within the Machsike Hadasorganization (founded in 1871). This movement was established in response to the political activity of Shomer Israel and encouraged isolationist trends.21

The last two groups were engaged in a continuous political struggle. Galician Jewry was the pioneer of modern Jewish politics and in many ways introduced political bargaining, something for which its leaders were later blamed. Manekin identifies the unique political features of Galician Jewry, describing the consolidation of its parties, their use of modern propaganda methods, and the political collaborations with non-Jewish forces to promote Jewish goals, all of which took place before Jewish Nationalism.22

Initially, many of the members of Shomer Israelsupportedthe idea of a strong central government, had a pro-German cultural orientation, identified as liberal German-Austrians, considered German culture to be superior to Polish culture and supported the election of liberal Austrian politicians.23

This stance changed in 1867, leading to a new electoral “balance of power” among minorities in Galicia,24 and a new self-image of the urban Jewish intelligentsia, which I will examine in the next section. I shall consider Lemberg as a test case since it was considered the most “German” city within Galicia.25


The self-image of the Jewish intelligentsia in Lemberg-Lwów

The political change of 1867 brought a new urban development to Lemberg, which become more Polish-oriented. In 1869 the Jewish population of the city counted 26,694 members, and Rachel Manekin states that their situation was better than that of Jews in other parts of Galicia. In 1880, despite economic stress, the city’s Jewish population increased and reached more than 31,000 members.26

In many cases among Galician Maskilim, the intellectuals’ self-definition stemmed from their own self-image, which combined the following elements: moderately enlightened, members of the cultural German-speaking sphere, Austrian and urbanized. They were unique in the way their Judaism was a crucial element of their identity that differentiated them from other local minorities. As suggested by Rachel Manekin, this was the result of Galician Maskilim’s struggle to reshape religion, rather than straightforward secularization.27 The Galician Maskilim strove to develop an intellectual identity that would encourage both the use and spread of the Hebrew language as well as the study of the Talmud, shaping a modern approach to ethics. They identified with the German-speaking Maskilim area, despite having their own criticisms, objections and reservations related to their specific circumstances. In this way, those Galician intellectuals assimilated their identity on the literary conceptual image of German national culture.28

I shall not discuss here recent developments in the research of Galician Enlightenment. However, I shall explore the metaphorical “sons” or “grandchildren” of Galician Maskilim, who I define as those born in the last third of the nineteenth century, and will focus on the image they had of their “grandfathers,” the founding fathers of “Galician Haskalah.” Some of the Galician Enlightenment’s “grandchildren” discussed here sought to portray the actual political struggle they experienced (Shomer Israel Vs. Machsike Hadas) as an inherent element of the struggle between Maskilim and Hasidim.29

Since this discussion revolves around perceptions, we can accept the different images they held of their “grandfathers” as evidence. These images have been lately discussed by researchers such as Shmuel Feiner, Israel Bartal, Rachel Manekin, and Jonatan Meir, among others.30

The self-perception of the Galician urban intelligentsia as “members of the German culture” has been analyzed in several aspects: Israel Bartal has suggested looking at the Maskil area from Alsace to Lithuania as an abstract space, claiming that the Haskalah was a Pan-Ashkenazi phenomenon and the Maskilimsaw themselves as part of an imaginary community encompassing the German-speaking sphere. Rachel Manekin has proposed a different approach, which focuses on the manner in which the environment of the geographic, social and urban space in Galicia enabled the development of a local Haskalah ideology suited to the area’s conditions.31 She has also pointed at the self-defined boundaries of the Galician Jewish intelligentsia during the second half of the nineteenth century: the view that the word “Polish” no longer referred to a geographic or national definition but rather to a cultural-religious one, created a mirror definition within Galician Jewry. “Polish Jew” was a mocking moniker, referring to the backward Hasidic culture, whereas “Daitchen was someone whose language, clothes and gestures signified a way of life favored by the Habsburg regime, which harnessed the education system and the local administration to apply its policies.32

Though both Maskilim and Hasidim may have shared the same geographic and social space within Galicia, the Maskilim differed from the “others”: German was their mother tongue, as well as Hebrew, as opposed to Yiddish. Furthermore, Maskilimsometimes perceived themselves as residents of major cities and even the metropolis, as opposed to small towns, villages or Hasidic courts.

Evidence for these attitudes can be found in the writings of the time. The Galician geographer Dr. Abraham Jacob Brawer (1884-1975) described, on the basis of his father Michael HaCohen Brawer’s memoirs, the differences between inhabitants of cities and villages, using expressions that reveal his own self-image:

Home-ownership is not just a social status reflecting certain economic terms like ‘Petite bourgeoisie’in the Marxist jargon, but also a dignified heritage and level of scholarship and manner of life, some sort of gentleman […]. A lazy Hasid can neglect his appearance, but a decent home-owner could not appear in the synagogue wearing a hat which was not brushed or in worn-out shoes.33

A similar description can be found in Simon Bernfeld’s memoirs, where he clearly distinguished between Jews residing in small towns—who were described negatively—and the positively represented Jews of Lemberg. When describing his grandfather’s arrival from Bern, Switzerland, to Galicia, he writes: “it was hard for him to sit there among the Galician refugees” who were then described as “lacking Torah knowledge and rude.”34 On the other hand, his childhood in Lemberg was described positively:

The Hebrew community in Lemberg those days was sort of a German community […]: in their customs and manners the Ashkenazi character was present: innocence, humbleness; none of the Jewish arrogance from the small towns of Galicia.35

Therefore, the self-image of the “children of German culture” was shaped by the Haskalah in the cities of Galicia. Focusing on Lemberg, one can see that its Jewry did not consider social reforms as a threat to the established social order. Many among the Jewish intelligentsia in Lemberg considered themselves “members of the German cultural sphere” and thought this did not contradict their religious beliefs or Jewish lifestyle, their loyalty to the central government in Vienna, or even their modern Jewish national identity. However, it should be clear that this unique atmosphere mainly flourished during the rabbinic era of Rabbi Joseph Saul Nathansohn (1810-1875),36 who managed to heal the community after the political murder of the liberal Rabbi Abraham Kohn (1806-1848) at the hands of radical Jews (1848).37

The atmosphere in the city during the leadership of Rabbi Nathansohn was later nostalgically described as a “pleasant Jewish gathering,”38 open to various ideological movements. For example, Rabbi Dr. Mordecai Ehrenpreis (1869-1951), a Zionist activist and Hebrew writer, described his childhood in Lemberg with these words: “My Heimat town [Mechorati in the original Hebrew], Lemberg, between East and West […] Jews have lived there since the 10th century […] once annexed to Austria, Lemberg received the character of an ‘in between’ city, between East and West.”39 Other Lemberg Jewish residents, such as Osias Thon, described the city as a “twilight” zone between East and West.40

This elitist self-characterization by the urban Jewish intelligentsia made them different from rural Jews and Hasidim, but also from Polish and Ruthenian peasants.41 Their Maskilicconsciousness made them unique, in that they did not wish to mix with the local non-Jewish community, as described by Brawer: “Despite Polish anger, Jews were the squires of the German language in Galicia and Bukovina.”42

Furthermore, the self-image of intellectual and enlightened Western Maskilim, as developed by the urban Galician intellectuals, reflected their encounter with the townspeople in the region as well as with other Jews from the German annexed areas. These inter-peripheral encounters raise the need to examine a social micro-cosmos that is different from that discussed in the research so far. An example of such an encounter is described by Abraham Brawer:

I visited my uncle in Oświęcim and was astonished to see a city close to the German border, which was to me a symbol of human cultural perfection, but was dirtier than any Jewish town in Eastern Galicia close to the Russian border. The clothes of Eastern Galicia Jews were already in 1906 European or semi-European […] and [in Oświęcim] it was as if we were before 1848.43

The German self-image of the writers quoted above was not fanciful, because Galician Jewish intelligentsia was embedded in German culture, and this image remained unchanged until the late 1920s. Samuel Feigin (1893-1950), writing about Simon Bernfeld in a HaDoar article of July 18, 1929, described the cultural background in which Bernfeld grew up, in the following way: “Bernfeld, as many Galician authors, is a Westerner without any effort. He is also rooted into this culture more than the writers of other countries.”

However, reading the writings of the urban intellectual Galician Jews also sheds some light on their conflictual encountering with the Jews from Central and Western Europe. The Galician elitism did not end at the municipal borders of Lemberg or in their inter-peripheral encounter with Jews from the annexed territories, but was maintained in their meetings with Jews from cities in Central Europe. For example, when meeting local Jews in Königsberg or Berlin, Bernfeld found them not “German” enough in comparison to those living in Lemberg. In his eyes, he and his urban liberal Galician generation represented the prototype of the pure German-Jew, as he noted in a HaOlam article of May 28, 1926: “We, the youth of Galicia, have more general knowledge than the German youth.”

This is not only an example of Bernfeld’s elitism but also an expression of the urban Galician Jewry’s interpretation of Bildung.44 The point of view of Simon Bernfeld, Mordecai Ehrenpreis, Michael HaCohen Brawer and Abraham Jacob Brawer derived from the adoption of several elements of the Bildung principle.

We can carefully assume that for them Bildung was a supreme value and a way of life in which Judaism and Germanism blended into each other. However, the Germanism characterizing the intelligentsia in Galicia was betrayed, according to Bernfeld, by those developing pro-Polish views:

The Maskilim felt that the ground was falling under their feet. They did not betray Germanism. It was Germanism that betrayed them […]. Of course, it was better for them to approach the culture of such a great and enlightened nation as the German one, than to assimilate into the culture of such a minor nation […] no doubt, the political changes in Galicia caused cultural decline among Jews.45

The elitist, loyal approach to German culture seen here was also expressed by Jews in other regions of the Habsburg Empire facing local national awakening.46 Another tension within Jewish identity involved Bohemia and Moravia, as described by Gary B. Cohen and Shalom Ratsabi.47 Jews, mainly from intelligentsia circles in the major cities, struggling with national-cultural-linguistic loyalty dilemmas, were forced to choose between imperial loyalty—whose language and culture were German—and local loyalty to Czech culture.48

Paul Mendes-Flohr has researched yet another identity conflict, pointing to the phenomenon of “Jews at the border” (Grenzjuden).49It characterized many Maskilim going through social-cultural integration into German society, especially in Berlin, who could not fully dedicate themselves to their Jewish identity.50 In Galicia, the “border” was double: Jews who considered themselves liberal were forced to decide on an extra-identity: Imperial-Austrian, Polish or Ruthenian. Galician Jewry was moderate, and even among the liberals acts of Epikorosim were not done in public.51 Political collaborations revealed the map of local national identities, accompanied by a distinct national element. The Jewish intelligentsia circles in Galicia were in fact confined inside an ongoing identity dilemma taking place in the local political arena, and experienced, at the same time, an internal conflict between their Jewish identity and their civil loyalty as well as their national identity.52

However, contrary to other areas, Galician Jewry’s loyalty and civic devotion was a source of mockery and criticism when it conveyed loyalty to the Habsburg regime.53


Between Lemberg and Lwów: The Bernfeld family

For the Jewish urban intelligentsia the longing for the homeland as a nostalgic destination, whether they referred to it as Heimat or as Ojczyzna, and whether they called it Lemberg or Lwów, represented the desire to be part of a group with a distinct Kultur or Kultura, a set of values, culture and language, which coexisted with their Jewish identity. This longing found manifold expressions in their nostalgic memoirs as a yearning for “Die alte Heimat”—Lemberg, which was often the only place where their self-image as “Kinder der Deutschen Kultur” could actually materialize. On the other side, some among the urban intelligentsia with a pro-Polish cultural orientation suffered from the conflicts with pro-German contemporaries and later from conflicts due to political developments, both internal and external. This clash of loyalties played out in one family between two brothers, Isaac Aaron and Simon Bernfeld, who each held opposing views that they expressed in a polemical argument between the two in the early 1880s.

The Bernfeld family can be considered a microcosm of the changes occurring in the cultural orientation of the urban Galician Jewish community. Even though the following case is a “private family issue,” I believe it exemplifies the discussion about cultural orientation in Galicia after 1867 and illuminates its historical context.

I shall present here a short biography of the brothers Isaac Aaron and Simon Bernfeld and subsequently discuss their public argument in the journal HaMazkir.

Isaac Aaron Bernfeld (IAB, 1854-1930) and Simon Bernfeld (SB, 1860-1940) were born in Stanisłwów (Ivano-Frankivsk). Their mother, Golda-Niha, who passed away when IAB was fourteen and SB was eight, was a well-educated woman, who was very knowledgeable about Hebrew and the Holy Scriptures. Their father, Moshe Bernfeld (1834-1883), a well-known Maskil, was fluent in Hebrew (he headed the Hebrew Speaking Organization in Stanisłwów),54 German and Latin, and educated his children in the spirit of the Galician Enlightenment. However, Moshe had been a Hasid and only later became a Maskil, and he was persecuted for that in his hometown of Stanisłwów, from which he was forced to flee. After wandering, he settled in Lemberg at the end of 1871.55

The struggle between Shomer Israel and Machsike Hadas was reflected in the Bernfeld family. “Kulturkampf” was a term used by Shomer Israel for their struggle with Machsike Hadas during the late 1870s and the early 1880s. During this period, Shomer Israelfounded The Jewish Communities Conference (1878), and as a counteraction, Machsike Hadas called for the rabbinic assembly (1882). This chain of events marked the tipping point, not just in the larger political arena, but also in the relationship between Moshe Bernfeld and his brother Aria-Zvi Bernfeld (1841-1929), Zelishtishik’s Rabbi and son-in-law of Nachum Margushes (brother of Shemuel Margoshes, the founder of Machsike Hadas). The schism starting with Moshe’s support of Haskalah turned into an unbridgeable chasm and the two brothers did not exchange a word thereafter.

Moshe Bernfeld’s house in Lemberg was a focal point for Maskilim associated with the political-cultural ideals of Shomer Israel. Young SB, who joined the society during his youth, identified with its local political views and especially with its cultural orientation, which was then pro-German.56 In his memoirs, he described his father’s proteges, supporters of Shomer Israel, as the ideal Maskil-National model.57 On the other hand, his older brother, IAB, followed a different path. He was a teacher and a writer, who had edited a popular Hebrew-Polish dictionary, and his articles were published in Hebrew and Polish journals of the late nineteenth century. Between 1881 and 1886 IAB edited HaMazkir, the Hebrew section of the bilingual periodical Ojczyzna (=Heimat), which appeared between 1881 and 1892 as the mouthpiece of Dorshey Shalom, supporting pro-Polish views.58

At age 20, SB left Galicia for Germany, seeking an academic education; first he arrived to Lyck (Ełk), and then studied in Breslau and Königsberg, then later earned his PhD at the Friedrich Wilhelms Universität (1885) in Berlin. He completed his rabbinic education at the Hochschule für die Wissenschaft des Judentums (1886), founded by Abraham Geiger.

IAB, on the contrary, remained in Lemberg, and as part of his educational-Maskil approach, worked as a teacher and as the Hebrew secretary of the educational institute Mikra Kodesh(1883).59 In addition, his support of the values of Dorshey Shalom led him to edit the journal Nayes yudishes falksblat (Lwów 1882), and to act as the editor of the Hebrew section of the journal Ojczyzna, with the goal of “spreading the seed of love and friendship” among Jews and Poles in Galicia.60

In the memoirs of Galician Jews born during the last third of the nineteenth-century, members of Dorshey Shalom, with their pro-Polish orientation, were described as confused and with no clear ideological path. For example, Rabbi Dr. Abraham Osias Thon (1870-1936), born in Lemberg, an early Zionist and a leader of the Jewish community in Poland, described them as “Assimilationists,”61 permanent residents at the “Vienna Café,” who were keen to speak only Polish among themselves.62 When they tried to integrate as a non-political body, their activity lacked a clear vision and objectives: “in my opinion, the founders of this association did not clearly know what they wanted and what their goal was.” As an example of what he viewed as the ideological chaos that characterized Agudas Achim, Thon quoted their journal: “They published a ridiculous small journal named Ojczyzna, which came with a Hebrew section attached: HaMazkir. Its editors and writers, especially those of the Hebrew section, were what one could truly refer to as lacking any opinion or idea.”63

Gelber described the ideology characterizing the circle of Agudas Achimby quoting the journal’s subtitles, that he thought reflected the vagueness of their views regarding modern Judaism: “Polnische mosaische Konfession” was the Polish subtitle, whereas that of the Hebrew section was “The People of Israel.”64 Gelber claimed that this ideological vagueness derived from the strong connection between the Hebrew language and Jewish intelligentsia circles, as well as the fact that the reasons for their aspiration to integrate into Galician society did not derive from a need to drift apart from Judaism.65

Ezra Mendelsohn and Rachel Manekin take a different approach. They point out that the Maskilim that got together and founded HaMazkir,the mouthpiece of Agudas Achim, were young high school or university graduates with a cultural-linguistic consciousness that allowed them to blend into the Polish environment, but not in a way that would require them to assimilate into it.66

During the 1870s, in parallel with the political trends within Agudas Achim, a similar change from a pro-German orientation towards a pro-Polish one took place in the circle of Shomer Israel.67 This internal turmoil increased after the 1879 elections, in which liberal Jews lost to the Orthodox, leading to tremendous criticism of the liberal circles in Galicia by liberal Jews in Austria: in several articles on Die Neuzeit, liberal Galician Jews were blamed for being provincial, religiously fanatic and artificially liberal.68 The Viennese Jewish community’s wider concern about the large number of Galician Jews migrating to the city can be observed in the articles of Simon Szántó (1819-1882),69 the founder and editor of the weekly Viennese-Jewish journal Die Neuzeit. Between December 1879 and January 1880 Szántó described Galician immigrants as “bringing with them” many negative manners and blaming them for awakening Antisemitism in Vienna. Furthermore, in these editorials,70 Szántó drew the borders of the desired Bildung clearly, leaving Lemberg and Kraków out of the resulting area as “partially cultured,” and leaving them in the area of Belz and Kolomea (Kolomyja). One of the answers to this Jewish-Viennese criticism was expressed by the young SB, in his Hamagid essay of 1879-1880: LeTora ve LeTeuda polemically contradicted Szántó, especially his assumption that Machsike Hadasrepresented the whole Galician Jewry. It is necessary to add here that SB’s reaction to Szántó was not meant for Hungarian or Viennese eyes, but rather for the Jewish Galician readers, those he wished to infuse with a modern liberal Jewish spirit.

The loyalty issue and the cultural-linguistic preference it entailed were at the center of discussions among the liberal Jewish Galician intelligentsia during the 1880s. These discussions took place on the pages of the political press, such as Der Israelit, the journal of Shomer Israel, and the journal of Agudas Achim Ojczyzna, which during 1881-1883, in its Hebrew section HaMazkir, printed a polemical debate between the brothers SB and IAB. Though both brothers were critical of the negatively imagined “Galician” Jew, and called for social self-correction, IAB sought to set up an example for a modern Jewish-Polish society, while SB, in his early articles, criticized German Jewry, seeing it as separate from the general German culture. However, living in German cities sparked in him the wish to become part of that culture, as he felt it was close to his intellectual background. On the other hand, he was aware of trends in Galicia, including the growing pro-Polish approach he opposed, as described in a HaMazkir article of December 15, 1881, published while he lived in Königsberg:

Do not blame me brother, that I am not among the Polish lovers, even though you suspected me and the owners of “The Lover”71 of being such, and I was even blamed by Rabbi Rabinowicz in London72 of the same […] as I am in Ashkenaz, and have been staying here many days, all my hopes are to become a citizen of this respected and great nation.

One of the main topics discussed by SB in his articles was German Jews’ negative view of Galician Jewry. For example, in a HaMazkir article of April 15, 1883, he claims that this negative image was mistaken and thought its origin did not stem from Galician, but rather from Polish and Russian Jews: “The truth is that many hate the Slavic nations. But if you were like me, in Ashkenaz, you would have noticed that really most of the Slavic Jewish refugees will come here.”

SB tried to explain to his brother and the readers why enlightened Galicians should return to preferring German culture over the local Polish one. While he put forward cultural arguments exposing the spread of “Western” elitism, he wrote in 1885: “The Poles are responsible for the upsurge of hatred directed at us; therefore, we are distancing ourselves from these people. We hope that Russian and Polish Jews will compare us to the people of Sodom and Gomorrah—and will cease coming to us.”73

The adoption of German intellectual values, the identification with this superior approach and the contempt towards Ostjuden, as well as the hope of “re-educating” them, were expressed in a Hamagid article of October 15 and November 19, 1885. In those articles, SB expressed his disappointment at the slow pace of Aliya and Jewish settlement in Eretz Israel, and therefore claimed that assimilation into the dominant culture needed to increase. He ultimately maintained that he preferred assimilating (and integrating) into German culture.

This ethno-geographic separation was the result of adopting a Jewish-German culture’s perspective during the years in which SB and his generation’s worldview was shaped. Their disapproval of the significant change in the cultural orientation of Galician intelligentsia appears in other writings by those of that generation educated in Galicia.74 SB expressed his feeling in a HaMazkir article of December 15, 1881, symbolically titled “To my Brothers, my People,” exposing the deep identity and assimilation crisis, as well as the personal conflict he was experiencing. The emphasis on geographic location, as an ideological influence passed from first to third person:

Far from my homeland, which I deeply love, I take into account all the events happening to my people in Galicia, and even though I expressed criticism several times of your new method, I hope you shall still judge me positively, since my actions were all due to my love of the people.

His pro-German position in the debate on cultural orientation earned SB harsh criticism, above all for the alleged betrayal of his homeland. In a HaMazkir article of June 16, 1881, IAB called on his readers to unite for the sake of Jewish-Christian Polish cooperation:

The Poles who knew the Jews as their brothers did not reject even now their beliefs […] across the country of Russia […] our brothers were persecuted and only in Poland were they exempt […] We shall start being loyal sons to our homeland [in the sense of Ojczyzna].

SB’s position towards pro-Polish circles can be seen in a HaMazkir article of December 15, 1881 which he addressed to his brother Isaac: “I shall be happy to see you connected with society [in Galicia] to take part in the general life there. But you cannot, even you, brother, ask that I praise your actions while you are coming to fight the people of Ashkenaz, throwing insults at them.”

In this article he expressed remorse, claiming he misjudged the Jewish public in Germany. This remorse was the trigger for the hard criticism he directed at the public in his country of origin, which from his point of view needed “re-education”: “I believe I was the first to express the idea of establishing Galician literature in order to save our dignity […] but tell me brother; do we improve in this way the situation of our people? Will we improve them with only that?”

SB continued and described the qualities of German culture, setting it as the desired model: “If you look at our brothers in Ashkenaz […] you will notice they have many advantages and qualities there worth imitating.”

Months later, SB reviewed the qualities of German and Jewish-German culture in a HaMazkir article of March 31, 1882. Although both articles share the same idea, they differ in the apologetic style in which the sudden change in approach towards German Jews is explained, and in the presence of a direct call to his brother to act as a public arbitrator.

SB highlighted the advantage Galician Jewry had over German Jewry. He accused intelligentsia circles and their leaders of not using this advantage to generate social and cultural change as well as of failing to constrain the growth of Machsike Hadas. He claims that lack of motivation among Galician Jewry to integrate into the dominant society and take on their civil responsibilities was related to the “laziness of Galician Jewry,” as he further described in a HaMazkir article of April 15, 1882: “It seems that in the land of our origin, it is enough to merely exist, but our people are still lacking a purpose to live.” Since Bernfeld uses here the Hebrew phrase Eretz Motza (country of origin), instead of Mechoraty or Eretz Moledet (country of birth, homeland) which he had used in his letters up to that point, I assume that he meant to translate the German term Herkunftsland, in order to display his growing distance from Galicia.

This essay received a rebuke from IAB in a HaMazkir editorial of May 1, 1882, where he attacked his brother’s position. According to SB, the so-called “Galician laziness” manifested itself in Jewish political activities, as well as in the deteriorating education system and the negative way in which professional associations operated. The evolving constitutional conditions on the status of Galician Jews allowed them, as in Germany, to group around general public matters, as well as internal-Jewish ones like education. Nevertheless, in his view Galician Jewry suffered from a “lazy nature”: “We shall observe the movement among our brothers in Ashkenaz and the other countries, but in our country, Galicia, where many of our brothers live, here we have seen nothing.”

SB accused the public in Galicia of being “historically lazy.” Claiming that the famous Galician Maskilim—Nachman Krochmal and Solomon Judah Löb HaKohen Rapoport—could display their wisdom only after being “exiled” from their homeland to the West.75

However, both IAB and those pro-Polish oriented, as well as SB, who held pro-German views, were disappointed when they had to face reality. Paweł Jasnowski has described the process of awakening from the dream of Jewish-Polish harmony, as well as the disappointment experienced by the people of the Ojczyzna, who believed in cultural and linguistic integration without the need for assimilation, while nationalism and Antisemitism grew among the supporters of Polish nationalism.76 This disappointment was, in a way, their historic destiny as the rest of the Jews in the region. Gelber pointed to the Polish rebellion in Russia (1863), as the catalyst for the change in relationships between Poles and Jews in Galicia. Until then, the Polish approach towards Jews was “soaked with sentimental romance,” but after the rebellion failed, the romance ended and political realism began.77

Like his brother, SB was disappointed when he discovered that even though he perceived himself as belonging to the culture of his place of residence, he had failed to integrate into it. SB had mastered the German language and knew its literature, had migrated to the Deutsches Kaiserreich, studied at its universities, and thought he belonged to the German cultural sphere. He had even adopted the view of Russia as Halbcivilisierten,78 but ironically, he was eventually considered by German Jews as someone from an inferior culture, a Halb-Asien, an Ausländer and an Ostjude. Though he received some appreciation in Königsberg, he experienced social isolation and loneliness, and was never accepted by the intellectual circles in Breslau and Berlin, as he wrote in a HaOlam article of May 28, 1926. SB was considered an eternal “Galician,” which caused him much distress. At the age of 66, in another HaOlam article of June 4, 1926, he wrote:

The scholar Moshe Moritz Steinschneider was angry at the “young Galician” arriving in Germany “to flip the bowl upside-down,” something which he held against me till his death […] and another German Jewish scholar categorized me as the “Galician” in a Jewish German newspaper. “People like him should learn manners”—he wrote in bitterness.


Concluding remarks: Self Criticism—A look from the inside

In her book Germans, Jews and Antisemites Shulamit Volkov describes the integration process of Posen (Poznań) Jews into urban Jewish German society in Breslau and Berlin, while joining the general modern bourgeois rat-race, which led, after a generation or two, to their “acceptance” into Jewish-German society. Presumably, Galician Jews could have integrated easily as well, however, according to Volkov, their integration was problematic, as their relatively low social-economic position caused many of them to constantly ask for support from community organizations, thus turning them into “beggars” in the eyes of the local community.79 In addition, some of the migration waves from Galicia were accompanied by Eastern-Russians, causing Galicians to be included into the Ostjuden stereotype.

This negative image of Galician Jewry can be found in the writings of Galicians themselves such as Shmuel Yosef Agnon, Simon Bernfeld, Abraham Osias Thon and others. In a Hatzofe article of April 9, 1903, SB complained that Galicians would not take responsibility for their difficult situation, and instead chose to rely upon philanthropic Judaism: “Only by their own effort shall they be redeemed and not by accepting charity, a few pennies which shall come to them from Germany at the price of their dignity.”

At the top of their list of flaws, Bernfeld pointed out, even before Agnon,80 their spiritual laziness, as he wrote in a HaMazkir article of April 15, 1883. Occasionally, “ex-Galicians” adopted this disrespecting position towards the literary center in Galicia, either because they needed to differentiate themselves or because the distance allowed them to have a critical view.81

The negative public attitude welcoming Galician migrants in Vienna grew stronger after the elections of 1879, especially against those from famous Haskalah centers such as Brody, Kraków or Lemberg, who identified themselves as “Daitchen” or “Ashkenaz”, and were associated with the Jewish-German cultural sphere. The move to the cities of Central Europe was a crucial part in their intellectual development, and was considered by them as a central element of their self-image as part of German culture.

In Vienna those immigrants received a complicated reception.82 On the one hand, some of them were part of the urban intelligentsia that mastered the German language and was familiar with German culture, such as Bernhard Wachstein (1868-1935), Vienna’s Jewish Community librarian, or Dr. Rabbi Josheph Samuel Bloch (1850-1923), who was the delegate for Buchach-Kolomea-Sniatyn in the Austrian Parliament and founded with Dr. Rabbi Moritz Güdemann the Österreichisch-Israelitische Union.83 On the other hand, some of the Jewish urban Galician intelligentsia, who migrated to Vienna to study at its universities or at the Israelitisch-Theologische Lehranstalt, received a cold welcome and they expressed their hard feelings, as described by Joseph Roth in his famous essays. Galicia was considered by the central Habsburg government in Vienna as associated with Eastern Europe, and as such, inferior and lagging behind, not only economically, but also intellectually—a provincial border area that needed to be “re-educated.”84

The encounter between “East” and “West” in Vienna emerged also, on a smaller scale, in the encounter between Galicians and Berlin Jews. The latter, considered themselves carriers of cultural modernity and rejected “Eastern” Jews.85



“A man is nothing but the shape of his native landscape”

The picture that emerges from the biographies of these Galician authors is that of “children with no homeland.” They could not find their place in the “East” due to the self-image they created for themselves during their childhood in Lemberg as members of the Goethe Kultur, while in the “West” they could not integrate into society since they were considered by the locals as inferior to the Jewish-German intellectual bourgeoisie.

The negative “Western” perception focused on their broken German, their Orthodox façade and their questionable business manners. The Galician Jew was seen as a Schnorrer, manipulative, orthodox and an untrustworthy business partner. In addition to this negative image in the West, another one emerged in the East, due to literary -national motives. This negative profile, mainly created by Russian writers, can be found in Thon’s memoirs, who remarked: “the greatest poets and authors of Russia despise them, the Galicians.”86

Among the Hebrew authors from the Russian Empire, Yosef Haim Brenner (1881-1921) was prominent in his harsh criticism of the literary center in Galicia.

In February 1908 Brenner arrived in Lwów and rented an apartment. During the year Brenner spent in the city, he familiarized himself with its literary circles, but his idea of Galicia as a national-literary Hebrew center was dismissive as well as suspicious. Brenner harshly criticized the novels MeHayey HaKaraim by Reuven Fahn (1908) and MeAgadot HaMakom by Isaac Fernhof (1908), considering them literary expressions that enabled Jewish life in the Diaspora. Brenner not only opposed the publication of “Diasporic” writings, but went as far as demanding their removal from the literary canon. This harsh judgment was due not just to the national threat they posed, but also to their questionable poetic values deriving from their Galician origin.87

Hannan Hever has pointed to Brenner’s article as a turning point, the moment in which the political ideals of Galician Hebrew literature were defined as a threat to the emerging national Hebrew literature. I propose to consider Fahn, as well as Fernhof, as the “ideological children” of Isaac Aaron Bernfeld, supporting an integrationist path for Jewish life within local society without the need for assimilation.

Within the negative collective image of the Galitsianer—described as opportunistic, lacking moral, ideological and political spine,88 an image that extended to their literary89 as well as their scientific90 works—, Brenner analyzed in a Hazman article of June 18, 1908, what he considered their biggest flaw, namely the absence of an inter-generational conflict: “In the struggle between fathers and sons in its most primitive form, the fathers randomly receive pennies from thin air to support their families […] they do not deal with anything specific.”

The inter-generational struggle and the rebellion against real and spiritual fathers, which characterized the new national Hebrew culture led by the spiritual and intellectual ideas of Micha Josef Berdyczewski (1865-1921) and Brenner, became a crucial element of the “correct” Hebrew profile in the literature of the second and third Aliya. Therefore, “Galician” became a synonym for “spoiled children,” dependent on other communities: economically, intellectually or politically.

During the fin-de-siècleGalician immigrants and authors were doomed for a double rejection, by both the “West” and the “East.” This rejection prevented them from integrating into the general “cosmopolitan” public, as well as into the Jewish national effort, which at that time was being shaped and formed. This external exclusion had, of course, internal implications which can be easily traced in the self-criticism of its sons, and as presented here, struggling with a conflict around their self- and collective definition.

This “torn identity” experienced by Lemberg’s intellectual Jews, whether they migrated to the West or remained in Galicia, seems in many ways to have been a nostalgic song of longing for the alte Heimat—the city of Lemberg, the only place in which they felt themselves as Deutsche intellectuals in an “imaginary German district,” which had ceased to exist in reality.


My thanks to the mentors and peers who took the time to advice, consult and comment during the writing of this article: Prof. Rachel Manekin, Prof. Motti Zalkin, Dr. Ahuva Liberles Noiman, Dr. Avi-ram Tzoreff and Dr. Hilla Lavie. A special thanks to Prof. Francesco Di Palma for his useful suggestions and comments, and to the anonymous reviewers of this paper for their careful reading and their insightful comments.

The research for this article was conducted during the time I was a post-doctoral fellow at ‘The Research Project on Galician & Bukovinian Jewry’ at Haifa University and at the department of Jewish History at Ben Gurion University. I wish to thank these institutions for their generous support. A preliminary version of this paper was presented at the Institut für Jüdische Studien und Religionswissenschaft Colloquium, Potsdam University, during the time I was a research fellow there. My sincere thanks to Prof. Christoph Schulte and to the participants at the colloquium for the generous hospitality and excellent comments.


1 Gertrude Stein, Paris France (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1940), 2.

[2] I shall not discuss here the non-urban intellectual context. Such a case is discussed in: Golda Akhiezer, “Abraham Lianovitsch, an Enlightened Galician Karaite: between Austrian Regime and Ruthenian Nationalism,” in From Joseph Perl to Shmuel Yosef Agnon, eds. Nathan Shifris, Shmuel Feiner, and Hanan Gafni (Jerusalem: Magnes, 2020), 94-105; Avi-Ram Tzoreff, “Laughter, Empire and Transnationalism” (paper presented at the conference: What Remains of Galicia, Vienna, Austria, April 19-21, 2018).

[3] Israel Bartal and Antony Polonsky, “The Jews of Galicia under the Habsburgs,” Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry 12 (1999):3-24.

[4] Alon Rachamimov, “Provincial Compromises and State Patriotism in fin-de-siècle, Austria-Hungary,” Tel Aviver Jahrbuch für deutsche Geschichte 30 (2002): 116-128; Id., POWs and the Great War: Captivity on the Eastern Front (New York: Berg Publishers,2002); Dimitry Shumsky, Between Prague and Jerusalem: Prague Zionists and the Origins of the Idea of Binational State in Palestine (Jerusalem: Shazar Center, 2010).

[5] Shulamit Volkov claims that Centralism and the “Germanized” environment that existed until 1848 were highly welcomed by many Jews in the central cities of Galicia, at least among the first generation. She describes them as “Germanized” by choice, and claims that after annexation a large part of second and third generation Jews perceived themselves as “children of two cultures.” Shulamit Volkov, Germans, Jews and Antisemites: Trials in Emancipation (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006), 266; Evidence in favor of this hypothesis can be found in the memoirs from Jews of the first generation, see for example: Michael H. Brawer and Abraham J. Brawer, Zikhronot av u-veno, (Jerusalem: Mossad Harav Kook, 1966), 380.

[6] Abraham J. Brawer, Galicia and its Jews (Jerusalem: Mosad Biyalik, 1956): 182-183; Leopld Von Sacher Masoch, Jewish Stories (Jerusalem, 1902): 12-13.

[7] Stanislaw Grodziski, “The Jewish Question in Galicia: The Reforms of Maria Theresa and Josph II, 1772-1790,” Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry 12 (1999):61-72; Rachel Manekin, “Naftali Herz Homberg: The Man and the Myth,” Zion 71 (2006),153-202; Israel Bartal, The Jews of Eastern Europe, 1772-1881 (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2006), 73-77.

[8] Rachel Manekin, “The Galician Roots of Polish Jewish Historiography,” in Conflicting histories and coexistence: new perspectives on the Jewish-Polish encounter, ed. Daniel Baltman (Jerusalem: Magnes, 2014), 319-331; 326.

[9] Iris Rachamimov, “Nationalism’s Big Bang: World War I,” Zmanim 1 (2004): 82-95; 84f; Larry Wolff, The Idea of Galicia: History and Fantasy in Habsburg Political Culture (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2010); Kai Struve, “Citizenship and National Identity: The Peasants of Galicia during the 19th Century,” in Societal Change and Ideological Formation Among the Rural Population of the Baltic Area 1880-1939, ed. Piotr Wawrzeniuk (Huddinge: Södertörns högskola, 2008), 75-78.The Jewish aspects of these collaborations are described in: Salo W. Baron, “The impact of the revolution of 1848 on Jewish emancipation,” Jewish Social Studies 12 (1949), 195-248; Rachel Manekin, “ ‘Daitchen’, ‘Poles’ or ‘Austrians’? The Dilemma of Identity of Galician Jews (1848-1851),” Zion 68 (2003): 223-262.

[10] For the changes between 1848-1867 see: Rachel Manekin, The Jews of Galicia and the Austrian constitution: The beginning of modern Jewish politics (Jerusalem: Shazar Center, 2015), 19-54.

[11] Robert A. Kann, The Multinational Empire: Nationalism and National Reform in the Habsburg Monarchy 1848-1918, vol. 1 (New York: Columbia University Press, 1964), 29-33.

[12] John-Paul Himka, “Dimensions of a Triangle: Polish-Ukrainian-Jewish Relations in Austrian Galicia,” Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry 12 (1999): 25-48.

[13] Yaroslav Hrytsak, “A Ukrainian Answer to the Galician Ethnic Triangle: The Case of Ivan Franko,” Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry 12(1999): 137-146.

[14] On the Jewish complex role within the minority triangle, see: Robert S. Wistrich, Laboratory for World Destruction. Germans and Jews in Central Europe (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2007), 228.

[15] For the ethnic demographic breakdown see: Manekin, The Jews of Galicia and the Austrian constitution, 68.

[16] About the governmental changes and their effects on the political arena in Galicia see Jozef Buszko, “The Consequences of Galician Autonomy after 1867,” Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry 12 (1999): 86-99.

[17] Wistrich, Laboratory for World Destruction, 20.

[18] Zvi Karl, “Lwów,” in Arim veimahot beisrael, eds. Dov Sadan and Menachem Gelerter (Jerusalem: Mossad Harav Kook, 1946-1960), 290-344; 336; Nathan M. Gelber, The History of Jewish Communities and other Ethnic Groups in Poland: Lwów (Jerusalem: n.p., 1956), 309-310; Ezra Mendelsohn, “Jewish History: Maurycy Gottlieb’s ‘Christ Preaching at Capernaum’,” Zion 62 (1992): 173-191; 185; Manekin, The Jews of Galicia and the Austrian constitution, 55-65.

[19] According to Manekin, in 1869 the association had more than 570 members, 486 of which were from the city. Manekin, The Jews of Galicia and the Austrian constitution, 62.

[20] Manekin describes how the question of orientation became central in the public agenda of “Shomer Israel” during the 1870s, creating an internal discussion that led to a clear shift in the movement’s stance. Manekin, “‘Daitchen’, ‘Poles’ or ‘Austrians’?”; Id., “The Galician Roots of Polish Jewish Historiography,” 320f; Id., “HaBerit hahadashah: Yehudim ortodoksim upolanim katolim beGalitsyah, 1879-1883,” Zion 64 (1999): 157-186.

[21] Manekin, The Jews of Galicia and the Austrian constitution, 122-253.

[22] Ibid.

[23] Ibid., 65-66.

[24] Manekin presented how the question of orientation became central in the public agenda of “Shomer Israel” during the 1870s, creating an inner-party discussion that led to a clear shift in the movement’s orientation. See: Manekin, “ ‘Daitchen’, ‘Poles’ or ‘Austrians’?,” 223-262; Id., “The Galician Roots of Polish Jewish Historiography,” 320-321.

[25] Manekin, “ ‘Daitchen’, ‘Poles’ or ‘Austrians’?,” 225; Jasnowski claims instead that Brody was the most German city in Galicia. See: Paweł Jasnowski, “The Failure of the Integration of Galician Jews According to Lvov’s Ojczyzna (1881-1892),” Scripta Judaica Cracoviensia 13 (2015): 55-65, 58.

[26] Rachel Manekin, “Galicia,” in The YIVO Encyclopedia of Jews in Eastern Europe, ed. Gershon D. Hundert (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2008), 560-567.

[27] Rachel Manekin, “Galician Haskalah and the Discourse of Schwärmerei,” in Secularism in Question: Jews and Judaism in modern times, eds. Ari Joskowicz and Ethan B. Katz (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2015), 189-207.

[28] Shmuel Feiner, “The Struggle against False Haskalah and the Boundaries of Jewish Modernization,” in From Vilna to Jerusalem: Studies in the History and Culture of Eastern European Jewry, Presented to Professor Shmuel Werses, eds. Shmuel Feiner, David Assaf, Israel Bartal, Yehudah Friedlander, Avner Holtzman, and Chava Turiansk (Jerusalem: Magnes, 2002), 3-23.

[29] The struggle between Hasidim and Maskilim has been discussed extensively. See for example: Raphael Mahler, The Hasidism and the Haskalah (Merhavia: Sifriat Poalim, 1961);Samuel Werses, Haskala and Sabbathaians (Jerusalem: Shazar Center, 1988); Bartal, The Jewish of Eastern Europe; Manekin, “Galician Haskalah and the Discourse of Schwärmerei”; Marcin Wodziński, Hasidism: Key Questions (New York:Oxford University Press,2018); Jonatan Meir, Imagined Hasidism: The Anti-Hasidic Writings of Joseph Perl (Jerusalem: Bialik Institute, 2013); Michael Stanislawski, A Murder in Lemberg: Politics, Religion, and Violence in Modern Jewish history (Princeton:  Princeton University Press, 2007).

[30] For more about the national loyalty of the Maskilim to the Empire, Russian or Austrian, and the identification of the Hasidim as their opponents, see: Israel Bartal, Cossack and Bedouin: Land and People in Jewish Nationalism (Tel Aviv: Am Oved, 2007), 24; about the irony in the fact that the regime considered the Maskilimradicals, Bartal, The Jewish of Eastern Europe, 78.

[31] Manekin, “Galician Haskalah and the Discourse of Schwärmerei”; Id., “Gaming the System,” Jewish Quarterly Review 3, no. 106, (2016): 352-382; Id., “From Johann Pezzl to Joseph Perl: Galician Haskalah and the Austrian Enlightenment,” in Jews and Germans in Eastern Europe, ed. Tobias Grill (Berlin: De Gruyter, 2018), 61-71.

[32] Manekin, “ ‘Daitchen’, ‘Poles’ or ‘Austrians’? ”; Id., “The Galician Roots of Polish Jewish Historiography,” 319-331.

[33] Brawer and Brawer, Zikhronot av u-veno, 179.

[34] Simon Bernfeld, “Memories,” Reshumot 4 (1926): 145-193; 146.

[35] Ibid, 170.

[36] Haim Gertner, The Rabbi and the City: The Rabbinate in Galicia and its Encounter with Modernity, 1815-1867 (Jerusalem: Shazar Center, 2013), 66-97 and 326-328.

[37] Stanislawski, A Murder in Lemberg.

[38] Bernfeld, “Memories,” 170.

[39] Mordechai Ehrenpreis, My Life Between East and West (Tel Aviv: Am Oved,1953), 7.

[40] Abraham Osias Thon, “Characters from Lwów,” in Pirkei Galicia, eds. Dov Sadan and Israel Cohen (Tel Aviv: Am Oved, 1957), 345-385; 376.

[41] See for example Antony Polonsky, The Jews in Poland and Russia (Oxford: Littman Library of Jewish Civilization, 2010-2012), 114.

[42] Brawer and Brawer, Zikhronot av u-veno, 221.

[43] Ibid., 183.

[44] I shall not discuss here the concept of Bildung or Jewish expressions of it, as those have already been significantly discussed in the literature. See for example: George L. Mosse, German Jews beyond Judaism (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1985), 1-54; David Sorkin, “Wilhelm von Humboldt: The Theory and Practice of Self-formation (Bildung), 1791-1810,” Journal of the History of Ideas  1, no. 44 (1983): 55-73; 66 and 71-73; Shulamit Volkov, “The Ambivalence of Bildung: Jews and Other Germans,” in The German-Jewish Dialogue Reconsidered: A Symposium in Honor of George L. Mosse, ed. Klaus L. Berghahn (New York: P. Lang, 1996), 81-97.

[45] Bernfeld, “Memories,” 187-188; Id., “Qehilot Yaacov,” Haschiloah 1 (1897): 275-282.

[46] Shalom Ratsabi has shown how German culture and language were inseparable parts of Bohemian Jewry’s self-definition, as seen for example in Hugo Bergmann’s memoirs, where he describes his grandmother’s shock when the language of Drasha changed from German to Czech. See: Shalom Ratsabi, “The personalities of Central Europe in Brith shalom Society” (PhD diss., Tel Aviv University, 1993), 48-49.

[47] Gary B. Cohen, “Our Laws, Our Taxes, Our Administration: Citizenship in Imperial Austria,” in Shatterzone of Empires: Coexistence and Violence in the German, Habsburg, Russian, and Ottoman Borderlands, eds. Omer Bartov and Eric D. Weitz (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 2013), 103-121.

[48] Dimitry Shumsky, however, has claimed that the interpretation of Jewish-German identity as a rival to Jewish-Czech identity at the beginning of the twentieth century did not really exist in the multicultural reality of Prague. Dimitry Shumsky, “Historiography, Nationalism and Bi-nationalism: Czech-German Jewry, the Prague Zionists, and the Origins of the Bi-national Approach of Hugo Bergmann,” Zion 69 (2004): 45-80.

[49] Paul Mendes-Flohr, “The Berlin Jew as cosmopolitan,” in Berlin Metropolis: Jews and the New Culture, 1890-1918, ed. Emily D. Bilski (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1999), 14-31; 21.

[50] Ibid.

[51] Bernfeld, “Memories,” 170, and compare to Thon, “Characters from Lwów,” 372-373.

[52] For more about the complicated Galician identity, loyalty to Poland, as well as the Russian Criticism, see: Salo Wittmayer Baron, Under two civilizations: Tarnow, 1895-1904, Selected from the Memoirs of Salo Wittmayer Baron (Stanford: Stanford University, 1990); Rachel Manekin, “Between Reality and Prejudice: Russian Jewish Writers in Galicia” (paper presented at the International Conference in Honor of Prof. Jonathan Frankel, Hebrew University, Jerusalem, May 2004).

[53] For example, see: Josheph Roth, Radetzkymarsch (Berlin: G. Kiepenheuer, 1932).

[54] Dov Sadan, Controversies: Literary Essays (Jerusalem: Bialik Institute, 1972), 228.

[55] For more information, see: Maya Shabbat, “History—A Tool in the hands of The Essay Writer; the historiographical enterprise of Simon Bernfeld” (PhD diss., Tel Aviv University, 2017), 13-20.

[56] Manekin, “The Galician Roots of Polish Jewish Historiography,” 324-327.

[57] Bernfeld, “Memories,” 187.

[58] Karl, “Lwów,” 336; Gezel Kressel, Cyclopedia of Modern Hebrew Literature (Merhavya: Sifriyat Poalim, 1965-1967), 366; Manekin, “The Galician Roots of Polish Jewish Historiography,” 319-320; Id., “Agudas Akhim,” in The YIVO Encyclopedia of Jews in Eastern Europe, ed. Gershon D. Hundert (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2008), 161

[59] For more about Mikra Kodesh: Nathan M. Gelber, History of the Zionist movement in Galicia (Jerusalem: Hotsaat Reuben Mass, 1958), 82-123; Karl, “Lwów,” 336-337; Thon, “Characters from Lwów,” 366-369; Rachel Manekin, The Growth and Development of Jewish Orthodoxy in Galicia, the “Machsike Hadas” Society 1867-1883 (Jerusalem: Hebrew University, 2000); Joshua Shanes, Diaspora nationalism and Jewish identity in Habsburg Galicia (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2012), 51-68 and 82-93.

[60] Gelber, History of the Zionist movement in Galicia, 84.

[61] Ibid., 82f, 118, 125f, 150 and 152-158; Thon, “Characters from Lwów,” 373-376; Abraham Salt, “The History and Statistics of the Zionist movement in Galicia,” in Pirkei Galicia, eds. Sadan and Cohen, 57-60; 58; Mordechai Ehrenpreis, “The Zionist movement in Galicia,” in Pirkei Galicia, eds. Sadan e Cohen, 69f; However, Ezra Mendelsohn, followed by researchers such as Manekin, describes them as pro-Polish integrationists. see: Ezra Mendelsohn, “Jewish Assimilation in Lvov: The Case of Wilhelm Feldman,” Slavic Review 28 (1969): 577-590; Id., “From Assimilation to Zionism in Lvov,” Slavonic and East European Review 49, no. 117 (1971): 521-534; Rachel Manekin, “Agudas Akhim.”

[62] Thon, “Characters from Lwów,” 376.

[63] Ibid., 374.

[64] Ibid., 373-374; Gelber, History of the Zionist movement in Galicia, 83; Ehrenpreis, “The Zionist movement in Galicia,” 69-70; Salt, “The History and Statistics of the Zionist movement in Galicia,” 58.

[65] Gelber, History of the Zionist movement in Galicia, 83.

[66] Mendelsohn, “Jewish Assimilation in Lvov,” 577-590; Rachel Manekin, “The Debate over Assimilation in Late 19th Century L’viv,” in Insiders and Outsiders: Dilemmas of East European Jewry, eds. Richard I. Cohen, Jonathan Frankel, and Stefani Hoffman (Oxford: Littman Library of Jewish Civilization, 2010), 120-130; Id., “The Galician Roots of Polish Jewish Historiography.”

[67] Ibid., 324-327.

[68] Manekin, Jewish orthodoxy, 114-155

[69] Simon Szántó (1819-1882), born in Hungary, arrived in Vienna in 1845 after graduating. He founded a Jewish school (1849), edited a Jewish press, as well as the liberal weekly journal Die Neuzeit. see: Allgemeine Zeitung des Judentums, 1882, 93 et seq; Jacob Toury, Die judische Presse im osterreichischen Kaiserreich: Ein Beitrag zur Problematik der Akkulturation 1802-1918 (Tübingen: J. C. B. Mohr, 1983).

[70] For example, see: Die Neuzeit, January 2-9, 1880.

[71] The reference is to M.Y. Landau, the publisher of Ha-Mazkir, as well as its editors including IAB. The subtitle of Ha-Mazkir was the “reminder for the homeland lover.

[72] This seems to be the Lithuanian Rabbi Jaakow Rabinowicz, who at that time resided in London and supported Machsike Hadas.

[73] Jack Wertheimer, Unwelcome Strangers: East European Jews in Imperial Germany (New York: Oxford University Press, 1987), 158; in this context I suggest that Bernfeld’s approach may be related to similar sentiments expressed by contemporary German opinion leaders, regarding the questions of Prussian and German identity that stemmed from the differences between the “small Reich” and unified Germany. For more information about this trend, see: Helmut Berding, “Staatliche Idenität, national Integration und politischer Regionalismus,” in The Restless Reich: Imperial Germany, 1871-1914, ed. Oded Heilbronner (Jerusalem: Magnes, 1998), 148-160.

[74] Thon, “Characters from Lwów,” 381-383.

[75] Bernfeld, “Memories,” 185.

[76] Jasnowski, The Failure, 55-65.

[77] Gelber, History of the Zionist movement in Galicia, 82; For other aspects of this failed “brotherhood,” see: Magdalena Opalski and Israel Bartal, Poles and Jews: A Failed Brotherhood (Hanover: Brandeis University Press, 1992); Theodore R. Weeks, “Poles, Jews, and Russians, 1863-1914: The Death of the Ideal of Assimilation in the Kingdom of Poland,” Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry 12 (1999): 242-256.

[78] Simon Bernfeld, Juden und Judentum im Neunzehnten Jahrhundert (Berlin: S. Cronbach, 1898).

[79] Volkov, Germans, Jews and Antisemites, 263-275.

[80] Shay Agnon, Temol Shilshom (Jerusalem: Schocken, 1945), 39.

[81] Thon, “Characters from Lwów,” 376.

[82] See for example: Klaus Hödl, “Galician Jewish Migration to Vienna,” Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry 12 (1999): 147-163.

[83] For more information: Jacob Toury, “Troubled Beginnings: The Emergence of the Österreichisch-Israelitische Union,” The Leo Baeck Institute Year Book 1, no. 30 (1985): 457-475.

[84] Himka discusses the negative image of Galician non-Jews, see: Himka, “Dimensions of a Triangle.”

[85] Monika Richarz, “Judisches Leben in Deutschland,” in The Restless Reich: Imperial Germany, 1871-1914, ed. Oded Heilbronner (Jerusalem: Magnes, 1998), 288-293; the encounters between Ostjuden and Western Jews have been often described in the research literature, for example see: Steven E. Aschheim, Brothers and strangers, the east European Jew in German and German Jewish consciousness, 1800-1923 (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1982); Wertheimer, Unwelcome Strangers; another perspective on the topic was suggested by Volkov, Germans, Jews and Antisemites, 263-275.

[86] Thon, “Characters from Lwów,” 345.

[87] Hannan Hever, “The struggle over the Canon of Early Twentieth century Hebrew Literature: The Case of Galicia,” Theory and Criticism 5 (1994): 55-77.

[88] Yosef H. Brenner, Ketavim (Tel Aviv: Hakibbutz Hameuchad,1978-1985), 3 and 222-223.

[89] Ibid., 237-239.

[90] Thon, “Characters from Lwów,” 376.

Maya Shabbat isa post-doctoral fellow at Ben-Gurion University and a research fellow at the Institut für Jüdische Studien und Religionswissenschaft at Potsdam University for the academic years 2018-2021. Her current research Imagining the ‘Bildung’ focuses on the challenges and the identity conflict experienced by the Galician Jewish Intellectuals migrating west, specifically to Berlin, during the fin de siècle. Her PhD thesis “History –a tool in the hands of the essay writer”in which, as a test case, she focused on the historiographical corpus of Simon Bernfeld (1860-1940), was written at Tel Aviv University and shall be published during 2022

  How to quote this article:
Maya Shabbat, "Heimweh: The Torn Identity of Lemberg-Lwów’s Intellectual Jewry," in "Jewish Minorities between Nation-Building and Emigration in late Nineteenth and early Twentieth Century East Central Europe," eds. Francesco Di Palma and Grzegorz Rossoliński-Liebe, Quest. Issues in Contemporary Jewish History. Journal of the Fondazione CDEC 20, (December 2021)

DOI: 10.48248/issn.2037-741X/13095