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.

issue 20 / December 2021 by Maya Shabbat

“Poor Jews! You Get Blamed for Everything!”

Hope and Despair in a Galician Yiddish Newspaper during the Revolutions of 1848–49*

The revolutions that swept through Europe in 1848–49 aroused great excitement amidst many Jews in the Habsburg Empire and led to changes (albeit ephemeral) in the Jews’ status and rights. Motivated by the revolutions and the opportunity they offered, one Galician maskil, Avraham Menachem Mendel Mohr, founded a weekly Yiddish newspaper in Lemberg, the Tsaytung , in which he encouraged his readers to welcome this new age and adapt to it. In particular, he discussed extensively relations between Jews and their non-Jewish neighbors, expressing his hope that a new era had dawned in Christian-Jewish relations and advising his readers on how to improve themselves within this context. Yet Mohr remained aware that the deep-rooted animosity towards the Jews would be difficult to dispel. Indeed, the editions of the Tsaytung reveal that as the revolutionary fervor faded he became increasingly pessimistic regarding the likelihood of changing Christian attitudes towards the Jews.

issue 17 / September 2020 by Rebecca Wolpe