Austrian Jewry 70+ Years after the Shoah

Published דצמ 19, 2016
Susanne Cohen-Weisz

Since the late 1970s, the Austrian Jewish communities have undergone rather unique social and political developments. Especially the Vienna Jewish community, which accounts for about 98 percent of Austria’s Jewish population, has turned from being a voluntarily invisible community with seemingly no future into being a thriving religious, cultural and economic entity that acts self-confidently and forthrightly in the national political and cultural arenas, and is firmly ensconced in the surrounding society. Furthermore, it is actively involved in the affairs of European and world Jewry, more than its size may suggest. In order to cater for the religious needs of its constituency it has established an expansive and constantly developing Jewish infrastructure, whose extent even exceeds significantly bigger communities in other countries. On top of these processes, it has reached a remarkable community unity despite the Vienna Jewry's religious and ethnic diversity. All these developments were mainly outcomes of inner communal developments – especially changes in Jewish group identity, which shaped not only the Jewish community itself but also its view of the gentile world and its interaction with it at the national level.

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