2016 Annual Assessment

Annual Assessment 2016

Dr. Shlomo Fischer

Avinoam Bar-Yosef, Susanne Cohen-Weisz, Rémi Daniel, Chaya Ekstein, Dan Feferman, Avi Gil, Inbal Hakman, Michael Herzog, Simon Luxemburg, David Landes, Dov Maimon, Steven Popper, Uzi Rebhun, Shmuel Rosner, John Ruskay, Noah Slepkov, Shalom Solomon Wald, Einat Wilf

Barry Geltman
Rami Tal

2016 Annual Assessment

1     The principle of the Jewish Einheitsgemeinde was enforced by the state, which recognized only one Jewish community in each city – by virtue of the Austrian Gesetz vom 21. März 1890, betreffend die Regelung der äußeren Rechtsverhältnisse der israelitischen Religionsgesellschaft (legislation regulating the relations between the state and the Israelite Religion Corporation of March 21,1890, RGBl. Nr. 57/1890, Israelitengesetz).
2     “old-Viennese Jews”: Jews who already before the war had been Viennese by culture, identity, and citizenship
3     Estimated numbers for this immigration waves are not available.
4     The Jews from Central Asia and the Caucasus lived in remote and less urbanized areas, where Soviet rule was weaker, and thus had been spared to a very high extent from the Soviet assimilatory policy and never had a communist orientation. Therefore, they managed to keep many of their ethnic and religious (Orthodox) traditions and did not try to assimilate into the atheistic mainstream. This stands in contrast to the Jews from the European Soviet Union, who had been strongly subjected to the Soviet assimilatory policy, and thus were generally stripped of knowledge of the Jewish religion and tradition (see: Alexander Friedmann, “Psycho-Socio-Cultural Rehabilitation in an Ethnic Subgroup: A 30-Year Follow-Up,” World Cultural Psychiatry Research Review 2, (April–July 2007): 89; Larissa Remennick, Russian Jews on Three Continents: Identity, Integration, and Conflict (New Brunswick: Transaction Publishers, 2007), p.18.)
5     Or Chadasch has only some 150 members, not all of whom are halachically Jewish.
6     According to different estimates, there are between 9.000 and 20.000 Jews in Vienna.
7     IKG Mitgliederservice, Mitglieder: Anzahl Nach Alter – Stand 28.07.2016 (private communication, 2016).
8    Zentralwohlfahrtstelle, Mitgliederstatistik der jüdischen Gemeinden und Landesverbände in Deutschland für das Jahr 2015 (Frankfurt am Main: Zentralwohlfahrtsstelle der Juden in Deutschland, 2016).
9    Information received per e-mail (July 28, 2016) from the IKG Member Service, and confirmed by the IKG Rabbinate.
10    In the first eight years after World War II, the IKG leadership changed eight times, with six leaders who represented three ideologically diverse political lists (communist, Zionist, and socialist).
11    IKG president Ernst Feldsberg’s statement that he “could not imagine any other country as his homeland even after 1945” (Helga Embacher, Neubeginn ohne Illusionen: Juden in Österreich nach 1945 (Vienna: Picus, 1995), p. 169) was typical of the Alt-Wiener Jews, but it was not shared by the general Jewish population.
12    For detailed information on both, see: Susanne Cohen-Weisz, Jewish Life in Austria and Germany since 1945: Identity and Communal Reconstruction (Budapest: Central European University Press, 2016), pp.273-276.
13    Anton Legerer, “Allgemeine Besorgnis auch unter den Juden: Österreichs Juden in der Doppelmühle,” haGalil onLine, February 14, 2000. http://www.hagalil.com/archiv/2000/02/austria-4.htm, accessed July 19, 2016.