GALICIA (Pol. Galicia; Ger. Galizien; Rus. Galitsiya), geographical-political region of E. Europe, in S.E. Poland and N.W. Ukraine, extending northward from the Carpathians into the Vistula Valley to the San River.
After numerous changes in the Middle Ages, Galicia was incorporated within the kingdom of Poland. The major part passed to the Hapsburg monarchy during the first partition of Poland in 1772; with the third partition of Poland the area under Hapsburg rule was extended to the north and northwest of the region. From 1803 Galicia formed a separate administrative unit (province). With the dissolution of the monarchy after World War I Galicia again passed to Poland (1918–19). In 1939, after the outbreak of World War II, western Galicia was occupied by the Germans and eastern Galicia by the Soviet Union, which incorporated it in the Ukrainian S.S.R. Eastern Galicia was also occupied by the Germans in 1941 and the Jews there suffered the fate of the rest of the Jews
of Poland and the Ukraine. After the war western Galicia returned to Poland, while eastern Galicia remained within the Ukrainian S.S.R.
During the period of Polish rule until 1772 Galicia was known as Little Poland (see
), which within the Jewish organizational framework of the
of the Lands formed one of the four "lands" (provinces). For the history of the Jews in this period, see
After the 1772 Annexation to Austria
At the time of the region's annexation to Austria in 1772, its Jewish population numbered 224,980 (9.6% of the total). Jews were to be found in 187 cities, 93 small towns, and 5,467 villages and homesteads. By 1773 the number of Jews had declined to 171,851 (6.5%), and by 1776 to 144,200. In 1780 the Jewish population stood at 151,302; in 1782 at 172,424, and in 1785 at 212,002. In 1776 the area in the region of Cracow was extracted from Austria, but it was returned in 1795 and structured administratively as "western Galicia" (including the
district). Until 1809 the Zamosc district was also in Galicia, under Austria, and between 1786 and 1818
was included administratively in Galicia. In 1815–46 Cracow and its environs constituted an autonomous republic, while the Ternopol district came under Russian rule, during 1809–15.
The non-Jewish population of western Galicia was almost entirely Polish in 1776, Jews constituting 3.1% of the population. Eastern Galicia was mostly Ukrainian, and the Jews there were 8.7% of the total population. Six towns (
, Delyatin, and
) were almost entirely Jewish, nine other towns had a Jewish majority, and in seven cities (including
) the Jews constituted one-third or more of the total population. Initially, the Jews of Galicia continued in the framework of the socioeconomic structure of old Poland-Lithuania. In the villages Jews were occupied in
; in the towns and townlets the majority of Jews were retailers or craftsmen, especially in the household industry (textiles, sackcloth, and sail cloth) and the garment industry (as tailors, furriers, and hatters). The export and import trade of the region was mainly in the hands of Jews, as the transit between Turkey and Russia in the east and Germany in the west centered in
The Austrian "Code of Regulations Concerning the Jews" (1776) allowed the autonomy of the Jewish community to stand. A 12-member supreme Jewish council was created, headed by the chief rabbi of the region. The following specific taxes were levied on the Jews: protection and toleration tax (4 guldens per family), property and employment tax (the same), marriage tax (according to the wealth of the family, from 4 to 300 ducats). All Jewish beggars were expelled from Galicia.
Aryeh Leib *Bernstein
became chief rabbi, Mordecai Ze'ev Orenstein vice chief rabbi.
II included Galicia in his statutes (1785–89) directed at the improvement of the condition of the Jews (see
) and their ultimate
. His 1789
mentioned 141 organized Jewish communities, each administered by three
, except for Lvov and Brody, which had seven. The autonomy of the community, the rabbinical court, and the craftsmen's guilds were abolished. In 1786 the supreme council, established in 1776, was dissolved. The expulsion of the Jews from the villages began; various trade branches, peddling, and arenda were prohibited to them. At the same time they were actively encouraged to take up agricultural work. Close to one-third of the Jewish population was deprived of its means of livelihood as a result of these regulations. In 1789 Jews were included in the obligation to do military service (there was some active resistance to this by the Jews of Brody) and had to adopt German family names. Government-sponsored schools were established for the Jews, and attendance was made compulsory. A tax was levied on kasher meat (see
), and in 1797 on Sabbath and holiday candles as well (see
); this tax became the basis for the vote in the community. The average yearly income from the tax on kasher meat was 500,000–700,000 gulden, while that on candles brought in some 350,000 gulden annually.
In 1787 Naphtali Herz
was appointed chief inspector of the network of more than 104 government schools established for the education of the Jews. Both he and the teachers – who came mainly from Bohemia and Germany –were enthusiasts for total Jewish assimilation into German culture. Jews were bitterly opposed to this school system and as far as possible prevented their children's attendance. In 1806 all these Jewish schools in Galicia (attended by 3,550 pupils) were closed. The plan for settling 1,410 Jewish families on government-owned land, initiated in 1786, also failed, and by 1822 there were only 836 Jewish farmers in all of Galicia. On the other hand, Jewish physicians were granted equality with Christian ones and secondary schools and institutions of higher learning were opened to Jews. Nonetheless only 158 Jewish students attended such schools in 1827. Polish society in Galicia showed a relatively pro-Jewish attitude, its representatives including in their program for the region – presented to Emperor Leopold II – a demand for civil rights for Jews, though not the right to own estates or to hold elective office.
By 1827 there were about 115,000 Jewish males in Galicia, about 50,000 of whom were of working age. Of the latter, 28,524 (less than 60%) were gainfully employed, the majority in business, transportation, services, and the free professions. During the late 18th and early 19th centuries Jewish cultural and social life in Galicia was rich. The
entered Galicia almost in its beginnings, Brody being its center.
(Lefin), first at Brody and later in Ternopol, and
J.L. Ben *Ze'ev
were its pioneers there, followed by Dov Berish Ginsburg,
Jacob Samuel *Bick
. The years 1815 to 1850 represent the high point of the Haskalah in Galicia. In this period the following men were active in Galician social and literary life:
Joshua Heschel *Schorr
(editor of He-Ḥalutz), his brother Naphtali Mendel
Samuel Leib *Goldenberg
, Isaac Mieses, M. Silberstein,
Abraham Menahem Mendel *Mohr
, and others. Their literary and educational activity made Galicia of the 19th century a major center of Jewish thought and creativity. Traditional Torah education and scholarship continued in full measure in Galicia throughout the 19th century. Some of the great Talmud scholars of this period there were Joseph Saul ha-Levi
; Jacob Meshullam Orenstein, both of Lvov;
Solomon b. Judah Aaron *Kluger
of Brody; Aryeh Leib b. Joseph ha-Kohen (
) of Stry, the author of Keẓot ha-Ḥoshen;
Shalom Mordecai b. Moses *Shvadron
, and others. Social life in Galicia was imprinted first by the acrimonious strife between mitnaggedim and Ḥasidim, and then, later between Ḥasidim and the Haskalah.
spread steadily in Galicia during the 19th century, and despite the opposition of the leading rabbis, it succeeded in permeating all strata of the population. Local rabbis of the smaller communities, in particular, had to accept the influence of the ḥasidic ẓaddik whose followers were the strongest group in their community. The important figures of Galician Ḥasidism were the
dynasty, founded by Shalom Rokeaḥ in 1816; Zanz, founded by
in 1830; and the dynasties of the sons of
(c. 1855) and in
(1860). All Orthodox elements united against the Haskalah, which fought the Orthodox majority not only through education and propaganda, but through alliance with the state authorities and sometimes through the denunciation to them of the Orthodox, in particular, and of the Ḥasidim (in this Joseph Perl excelled). In the 1870s the Ḥasidim of Belz began to intervene in political matters. The Haskalah was influential in the large cities, e.g., Brody, Lvov, Ternopol, and
, where Joseph Perl and others instituted Jewish schools with German as the language of instruction, and Haskalah leaders founded "reform" synagogues of varying trends. In 1816 Jacob Meshullam Orenstein excommunicated the maskilim of Lvov but was compelled by the authorities to rescind his decree. During the 1830s and 1840s the number of maskilim and their influence continued to increase in the large cities. In 1838 the communal leadership of Lvov installed a Reform rabbi
, who was poisoned in 1848. The striving of the Haskalah in Galicia for assimilation into German culture changed in the 1860s and the 1870s to a preference for assimilation into Polish culture; the extreme Orthodox tended to support Polish political aims.
The 1848 revolutionary parliament, which included three Galician Jews, rescinded the special taxes on the Jews, and in the constitution of March 1849, Jews were granted equality of rights. At the end of 1851, however, the government revoked the constitution and restricted the civil rights of the Jews. In 1859–60 most of the restrictions on Jews were lifted. Jews were also granted the right to be elected to the Galician Sejm, and consequently there were four Jewish deputies in 1867–72. In 1867 the Sejm elected a Jewish deputy to the parliament in Vienna, as the Austrian constitution of 1867 granted Jews equal rights.
The economic life of the Jews of Galicia also improved at about that time. Rich Jews entered
, large-scale export and import, industry, and the oil trade and industry. From 1867 the number of Jewish estate owners grew markedly. Jews entered the civil service and the judiciary (in 1897 Jews constituted 58% of the civil servants and judges). The majority, however, only felt a slight improvement. They resented attempts to draw them to the village and agricultural life and as a result failed in these areas. In the early 20th century the number of Jewish estate owners or lessees again increased significantly, Jewish merchants and industrialists eagerly investing in these fields. There was a corresponding increase in the number of Jews in agricultural management, and in agricultural schools and experimental farms for Jews.
In 1874, 98 Jews sat on 71 regional councils. In the Galician Sejm, five of the 155 deputies were Jews. There were 261 Jews on various municipal councils in Galicia, and in 45 municipalities they were the majority. Ten cities had Jewish mayors. The leadership of the Haskalah movement, as well as of the assimilationists – German or Polish – gradually passed into the hands of a new, university-educated group of writers like Ludwig
, Joseph Ettinger, Moritz Rapoport, Dr. Eliezer Englewicz, Meir Letteris, Marcus Landau, Joseph Kobak,
, Leo Herzberg-Fraenkel, K.E. Franzos, Marcus Dubs, and Meir Mintz. The number of Jewish students in the secondary schools (301 in 1856; 703 by 1867) and in the universities continued to grow. At the same time, a network of educational institutions was established under Jewish auspices.
From 1867 the assimilationist circles were split between those tending to Polish assimilation – organized in the Aggudat Ahim (Fraternal Society) of Poles of Mosaic Faith – and those tending to German assimilation culture – organized in the
(Guardians of Israel). In the elections of 1873, Shomer Israel of eastern Galicia allied itself with the Ukrainians against the Poles and succeeded in electing four Jewish deputies; the Jewish deputy from Cracow joined the Polish group in parliament. In 1878, on the initiative of Shomer Israel, a congress of Jewish communities was convened and resolved regulations for all communities, as well as the establishment of a rabbinical seminary. The Orthodox, led by the rabbi of Cracow, Simeon
, and the ẓaddik of Belz, Joshua Rokeah, opposed the convention and encouraged a boycott of it. In 1882 the Orthodox convened a rabbinical conference (in Lvov) whose regulations for the communities were diametrically opposed to those of the congress of Jewish communities. Only those who lived according to the
and paid their communal dues would be entitled to a vote in the communities. The Austrian authorities refused to endorse this Orthodox regulation despite the support of the Polish group in parliament. In 1890 the Ministry of Religion and Culture formulated a regulation of its own, approved by parliament and enforced until 1918. A proposal to establish a
rabbinical seminary, adopted in 1907 by the Galician Sejm, was frustrated by the opposition of the Orthodox, who organized themselves in the
("Upholders of the Faith"), headed by the above-mentioned leaders. The Orthodox allied themselves with the Poles in the parliamentary elections of 1878 and elected Rabbi Sofer, who joined the Polish group in Parliament.
A number of monthly and weekly Hebrew periodicals circulated in 19th-century Galicia: Yerushalayim (1865–90); Ha-Mevasser (1860–70); Nesher ("Eagle"); Meged Yeraḥim (1855, 1859); Oẓar Ḥokhmah (1849–65); He-Ḥalutz, edited by Joseph Kobak; Ha-Ivri, edited by Baruch and Jacob Werber. In 1848–49 several Yiddish weeklies made their appearance: Tsaytung (1848–49); Di Yidishe Post (1849); Yidishe Tsaytung ("The Jewish Weekly"; 1865–67); Naye Yidishe Prese (1872), and Israelit (1875–76).
Between 1860 and 1880 anti-assimilationist works and new trends in Haskalah, mainly influenced by Peretz
, began to appear. In 1875 the first society in Galicia for the settlement of Palestine was established in
. In the 1880s Ḥovevei Zion (see
) gained momentum in Galicia. Growing antisemitism among the Poles aided this development. In 1884 the organ of the Polish trend of assimilation, Aguddat Aḥim, ceased publication, confessing in its last issue that the Jews of Galicia could only "emigrate to Palestine or convert to Christianity." In Lvov and in the outlying towns, the first Zionist organizations were formed. The student Zionist organization of Lvov, Zion, published the first Zionist newspaper in the Polish laguage, Przyśłość ("Future," 1892); the periodical Wschȯd ("East") followed. Nonetheless, assimilationists continued to lead the communities, and, with the help of the Poles and brutal acts of terror, succeeded in electing their candidates to parliament until as late as 1907. These joined the Polish group and supported the demands of the Poles, even when they conflicted with Jewish interests.
In 1893 a Catholic convocation in Cracow proclaimed an economic boycott on Jews. From 1900 Poles and Ukrainians combined to exclude the Jews from the merchandising of agricultural produce through the establishment of a network of agricultural cooperatives and through propaganda among the peasants not to buy from or sell to Jews, and the various organizations of estate owners formed their own associations for buying and selling. In 1910 the Jews were forbidden to sell alcoholic beverages; 15,000 Jewish families lost their source of livelihood. This occurred at a time when the number of Jews had doubled in Galicia (between 1857 and 1910). As the table Jewish Population in Galicia, 1857–1910, shows, up to 1890 the percentage of Jews increased from 9.6% to 11.7%; from 1890 it was constantly declining and by 1910 became 10.9%.
The economic structure of Galician Jewry is reflected in the table Economic Structure of Galician Jewry, 1910.
The boycott and economic pressure impoverished the masses of Jews in Galicia. In 1908 there were 689 cooperative lending funds, most of which had been established with the help of Jews abroad. Between 1881 and 1910 a total of 236,000 Jews emigrated from Galicia. Impelled by circumstances, the Zionist movement entered local politics in 1906. In the general elections of 1907, three Zionist candidates –
, and Heinrich Gavel – were successful. Together with the Zionist deputy from Bukovina, they formed the first "Jewish Club" in the Austrian parliament. In the general elections of 1911, all Zionist candidates failed, due to the terror exercised by the local authorities (mainly Poles) on behalf of assimilationist candidates (in Drogobych, for example, 20 Jews were murdered; see
). Despite the terror of 1911, Zionists continued the struggle against the assimilationists. The strife was further embittered when the Galician authorities canceled the licenses of 8,000 Jewish merchants of alcoholic beverages, who were consequently deprived of a livelihood (with their families, about 40,000 people were involved). The Zionists brought the merchants to Vienna to demonstrate, but the assimilationist Jewish deputies did nothing. Although the Austrian ministers promised their assistance, they failed to keep their word.
In the latter part of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th centuries, the Jewish labor movement of Galicia was organized. At first it was associated with the
, the Labor Zionist movement making its appearance later. The first convention of its various chapters took place in Cracow, in 1903. At the second convention, in 1904, the
party was founded. A number of Jewish organizations dissociated themselves from PPS and in 1906 established the
Social Democratic Party (ZPS). The PPS countered by establishing a "Jewish section," which existed until 1914. Some of its members then joined the ZPS.
At the outbreak of World War I tens of thousands of Jews fled to Hungary, Bohemia, and Vienna. During the Russian occupation of Galicia, the Jews who remained suffered greatly. Following the fall of the Hapsburg monarchy in November 1918, the Jews of Galicia were caught in the Polish-Ukrainian war. The central government of the Western Ukrainian Republic (Eastern Galicia, see
) was prepared to grant the Jews full national autonomy, but its civil service and the military continued to oppress the Jews. On November 22 and 23, following the occupation of Lvov, the Poles conducted a series of pogroms in which 72 Jews were killed and 443 injured. By the summer of 1919 the armies of Poland had captured all of Galicia. The particular motifs which had developed among the Jews of Galicia continued to leave their mark on that community, even as it fused with the Jewry of Poland during the period between the two world wars. The major ideological currents – Ḥasidism, the Zionist movement, the many devotees of Polish and German culture, respectively, and those who had traditionally cooperated with the Poles – continued to be the forces which shaped the internal and external character of Polish Jewry from 1919 to 1939. The Zionist deputies from Galicia, headed by
, came to terms with the Polish government in a July 4, 1925, "compromise" agreement (see
, like many others, immortalized the cultural atmosphere of the Galician
in his works.
Jewish Population in Galicia, 1857–1910
The Economic Structure of Galician Jewry, 1910
|Agriculture and forestry
|Industry and crafts
|Commerce, alcoholic beverages, and
|Liberal professions, civil service, and military
For the position of the Jews in eastern Galicia after World War II, see
[Nathan Michael Gelber]
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