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Jews in Austria: Aguddat Ahim

AGUDDAT AḤIM (Heb. אֲגֻדַּת אָחִים; "The Brotherhood"), assimilationist organization formed in *Galicia in 1880. They were one of two opposite trends of orientation among Jews advocating assimilation in Galicia, then under Austrian administration and torn by national conflicts. One group, represented by the Shomer Israel, established in 1869, favored Jewish adoption of German culture; the members of the Aguddat Aḥim were motivated by feelings of Polish patriotism and desired to assimilate into Polish social and cultural life. In 1880 a group of Jewish intelligentsia and students established Aguddat Aḥim to promote Polish assimilation, and expressed its views in a new Polish-language newspaper, Ojczyzna("Homeland"), edited by Nathan *Loewenstein with Alfred *Nossig among its first contributors. Aguddat Aḥim was active in the political and journalistic spheres and also among the Jewish youth in schools and universities. By 1884, however, the hopes that Jews would be accepted in Polish national life were shaken by an increase in antisemitism among the Poles and reports of pogroms in Warsaw. The counsel of despair now voiced in Ojczyzna stated that for Jews the only alternatives were conversion to Christianity or migration to Ereẓ Israel. A number of active members of Aguddat Aḥim abandoned all thoughts of assimilation, rallied to *Zionism, and the organization was dissolved.


N.M. Gelber, Toledot ha-Tenu'ah ha-Ẓiyyonit be-Galiẓyah (1958), 83–157; I. Schiper, in: A. Tartakower and A. Hafftka (eds.), Zydzi w Polsce Odrodzonej, 1 (1932), 393–4; J. Tennenbaum, Galitsye, Mayn Alte Heym (1952), 72–74.

[Moshe Landau]

Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.