Plzeňské sympozia

Irena Bukačová

Contribution to a Discussion on the History of rural Jewry in the Plzeň region During the 19th Century

pp. 268–282 (Czech), Summary pp. 282–283 (English)

The author begins by supplying several statistical data on the number of Jewish families in the Plzeň region in the first half of the 19th century. The core of her paper is focused on the period of Jewish emancipation in Austria after 1848, during which the “Israelite” population was gradually elevated to equal status with the rest of their fellow citizens. The first consequence of the ending of forcible segregation in the form of life in ghettos was a wave of Jewish migration to rural areas in the 1850s and 60s, entailing the emergence of a fairly high number of Jewish communities in villages and small towns. The 1880s marked the beginning of an opposite process involving a massive exodus of Jews from the countryside to larger towns and cities. The author outlined a list of the major professions, trades and occupations pursued by Jews. She reached the conclusion that the foundations for modern industry and commerce in western Bohemia were indeed laid down by Jewish families. By way of a probe, she then outlined the conditions prevailing in the life of the Jewish communities of four small towns in the northern part of the Plzeň region: namely, in Kralovice, Dolní Bělá, Nečtiny, and Všeruby.

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