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From Empire to Republic

Peter Berger
Günter Bischof
Fritz Plasser

II. Costs of War: Social/Mental/Cultural Legacies

Jewish Education in Interwar Vienna: Cooperation, Compromise and Conflict Between the Austrian State and the Viennese Jewish Community

Sara O.M. Yanovsky

Note de l’auteur

This research project and the publishing of its findings were made possible by the generous support of the Center for Austrian Studies at the European Forum at the Hebrew University. It is part of a doctoral dissertation “Facing the Challenge of Jewish Education in the Metropolis – A Comparative Study of the Jewish Communal Organizations of Budapest and Vienna, from 1867 until World War II,” conducted under the supervision of Michael K. Silber. The author continues her research at Scholion – Interdisciplinary Research Center in Jewish Studies at the Hebrew University and is supported by the Leo Baeck Fellowship Program of the Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes.

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With nearly 200,000 Jews, Vienna had one of the largest urban Jewries in pre-holocaust Europe, managed by a powerful communal organization, the Israelitische Kultusgemeinde (IKG).1 The IKG had been officially recognized as the representative body of Viennese Jews since 1852. In response to particular challenges it faced, including in the inter-war period, the IKG formulated policies and strategies, weighed alternatives and set priorities in order to organize communal Jewish life in the city.

The realm of Jewish education was one of the key functions undertaken by the IKG — in contrast with some other major urban Jewries on the Continent, where Jewish education was reserved to the private sphere. In Austria, religious education was by law a public, communal function, regulated by the Imperial Law of 25 May 1868,2 which reserved the paramount control and supervision to the state, but at the same time made the Church and other religious associations, in the case of the Jewis...

© innsbruck university press, 2010

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