The Jews and the Nation-States of Southeastern Europe from the 19th Century to the Great Depression: Combining Viewpoints on a Controversial Story

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Tullia Catalan, Marco Dogo
Cambridge Scholars Publishing, Jun 22, 2016 - History - 270 pages
In the second half of the 19th century, Southeastern Europe was home to a vast and heterogeneous constellation of Jewish communities, mainly Sephardic to the south (Bulgaria, Greece) and Ashkenazi to the north (Hungary, Romanian Moldavia), with a broad mixed area in-between (Croatia, Serbia, Romanian Wallachia). They were subject to a variety of post-Imperial governments (from the neo-constituted principality of Bulgaria to the Hungarian kingdom re-established as an autonomous entity in 1867), which shared a powerful nationalist and modernising drive.

The relations between Jews and the nation-states’ governments led to a series of issues relating to the enjoyment of civil rights, public and private education, and political participation, which found varying solutions, sometimes satisfactory for the Jews, but often undermined by the political instability of the region.

In this book, the position of the Jews is also approached from the point of view of contemporary western Judaism, perhaps more sensitive to the sufferings of “our poor brothers in the East”; a western Judaism, emancipated, integrated, intellectually advanced, liberal, and able to intervene in situations under observation through diplomatic networks, its international philanthropic agencies and its political representatives.

For readers interested in modern history, this book offers a detailed survey of the Jewish question in the various states of Southeastern Europe before the Shoah.


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Part II Under Western Eyes
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About the author (2016)

Tullia Catalan is Assistant Professor at the University of Trieste, where she lectures on Modern and Contemporary Jewish History. Her research focuses on the history of the Jewish communities in Italy and their relationships with the majority society during the 19th and 20th centuries. She is a member of the editorial board of Quest: Issues in Contemporary Jewish History and a scientific member of Centro di Documentazione Ebraica Contemporanea di Milano. Her recent publications include “The Ambivalence of a Port-City: The Jews of Trieste from the 19th to the 20th Century” in Quest. Issues in Contemporary Jewish History 2 (2011); “Italian Jews and the 1848–49 Revolutions: Patriotism and Multiple Identities” in The Risorgimento Revisited: Nationalism and Culture in Nineteenth-Century Italy (2012); and “Les Juifs italiens et le Risorgimento: un regard historiographique” in Revue d’Histoire du XIXe siŔcle 44 (2012).

Marco Dogo was Professor (now retired) of the History of Eastern Europe at the University of Trieste. He has also previously served as Director of DIAnet International School, Trieste. His fields of research include migrant groups between the Balkans and the Adriatic, their traditional identities and their role in Mediterranean trade, and modernization processes in the nation-states of Southeastern Europe. His publications include Disrupting and reshaping: Early stages of nation-building in the Balkans (2002); CittÓ dei Balcani, cittÓ d’Europa. Studi sullo sviluppo urbano delle capitali post-ottomane 1830–1923 (2008); and “War, colonization and trade in the Danube basin in the modern era: some sustainability-related issues” in DIAnet Int. School Proceedings 2015.

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