Bukowina and Jews

From: <shteyn_at_juno.com>
Date: Fri, 14 Jun 2002 21:33:23 -0700
To: Czernowitz-L_at_cornell.edu
Reply-To: CZERNOWITZ-L_at_cornell.edu

Dear compatriots,
        There is no any doubt that Jews lived in Bukowina already in the Middle
Ages. A settlement of 1408 between a Moldova prince and the Lvov
commercial guild is the first documentary proof of that. Although under
the ruling of the Moldova prince Alexandru Lopushneanu(1552-1568)the Jews
didn't lick honey here, Sfarady and Ashkenazy Jews settled in that
period. During the Chmielnitzky pogroms in Poland and Ukraine 1648-1649,
a numbre of learned Jews found here their refuge. Already at the
beginning of the 17-th century the Czernowitz Jews rejoiced themselves at
a kind of autonomy. Kahal (the community administration), its leader
the"starosta", and its staff, the Rabbi, elected by the community, had to
be confirmed by the prince. Because of the frequent wars between Russia
and Turkey, the Bukowinian Jews used to leave their homes and to stay
over the difficult times at their relatives in other places.
        The Austrian administration didn't hurry up to improve the situation of
the new acquired Jews in Bukowina. Old and effective antisemitic evil
decrees were poured over the head of the still weak Bukovinian Jewish
settlement. Emperor Joseph 2-d wanted to "normalize"the economic
situation of the new Jews, by returning them to agriculture. But what's
more, the first 20 years they could only lease the earth and become earth
owners only after converting to Christianity. The destiny of the
Bukowinian Jews used to lie in the hands of the temporary head of the
military administration and its relationship to Jews. The general
Enzenberg, a notorious antisemite, wanted to get totally rid of the Jews.
Only an intervention to the emperor refuted the disastrous decree. To get
married it was mandatory to have a permission of the government and a
proof of mastering the German language.
        On 1786 the Bukowina was subjected to Galicia. That made it easier for
Galician Jews to settle in the Bukowina, attracted by lesser taxes and
better livelihood conditions. On 1812, when the neighboring Bessarabia
became a Russian province, the general economical situation of Bukowina
worsened. At this time the whole population of Czernowitz constitutes
just 4516 souls. The economical growth of the City starts only thirty
years later. As a result of the general prosperity of Czernowitz , the
Jewish population is growing as weel and its importance for the City
interests. Especially, after 1867, when the Jews got the same rights as
all Austrian citizens.
       About the blossoming of Jewish Czernowitz in a next note. Isak
Shteyn, Rochester

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Received on 2002-06-15 13:51:42

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