History of Jewish
settlement in the Bukowina and Czernowitz
from 1776 till 1914
by Miriam (Mimi)
Till 1774-75, Bukowina was part of Ottoman Moldavia.
A small population of mostly Sephardi Jews lived in the area.
They were largely engaged in commerce and some had come to
Bukowina by the invitation of the Ottoman government.
Shortly after annexation by Austria and incorporation into the
province of Galicia, the 1776 census recorded the Jewish population
of the Bukowina as 2906 people. Immediately following annexation
This Population started to grow due to an influx of Jews from
In 1780 there were 1069 Jewish families living in the Bukowina.
Estimating the number of people per family to be 4, we can assume
the total number number of Jewish people to have been about 4000.
This is an Increase of over 30% in 4 years.
During the rule of Maria Theresia, who's attitude towards Jews was
far from friendly, Jews were generally not allowed to settle in the
With the ascent of Josef II (1780 - 1790) to the throne, the
Situation of the Jews improved. In 1782, he abolished the law by
which Jews had to wear a yellow badge and pay the pol tax. In that
year,(1782) he issued the "Toleranzpatent" through which he gave
the right to engage in handicrafts and attend schools and
At that time a large number of Jews in the eastern provinces of the
Austrian Empire earned their livelihood from the manufacture and
in wine and alcoholic beverages. When a ban on their owning taverns
Was enacted, these people lost the means of earning a living and
Josef II decided to settle a significant number of these people as
Farmers on land which would have to be donated for this purpose by
village or rural district. Each village or rural district,
it's size, had to provide a proportionate number of Jewish families
land and seed for the first sowing. With the land and the grain,
occasionally Jews settling in the rural areas also received houses.
This brought Jews from the small towns to the rural areas and in to
Bukowina. During the years 1780 - 1790, small Jewish farmsteads
Appear in the Bukowina.
But with the ascendance of Francis I to the throne, harsher laws
Pertaining to the Jewish population were enacted.
Francis I ruled from 1792 till 1835. During his rule and despite the
Harsh anti Jewish laws, many Jews in the Austrian empire attained
prominence in commerce, industry, banking and transportation. From
Jews could settle in the Bukowina only if given individual residence
permits. Still during this period many Galician Jews settled in
Emancipation of sorts was finally enacted in 1848 after the
revolution of that year, in which Jews had taken a prominent part.
The federal constitution of March 4, 1849 separated Bukowina from
and made it an autonomous duchy whose internal affairs as defined
constitution would be regulated by a Diet or Regional Parliament.
These internal affairs were defined as those concerning public
paid for by government funds, charitable institutions, churches and
schools, maintenance and housing of the army and any other functions
assigned to the Bukowina parliament by the federal government.
At the head of the Autonomous Duchy of Bukowina, was a President
By the central government.
This independence lasted only 32 months, because with the emperor's
of December, 31, 1851 reforms were introduced which negated the
rights granted by the March 4, 1849 constitution, to the various
Lands including Bukowina. Bukowina remained however, as before, an
independent crown land separate from Galicia.
After 1848, many Jews left farming since they saw no possibilities
success in that endeavor because of the unfavorable rules for
parceling out the land. They were lured to the cities where they
It would be possible to find work.
In 1860 Graf Agenor Goluchowski, who had been named as interior
On August 1859 attempted to reunite Bukowina and Galicia into a
On December 24, 1860 representatives of the people of all classes
Religious entities of Bukowina presented a petition to the minister
state, Anton Ritter v. Schmerling (1805-1893), in which they
the autonomy of Bukowina.
Kaiser Franz Joseph I fulfilled the wish of Bukowina and with the
Of February 26, 1861 Bukowina again became an independent duchy
with its own
coat of arms, the earlier regional constitution was reestablished
regional law was enacted according to which a Regional Parliament
of 31 members, the Bukowina Bishop and 29 elected representatives
them from the class of the large land owners, 7 from the cities and
of trade and commerce, and 12 from the rural districts) was
On April 6,1861 the first session of the Regional Parliament took
The Jewish population, above all the intelligentsia took an active
in the fight for the independence of Bukowina. They not only helped
the petitions, their representatives were active in all the
Largely as a result of these political changes, Bukowina
tremendous population growth and the Jewish population of the
increased even faster than of the population in general.
In 1850 the total population of Bukovina was 380,826 inhabitants,
including 14,581 Jews (3.83% of the total population).
In 1857, the total population was 456,920 inhabitants, an increase
the Jewish population numbered 29,187 (6.38% of the total
an increase of 100%.
In the years 1857 1869 the Jewish population continued to
In 1869 the total population was 511,964 an increase of 12% since
The Jewish population was 47,754 an increase of 63% since 1857.
In the years 1869 - 1880, the general population continued to grow
and the Jewish population growth, continued to outpace the general
By 1880 the total population numbered 571,671, an in crease of less
than 12% over 1869.
The Jewish population numbered 67,418, an increase of 41% since
In the period 1850 1880, the total population grew by 50%
The Jewish population more than quadrupled.
By 1880, on the average, one of every 11 inhabitants of the Bukowina
This increase in the Jewish population of the Bukovina can be
attributed to immigration of Jews from Galicia, Russia, and Romania
where Jews had far fewer civil rights and economic opportunities and
where they were often subject to harassment and expulsion.
In Galicia, Jews were given the rights to vote in 1860 and complete
political rights in 1867, but they were distrusted and discriminated
against by the Polish majority who wanted to break away from Austro
Hungary and be joined to Poland.
In Russia , during the rule of Nicholas I (1825 - 1855), Jews had to
provide a larger proportion of army recruits than the rest of the
population and the term of service was at least 25 years. The Pale
of Settlement, too small to contain the large Jewish population was
further restricted in 1835. In 1871 there was a pogrom in Odessa,
in 1881 there began an era of pogroms and expulsions. In 1891 Jews
were expelled both from St. Petersburg and from Moscow.
In Romania Jews were harassed and discriminated against by one
Government after the other. At the Berlin Congress of 1878, when
Romania was granted complete independence it promised equal rights
to the Jewish population, but never lived up to it's promise.
By 1880 Jewish inhabitants were to be found in all parts of the
Bukowina and only 11 villages in the province did not include
In most cities and villages, the Jewish population constituted
10% of the total population.
In 26 villages the Jews constituted from 10.2 to 49.1% of the
In 1857 of a total population of 456,92, the Jewish population
was 29,187 (6.53%).
In 1869 of a total population of 513,404 the Jewish population
was 47,772 (9.31%).
In 1880 of a total population of 571,671 the Jewish population
was 67,418 (11.79%)
This was 6.71% of the total Jewish population of Austria.
According to the census of 1880, the Jewish population lived in
the following cities in Bukovina:
Total Residents Jewish Residents % Jewish
In the following years the Jewish population of the Bukowina
to grow as is evident from their number:
In 1880, 67,418
In 1900, 96,135
in 1910, 102,900
in 1914, 120,000.
In the Bukowina as a whole the Jewish population grew at a faster
the Christian population. The growth of the Jewish population in
1869 1880 was 41.33% as compared to 11.35% for the total
In the years 1880 1890, the Jewish population grew 22.69% as
13.11% for the total population and
in the years 1890 1900, 16.24% versus 12.93%.
In Czernowitz, the Jewish population continued to grow too, but
their percentage as part of the population did not change.
In 1890 out of 54,171 residents, 17,359 were Jewish (32.04%).
In 1900 out of 67,622 residents, 21,587 were Jewish (31.92%).
In 1910 out of 87,235 residents, 28,613 were Jewish (32.10%).