Vienna’s Jewish Geography

Lisa Silverman

in Becoming Austrians

Published in print July 2012 | ISBN: 9780199794843
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199950072 | DOI:
Vienna’s Jewish Geography

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This chapter probes the degree to which the lives of Vienna’s Jewish residents were shaped Jewish space in the city. From the provinces, interwar “Red Vienna” represented a Socialist—and Jewish—metropolis, but within the bounds of the city, a complex coding of Jewish space affected how all residents established, used, and described their city. These physical and symbolic spatial distinctions mirrored the country’s larger city/province divide. The persistence of the Leopoldstadt imagined as a “Jewish space” served a purpose for both Jews and non-Jews: it enabled them to envision other urban spaces they wished to design or inhabit as “non-Jewish.” Just as Vienna was never more Jewish than when it was used as a way to articulate its relationship to the Catholic provinces, so did the Leopoldstadt—the majority of whose residents were not in fact Jews—emerge as most Jewish when considered in its relationship to the rest of the city. The texts of authors writing in German (Veza Canetti), Yiddish (Abraham Mosche Fuchs) and Hebrew (David Vogel) set all or in part in the Leopoldstadt both shaped and reflected the ways in which different engagements with Jewishness in Vienna were inextricably intertwined with the city’s “Jewish” geography.

Keywords: Leopoldstadt; Veza Canetti; Abraham Moshe Fuchs; David Vogel; Jewish space

Chapter.  16107 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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