(Social): Session at the European Association for Urban History Conference: Cities in Motion 2020

We intend to hold the discussion as to the selected socio-political questions related to the „new“ Jewish communities in the process of establishing communities and their relations to the majority in the long 19th century and later in the period of confrontations in the first half of the 20th century.

The remnants of Jewish culture (synagogues, cemeteries) can be traced all over the European urban space. The topic of the Holocaust is an inseparable part of modern history of the 20th century. Central and Eastern European cultural and urban history deal less with Jewish communities in the formation process of modern civil society after 1848 which has a causal connection with the Holocaust issue. Slow acquisition of civil rights and freedoms, mainly equal rights to education and enterprise, and freedom of movement, led to moving out of traditional Jewish quarters/villages/ghettos and at the same time to moving to town centres and newly created industrial areas. „New“ Jewish communities were emerging quite dynamically and faced everyday problems with integration, assimilation and multiculturalism during society-wide modernisation. Research and knowledge of the stated phenomena and processes in the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century as well as the knowledge of majority-minority interaction in the urban environment is an inevitable precondition for detailed understanding of social background of the anti-Semitism and its consequences in form of anti-Semitic policy during the Holocaust.

The process of establishing communities and relations in the long 19th century:

  • Social structure, territorial mobility, network of economic and social bonds (specifications and phenomena).
  • Economic, social, political and cultural roles and functions in urban society at the turn of the 19th and 20th century.
  • Integration limits/assimilation.
  • „New“ Jewish communities and Zionism.

Confrontations (first half of the 20th century):

  • Identity changes of the Jews living in urban communities after the year 1918 – reasons, forms, and consequences.
  • Anti-Semitism and confrontation of Jewish communities in European towns in the period between wars.
  • Jewish communities being subject and object of town policy.
  • Social mobility of Jewish urban elite in confrontation with the changes in state regimes in the first half of the 20th century.

Case studies, research works, more complex analyses and comparative-oriented contributions are accepted.

  • Spokesperson: Martin Pekar, Pavol Jozef Šafárik University
  • Co-organizer(s): Andrea Pokludova, University of Ostrava
  • Keywords: Jewish communities | Urban elites | The Holocaust
  • Time period: Modern period
  • Topic(s): Social | Political
  • Study area: Europe