Vienna & Its Jews

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9780819168160: Vienna & Its Jews

Traces the history of the Jewish community in Vienna, assesses the extent of Austrian anti-Semitism, and explains why the Jews were so fond of pre-World War I Vienna

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From Publishers Weekly:

"The most unrequited love affair in urban history" is how University of Massachusetts political scientist Berkley describes his lively story of what made the Jews so ardently love a city that so ardently hated them. Tracing the history of Viennese Jews from around 1900, when they were flourishing under the aged Emperor Franz Joseph I, through the 1938 Anschluss with Germany, down to the election of Kurt Waldheim as president of Austria, the author describes the rise, fall and extinction of the greatest Jewish community of our time, as well as its historic, political, social and cultural heritage. Although Viennese Jews had the highest conversion rate of any Jewish community in the world, that did not spare them in the Holocaust. The Austrians eagerly welcomed Hitler, treated the Jews much worse than did the German Nazis, and, in a poll taken in 1984, 85% of the people admitted to some degree of anti-Semitism. Berkley relates this high incidence to the Austrian sense of inadequacy, lack of national feeling, low self-esteem, "disinterested meanness" and an inability to face the unpleasant truth about themselves. Photos not seen by PW.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal:

This engaging and readable history examines the paradoxical Jewish love affair with a city whose populace has shown itself to be passionately anti-Semitic. Relying heavily on previously published material but skillfully interweaving illuminating first-person accounts, Berkley tells a chilling tale of ostensible Jewish self-confidence that ultimately proved self-deceptive. Jews were blinded by their own integrationist desires and by the two-faced, "disinterested meanness" of a mentality that made Austrians disproportionately more supportive of the Nazis and more barbaric than Germans. A useful addition to the literature, though one may reject some of the book's overarching historical perspectives and some of its answers. Benny Kraut, Univ. of Cincinnati
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Berkley, George E.
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