In This Article Expand or collapse the "in this article" section Austro-Hungarian Empire, 1867-1918

  • Introduction
  • Reference Works
  • Memoirs
  • Collections of Historical Documents
  • Journals
  • Economic History
  • Demography
  • Cities and Their Jews
  • Religious Movements
  • Gender
  • Culture
  • Assimilation, National Identity, and Ethnic Conflict
  • Zionism
  • World War I

Jewish Studies Austro-Hungarian Empire, 1867-1918
Michael L. Miller
  • LAST REVIEWED: 18 August 2021
  • LAST MODIFIED: 28 July 2015
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199840731-0109


In 1867, following the Austro-Hungarian Compromise (Ausgleich), the Habsburg Monarchy was reorganized into a constitutional monarchy, divided into two parts: Cisleithania (or the “Austrian” part of the monarchy), which included Upper Austria, Lower Austria, Styria, Carinthia, Tyrol, Voralberg, Salzburg, Carniola, Dalmatia, Bohemia, Moravia, Silesia, Galicia, and Bukovina; and Transleithania (or the “Hungarian” part of the monarchy), which included the Kingdom of Hungary (including Transylvania), Croatia-Slavonia, and the city of Fiume. At this time, the largest Jewish populations were in Galicia, Bukovina, Hungary, Bohemia, Moravia, and Lower Austria (where Vienna is located). In 1867, the Jews of Austria-Hungary were emancipated, and they were allowed to live in Habsburg territories (such as Carnolia) that were formerly off-limits. By the outbreak of World War I, the Jews of Austria-Hungary were increasingly concentrated in large cities, such as Budapest, Vienna, Lemberg (Lwów/Lvov), Czernowitz, and Prague. Austria-Hungary was highly multinational, yet the scholarship on the monarchy has been written largely within national paradigms. This is also the case with scholarship on the Jews of Austria-Hungary, though there is also a noticeable tendency to focus on Jews in the larger cities, especially Vienna and Budapest.

General Overviews

Due to the multinational and multilingual character of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy, few scholars have attempted to write a general, comprehensive history of the Jews of Austria-Hungary. Bihl 1980 and McCagg 1989 represent two attempts, but most scholarship is focused on the Jews of individual Habsburg territories, especially Austria, Hungary, Bohemia, Moravia, and Galicia. There are some histories of the Jews in Croatia and Habsburg Italy (Trieste), but these are usually subsumed into larger narratives on Yugoslav or Italian Jewry.

  • Bihl, Wolfdieter. “Die Juden.” In Die Völker des Reiches. Vol. 3.2 of Die Habsburgermonarchie 1848–1918. Edited by Adam Wandruszka and Peter Urbanitsch, 880–948. Vienna: Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften, 1980.

    The multivolume series on the Habsburg Monarchy (1848–1918), published by the Austrian Academy of Sciences, includes this entry on “The Jews” in its volume on “The Peoples of the Empire.” A survey of the demographic, legal, and social situation, with a focus on economic, educational and cultural achievements, linguistic proclivities, and political tendencies. Describes the Jewish communal organization in the various provinces of the monarchy, with a separate subsection on conversions to Christianity.

  • McCagg, William O. A History of Habsburg Jews, 1670–1918. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1989.

    An idiosyncratic essay on the social history of Habsburg Jews from the 1670 expulsion of Viennese Jewry until the end of World War I, focusing on modernization, secularization, embourgeoisement, and especially assimilation. The author examines “the Jewish core of the Habsburg bourgeoisie,” seeing it as a window onto the “Imperial bourgeoisie.” In particular, he views the Jews’ “self-denial” and urge to assimilate as keys to understanding the dilemmas of modernity.

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