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Picture of The Great War against Eastern European Jewry, 1914-1920

The Great War against Eastern European Jewry, 1914-1920

Author(s): Giuseppe Motta

Book Description

This volume focuses on the consequences that the First World War had on the Jews living in the notorious Pale of Settlement within the frontiers of the Tsarist Empire. The research is entirely based on a solid documentary study, consisting of the documents of the Joint Distribution Committee and references to many historiographic works. Rather than dealing with the military aspects of war, the book focuses on the political consequences, and in particular on the economic and social changes that the conflict generated. The Jewish communities experienced a personal tragedy within the general tragedy of war, as they were particularly “damaged”, not only by violence and persecutions – suffering from the pogroms of Cossacks and local populations – but also by the evacuations and expulsions ordered by the military. It meant that a great part of the Jewish population was forced to leave their residence and, in many cases, compelled to wander for several years or even to emigrate. In addition to this, after the outbreak of World War I, the Russian Jews became “hostile elements” who were viewed as potential spies and traitors, and were subsequently targeted by a new wave of discriminatory measures that were based on two myths of contemporary antisemitism: the “stab in the back” and the conspiracy of Jewish Bolshevism. From this perspective, what happened during the Great War could be seen as an anticipation of the tragedy that affected Eastern European Jewry in the following decades.


ISBN-13: 978-1-5275-0289-5
ISBN-10: 1-5275-0289-9
Date of Publication: 01/11/2017
Pages / Size: 276 / A5
Price: £61.99


Giuseppe Motta is Assistant Professor at Sapienza University of Rome, Italy, where he teaches Eastern European History and Modern History. He is a member of the Institute for Italo-Romanian Studies of Cluj, Romania, and is the author of several articles and books on the conditions of national minorities in Eastern Europe. His publications include: The Legacy of the First World War: The Minority Issue in Transylvania, (2014); Robie. La schiavitù dei rom in Valacchia e Moldavia, (2013); Less than Nations: Central-Eastern European Minorities after WWI (2013); The Italian Military Governorship in South Tyrol and the Rise of Fascism (2012); Ardeal. Le origini della Transilvania romena (2011); and Le minoranze nel XX secolo. Dallo Stato nazionale all’integrazione europea (2006).