Day 2- Slovakia Group

Today we had the opportunity to listen to Michael Berkowitz talk about Representation and everyday life of Jews in Vienna. We learnt that in the late 19th century inter-war period, there was a higher concentration of Jewish communities along the Danube than any other social group; leading visitors of Vienna to believe that it was a Jewish city. By 1914, there were 200,000 Jews in Vienna. A fascinating insight into Jewish life in Vienna showed that Jews nearly always had jobs involving creative intelligence. Photographers in Vienna were mostly Jewish women, making them a social group that adapted the new-modernist idea. They ran their own businesses, were into sports and music, and made up more than half of the audience in theatre performances. Education was also an important aspect of life. Being categorised as immigrants, the Jews struggled to remain Jewish and keep a Jewish identity, but living in Jewish communities and adopting Zionism made it easier for them to keep this identity. But this was about to change by 1943. There were nearly no Jews left in Vienna, and if there were some, they would keep their Jewish identiJewish 'head' walking sticksty hidden. Hitler’s power and Fascism came to Vienna, building concentration camps to wipe out Jewish communities across Europe. Vienna quickly became an anti-Semitic city, blaming Jews as Christ-killers and job-stealers, even having walking sticks that resemble a Jew’s head with over-dimensionalised noses.

-Caroline Walter


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