Demographic Avant-Garde: Jews in Bohemia between the by Jana Vobecka

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By Jana Vobecka

This ebook experiences the original demographic habit of Jews in Bohemia (the historical a part of the Czech Republic), ranging from a second in heritage while industrialization in primary Europe was once nonetheless far-off sooner or later, and whilst Jews have been nonetheless dwelling legally constrained lives in ghettos. Very early on, despite the fact that, from the 18th century onwards, Jews constructed styles of reducing mortality and fertility that used to be no longer saw one of the gentile majority in Bohemia; styles which verified them as a demographic avant-garde inhabitants in all of Europe. Demographic Avant-Garde elucidates what made Jews in Bohemia real forerunners of the demographic transition and why this happened whilst it did. It scrutinizes demographic information from the mid-eighteenth to the mid-twentieth century, and examines what made Bohemian Jews' info detailed from the developments saw within the gentile group and between Jews in different lands. In look for the solutions, Vobecka's research touches additionally upon the cultural, social, political and financial surroundings.

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However, the act also guaranteed the Jews religious freedom and administrative autonomy within their community. 1 The tolerance the Jews were granted in Bohemia was not, however, automatically upheld. Upon assuming the throne, each new king would reaffirm it, but in return demanded payment from the Jews for doing so. Jews and Jewish property were a source of income that appealed not just to the king but also to townsmen, the nobility, and the church, and all three made claims to Jewish property and taxes, especially in times when the power of the sovereign was weak.

4 But ultimately, the expulsion of the Jews did have a very negative impact on the economy and proved to be impractical. Maria Theresa was forced to retract her order and to tolerate the presence of Jews in Bohemia. Jews in Prague were the ones whose lives were affected most by the Empress’s decision. They actually had to leave Prague for three and a half years from 1745 to 1748. It was the only expulsion of Jews from Prague ever executed. After the expulsion, however, some of the Jews did not return to Prague, settling instead in the villages around Prague and in central Bohemia, places where they had sought refuge.

Jews became free to move and live where they wished (4 April 1849) and could marry freely (4 May 1849). The restoration of absolutism in the 1850s did not undo the substance of Jews’ newly obtained rights. The Jews obtained full legal equality in 1867 with the adoption of the December Constitution, which granted them state citizenship, political and civic equality before the law, and the freedom to move, buy real estate, carry business and trade, vote and run for office. For the very first time in modern history, no legal difference existed between the rights of Jews and the rights of other inhabitants in the land.

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