Jewish Associations in the Multicultural Cities of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy around 1900

The Jewish communities were present everywhere in the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy and were important actors of multiculturalism: they were the most multilingual group, whatever language and place are concerned. The size of the communities might have been different in the various cities, but their role in the cultural and economical life was everywhere superior to their proportion in the population. The paradox lies in the fact that the Jews were one of the pillars of the monarchy's unity and at the same time the bearer of its diversity. The purpose of the paper is to compare four towns (Arad and Subotica in Transleithania; Trieste and Brno in Cisleithania), to see how in different linguistic and national environments the Jewish associative network functioned. In each city, Jews were confronted with a dominant linguistic and national group into which they integrated or not. Jews were essential actors of the associative life of the Empire but actually more as members of secular societies than as members of specific Jewish associations. The assimilatory trend of the last decades of the nineteenth century made most of them not want to appear too much linked to Jewish groups. Being a minority in the four cities examined here, they were not overrepresented as a group in the associative life.

 Key Words: Jews, Austria-Hungary 1867-1918, associations, multiculturalism.