David Rechter


Professor of Modern Jewish History 

Faculty / College Address:

Oriental Institute



Research Interests:

My general area of interest is post-Enlightenment central and eastern European Jewry. Within that field, I focus on the Jews of Habsburg Austria from the 1770s to the end of the First World War. I am interested also in the history of Jewish political ideologies and movements of the late nineteenth century.

Current Projects:

My current research takes two related paths. First, I am exploring the work of a number of Galician intellectuals and activists who were instrumental in creating a Jewish public sphere in late imperial Austria. This study of the politics, culture and economy of a modernising intelligentsia will serve as a prism through which to examine the relationships between state, society and minority. These relationships also form the basis of a second project, which charts the 'Making of Habsburg Jewry’ from the reign of Emperor Joseph II (1780-90) to the 1848 revolutions, a period that saw the transformation of Jews in the Habsburg lands from 'strangers in a strange land' into imperial patriots. 

Courses Taught:

  • The Jews of Europe, 1789-1945
  • Modern Jewish History
  • Jewish Politics and the Jewish Question, 1840-1945
  • Modern Jewish Politics and Ideologies

Recent Publications:

  • The Jews of Vienna and the First World War. London: Littman, 2001.
  • "The Jews: A European Minority." In Stefan Berger, ed., A Companion to Nineteenth-Century Europe 1789-1914. Oxford: Blackwell, 2006, pp. 274-287.
  • “A Nationalism of Small Things: Jewish Autonomy in Late Habsburg Austria.” Leo Baeck Institute Year Book, vol. 52 (2007): 87-109.
  • “Geography is Destiny: Region, Nation and Empire in Habsburg Jewish Bukovina.” Journal of Modern Jewish Studies, vol. 7/3 (2008): 325-37.
  • "Nationalism at the Edge: The Jüdische Volksrat of Habsburg Bukovina.” Aschkenas: Zeitschrift für Geschichte und Kultur der Juden, vol. 18/19 (2008/09): 59-89.
  • “A Jewish El Dorado? Myth and Politics in Habsburg Czernowitz.” In Insiders and Outsiders: Dilemmas of East European Jewry, eds. Richard I. Cohen, Jonathan Frankel and Stefani Hoffman. London: Littman Library, 2010, 207-20.
  • "The Jewish Public Sphere in Habsburg Czernowitz." In Presselandschaft in der Bukovina und den Nachbarregionen: Akteure-Inhalte-Ereignisse (1900-1945), ed. Markus Winkler. Munich, IKGS Verlag, 2011, 49-65.
  • Becoming Habsburg: The Jews of Austrian Bukovina 1774-1918. London: Littman, 2013.
  • "Staat, Gesellschaft, Minderheit: Die Judenfrage im österreichischen Habsburg." In Die 'Judenfrage' - ein europäisches Phänomen?, eds. Manfred Hettling, Michael G. Müller and Guido Hausmann. Berlin: Metropol, 2013, 205-27.
  • "Die große Katastrophe: die österreichischen Juden und der Krieg." In Weltuntergang: Jüdisches Leben und Sterben im Ersten Weltkrieg, ed. Marcus G. Patka. Vienna: Styria Premium, 2014, 12-25.
Photograph of David Rechter
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