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:

I am at present writing a book about Leon Kellner (1859-1928), a scholar, nationalist politician and public intellectual. Born in Tarnów, Galicia, Kellner was headed towards a rabbinic career but instead became a philologist and literary historian, a renowned Shakespeare specialist who taught at universities in Vienna and Czernowitz. He was a friend of the literary great and good in Victorian and Edwardian England; an essayist of note in the quality press of the Habsburg empire; an important confidant of Theodor Herzl; the prime mover of the Jewish Toynbee Hall movement in central Europe; a parliamentarian in Bukovina, the easternmost province of Habsburg Austria; and, in post-WW1 Vienna, an adviser on Anglo-American affairs to the president of the Austrian Republic.


Selected Publications:

  • Židé nebo Němci? Německy mluvící Židé v poválečném Československu, Polsku a Německu, eds. Kateřina Čapková and David Rechter (Prague, 2019).
  • 'Beyond the Pale: The Country Houses of the Jewish Elite', Special Issue, Journal of Modern Jewish Studies, vol. 18/4 (2019), 393-519, eds. Abigail Green, David Rechter, Juliet Carey.
  • 'Improving the Volk: Leon Kellner and the Jewish Toynbee Hall Movement (1900-39)'. Jewish Social Studies, vol. 24/3 (2019), 51-79.
  • ‘Fact and Fiction in Kazimierz Dolny’. Introduction to Leyb Rashkin, The People of Godlbozhits, trans. and ed. Jordan Finkin (Syracuse, 2017), xxv-xxxi.
  • 'The Education of a People: The Case of Bukovina Jewry’. In Partizipation und Exklusion: Zur Habsburger Prägung von Sprache und Bildung in der Bukowina 1848 – 1918 – 1940, ed. Markus Winkler (Regensburg, 2015), 97-111.
  • Die große Katastrophe: die österreichischen Juden und der Krieg." In Weltuntergang: Jüdisches Leben und Sterben im Ersten Weltkrieg, ed. Marcus G. Patka (Vienna, 2014), 12-25.
  • 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, 2013), 205-27.
  • 'The Jewish Public Sphere in Habsburg Czernowitz'. In Presselandschaft in der Bukovina und den Nachbarregionen: Akteure-Inhalte-Ereignisse (1900-1945), ed. Markus Winkler (Munich, 2011), 49-65.
  • '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, 2010), 207-20.
  • ‘Nationalism at the Edge: The Jüdische Volksrat of Habsburg Bukovina’. Aschkenas: Zeitschrift für Geschichte und Kultur der Juden 18/19 (2008/09), 59-89.

  • 'A Nationalism of Small Things: Jewish Autonomy in Late Habsburg Austria'. Leo Baeck Institute Year Book, vol. 52 (2007): 87-109.
  • 'The Jews: A European Minority'. In Stefan Berger, ed., A Companion to Nineteenth-Century Europe 1789-1914 (Oxford, 2006), 274-287.
  • Towards Normality? Acculturation and Modern German Jewry, eds. Rainer Liedtke and David Rechter (Tübingen, 2003).
  • ‘Ethnicity and the Politics of Welfare - The Case of Habsburg Austrian Jewry’. In Simon Dubnow Institute Yearbook, vol. 1 (2002), 257-76.
  • ‘Kaisertreu: The Dynastic Loyalty of Austrian Jewry’. In Jüdische Identitäten: Einblicke in die Bewusstseinslandschaft des österreichischen Judentums, ed. Klaus Hödl (Innsbruck, 2000), 189-208.
  • The Jews of Vienna and the First World War. London: Littman, 2001.
  • ‘Galicia in Vienna: Jewish Refugees in the First World War’. Austrian History Yearbook 28 (1997), 113-30.


Further Information:

Co-editor, Leo Baeck Institute Year Book: https://academic.oup.com/leobaeck
Associate Editor, Journal of Modern Jewish Studies: https://www.tandfonline.com/loi/cmjs20
Deputy Chair, Leo Baeck Institute, London: https://www.leobaeck.co.uk/
Advisory Board member, Institute for Polish Jewish Studies, London: http://polishjewishstudies.co.uk/


Photograph of David Rechter