A Murder in Lemberg: Politics, Religion, and Violence in Modern Jewish History

A Murder in Lemberg: Politics, Religion, and Violence in Modern Jewish History

by Michael Stanislawski
     
 

ISBN-10: 069112843X

ISBN-13: 9780691128436

Pub. Date: 01/15/2007

Publisher: Princeton University Press

How could a Jew kill a Jew for religious and political reasons? Many people asked this question after an Orthodox Jew assassinated Israeli Prime Minister Itshak Rabin in 1995. But historian Michael Stanislawski couldn't forget it, and he decided to find out everything he could about an obscure and much earlier event that was uncannily similar to Rabin's murder:

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Overview

How could a Jew kill a Jew for religious and political reasons? Many people asked this question after an Orthodox Jew assassinated Israeli Prime Minister Itshak Rabin in 1995. But historian Michael Stanislawski couldn't forget it, and he decided to find out everything he could about an obscure and much earlier event that was uncannily similar to Rabin's murder: the 1848 killing—by an Orthodox Jew—of the Reform rabbi of Lemberg (now L'viv, Ukraine). Eventually, Stanislawski concluded that this was the first murder of a Jewish leader by a Jew since antiquity, a prelude to twentieth-century assassinations of Jews by Jews, and a turning point in Jewish history. Based on records unavailable for decades, A Murder in Lemberg is the first book about this fascinating case.

On September 6, 1848, Abraham Ber Pilpel entered the kitchen of Rabbi Abraham Kohn and his family and poured arsenic in the soup that was being prepared for their dinner. Within hours, the rabbi and his infant daughter were dead. Was Kohn's murder part of a conservative Jewish backlash to Jewish reform and liberalization in a year of European revolution? Or was he killed simply because he threatened taxes that enriched Lemberg's Orthodox leaders?

Vividly recreating the dramatic story of the murder, the trial that followed, and the political and religious fallout of both, Stanislawski tries to answer these questions and others. In the process, he reveals the surprising diversity of Jewish life in mid-nineteenth-century eastern Europe. Far from being uniformly Orthodox, as is often assumed, there was a struggle between Orthodox and Reform Jews that was so intense that it might have led to murder.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780691128436
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Publication date:
01/15/2007
Pages:
160
Sales rank:
537,479
Product dimensions:
6.30(w) x 9.30(h) x 0.50(d)

Table of Contents

Introduction 1

PART ONE: THE MURDER AND ITS BACKGROUND

Chapter One: Galicia and Its Jews, 1772-1848 9

Chapter Two: Lemberg and Its Jews, 1772-1848 18

Chapter Three: A Reform Rabbi in Eastern Europe 34

Chapter Four: Rabbi Abraham Kohn in Lemberg, 1843-1848 52

Chapter Five: Revolution and Murder 65

PART TWO: THE INVESTIGATION, SENTENCE, AND APPEAL

Chapter Six: Abraham Ber Pilpel, Murderer? 81

Chapter Seven: The Indicted Co-Conspirators 97

Chapter Eight: Magdalena Kohn v. the Austrian Empire 107

Conclusion 112

Afterword 121

Acknowledgments 129

Notes 131
Bibliography 143

Index 149

Illustration Section Follows Page 88

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