Tearing Down Prague's Jewish Town: Ghetto-Clearance and the Legacy of Middle-Class Ethnic Politics around 1900

Overview

In 1887 the middle-class Czechs dominating Prague's City Hall announced that they had a plan for the large-scale destruction and reconstruction of the city's former Jewish ghetto. The plan, involving the razing of nearly all of the roughly 260 buildings inside the ghetto, was carried out in the name of sanitation. To fund this ambitious project, city officials borrowed a vast sum of money. They also expelled the area's impoverished residents from their homes without making any ...

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Overview

In 1887 the middle-class Czechs dominating Prague's City Hall announced that they had a plan for the large-scale destruction and reconstruction of the city's former Jewish ghetto. The plan, involving the razing of nearly all of the roughly 260 buildings inside the ghetto, was carried out in the name of sanitation. To fund this ambitious project, city officials borrowed a vast sum of money. They also expelled the area's impoverished residents from their homes without making any effort to secure new affordable housing for them.

This book examines the social and ethnic interest-group struggles that fueled this project, suggesting possible continuities between nineteenth-century politics and twentieth-century authoritarianism. Giustino shows how middle class officials who held nineteenth-century liberal values shrewdly used municipal power to pursue their group interests, sometimes at the expense of outsiders, and in the process, contributed to persistent anti-Semitism.

East European Monographs

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Editorial Reviews

American Historical Review
It covers complex topics—Czech liberalism, the growth of municipal government, the emergence of historic preservationism, and even Prague's toilets and sewers—clearly and subtly.

— Jeremy King, Mount Holyoke College

History
We should be grateful for the fact that some publishers... still allow the publication of highly specialized monographs. Cathleen Giustino's book... provides a case in point.

— Panikos Panayi

Central European History
Giustino has produced an illuminating study... The result is a fascinating discussion of the interconnected liberal politics.

— Nancy M. Wingfield

Austrian History Yearbook
A well researched and highly interesting study.

— Peter Bugge

Journal of Modern History
This is a book that historians both of Czech nation building and of urban transformation in Europe will find engaging.

— Eagle Glassheim

American Historical Review - Jeremy King

It covers complex topics--Czech liberalism, the growth of municipal government, the emergence of historic preservationism, and even Prague's toilets and sewers--clearly and subtly.

History - Panikos Panayi

We should be grateful for the fact that some publishers... still allow the publication of highly specialized monographs. Cathleen Giustino's book... provides a case in point.

Central European History - Nancy M. Wingfield

Giustino has produced an illuminating study... The result is a fascinating discussion of the interconnected liberal politics.

Austrian History Yearbook - Peter Bugge

A well researched and highly interesting study.

Journal of Modern History - Eagle Glassheim

This is a book that historians both of Czech nation building and of urban transformation in Europe will find engaging.

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780880335164
  • Publisher: East European Monographs
  • Publication date: 1/14/2004
  • Series: East European Monographs
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 5.86 (w) x 8.80 (h) x 1.22 (d)

Meet the Author

Cathleen M. Giustino is associate professor of history at Auburn University in Alabama.

East European Monographs

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Table of Contents

List of Tables
List of Maps and Photographs
Abbreviations
Acknowledgments
1 "Finis Ghetto" 1
Pt. I State and Party Structures Framing Ghetto Clearance 15
2 Delimiting Municipal Autonomy and Local Citizenship 17
3 The Doors of the Local Oligarchy 39
Pt. II Narrowing Czech Middle-Class Differences and Ghetto Clearance 63
4 The Language and Measures of Progress 65
5 Ghetto in the Sense of Slum 89
6 Streets and Sanctity in the Sanitation Zone 115
7 Ghetto in the Sense of Religious Segregation 149
8 Liberal Principles, Czech Identity, and God's Law 175
Pt. III Widening Czech Middle-Class Differences and Ghetto Clearance 207
9 The Prague Compromise of 1896 and Counter-Liberal Challenge 209
10 Lower-Middle-Class Hardship, Municipal Social Welfare, and Anti-Jewish Hostility 233
11 The Public of Historic Preservation and Its Alternatives 267
12 The Re-Ghettoization of Prague's Jews 307
Maps 311
Photographs 319
Notes 339
App.: Statistical Sources 403
Bibliography 405
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