The Exodus from Galician Mitsraim: the Unemployment of Jewish Workers in Boryslav – and the Rescue Campaign of 1897-1899
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This article analyzes the rescue campaign of unemployed Jewish workers in 1898-1899 in the Galician oil industrial area. The professionalization of the oil industry and reforms, connected with new safety requirements in the last decades of the 19th century, led to mass unemployment of unskilled, mainly Jewish workers. The catastrophe of the workers aroused the attention of prominent Vienna political leaders, including Theodore Herzl and Saul Raphael Landau. An analysis of the information campaign in the Galician and Vienna Jewish press shows how its leaders, mainly Vienna philanthropists and intellectuals, used the case of Boryslav’s Jewish workers to support socialist or Zionist theories about the Eastern European Jewry. At the same time, the campaign exposed a lack of understanding of the local Galician context and the inability of local elites to react adequately, which led to utopian and non-effective aid projects.
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