Encyclopedia of Jewish History and Culture Online

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Editor-in-Chief: Dan Diner

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From Europe to America to the Middle East, North Africa and other non-European Jewish settlement areas the Encyclopedia of Jewish History and Culture covers the recent history of the Jews from 1750 until the 1950s.

More information: Brill.com


(1,851 words)

Author(s): Henschel, Christhardt
Municipality in the Voivodeship of Mazovia in central Poland. In August and September 1920, several thousand Jewish members of the Polish armed forces were interned in a former Russian military complex located near the town, in what is now known as Legionowo. Their exclusion was justified on the basis of their alleged collaboration with the enemy. The events surrounding Jabłonna must be seen against the direct background of the Polish-Soviet War; at the same time, they also point to the tense relationship between Jews and Polish military formations from the late 18th century onward. 1. T…
Date: 2020-05-12

January Uprising

(1,802 words)

Author(s): Kozińska-Witt, Hanna
A revolt against Russian rule that took place in Congress Poland in January 1863. The uprising, which began in Warsaw and spread to the other partitioned territories of the former Polish-Lithuanian kingdom, aimed to restore Polish sovereignty. Even Jews, who made up about 10% of the population of Congress Poland, took part in the uprising, not least because they hoped to attain their emancipation. The spirit of fraternity ( braterstwo) that arose between Jewish and non-Jewish insurgents during the January Uprising represents a high point of Polish-Jewish relatio…
Date: 2020-05-12

Jargon Theatre

(2,249 words)

Author(s): Marx, Peter W.
Jargon theatre developed during the 19th century in the urban centers of Europe and flourished around the turn of the 20th century. Performed in a Yiddish-tinged mixed language, it provided popular entertainment on the basis of a specific humor that addressed social conflicts in the light of progressing modernization of the lebenswelt (world of lived experience). A paradigmatic example of jargon theatre was the theatre of the Herrnfeld brothers in Berlin. 1. OriginThe designation “jargon theatre” is derived from the everyday German language of around 1900. Attested …
Date: 2020-05-12


(4,478 words)

Author(s): Rubin, Joel E.
Although the musical genre of jazz emerged in the African-American milieu, its history is from the very beginning also marked by the contribution of Jewish musicians. Over the years, numerous convergences and fusions took place between jazz and Yiddish music. The Jewish affinity for jazz gave rise to the notion of “Jewish jazz” and became an object of scholarly study as part of “Black-Jewish relations.” 1. Jazz in the United StatesJazz emerged around the turn of the 20th century in the United States and became a fully developed musical genre by the First World War…
Date: 2020-05-12


(2,621 words)

Author(s): Gross, Jan T.
In July 1941, the town of Jedwabne in northeastern Poland was the scene of a pogrom, in the course of which Polish inhabitants murdered almost the entire Jewish population of this small town. The massacre occurred in the first weeks of the German occupation, and German policemen were also present, though the pogrom and its brutal execution were carried out on the initiative of the town’s Polish inhabitants. The study Sąsiedzi. Historia zlałady żydowskiego miasteczka (published in 2000; “Neighbors. The Destruction of the Jewish Community in Jedwabne, Poland,” 2001),…
Date: 2020-05-12

Jew Bill

(1,206 words)

Author(s): Endelman, Todd M.
The Jewish Naturalization Act of 1753, referred to by contemporaries as the Jew Bill, allowed foreign-born Jews to become naturalized citizens of Great Britain without having to receive the sacrament of Holy Communion. In spite of the restricted scope of the law and of its very limited potential consequences, its adoption caused a politically motivated outcry that led to its abrogation by parliament in the very same year. Its revocation had no consequences for the legal status of Jews in Great Britain; never…
Date: 2020-05-12

Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee

(4,028 words)

Author(s): Grüner, Frank
The Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee was an organization founded in Moscow in 1942 for the purpose of promoting worldwide Jewish solidarity with the Soviet Union. Subordinated to the Soviet ministry of foreign affairs and to leading government and party organs, it was responsible for mobilizing support against the German Nazi enemy, which it did by raising international donations and drawing attention to German crimes. Moreover, its members saw the committee as a way to re-establish a cent…
Date: 2020-05-12

Jewish Chronicle

(1,280 words)

Author(s): Endelman, Todd M.
Founded in London in 1841, the Jewish Chronicle is the world’s oldest continually appearing Jewish weekly newspaper. In the 19th and 20th centuries, it played a decisive role in shaping public opinion within the Jewish community of Great Britain. While the newspaper’s agenda changed repeatedly over the decades, it essentially remained an opinion forum of the Jewish middle class. The Jewish Chronicle was preceded by two newspapers, both of which appeared in London. The monthly Hebrew Intelligencer was published as early as 1826 but discontinued after only three issues. In…
Date: 2020-05-12

Jewish Historical Institute

(1,608 words)

Author(s): Stach, Stephan
The Jewish Historical Institute (Żydowski Instytut Historyczny, JHI) in Warsaw was founded in 1947 as a documentation and research center dedicated to the history of the Polish Jews. Until the fall of the Iron Curtain in 1989, it was the only institution in the entire Eastern Bloc that continuously applied itself to the study of the Holocaust. From the very beginning, its work was strongly impacted by the political changes in Poland, especially by antisemitic tendencies within state and society. The Jewish Historical Institute (JHI) developed out of the Central Jewish Histo…
Date: 2020-05-12

Jewish Historical Society of England

(1,132 words)

Author(s): Endelman, Todd M.
A learned society founded in 1893. Inspired by similar efforts in other countries, it set itself the task of documenting and studying Anglo-Jewish history. The Jewish Historical Society of England (JHSE) is the oldest extant Jewish society of this kind in Europe. Until late in the 20th century, it was the only institution in Great Britain that dedicated itself to the study of Anglo-Jewish history. Largely conducted by amateur historians, its research studies are now partly viewed as traditionalistic, apologetic, and antiquated. The initiative for the establishment of the Soci…
Date: 2020-05-12

Jewish National and University Library

(1,670 words)

Author(s): Barnai, Jacob
Founded in Jerusalem in 1924, the Jewish National and University Library had its origins in Zionist endeavors of the late 19th century, which sought to shape the library into a spiritual and cultural center for the Jewish people. The creation of the Jewish National and University Library preceded that of the Hebrew University and was fundamental in fostering scientific research in the Yishuv during the British Mandate. To this day the Jewish National and University Library is the world’s leading collection of books and manuscripts on Jewish history and culture.The first initiative…
Date: 2020-05-12

Jewish Question

(3,705 words)

Author(s): Haury, Thomas
In his early treatise Zur Judenfrage (1843/1844; “On the Jewish Question,” 1926), Karl Marx (1818–1883) argued for Jewish emancipation. At the same time he formulated the first materialist critique of the state and of civil society. The work also contains a number of problematic anti-Jewish statements and figures of speech; these have given rise to a still-ongoing debate over the antisemitic content of the text and its enduring impact. 1. IntroductionIn March 1844, Karl Marx (1818–1883) and Arnold Ruge (1802–1880) published the first and only edition of the Deutsch-Französische Ja…
Date: 2020-05-12

Jewish Savanna

(2,206 words)

Author(s): Studemund-Halévy, Michael
An agricultural settlement in the interior of Suriname, which was established in the 17th century in the course of the colonization of America by Portuguese Sephardic Jews from the Caribbean and Brazil. A plantation-based economy and slave ownership made the Jewish Savanna one of the most profitable colonies in the Americas and bestowed considerable prosperity to the Jewish plantation owners. Due to a number of factors, the colony gradually disintegrated in the 18th and 19th centuries, and its inhabitants relocated to other Caribbean states or North America.1. Jews in the Cari…
Date: 2020-05-12

Jewish Social Studies

(1,904 words)

Author(s): Engel, David
Journal “devoted to contemporary and historical aspects of Jewish life” that was published in New York between 1939 and 1993 by the Conference on Jewish Relations (renamed Conference on Jewish Social Studies in 1955). From the beginning,  Jewish Social Studies maintained its scholarly focus on contemporary history. The journal and its institutional environment also played a significant role in the emerging field of Holocaust studies. Its figurehead and enduring influence was the historian Salo W. Baron (1895–1989), who acted as the e…
Date: 2020-05-12

Jewish Society for History and Ethnography

(2,952 words)

Author(s): Armborst-Weihs, Kerstin
Founded in St. Petersburg in 1908, the Jewish Society for History and Ethnography was the first independent research institution for the history of Jews in the Russian Empire. It was modeled on Jewish historiography and the work of Jewish historical societies in Western Europe; however, in view of the situation Jews faced in the multinational Russian Empire, the society represented a distinct form of Jewish historiography. Characterized by an ethnographic approach, it drew on a spirit of nationa…
Date: 2020-05-12