IMC 2007: Sessions

Session 127: Jews and Cities in Austria during the 'Crisis' of the 14th Century

Monday 9 July 2007, 11.15-12.45

Sponsor:IZMS (Interdisciplinary Centre for Medieval Studies), Universität Salzburg / ZJK (Centre of Jewish Cultural History), Universität Salzburg
Organisers:Maria Elisabeth Dorninger, Institut für Germanistik, Universität Salzburg
Christian Rohr, Fachbereich Geschichte, Universität Salzburg
Moderator/Chair:Eva Frojmovic, Centre for Jewish Studies, University of Leeds
Paper 127-aCodifying Jews: Parameters for a Change of their Judicial Position in Austrian Town Charters
(Language: English)
Birgit Wiedl, Institute for the History of Jews in Austria, St. Pölten
Index terms: Hebrew and Jewish Studies
Paper 127-bBetween a Rock and a Hard Place: Rulers, Cities, and 'their' Jews during the Persecutions of the 14th Century
(Language: English)
Eveline Brugger, Institut für jüdische Geschichte Österreichs, St. Pölten
Index terms: Hebrew and Jewish Studies

In European history, the fourteenth century can be seen as a time of transition which greatly influenced the history of the Jews. The Greek noun ‘crisis’, in its original sense, means ‘decision’. Therefore, an approach focussing on challenge and response has been chosen for this session. Based on the results of recent research projects, the session centres on the situation of Jews in Austria and the relations between Jews and cities/towns during the ‘crisis’ of the fourteenth century. By analysing the status of Jews in Austrian town privileges from the middle of the thirteenth century onwards, the changes in the legal position of Austrian Jews, the causes for these changes and the consequences for the Jews in Austrian towns will be outlined. Another aspect will be the persecution of Jews during the fourteenth century. Persecutions frequently caused conflicts between citizens and rulers since the latter were responsible for the protection of the Jews and were interested in them for financial reasons. Examples for such conflicts from several territories in today’s Austria will be examined, including an insight into the daily life of Jews in Austrian towns. The third paper will focus on the problem of debt invalidations, a phenomenon that can be observed earlier than in other German territories in Austria and that caused a Jewish retreat from financial affairs in the second half of the fourteenth century.