Everyday Zionism in East-Central Europe: Nation-Building in War and Revolution, 1914-1920

ISBN : 9780192897459

Jan Rybak
352 ページ
153 x 234 mm

Everyday Zionism in East Central Europe examines Zionist activism in East-Central Europe during the years of war, occupation, revolution, the collapse of empires, and the formation of nation states in the years 1914 to 1920. Before the background of the Great War - its brutal aftermath and consequent violence - the day-to-day encounters between Zionist activists and the Jewish communities in the region gave the movement credibility, allowed it to win support, and to establish itself as a leading force in Jewish political and social life for decades to come. Through activists' efforts, Zionism came to mean something new. Rather than being concerned with debates over Jewish nationhood and pioneering efforts in Palestine, it came to be about aiding starving populations, organizing soup-kitchens, establishing orphanages, schools, kindergartens, and hospitals, negotiating with the authorities, and organizing self-defense against pogroms. Through this engagement Zionism evolved into a mass movement that attracted and inspired tens of thousands of Jews throughout the region. This book approaches the major European events of the period from the dual perspectives of Jewish communities and the Zionist activists on the ground, demonstrating how war, revolution, empire, and nation held very different meanings to people, depending on their local circumstances. Based on extensive archival research, the book shows how during the war and its aftermath East-Central Europe saw a large-scale nation-building project by Zionist activists who fought for and lead their communities to shape for them a national future.


1 The National Mission
2 Welfare, Relief, Political Power
3 The Most Valuable National Fund: Childcare and Education
4 Violence, Antisemitism, and Self-Defense
5 Representing the Nation
6 The Ancient Ideal and the New World
Conclusion: Many Nation-Buildings


Jan Rybak studied history at the University of Salzburg and received his PhD from the European University Institute in Florence in 2019. He held visiting and research fellowships at POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews and the Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw, New York University, and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He taught as an external lecturer at the University of Salzburg and is currently a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of York.