Jewish Intellectual Women in Central Europe 1860-2000: Twelve Biographical Essays

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The essays collected in this volume show the complex lives and identities of Central European Jewish women, born between 1860 and the early 20th century. They enrich our knowledge and understanding of European Jewish women. Despite their important contributions to many intellectual and artistic fields, most of the women in this book were previously unknown to English-speaking audiences.

These women exhibited a fluid range of identities, affiliations, and loyalties. Their Jewishness was more often identified with culture or community rather than ritual or religion. Most traveled around Europe and fled Europe during the time of the Nazi persecution. Their odysseys highlight the experiences of the marginal and those in exile. The collection offers a valuable contribution to 19th and 20th century women’s history, European intellectual history, Jewish studies, and Diaspora studies.


“We owe the editors and contributors a debt of gratitude for pulling out of the shadows and pushing to the center the rich lives and accomplishments of 19th and 20th century Central European Jewish intellectual women.”

-Prof. Imke Meyer,
Bryn Mawr College

“The work clearly makes a contribution to scholarship by analyzing the lives and writings of important intellectual women, most of whom are known by small circles only then in a foreign language.”

-Prof. Marion Kaplan,
New York University

“These studies offer an unusual and valuable perspective on continuing historical concerns including class, gender, and ideology.”

-Prof. Gershon Hundert,
McGill University

Table of Contents

Foreword | ix Imke Meyer

Introduction | 1 Judith Szapor, Andrea Pető, Maura Hametz, Marina Calloni
Tradition Unchained: Jewish Intellectual Women in Central Europe, 1860-2000
Chapter One | 29 Judith Szapor
An Outsider Twice Over: Cecile Wohl Pollacsek, Salonist of Fin-de-Siècle Budapest
Chapter Two | 59 Agatha Schwartz
Living and Writing as a Cultural Hybrid: The Case of Juliane Déry
Chapter Three | 93 Michaela Raggam-Blesch
A Pioneer in Academia: Elise Richter
Chapter Four | 129 Marina Calloni
Freedom and Resistance against Oppression: The Legacy of Amelia Rosselli
Chapter Five | 173 Rochelle Goldberg Ruthchild
Esther Frumkin: Bringing the Revolution to the Jewish Street
Chapter Six | 205 Daniel A. Lowy and Maria Roth
Júlia Szegő: In the Shadow of History, a Life in Music
Chapter Seven | 227 Eleonore Lappin-Eppel
Käthe Leichter: The Making of a Jewish Intellectual, Socialist, and Fighter for Working Women
Chapter Eight | 261 Dieter Hecht
At the Crossroads: Martha Hofmann, a Zionist Pioneer from Austria
Chapter Nine | 293 Anna Borgos
A Woman Against the Current: The Life Paths of Edit Gyömri (Gelb, Rényi, Glück, Ujvári, Ludowyk)
Chapter Ten | 327 Andrea Feldman
Vera Erlich Stein: Odyssey of a Croatian-Jewish Intellectual
Chapter Eleven | 349 Maura Hametz
The Interstices of Life and Memory: Alma Morpurgo and the Central European Jewish Tradition
Chapter Twelve | 375 Claudia Prestel
Confronting Old Structures: Regina Jonas, the First Female Rabbi
Contributors | 411
Index | 415

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