Louis Kossuth and the Jewish Emancipation of 1848

Kossuth-Photo

Louis Kossuth and the Jewish Emancipation

 

http://www.ohiou.edu/~Chastain/ip/jewemanc.htm

Louis Kossuth was a good friend of John and Jesse Fremont. Jesse
Benton accompanied Kossuth on his speaking tours of American. Louis
was titled the ‘Angel of Freedom’ due to his call for the true
emanncipation of humnity. In 1948, Kossuth granted complete civil
rights to the Jews of Hungary. This act may have inspired John
Fremont to emmancipate the slaves of Missouri where many Forty-
Eighters called home.

This emmancipation, born of the love of freedom, is a family
tradition that led to the foundation of the State of Israel. It is
time to step back and take a good look at who we are. It is time for
all Americans to step forth and call for peace in Lebanon until we
can discover who our real enemies are, what our real enemy, is.

“Ignorance of thy ignorance is thy fiercest foe.” The Kasiadah

Jon Presco

1849 July 28, HUNGARY

First National Assembly, led by the revolutionary leader Kossuth,
granted complete political and civil rights to the Jews in
recognition of their loyalty. By 1848, The Austrian-Habsburg Empire
was beginning to crumble. In Bohemia and Moravia, Czech National
spirit was on the rise with the building of the Rudolphinium and the
growing hero-worship of Jan Huss, and all over the Empire,
revolutionary tensions were simmering. This was the year chosen by
the Hungarian Maygars to begin their revolt against the Habsburgs.
Whereas we would normally expect the Jews to fight for the
Habsburgs, because they were the established rulers who saved the
Jews from attack, the Jews in fact took up arms against the
Habsburgs, on the side of the Magyars without question. In fact, the
level of support was so great that the Obuda Synagogue was stripped
of every piece of metal, including the breast plates of Torah
Scrolls, all of which was donated to the war effort. In response to
this, the two major leaders of the rebellion, Lajos Kossuth and
Count Istvan Széchenyi began discussing the idea of Jewish
emancipation.

Széchenyi felt that the Jews should be given full citizenship as a
reward, but that they weren’t entirely trustworthy. He felt that
they were only claiming to be Hungarian, but were in fact ALMOST a
separate nation. Kossuth disagreed. He felt that the Magyars were
not ready for Jewish emancipation, and that they should instead give
Jews greater public rights rather than full emancipation. Whatever
the ethical decision, the truth was that Jews were taking up arms
for the Hungarians on a wide scale. Eventually the rebels recognised
this, and in July 1849, they passed the Act of Emancipation for the
Jews. Unfortunately, this was the last Act the independent Hungarian
Parliament passed.

Eventually, the rebellion was crushed by the Austrians and Kossuth
went into exile, never to return. The Jews were fined 2,300,000
guilders by the Austrians for their part in the revolt, and their
emancipation was forgotten, a thing of the past. Eventually, in
1867, the Austrians, seeing that they would never be able to put
down Hungarian nationalism, changed their Empire to the Austro-
Hungarian Empire. This meant that the Hungarians still had no
independent Hungary, but had more influence. In turn, this meant
better conditions, but still no emancipation for the Jews.

Even though the provisional authorities who came to power in March
deferred complete emancipation of Jews until constitutional
assemblies were elected, restrictions against Jews ceased to be
enforced. On April 25, the government offered civil rights to all
religions with the stipulation that the provision dealing with Jews
would be reviewed. After renewed violence in May, Jews were given
full rights. Both Fischhof and a Viennese student Joseph Goldmark
played important roles in bringing about full emancipation.
Moreover, several Jews sat in the Vienna Reichstag in July. In
October, after a rousing speech by Mannheimer, the Austrian
parliament, just before its members fled to Moravia, voted to
abolish the remaining taxes on Jews. Likewise, the last act of the
revolutionary Hungarian government lifted the final barriers to
emancipation.

Yet, when the Austrian monarchy recaptured the city, the new
emperor, Franz Joseph, dissolved the Reichstag and nullified
the “Basic Laws.” Many revolutionaries were arrested including
Fischhof who was sentenced to nine months, and Goldmark who was
sentenced to death. Goldmark, like many other Jewish and non-Jewish
revolutionaries, managed to escape to the United States. In
addition, the radical publicist, Hermann Jellinek, was caught and
shot. Jellinek’s death reminds us that while most Jews were not
political radicals, some prominent people of Jewish origin emerged
as leaders of the nascent socialist movement.

Part of the reason that Jewish emancipation became a major issue in
many of the deliberations was that Jews themselves participated in
the overthrowing of the monarchies as well as the writing of the new
constitutions. In August, 1848, Riesser, who was elected Vice
President of the National Assembly in Frankfurt, countered demands
that Jews be placed under separate legislation because they were not
Germans by declaring that: “under just laws, Jews would be the most
ardent patriots of Germany; they will become Germans along with, as
well as among, Germans. Do not presume that discriminatory laws can
be tolerated without dealing a disastrous blow to the entire system
of freedom, and without introducing demoralization into it!”

http://www.columbia.edu/cu/lweb/eresources/archives/collections/html/
4078816.html

MANY Viennese Jews made notable contributions in the field of music.
Ignaz Moscheles of Prague studied music in Vienna and received
encouragement from Meyerbeer. In 1816, he wrote a sonata which he
dedicated to the Cardinal-Archduke Rudolph, with whom he frequently
performed. The Austrian nobility as a whole were greatly devoted to
the study of music. Moscheles was one of the most beloved musicians
and music teachers and was acquainted with Clementi, Schubert and
Beethoven, whose Fidelio he arranged in part for the piano. He wrote
his famous Studien für das Pianoforte while in London, and in
general did much to spread the knowledge of classic German music in
England. One of his pupils in Leipzig was Mendelssohn. Having worked
for twenty years as Professor at the London Musical Academy, he was
called to the Conservatory at Leipzig in 1846, where he remained
until his death in 1850.

Karl Goldmark was one of twenty-four children of a Cantor in a small
Hungarian community. He was a brother of Joseph Goldmark, who was so
active in the politics of 1848. In 1847, he became a pupil at the
Conservatory of Vienna and

http://www.columbia.edu/cu/lweb/eresources/archives/collections/html/
4078816.html

Title:

Goldmark Family Papers [ca. 1865]-1975.
Phys. Desc:
ca. 250 items (2 boxes)
Call Number:
Ms Coll\Goldmark
Location:
Rare Book and Manuscript Library,
Subjects:

Goldmark & Conried (New York, N.Y.); Goldmark, Joseph, 1818-1881.;
Kossuth, Lajos, 1802-1894.; Adler, Helen Goldmark.; Brandeis, Alice
Goldmark.; Goldmark, Carl, 1830-1915.; Goldmark, Pauline Dorothea.;
Vienna (Austria)–Social life and customs.; Europe–Description and
travel.; New York (N.Y.)–Genealogy.; Europe–Genealogy.; United
States–Politics and government–19th century.; Family–United
States.; Family–Europe.; Family–Austria–Vienna.; Family–New York
(N.Y.); Composers–Austria–Vienna.; Horticulture–United States.
Creator:
Goldmark family.

Biographical Note

Joseph Goldmark (1818-1881), Hungarian-born physician whose hobby
was chemistry, came to America in 1849, shortly after presenting his
discovery of red phosphorous to the Convention of Hungarian
Physicians and Naturalists. A revolutionist in his youth, his
political opinions forced Goldmark to leave his country with Louis
Kossuth. While developing the Brooklyn factory of Goldmark and
Conried, he continued to be active in politics during the rest of
his life. He amassed a great deal of property to leave to his large
family, which included daughters Helen (wife of Felix Adler, founder
and Director of the Society for Ethical Culture), Pauline (early
feminist and horticultural scholar), and Alice (wife of Judge Louis
Brandeis). Joseph Goldmark’s brother Carl Goldmark was a composer
and music teacher in Vienna.

http://www.ohiou.edu/~Chastain/ip/jewemanc.htm

Jewish Emancipation

Jewish Emancipation, 1848 Among the primary causes of the
revolutions of 1848 was the longstanding call for liberation,
particularly of the middle class. Thus, a universal objective was
the call for elections for assemblies to write constitutions which
would “throw off the iron leading strings of the aristocracy”
(Heine) and guarantee basic rights universally to all citizens. The
objective of Jewish emancipation that would grant them equal civil
and political rights with the rest of the citizens was part of the
great burgher movement of emancipation of all citizens from the old
aristocratic order Therefore, in central Europe, where Jewry
continued to suffer legal discrimination, Jews were often part of a
demand for civil rights as the part of radical programs. The
liberation of Jews from the legal complexity of the old order became
one of the principal issues in the various constitutional
deliberations. The ensuing public debate on the rights of the Jews,
however, led to ambivalent results.

On one side Jews stood shoulder to shoulder with non-Jews in their
fight for emancipation; two of the five victims in Vienna in the
March 1848 violence were Jews, while at least ten Jews died in the
fighting in Berlin. Yet on the other side, the 1848 uprisings
ushered in a new more intense anti-Jewish hostility as many
Christians feared that emancipation would be tantamount to Jewish
domination. The German theologian David Friedrich Strauss commented
on the ambiguity that “at the very time when on one side an
overwhelming vote of confidence has been carried in favor of the
Jews . . . we see on the other side a clear vote of no confidence
interposed.” There is no question that in most states trying to
liberate themselves, Jews played an active role. Equal rights for
Jews were inextricably tied with demands for constitutions and civil
rights, and consequently the vast majority of Jews sided with the
revolutionaries.
Liberals advocated Jewish emancipation for a variety of reasons.
Some liberals did so with the premise that discriminatory laws were
anachronistic and morally unjust, while others wanted to rescind
prejudicial laws believing that this would be an effective way to
encourage assimilation or conversion. Most liberals believed that
emancipation would compel Jews to adapt to the ways of the majority.
They were less persuaded to liberate Jews out of an abstract
political morality than they were out of economic utility. Both Jews
and liberals thought the first step toward an equal society was to
have laws guaranteeing basic freedoms. Paragraph 13 of the Basic
Rights of the Frankfurt Parliament stated that civil rights were not
to be conditional on belonging to a particular religious faith. For
the Jews, this was a great improvement over the Act of 1815 which
allowed special legislation dealing with Jews. In practice, each
state in the German Confederation enacted different ways of dealing
with its Jewish population ranging from minor acts of discrimination
to outright bans against Jews. Part of the enthusiasm that Jews
exhibited for a united Germany stemmed from the belief that one
uniform law would be more beneficial than thirty-nine separate ones.
It must be pointed out though that perhaps a quarter of European
Jews could be considered conservative, and that a majority of Jews
were not politically active during the events of 1848. Those Jews
who did participate in the rebellions were however liberal or
radical.

Each nation treated Jews distinctly before 1848. Only in France and
the Netherlands were Jews earlier emancipated, and thus the events
of 1848 had little influence on their legal status. Nonetheless, two
Jews, Adolphe Crémieux and Michel Goudchaux, were active in the
French provisional government, and Rabbi Aron joined the bishop of
Strasbourg and the Protestant clergy in 1848 to bless liberty trees
and praise the Republic. Like in France, Great Britain abolished all
legal restrictions in 1846 so the Jewish debate in 1848 was a minor
factor. Most other countries, except for Russia, had been gradually
debating and ameliorating the restrictions against Jews in the
previous half century. This piecemeal move toward emancipation
coincided, in many areas, with greater Jewish assimilation. As the
barriers to citizenship fell, Jews began to play a prominent role in
public life, and, at least in the cities, commenced to be more
accepted by their fellow countrymen. One historian wrote
that “public opinion…of the middle class opposition had come round
to the cause of emancipation. The demand for emancipation, raised by
Christian and Jew alike, was clearly in agreement with the
Zeitgeist, and thus, the ambiguous attitude of a number of bourgeois
politicians notwithstanding, Jewish emancipation became an important
plank in the political programs of the Liberal and Democratic
movements.” Thus, in many ways 1848 can be seen as a culmination of
a half century of progress as the constitutional guarantees extended
earlier initiatives.

Most Jewish and non-Jewish liberals hoped that with one broad
stroke, all social and economic inequalities would be abolished.
Some Jews like Gabriel Riesser, the most prominent Jewish spokesman
for emancipation in the German states, believed new laws would erode
the social gulf by encouraging mixed marriages. “A consequence of
our new law,” he asserted, “will be that marriages will be mixed,
and that religion will no longer be a permanent and insuperable
dividing wall preventing a union of peoples.” This sentiment was
taken further by David Strauss who hoped that emancipation would
inevitably lead to mixed marriages which would “bring about the
disappearance a peculiarities and ossified traits which have so far
made of the Jews such a burden on our civil society.” One Jewish
liberal became so enthralled by the promise of emancipation that he
wrote: “The messiah, for whom we prayed these thousands of years,
has appeared and our fatherland has been given to us. The messiah is
freedom, out fatherland is Germany.” Gabriel Riesser asserted, “If
you will grant emancipation with one hand, and with the other the
realization of the beautiful dream about the political unification
of Germany, I would take the second hand unhesitatingly, because I
am convinced that a unified Germany will also include emancipation.”

There were some Jews nevertheless who feared that if the liberals
succeeded in breaking down the impediments to assimilation the
existence of the Jewish community would be threatened. Many Orthodox
and non-Orthodox Jews feared that emancipation wou ld not be in the
best interest of Judaism or the Jewish people. They worried that
many may perceive legal equality as an opportunity for secession,
and that the proliferation of intermarriages could lead to the
extinction of Judaism.

During 1848 liberals fought against the notion that states should be
based on the principles of Christianity, and furthered the idea that
individuals made up the cornerstone of the state. They believed that
the fewer restrictions placed on people, the more prosperous the
state would be. Conversely, many of the revolution’s opponents were
also opposed to the doctrines of Liberalism, and consequently, to
emancipation. The Prussian King Friedrich Wilhelm IV wanted to
deprive the Jews of the rights as state citizens in 1847.
Conservatives like Prussian Minister of the Interior von Thile
argued against Jewish Emancipation by stating that granting Jews any
rights in government was irreconcilable with Christendom because
they would be expected to take part either in the permeated with the
Christian spirit. Thus, opposing Jewish Emancipation in 1848 was
just one of the reasons that Conservatives fought against the ideals
of the revolution.

Part of the reason that Jewish emancipation became a major issue in
many of the deliberations was that Jews themselves participated in
the overthrowing of the monarchies as well as the writing of the new
constitutions. In August, 1848, Riesser, who was elected Vice
President of the National Assembly in Frankfurt, countered demands
that Jews be placed under separate legislation because they were not
Germans by declaring that: “under just laws, Jews would be the most
ardent patriots of Germany; they will become Germans along with, as
well as among, Germans. Do not presume that discriminatory laws can
be tolerated without dealing a disastrous blow to the entire system
of freedom, and without introducing demoralization into it!” Riesser
was not the only Jew fighting for German unification, five others
joined him at the preparliament (Vorparlament), and seven Jews were
elected to the German national assembly.

Like the debate in Frankfurt, the one in Vienna was consequential in
deciding the fate of Habsburg Jews. In many cities of the Austrian
Empire, like Bratislava and Prague, the insurgency provided a
convenient motive for popular attacks on Jews. In fact these attacks
were repeated in various locals throughout Europe. Since Jews were
associated with the bourgeoisie who were allegedly bent on bringing
new capitalist ways of production to society, in addition to of
course practicing a cabalistic religion, many farmers and artisans
blamed the Jews for their economic troubles. In Vienna, however,
attacks against Jews were rare despite the fact that there were many
Jews who took part in the Revolution. Dr. Adolf Fischhof became the
foremost orator of the insurrection in Vienna where Jews were killed
fighting side by side with Christians attempting to bring about a
new order, and the Jewish dead were buried in a common grave with
the other martyrs. Speaking at the funeral for the fallen
revolutionaries, Rabbi Mannheimer of Vienna addressed the Austrians
arguing: “You wish that the Jews killed in action be buried
alongside your own victims. Then you should also permit those who
participated in the struggle together with you to live here on a par
with you. Accept us a free men!”

Even though the provisional authorities who came to power in March
deferred complete emancipation of Jews until constitutional
assemblies were elected, restrictions against Jews ceased to be
enforced. On April 25, the government offered civil rights to all
religions with the stipulation that the provision dealing with Jews
would be reviewed. After renewed violence in May, Jews were given
full rights. Both Fischhof and a Viennese student Joseph Goldmark
played important roles in bringing about full emancipation.
Moreover, several Jews sat in the Vienna Reichstag in July. In
October, after a rousing speech by Mannheimer, the Austrian
parliament, just before its members fled to Moravia, voted to
abolish the remaining taxes on Jews. Likewise, the last act of the
revolutionary Hungarian government lifted the final barriers to
emancipation.

Yet, when the Austrian monarchy recaptured the city, the new
emperor, Franz Joseph, dissolved the Reichstag and nullified
the “Basic Laws.” Many revolutionaries were arrested including
Fischhof who was sentenced to nine months, and Goldmark who was
sentenced to death. Goldmark, like many other Jewish and non-Jewish
revolutionaries, managed to escape to the United States. In
addition, the radical publicist, Hermann Jellinek, was caught and
shot. Jellinek’s death reminds us that while most Jews were not
political radicals, some prominent people of Jewish origin emerged
as leaders of the nascent socialist movement.

Franz Joseph’s 1849 constitution contained a clause guaranteeing
equal rights, but he abrogated the document two years later. By
1853, new bans against Jews acquiring real estate and moving to
certain areas of the empire were constituted. Soon “Jewish oaths”
were restored, and in some districts, like Galicia, Jews were
forbidden to hire Christian domestics. Similarly in Hungary where
Jews played a more minor role than they did elsewhere, they were
nonetheless blamed by the counter revolutionaries and forced to pay
a special tax for their support of the revolution.
The results of 1848 were ambiguous. In many nations, Jews kept some
of their newly won freedoms, while in other states their
emancipation was repealed. In Germany when the parliament of
Frankfurt dissolved, it was replaced by the old Bundestag, and
alliance of rulers instead of nations. The “Basic Rights of the
German People” was abolished in 1851, and Jews were once again
subject to discrimination. The idea of a “Christian state” reechoed
in Prussia and many other states. Prussian law included a paragraph
stating that: “The Christian religion shall be the basis in all
government institutions that are associated with religion.” Jews
would have to wait until 1871 for legal emancipation to take hold,
ironically the Jewish emancipation went hand in hand in once again
with German unification. Yet in the decades following 1848 many Jews
realized that the social and economic emancipation depended less on
legalization and more on the willingness of the population at large
to accept Jews as fellow citizens. Glenn R.

Sharfman
Bibliography

Baron, Salo. “The Impacts of the Jewish Revolution of 1848 on Jewish
Emancipation,” Jewish Social Studies XI (1949).
Dubnov, Simon. History of the Jews: From the Congress of Vienna to
the Emergence of Hitler (New York: A.S. Barnes and Co., 1973), V.
Harris, James. “Public Opinion and of Proposed Emancipation of the
Jews in Bavaria in 1849-1850,” Leo Beck Institute Yearbook, XXXIV
(1989).
Kober, Adolf. “Jews in the Revolution of 1848 in Germany,” Jewish
Social Studies X (1948).
McCagg, William O. A History of Habsburg Jews, 1670-1918.
(Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1989).
Moldenhauer, R. “Jewish Petitions to the German National Assembly in
Frankfurt 1848/49,” Leo Beck Institute Yearbook XVI (1971).
Mosse, Werner. “The Revolution of 1848: Jewish Emancipation in
Germany and its Limits,” in Werner Mosse, Arnold Paucker, and
Reinhard Rürup (eds.), Revolution and Evolution: 1848 in German-
Jewish History (Tübingen: J.C.B. Mohr, 1981).
Rürup, Reinhard. “The European Revolutions of 1848 and Jewiish
Emancipation,” ibid.
Toury, Jacob. “Townships in the German-Speaking parts of the
Austrian Empire before and after the Revolution of 1848/49,” Leo
Beck Institute Yearbook XXVI (1981).
Joseph Goldmark and Isidor Bush, founders of the first Jewish weekly
(incidentally, it was published in the German language…

http://www.jewishgates.com/file.asp?File_ID=213

Goldmark’s father was a chazan to the Jewish congregation at
Kezsthely. His early training as a violinist was at the musical
academy of Sopron (1842-44). He continued his music studies in the
nearby town of Ödenburg and two years later was sent by his father
to Vienna, where he was able to study for some eighteen months with
Jansa before his money ran out. He prepared himself for entry first
to the Vienna Technicsches Hochschule and then to the Conservatory
to study the violin with Joseph Böhm, with Preger for harmony. The
Revolution of 1848 forced the Conservatory to close down. He was
largely self-taught as a composer. He supported himself in Vienna
playing the violin in theatre orchestras, at the Carlstheater and
the privately-supported Viennese institution, the Theater in der
Josefstadt, which gave him practical experience with orchestration,
an art he more than mastered.

Jews in the Army of the Kingdom of Italy (1848-1923)

By Andrew J. Schoenfeld, MD Northeastern Ohio Universities College
of Medicine
The Italian Jews of the nineteentjh and early twentieth centuries
were one of the most fervent nationalist groups in the nascent
Italian State. As a result, they actively enlisted in the army of
the Kingdom of Italy and its predecessor, the army of the Kingdom of
Sardinia-Piedmont. Indeed, their valorous and inspired service has
prompted some authors to liken the Italian Jews of the nineteenth
century to a type of military caste.

Many Jews, such as Giuseppe Ottolenghi, Cesare Rovighi and Enrico
Guastalla attained high levels of command in the Italian military
and were even counted among the King’s most trusted martial
advisors. Unfortunately, the events of World War II and the attitude
that modern scholars maintain towards the Jews of Italy has resulted
in the achievements of these inspired individuals and communities
being lost to posterity.
1
Perhaps in no state since the Roman Empire did Jews attain such a
level of integration and importance as they did in the late
nineteenth century Kingdom of Italy. Residents of the Italian
peninsula since the days of the Maccabees, nowhere in Europe was
there a longer tradition of a Jewish community so well versed and
productive within the parameters of “native” culture. Fluent in
Italian long before the Renaissance, Jews were involved in a cross-
cultural exchange with fellow Christians in almost every state on
the peninsula.

A unique Italian Jewish culture was formulated by the cultural
milieu in the lands below the Alps (possessed of its own religious
rite and Judeo-Italian prayers) even as Jews could not help but
influence Italian Christians with their prominence in the fields of
medicine, literature and business. While official state regulations
restricted Jewish activity in certain fields, the coming of the
Risorgimento removed hindrances that prevented Jews from laboring in
state service. The enlightened Savoyard Kings of Sardinia-Piedmont
and later Italy allowed Jewish Italians to achieve success in a
dizzying number of fields, most notably government administration
and the military.

Yet, for all their great achievements and dedication to the land of
their birth, the history of the Italian Jews remains one of the
least well documented in all of Europe, with perhaps only the Jews
of the Balkan states receiving even less attention in the historical
literature. Countless treatises have been penned on various aspects
of Jewish history in the German, Russian and Polish lands but only
relatively few works have been published on the Italian Jews and
none of these have been definitive.
The Russo-Polish Jews have Dubnow and the German Jews have Graetz
and Zunz, but no great Italian Jewish historian has emerged in order
to recount the achievements of this grand civilization that spans
the entire scope of Western history. While it is too great an
endeavor to attempt to record the entire treatise of Italian Jewry
here, I hope to bring to light a small facet of this community’s
story: one which speaks to its high level of integration and
dedicated service within the Italian state.
2
At the dawn of the nineteenth century, the Italian Peninsula was
carved up into a myriad number of small kingdoms and duchys, all of
whom expressly proscribed members of the Jewish faith from service
in state government, including the military. Although certain Jews
like Abraham Castello, Salamone Fiorentino and Isaac Maurogonato
played prominent roles in Parma, Venice and the Papal States, it was
well accepted that Jews were not suited for the profession of arms.
While individual Jews were able to achieve a modicum of political
influence at certain courts, the practice of the military profession
was strictly forbidden in Sardinia-Piedmont, Parma, Modena and the
Papal States. Lombardy and Venice, as provinces of Austria,
technically allowed Jewish military service but there are no
specific examples of Italian Jews from these regions serving in the
Austrian army. While these injunctions against Jews were either
holdovers from more conservative times or the reflection of popular
sentiments, the political clime of the early nineteenth century
would not only pave the way for Italian Jewish emancipation but also
remove the impediments to national service.
The French Revolution and the military success of Napoleon were not
only responsible for eliminating Jewish disabilities in Italy and
elsewhere but also contradicted the popular belief that Jews were
unfit or unable to serve in a military capacity. The example of
Andrea Massena proved particularly inspiring for the Jews of Italy,
especially since he was a scion of their community.1 Born at Nice in
1758, Massena was an early volunteer in the French Revolutionary
army. As general of the 32nd division, he was personally responsible
for liberating the Jewish communities of Northern Italy. After his
pivotal role in the Battle of Mantua, General Massena was named
commander of the Roman territories and Commander-in-Chief of the
Italian Army.
This great general, champion of Italian Jewry and the “right hand of
Napoleon’s army,”2 would end his career as Prince of Rivoli, Duke
D’Essling and Marshal of Provence. But the affairs of the Italian
Jews were too closely linked with the success of Bonaparte and his
generals. Following the debacle at Waterloo and the rise of the
conservative Austrian, Prince Metternich, the old disabilities and
injunctions once again saddled the Jews of Italy.

But, the examples set by Napoleon and his Jewish Field Marshall were
not lost on the younger generation of Italian Jews. They had proven
that the dominion of the Old Order could be challenged and that
Jews, as much as any other citizen, could take up arms in the
service of freedom, brotherhood and national unity. As the influence
of republicanism and liberalism grew in the cities of the peninsula,
so too did Jewish participation increase in the movements for
freedom and Italian unification. Jews were particularly active in
Giuseppe Mazzini’s Giovine Italia movement, among them Angelo and
Emilio Usiglio3, Pellegrino Rosselli, David Levi Chierino and the
Todros family of Turin, who financed Mazzini’s republican incursion
into Savoy4. The allies of Giovine Italia in Leghorn, the Veri
Italiani society, were led by two Jews: Ottolenghi and Montefiore.5
The implications of these popular movements in Northern Italy were
not lost on the state governments and several official reforms were
made throughout the late 1830s and 1840s.

This change in dogma was spearheaded by the Codice Albertino,
promulgated by the forward thinking Savoyard King Charles Albert,
which made Piedmont the first Italian state to grant its Jewish
citizens equal rights and allow them to enter the military.6 The
situation in Piedmont was closely mirrored by events in Tuscany
where the Grand Duke issued a series of edicts that culminated in
Jewish emancipation. Tuscan Jews were allowed to enlist in the
National Guard in 1847 and, in that same year, Pope Pius IX accorded
civil rights to Jewish residents of his Papal domains.

The collapse of the French monarchy in 1848 served as a springboard
to a period of revolution and national foment that would ultimately
result in the Italian unification of 1860. Republican revolutions
erupted across the peninsula as the Italian people launched a
concentrated effort to throw off the onerous yoke of the Habsburgs
and Bourbons. Revolutionary fervor spread to its greatest extent
among Italian Jews and, in every state, rabbis actively preached
recruiting sermons from their pulpits. The exonerations of their
prelates were met with equal enthusiasm by the Jewish populace and,
in every state throughout the north, Jews played an active role in
the movement for independence.

Ciro Finzi was important in the Milanese revolution popularly
recalled as the “Five Days of Milan” and Daniel Manin was commander
of the armed forces that ousted the Austrians and set up the
Venetian Republic.7 Venetian Jews served as officers and enlisted
men in the state’s republican army and Daniel Manin, Leone Pincherle
and Isaac Maurogonato became elected officials.8

While Jews were influential in the revolutionary movement all over
Italy, nowhere was their military effort as concerted as it was in
the Kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia. 235 Jews volunteered for service
in the army as war loomed with Austria, among them Giuseppe Finzi
and Enrico Guastalla, who would go on to enjoy an outstanding
military career.9 The Chief Rabbi of Turin, Lelio Cantoni, actively
recruited amongst the city’s Jews and helped organize volunteers
into three battalions of sharpshooters. Jewish volunteers also
formed the 7th Company of Bersalgieri that performed admirably
throughout the conflict with Austria, especially at the Battle of
Bicocca where members of the 7th rescued the colors of the 16th
regiment.10

Meanwhile, the proclamation of a Roman Republic under Mazzini and
Garibaldi had temporarily put an end to Papal rule in the Eternal
City. Italian Jews from across the peninsula and even Europe flocked
to the Republican flag and rushed to Rome to participate in its
defense. Five Jews were present in the ranks of the Lombard Legion,
among them Ciro Finzi and Giacomo Veneziano who were both martyred
in the French onslaught that eventually spelled the end of the
Republic.11 Giuseppe Revere, Abraham Pesaro, Salvatore Anau, Leone
Carpi and Enrico Guastalla were also prominent in the defense of the
Roman ramparts. When the situation proved untenable, and Garibaldi
began his imperiled retreat to the north, there were eight Italian
Jews in the entourage that followed him into exile.12

Despite the setbacks endured by the dissolution of the Roman
Republic and the Piedmontese defeat at Custoza, the twin movements
for Italian unification and Jewish emancipation were proving
themselves indomitable. By the time King Victor Emmanuel II ascended
the throne of Sardinia-Piedmont in 1849, full emancipation had
already been granted to the Jews of his state. Furthermore,
Piedmont’s Prime Minister, Camillo Cavour, was a firm proponent of
equality for Italians of all faiths and brought his forceful
personality to bear against what few inadvertent relics of
intolerance remained in the Savoyard kingdom. Under the watchful
gaze of Cavour and King Victor Emmanuel II, the first Italian Jews,
Treves de Bonfili and Franchetti, were raised to the nobility and
received the Order of Saints Maurice and Lazarus.13

In 1854 the government of Sardinia-Piedmont endeavored to send a
contingent of troops to fight with the allies in the Crimean War
against Russia. Once again, Italian Jews from the North eagerly
responded to the call to arms. The now storied Enrico Guastalla and
Cesare Rovighi were among the legions of Italian Jews who enlisted
in order to combat the Russian enemy.14 When war once again erupted
with Austria in 1859, Italian Jewish veterans of the Crimean War
would form an important cadre for recruitment in their communities.

The Italian War of Independence (1859-1860) would not only realize
the dream of Italian unification but also serve as the conflict in
which many fabled Jewish veterans first saw combat. There were
already ninety Jewish career officers in the army of Piedmont-
Sardinia at the outbreak of hostilities and these numbers were
swelled by a flood of Jewish volunteers. 260 Jewish soldiers would
serve in the Piedmontese army during the war of liberation and many
of them would be decorated for valor.15

Both Enrico Guastalla and Cesare Rovighi continued their service in
the army and played important roles in the campaigns against Austria
and Naples. But the war of liberation would also initiate a new
generation of Italian Jewish combatants, one which would eventually
rise to the highest echelons of the Kingdom’s army. A mere cadet in
the war against Austria, Giuseppe Ottolenghi would eventually become
a Lieutenant General and Minister of War. Other young Jews fighting
in the Savoyard army who were destined for martial prominence
included Edoardo Arbib, Emilio Arbib and Roberto Segre.

About Royal Rosamond Press

I am an artist, a writer, and a theologian.
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1 Response to Louis Kossuth and the Jewish Emancipation of 1848

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