Kuranda, Ignaz

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KURANDA, IGNAZ (1812–1884), liberal politician and Jewish communal leader in Austria. Born in Prague into a family of second-hand book dealers, Kuranda considered himself of Hussite origin. He studied for a time at Aaron *Kornfeld's yeshivah in Golcuv Jenikov. Moving to Vienna in 1834, he concentrated on writing, and one of his plays was performed. After living in Stuttgart and Paris, he went to Brussels, where he lectured on German literature and became popular with the anti-French Flemish movement, which admired everything German. In 1841 he founded the periodical Die Grenzboten in Brussels. It served as an organ of the pre-1848 German liberal opposition which criticized Austrian internal policy while upholding the supremacy of Austria over Germany. An outcome of his Brussels stay was his book Belgien seit seiner Revolution (1846). In 1842 he transferred Die Grenzboten to Leipzig, where he was once more mainly occupied with Austrian affairs and smuggling his periodical into that country. Jewish writers, including Moritz *Hartmann, were among his collaborators, and Kuranda helped Joseph von *Wertheimer to publish Die Juden Oesterreichs (1842). Returning to Vienna at the time of the 1848 revolution, he was elected to the German National Assembly in Frankfurt. Kuranda became the focus of the Czech nationalist hatred of the Jews, whom they identified with the Germans. A popular song advocated sending Kuranda to Frankfurt, urging that all the useless Jews in Bohemia be sent after him. Nevertheless, Kuranda headed the unsuccessful delegation sent by the National Assembly to Prague to persuade Czech politicians to attend the assembly. On the occasion of his wedding in Kolin (Bohemia) in the same year, anti-Jewish rioting broke out and he had to flee the town. In Vienna he established the Ostdeutsche Post (discontinued in 1866). After the failure of the 1848 revolution, he was kept under police supervision. After forcing the antisemite S. *Brunner to sue him for libel in 1860, Kuranda was acquitted, thereby gaining popularity among East European Jewry. Kuranda was elected to the Diet of Lower Austria in 1861, retaining his seat for 20 years. An ardent supporter of Centralism and German supremacy in Austria, he opposed the declaration of war against Prussia in 1866. A leader of the German liberal party for 23 years, he represented it on the Vienna city council.

At the same time, he devoted himself to Jewish affairs. From 1860 he was on the board of the Vienna community, serving as its president from 1872. He caused a crisis in the community through his attempt to introduce liturgical reforms, but a split was averted when a compromise was found. A supporter of Jewish studies, he was also vice president of the *Israelitische Allianz. He assisted Joseph *Bloch in his action against August *Rohling. Toward the end of his life, Kuranda's hopes of identifying the Jews with German policy in Austria began to decline. In 1882 he said, "I fear that tomorrow will destroy what has been created today."

His son camillo (1851–1919), a civil servant, was a specialist in classical Roman law, publishing several books in the field, but was never admitted to the deputies' club because he was a Jew. He was also on the board of the Israelitische Allianz.


L. Wolf, Essays on Jewish History (1934), 51–54; Z. Szajkowski, in: jsos, 19 (1957), 37–38; J.S. Bloch, Reminiscences (1923), 136–8 and passim; M. Grunwald, Vienna (1936), index; Y. Toury, Mehumah u-Mevukhah be-Mahpekhat 1848 (1968), index; H. Tietze, Juden Wiens (1935), index; G. Franz, Liberalismus, Die deutschliberale Bewegung in der habsburgischen Monarchie (1955), index; A. Kohut, in: azdj, 76 (1912), 273–5, 282–4, 292–4; adb, 51 (1906), 445–50; P.G.J. Pulzer, Rise of Political Anti-Semitism in Germany and Austria (1964), index.

[Meir Lamed]