Neuzeit, Die

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NEUZEIT, DIE ("Modern Times"), liberal Austrian Jewish weekly in German language "for political, religious and cultural interests" (Wochenschrift fuer politische, religioese und Kultur-Interessen), published in Vienna from 30 August 1861 to 25 December 1903 (43 volumes). Modeled after the *Allgemeine Zeitung des Judenthums (1837–1922) in Germany, Die Neuzeit marked the actual beginning of the Jewish press in Austria in the second half of the 19th century and became the main organ for Jewish emancipation until 1867. Before 1850, the Hebrew year books *Bikkurei ha-Ittim (1820–45), *Kerem Hemed (1833–56) and Kokhevei Yiẓḥak (1845–73), I. *Busch's German Kalender und Jahrbuch fuer Israeliten (1842–47), and his weekly *Oesterreichisches Central-Organ (1848) had appeared in Vienna, besides a few other short-lived periodicals in 1848. From 1849 to 1852, M. *Letteris continued to publish two far from successful papers, followed by his Wiener Mitteilungen (1854–69), Joseph *Wertheimer's Jahrbuch für Israeliten (1854–67), and Das Morgenland (1855) of Jacob *Goldenthal.

Die Neuzeit was founded by the Bohemian writer Leopold *Kompert (1822–1886) and the Hungarian rabbi and educator Simon *Szántó (1819–1882). In a way, both embodied the continuity of the German-Jewish press in Austria since 1842, taking over Wertheimer's Jahrbuch, which had succeeded Busch's annual and the Central-Organ. While Die Neuzeit was edited by Szántó till his death, Kompert withdrew after the first volume, still contributing articles from time to time. In 1882, the paper was carried on by the Vienna preacher and scholar Adolf *Jellinek (1821–1893), and in 1893, by his colleague D. Loewy (died 1902).

In their first editorial ("An unsere Leser!") of August 30, 1861, Kompert and Szántó were aware of filling a gap in the daily press, especially for Austrian Jewry, at the same time also hoping for non-Jewish readers. Judaism, as they saw it, should serve as a mirror for general society in a modern age, reflecting any progress or disruption in their time. Die Neuzeit sought to take the position of a peaceful yet determined mediator, ready to fight if necessary. By spreading information on a scientific basis, the paper was to serve an outward function as an organ for emancipation and apologetics, and an inward function by mediating between East and West, religious stagnation and radical reform.

Szántó, however, who wrote the majority of articles, assumed a rather liberal stance, both politically and religiously. While his paper reflected most religious controversies of the time, he distanced himself from the more conservative Ludwig *Philippson and the *Breslau Juedisch-Theologisches Seminar of Zacharias *Frankel, strongly opposing *Neo-Orthodoxy both in Germany and Hungary, which was led by Samson Raphael *Hirsch and Azriel *Hildesheimer. Instead, Szántó favored the reform efforts of Abraham *Geiger and participated in the *synods of Leipzig (1869) and Augsburg (1871), presided over by Moritz *Lazarus. In 1871/72, together with Ignaz *Kuranda, he strongly supported the supposed reforms of Adolf *Jellinek in Vienna against the leader of Austrian Orthodox Jewry, Reb Zalman *Spitzer. In stressing the universalistic and ethical aspects of Judaism and its historic world mission against undue emphasis on ceremonial law, Szántó's Neuzeit was largely in keeping with the views of Jellinek, who had been called to Vienna in 1858, contributed to the paper from time to time, and finally became its editor in 1882. Politically, Die Neuzeit hailed the new era of Austrian liberalism that began in 1860/61, when a liberal constitution was restored and the situation for Austrian Jewry gradually improved. At the same time, much attention was also given to the newly founded *Alliance Israélite Universelle (1860). Although Szántó's paper promoted the concept of a Jewish Stamm as some kind of ethnic unity, it always stressed its loyal liberal German-Austrian position, opposing Polish *Hasidism and East European emigrants, who were unwilling to integrate into Austrian society. While rejecting both secular Jewish nationalism and *Zionism, it called for a common Jewish consciousness and solidarity against *antisemitism.

Like most Jewish weeklies, Die Neuzeit appeared on Fridays, and was designed for reading on the Sabbath. Due to a large concession it quickly spread throughout the German-speaking parts of the country and beyond, providing information on all of Austria-Hungary. Besides subscription fees Die Neuzeit was financed by a separate advertising section, and it served for some time as the official organ of several Jewish organizations. Its variety of contents also contributed to the paper's success. As stated in its first issue, Die Neuzeit was to offer editorials on politics and religion, relevant news from all parts of the country, popular rather than scholarly essays on science and literature, articles on Jewish communal affairs and the educational system in Austria-Hungary, a feuilleton section for pleasure and edification, and local news on weddings, births, and funerals in Vienna and beyond.

Szántó's death in 1882 in a way marked the end of the liberal era in Austria, in which Die Neuzeit had had its share for more than two decades. The rise of antisemitism in Austria and Hungary from the early 1880s brought about a profound change among the Jewish papers in Vienna – as to both their contents and their staff. Several new periodicals were founded, the most prominent being Dr. Joseph S. *Bloch'sOesterreichische Wochenschrift (1884–1920). Die Neuzeit was taken over by Jellinek, who considerably changed its style and substance. The paper turned toward the plight of East European Jewry and the question of emigration in a less polemic way, though still rejecting the *Hibbat Zion movement. At the same time, it actively fought antisemitic attacks, especially those of August *Rohling and Georg von *Schoenerer. In 1884, however, Bloch's Wochenschrift came to the fore – in opposition to the old liberal German-Jewish attitude of Jellinek'sNeuzeit. From 1893, when Jellinek was succeeded by D. Loewy, Die Neuzeit gradually lost in importance. In 1899, Loewy was joined by Siegfried Fleischer, later secretary-general of the *Oestereichisch-Israelitische Union, to counterbalance Loewy's sympathies with Theodor *Herzl's new movement of *Zionism. Die Neuzeit ceased publication at the end of 1903. It has been reproduced on microfilm from the collection of the Leo Baeck Institute New York.


Die Neuzeit 1–43 (1861–1903); M. Rosenmann, Dr. Adolph Jellinek… (1931). add. bibliography: J. Toury, Die Juedische Presse im Oesterreichischen Kaiserreich (1983), 39–51, 69–74, index; R.S. Wistrich, The Jews of Vienna… (1990), index; M.L. Rozenblit, in: lbiyb 35 (1990), 103–131; J. Neumann, "Identitaet und Ort…" (diss. Potsdam University; 2006).

[Hugo Knoepfmacher /

Johannes Valentin Schwarz (2nd ed.)]