Samuel Steinherz (1854-1942) und Bertold Bretholz (1862-1936) - zwei Parallelen jüdischen Lebens in den böhmischen Ländern

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Title in English Samuel Steinherz (1854-1942) and Bertold Bretholz (1862-1936) - two Parallels of Jewish Life in the Czech Lands


Year of publication 2016
Type Article in Proceedings
Conference Avigdor, Benesch, Gitl. Juden in Böhmen, Mähren und Schlesien im Mittelalter. Samuel Steinherz zum Gedenken (1857 Güssing - 1942 Theresienstadt)
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Field History
Keywords Samuel Steinherz; Bertold Bretholz; Judaica; Jewish akademics; University in Praque; History of science
Description Samuel Steinherz and Bertold Bretholz rank among the most noted Jewish historians of the Czech lands. However, their life passages approached only in their late years, a bit due to having been forced by circumstances. Growing German nationalism protruded the then nationally focused Bretholz from his natural German environment and to Steinherz, in the period of his chancellor office in Prague, an anti-Semite “affair” posted negative limits to his human, professional, and research space. Then, both searched for the “centrum securitatis“, which they found in the research of Jewish history, which resulted in their personal contacts and established a tactful or even friendly relation. This study searches parallels and differences of their professional and personal lives. The parallels prevailed: Family roots in a purely Jewish environment, study at the University of Vienna, and a following course in the Austrian History Institute, a spouse of a Jewish religion, a happy life blessed by children, successful professional activity, rich research and publishing activity, and a sad end of life: Steinherz died in Terezín in 1942, the younger Bretholz, maybe by his own hand, as early as in 1936. Different was particularly their attitude to the religion of their predecessors; while Steinherz remained Jewish, Bretholz converted to the evangelic church. Both Steinherz and Bretholz personified prototypes of old Austrian apolitical scholars with a traditional methodology and strict study of sources.
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