WW1 Centenary exhibition at Jewish Museum in Vienna

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Austro-Hungarian troops in the First World War

On 3 April the Jewish Museum in Vienna will open an exhibition focused on the Centenary of the First World War entitled Doomsday – Jewish Life and Death in World War I.

The show considers how the First World War had wide-ranging consequences for the established order of 1914.

The Habsburg Empire collapsed, Tsarist Russia became the Soviet Union, the sun began to set on the British Empire, France was fatally damaged as a world power and the US began an inexorable rise.

Austria’s Jewish community

The war also had grave consequences for the Jews of Austria-Hungary, who had been among the most loyal subjects of Emperor Franz Joseph I – who guaranteed them legal security and detested anti-Semitism.

Some 350,000 Jewish soldiers served in the First World War while the front overran and devastated the Jewish area of Galicia. Around 80,000 Jewish refugees arrived in Vienna, changing the structure of the community.

The Jewish Museum’s exhibition considers the lives of soldiers, politicians, rabbis, artists, revolutionaries and pacifists.

On show are objects such as letters by the Jewish community assuring loyalty to the emperor, paintings of prominent figures, memorabilia of Jewish soldiers, and items from Galicia and Vienna will also be shown.

The show runs until 14 September 2014.

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