Based in London; Formerly of New York, Buenos Aires, Fife, and the Western Cape. Saoránach d'Éirinn.
A writer, blogger, historian, and web designer born in New York, educated in Argentina, Scotland, and South Africa, and now based in London. read more

Hapsburg Hebraica

Empress Zita and Emperor Charles of Austria are prayed over by a Jewish rabbi.

After the passing of the Hapsburg empire, which had been so protective of its Jewish subjects (especially compared to the regimes which succeeded it), numerous prominent Jews were received into the Catholic faith, perhaps having come to a full appreciation of precisely what they had lost. The subject of “Literary Jewish Converts to Christianity in Interwar Hungary” is worthy of further investigation (some graduate student should write a dissertation on just such a matter). I am no longer surprised when, in my researches, I come across yet another fascinating Hungarian Jew — be he a writer, playwright, poet, or patron — and discover, usually buried in some footnote, that he died a good Catholic.

This post was published on Wednesday, December 30th, 2009 10:02 pm. It has been categorised under Austria Bohemia Church Hapsburg History Hungary Monarchy Saints and been tagged under , , , , .
Robert H.
31 Dec 2009 1:36 pm

“some graduate student should write a dissertation on just such a matter”

Perhaps Mr. Cusack might heed his own suggestion? Speaking of Hungarian Jews, perhaps George Soros could fund your study through his Central European University. You never know!

1 Jan 2010 2:58 pm

Anyone interested in “the subject of ‘Literary Jewish Converts to Christianity in Interwar Hungary’…” might contact the Department of Jewish-Christian Studies at Seton Hall University. Also consult “Walls are Crumbling; Seven Jewish Philosophers Discover Christ” by John M. Oesterreicher, The Devin-Adair Company, New York, 1952.

Michiel V.
1 Jan 2010 5:52 pm

Prime example: the unjustly forgotten Aurel Kolnai.

Pompous Ass
6 Jan 2010 10:33 am

The “Grand Title” of the Emperor of Austria contained a great many heirlooms, results of several centuries of dynastic entanglements. One of these heirlooms was the title of “King of Jerusalem”. There is an oral tradition (you could also call it an anecdote) that at some time (c. 1960), several Orthodox Jews came to the Austrian Embassy in Israel and asked when Emperor Otto would be crowned; and, incidentally, as being King of Jerusalem, could he please enact a ban on secular European Jews coming to Israel? The officials at the embassy were rather embarassed about the whole thing, Austria now being a Republic and Herr Habsburg-Lothringen being persona non grata with a very major political party and all that … Se non è vero, è ben trovato.

Oren of Israel
29 Jan 2010 8:41 pm

BTW if somebody is interested the blessing that is shown in the picture is called “Tefilah leShlom HaMalchut” (=Blessing for the Peace [or well-being] of the Monarchy) and is said in Public for the Monarch and the royal (or in this case imperial) family.

An example from the UK can be seen here:

The One Who Sees
12 Apr 2010 8:29 pm

In line with the topic the former Mayor of New York Edward Koch has said more than once that his immigrant Jewish parents who hailed from Habsburg Galicia always referred to the Emperor Franz Joseph as “der gute alte Kaiser” ( interestingly in German.)

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