Demographic Avant-Garde: Jews in Bohemia between the Enlightenment and Shoah

Demographic Avant-Garde: Jews in Bohemia between the Enlightenment and Shoah

Demographic Avant-Garde: Jews in Bohemia between the Enlightenment and Shoah

Demographic Avant-Garde: Jews in Bohemia between the Enlightenment and Shoah

Synopsis

This book studies the unique demographic behavior of Jews in Bohemia (the historic part of the Czech Republic), starting from a moment in history when industrialization in Central Europe was still far away in the future, and when Jews were still living legally restricted lives in ghettos. Very early on, however, from the 18th century onwards, Jews developed patterns of decreasing mortality and fertility that was not observed among the gentile majority in Bohemia; patterns which established them as a demographic avant-garde population in all of Europe.

Demographic Avant-Garde elucidates what made Jews in Bohemia true forerunners of the demographic transition and why this occurred when it did. It scrutinizes demographic statistics from the mid-eighteenth to the mid-twentieth century, and examines what made Bohemian Jews’ data distinct from the trends observed in the gentile community and among Jews in other lands. In search for the answers, Vobecká’s analysis touches also upon the cultural, social, political and economic environment.

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