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Society for the promotion of Jewish interests, founded at Vienna in 1872 by Joseph Ritter von Wertheimer, and modeled on the Alliance Israélite Universelle of Paris. Its establishment was directly due to the oppression of the Jews in Rumania and the excesses committed against the Jews in Asiatic Turkey. The organizers, among whom were the publicist Ignatz Kuranda and the poet Leopold Kompert, proposed as an important part of their program, to improve Jewish education in Austria and more especially in Galicia by organizing and supporting schools, and by other suitable means. The other object of the society, "to afford efficient relief to Jews where they still suffer by reason of their race," claimed subsequently the larger part of its attention, in consequence of the many persecutions in the countries on the eastern border. On account of the geographical situation of Vienna, it was the task of the Israelitische Allianz to render first assistance to refugees from eastern Europe. Thus the society expended about 862,000 crowns for the relief of the persecuted Russian Jews in 1881-83, and about 367,000 crowns for that of the Rumanian emigrants in 1900-02.

In a conference held at Vienna in Aug., 1882, and attended by all the relief committees of western Europe, the Israelitische Allianz was entrusted with the management of the relief-work in behalf of the Russian Jews, and it was represented at all of the succeeding international conferences of similar character. The Allianz raised about 220,000 crowns for the victims of the massacre of Kishinef. The board of directors frequently had occasion to intervene personally with Count Goluchowski, foreign minister of Austria, in behalf of the Rumanian Jews; and a memorandum laid before him by the society is reprinted in its report for 1902.

Educational Work.

The educational work of the Israelitische Allianz in Galicia has been carried on since 1892 through the Baron de Hirsch Fund for Galicia and Bukowina. The society was confronted with new tasks at home by the growth of anti-Semitism in Austria; it was called upon to aid the sufferers from the anti-Jewish excesses at Prague and Nachod, at Holleschau and Neusandec, and the victims of mob prejudice in the Hilsner trial at Polna. It also offers subsidies to poor provincial communities, in order that they may maintain religious instruction, and to numerous educational and charitable societies.

According to the report for 1902 there were 3,000 regular members (including many societies as corporate bodies), each paying a minimum contribution of 6 crowns; 1,185 of these were in Vienna. Income in 1902: annual contributions, 25,794 crowns; donations, 9,016 crowns; interest, 10,403 crowns; and gifts for special relief. President (1903), David Ritter von Gutmann; first vice-president, Dr. Alfred Stern; secretaries, 1874-76, Dr. P. Frankl (subsequently rabbi at Berlin); 1880-90, Dr. M. Friedländer; and since 1901 Rabbi A. Kaminka.

  • Annual Reports of the Israelitische Allianz.
D. A. K.
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