The Jewish Press of Europe
The Czernowitzer Morgenblatt

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Summary of the dissertation
"Czernowitzer Morgenblatt. A monograph."
by Jane Rostos
translated from German by Berti Glaubach

The purpose of this work is to display a monograph of the daily Czernowitzer Morgenblatt, one of the most important mouthpieces available to minorities not only in the Bukovina but also throughout whole Romania during the period between the two World Wars. The newspaper appeared between the 14th May 1918 and 28 June 1940 in the capital of the former Austro-Hungarian Crownland Bukovina 6470 times, representing a total print of approximately 39,000 pages. More than two decades, it registered all events, sometimes at a breathtaking pace successively following one the other, keeping its readers informed not only about the situation in Bukowina and the kingdom Romania, but also about the events that occurred in the World and particularly in Western Europe. They published in mid-October 1918, the manifesto of Emperor Karl in which Austria was declared to be a federal republic and said a few days later, farewell to old-Austria; it reported in early November 1918, about the disintegration of the empire and takeover of the management of the City of Czernowitz and the Ukrainian regions by the Ukrainian National Council, as well as the marching in of the Romanians to Bukovina and on their entrance to Czernowitz. The paper published late November the manifesto abdication of the emperor and also detailed reports of the Congress of Romanians of Bucovina, and, at the beginning of January 1919 the royal decree on the reunion of Bukovina with Romania. It complained in mid-June 1919, about the end of the Czernowitz German University; struggled, starting in October, for an effective change of value for the (Austrian) crown and praised, in early December, the signing by Romania of the Peace Treaty. It  described, in May 1920, the visit of the royal couple to Czernowitz and protested in the autumn of that year against the expulsion of local strangers and against the imposition of the Romanian judiciary to Bukowina, published in February 1923 the new constitution draft and informed in detail  from April 1924 about the acquisition and loss of Romanian citizenship, described mid-November 1924 the unveiling of the "Unirea" monument in Czernowitz, explained at the beginning of July 19 the new division of districts in Bukovina; judged, in early January 1926, Crown Prince Carols Abdication; dedicated in November 1926, whole pages to the tragedy of David Fallik. It advised the population, in April 1927 about the census carried out throughout Romania, reported in late July 1927, about the death of King Ferdinand and the proclamation of the heir to the throne King Mihai, registered in early August 1928, the arrival of the first postal aircraft to Czernowitz and the opening of passenger air traffic Bucharest – Czernowitz. It evaluated, in autumn 1929, the stock market crash in New York; praised, in early June 1930, the return of Prince Carol; commented in detail, from February 1933, Hitler's seizure of power and its accompanying features in Germany and in Czernowitz, including the burning of the Reichstag building, the expulsion of Jews and the proclamation of the National Revolution by Hitler, respectively, the rally against the "Nazi atrocities" in Germany by Dr. Norbert Zloczower, the boycott movement and the counter-boycott of products and brands from Germany; praised, in early May 1934, the idea of building a subway in Bucharest and in early June 1937 that of an European Union. It tacitly accepted, beginning in 1938 its own suppression and did not mention how much of its reappearance owed to the good will and the influence of N. Iorga. It published at the end of February 1938, the new Romanian Constitution of King Carol II, reported fleetingly, in mid-March 1938, the "Anschluss" of Austria to Germany, deplored in July 1938 the death of Queen Mary. It reported in mid-March 1939, the occupation of the Czechoslovak Republic by German troops, that of the port of Gdansk in early September, in late November the establishment of the Warsaw ghetto, in mid-May 1940 the German invasion of Belgium and Holland, in mid-June the occupation of Paris - and finally registered, a few days before its final suppression, the transformation of the Romanian "Frontul Renaşterii Nationale" to "Partidul Naţiunei."


The appearance of the Czernowitzer Morgenblatt overlapped broadly with the period during which the entire Bukovina belonged to the Kingdom of Romania, a period characterized by a stubborn Romanization of the territories annexed after WW1. Romania's political scene in the twenties and thirties is now, thanks to the tireless work of top Romanian and foreign historians, almost completely known. Still, the task to find secondary literature for our work has been ungratefully rewarded.


The two themes "Czernowitz" and "The Bukovina", as well as the theme of "Jewish life in Eastern Europe" have already, as I said, been treated extensively, especially by Western European scholars of history and literature. Accordingly, the western – but not so much the Romanian - libraries are well equipped with books that meet the subject. Even to the general theme of "journalism" we have found enough literature to read in order to arrive at a modern understanding of the decades ago, when the newspaper appeared. Only the themes "The Bukowina Press", not to mention „Czernowitzer Morgenblatt“, have unfortunately still been treated too little - and if at all then rather in articles than in books. In that sense, our study is thought as a contribution to the currently unwritten Czernowitz Press story.


In order to avoid an unauthorized expansion of the theme, as well as the snare of redundancy, we have consciously abandoned the traditional approach that requires to look at the newspaper from a perspective of the whole historical, social and cultural context. Guided by the awareness that we have the rare opportunity to witness live history, we have preferred to rediscover the history of Rumania through the restricted frame of a mainly journalistic study, i.e. from the standpoint of the German written Czernowitzer Morgenblatt, a newspaper which defined itself from the outset as the mouthpiece of the masses of the Bukowina population. This resulted in a corresponding line of the paper,  an unpleasant dimension to former, present and future Romanian nationalists, namely to maintain as long as possible the combat against a policy of Rumanization by the Czernowitz minority press and thus also by the Czernowitzer Morgenblatt.

          Accordingly, we have divided our work into two parts: The first outlines the time-space coordinates, that are indispensable for a good understanding of the views propagated in the paper, while the second represents an as wide as possible, although relatively scarce journalistic overview of the paper.

          The first part, titled "from
 Czernowitzer Morgenblatt zu Morgenblatt. Gazeta dimineţii, Temporal-spatial coordinates," offers a three-fold perspective: First the historical background of the paper is analyzed i.e. using the included contemporary perceptions and conclusions. It also underscores the transformation of the initially "courageous" and "fearless" paper had to undergo towards the end of the thirties in order to continue to exist in a country increasingly less inclined to democracy.


In second place are depicted and commented the linked relationships that the Czernowitzer Morgenblatt had at different times to its readers and to other Czernowitz newspapers. In terms of intention of this monograph, a series of precisely five other newspapers is shown to be the  context the  Morgenblatt is arguing with contraversionally, in chronological order, the Glasul Bucovinei, the Forward, the Ostjüdichen Zeitung,  and the Czernowitzer Deutsche Tagespost.


Thirdly, also – the not always strikingly, but occasionally well-marked Jewish component of the paper is analyzed, namely, on one side their position versus the Romanian and pan-European anti-Semitism, on the other their opinions about Zionism. Underlined here is also the tolerant attitude the Jewish majority of its editorial staff had for persons of other confessions and religions.

          The second part of this monograph, entitled "
Czernowitzer Morgenblatt - pure journalistically considered" informs about the manner in which the editors described their paper and the way they suggested its specific features to (potential) readers. This provides an overview of the special editions, festive numbers and supplements the paper published in the course of time, and describes its still virtually unknown evening edition, which appeared from 1930 to 1937 under the title Abendblatt. The description of the divisions and sections runs parallel to the mentioning of the permanent and casual staff of the Journal. From the entire monograph, as well as from the newspaper itself, two figures that made the appearance of the, Czernowitzer Morgenblattes possible stand out: one who was its chief editor ("Redactor responsabil") Julius Weber (1888, Lemberg - October 1942, labor camp Bratzlaw, Transnistria), The other his deputy editor in chief Dr. Elias Weinstein (1888, Sereth - February 28, 1965, Frankfurt a.M.).

          The fairly impressive number of pages, which the present work has achieved is still far from corresponding to the total number of pages of the newspaper. To conclude our monograph: If you consider that their paper included about 39,000 pages, and that the approximately 10,000 pages of the evening edition is to be added, we deal with a total of almost 50,000 large-sized newspaper pages (about 30.5 x 46.5 cm) expected to be fully described in less than 370 A4 sheets. It is therefore no wonder that this first attempt at a monograph of
the Czernowitzer Morgenblatt has no claim to completeness as indeed it never had.


Closer to completeness however, was the original index of contents – we confess to have been faithfully following it only up to the last two chapters. The third chapter, to be called "The editor and his team", and a fourth, entitled "Czernowitzer Morgenblatt - more than a newspaper" has still to be completed.

          Indeed, we intend, to highlight the role and significance of at least three other figures for the
Czernowitzer Morgenblatt in a later, more suitable for publication version of the monograph. First and foremost it behooves to closer characterize the man and journalist Julius Weber, first by using his self-representations, and secondly through the numerous articles about him, as a journalist, as Chairman (1922 ) and Vice President (1924 - 1925) of The Czernowitz Sindicate of Journalists, as President of the 1922-founded and then changed in 1934 for "2-Lei Association" of the  "Czernowitz Civic Association for Renting", as president of the founded in 1923 and until 1940 existing association of awarding interest-free loans " Gmilath Chessed"  as a member of the municipal council and the list leader in the Jewish Community elections from the year 1929, as temporary chairman of the Association of Middle Class Traders" in 1930, as the initiator of the "Self-help Association of Trade and Professionals" in 1935, etc. .

          Julius Weber's friend and co-editorial staff member, the lawyer Dr. Elias Weinstein, was also co-founder, editor and deputy editor in chief of the
Czernowitzer Morgenblatt. From 1918 to 1940, he published, according to Alfred Sperber, "a whole series of extremely dignified political and economic articles, and also sketches of a peculiar, very witty humor." Dr. Weinstein unfolded at the same time a brisk activity as a lawyer, as a member of the Deputation for Prisoners of War (1919 - 1920), as a councilor in the Jewish Community (from 1931), Chairman of the timber distribution action (e.g. 1933) and Vice President (from 1937) of the Czernowitz Jewish Community, as Censor of the guild of journalists from the areas of the "Suceava region" (1938), etc. Dr. Weinstein, however, has primarily become known for his later activities in Palestine, after Julius Weber had been murdered in Transnistria, where he already in his mid-forties co-founded the World Bukowina Jews Association  and founded its organ " Die Stimme".

          The most famous employee of the
Czernowitzer Morgenblatt still remains, at least in our part of the world and thanks to his impact on the postwar period, Alfred Margul-Sperber. As a poet - and here the views in principle depart: a good poet, socialist poet or occasional poet - he has a place forever in the history of Romanian literature, and in the German-language literature of South/East Europe. Unfortunately, his journalistic activity which he exercised in the inter-war period in the Bukovina remains virtually unknown. A modest attempt to rediscover the journalist Alfred Sperber, was my book from 2006, Alfred Margul-Sperber as collaborator to the Czernowitzer Morgenblatt, that covers only the period 1927 - 1933, when he functioned as a permanent editorial staff member. There is need for additions and the final completion in the form of an anthology of all of Alfred Sperber's published articles in the Morgenblatt. As long as this is not achieved this book provisionally remains the only coherent evidence that the poet Sperber also possessed a considerable journalistic talent.

          It would also be interesting to prove why and how the
Czernowitzer Morgenblatt was more than a daily newspaper. The paper should be described through all its subdivisions: editorial, management, publishing and printing. While the editorial and administration changed their locality only on one occasion, in December 1927, from Gymnasialgasse No. 8 to Kochanowskigasse No. 3, the former premises of the "Banca Botoşăneană", the company worked with three printers altogether through all that time: Balan & Comp., Rathausstraße No. 27; "Orient", former "Austria", Schillerstrasse No. 5 and Hermann Czopp, Gregorgasse No. 3, before finally, in January 1928, it opened also in the Kochanowskigasse No. 3 its own print shop equipped with a rotating machine. Remarkably, the Bukowinaer Volkszeitung. Organ für jüdische Politik, Kultur und Wirtschaft (organ for Jewish politics, culture and economy) the published mouthpiece of the U.E.R. of the Bukovina District, was also printed there from 30 April 1929, and until May 1934 his editorial staff and administration was there too.

          We have mentioned in our work that the Morgenblatt initiated for political, social, economic, religious or cultural - reasons through some of its departments, polls and other actions, during the period of its appearance. Since we have carried out the research with the aid of considerable material for illustration of the newspaper's extra-journalistic component, a comprehensive description of the position the
Czernowitzer Morgenblatt occupied in everyday life of the inter-war period, would not only have broken up the framework of the intended monograph of the newspaper, but also have exceeded the usual number of pages of a dissertation. With the knowledge that the explanation of the term „Czernowitzer Morgenblatt“ has still a long way to be exhausted, but also with the conviction that the present work represents a valuable contribution to the research of this area we conclude this primarily journalistic overview of the paper provisionally - but not before we express our intention to put it in a broader context in the future thus adding to its completeness.

          Suczawa, in January 2008.

Also read The Jewish Press in Europe: "The Jews Press in Bukovina"

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