The Jewish Press in Europe
The Jewish Press in Bukovina
 From "History of Jews in the Bukowina," Vol. 1 (1958)

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The Headlines from the Czernowitzer Morgenblatt
29 May 1920

This title was not chosen without intent. The following description will not only deal with periodical publications published by Jewish groups, parties and movements in Bukovina, but all newspapers and magazines in which Jews were employed in responsible positions. One of the most senior Jewish journalists in Bukovina was Adolf Wallstein who in the second half of the previous century was co-editor of the Bukowina Nachrichten[1] (Bukovina News). Wallstein belonged to the staff of this publication until the time that it changed from a liberal newspaper to mouthpiece of the German Christians. The first Jewish newspaper publisher in Bukovina was Herman Czopp, owner of the Bukovina “Rundshau.” Dr. Mayer Ebner who was later to become a leader of the Romanian Jews was on the staff of this publication which existed in about the same period as the Bukovina Nachrichten. It is hard to speak about the Bukovina Rundshau without mentioning Jakob Huth who one could well call “the first Czernowitz reporter.” In later years Huth worked in the same capacity for the Czernowitzer Tagblatt. (Czernowitz Daily Paper)”

The modernization of the Czernowitz daily newspapers which took place at beginning of this century (1903) was the work of the prominent journalist, Dr. Philipp Menczel. Julius Weber, about whose journalistic work in Czernowitz we will report later, characterized Menczel in his brochure, “Czernowitz portraits” as “a lawer by profession, a journalist by calling.” Philipp Menczel served as a leading defender and his pleading in sensational cases awoke interest in wide circles of the public. His lead articles, however stirred even stronger interest. He founded in 1903 together with Leon Koenig and Josef Horowitz the “Czernowitzer Tageblatt” which had a modern editorial department and equipment like rotary presses and linotype machines. A short time later, a little more than a year Menczel departed from the “Tageblatt” and soon after that (1904) founded the “Allgemeine Zeitung.” He hired for the staff of this newspaper journalists from the West: Alios Munk, Dr. Martin Weissmann, Emanuel Goldenberg, journalists who up to then were active in Vienna. Karl Klueger, who from the founding of the paper has worked in a subordinate position stepped in to lead the Czernowitzer Tageblatt. Up to that point, Klueger's journalistic talent had been expressed in humorous essays. Now it became obvious that he could play a major roll as a writer of lead articles in Bukovina journalism. At that time, Dr. Marco Covler wrote for the political part of the paper with a skilled pen. Hermann Menkes and for a short time, Dr. Nathan Birnbaum belonged to the non-resident staff of the paper. For several years, Herman Menkes wrote the theater and art reviews for the “Tageblatt,” until he was replaced in this department by Julius Weber. At that time, the Tagblatt as well as the Allgemeine Zeitung looked favorably on the young Zionist movement and willingly made their columns available for contributions that were dedicated to thoughts of the Jewish renaissance. This position of both newspapers was due to the personal attitudes of their leading editors, As a student, Philipp Menczel was already interested in Zionistic ideas and Karl Klueger belonged to “Hasmonaea,” the oldest Czernowitz student organization.

In 1907, Loebl Tauber, who was know as a Yiddish publicist and a leading personality in the Zionist movement of East Galicia and Bukovina founded the weekly newspaper, the Jiddisches Volksblatt (Jewish People's Paper) in the Yiddish language. The newspaper dealt mainly with national and Zionist concerns. A special column was dedicated to Yiddish literature. Among other things, the newspaper arranged for the 1908 Yiddish Language Conference in Czernowitz. When the publisher and editor Loebl Tauber moved to Lemberg, the newspaper stopped appearing

A few years after the founding of the two large daily papers, the Czernowitzer Tagblatt and the Czernowitzer Allgemeine Zeitung, the Bukowinaer Rundschau which technically, editorially and in appearance was far overshadowed by the two large dailies went out of business.

Right after the beginning of World War I and the immediate occupation of Czernowitz by Russian troops all newspapers including the “Tagblatt” and the “Allgemeine” were shut down. While Dr. Philipp Menzel together with other leading citizens of the city were transported to Siberia as hostages, Karl Klueger escaped to Vienna.

After the collapse of the Austro Hungarian Empire in the Fall of 1918, of the two leading newspapers of Czernowitz only the Czernowitzer Allgemeine Zeitung continued publishing. The owner of the paper changed. Dr. Philipp Menzel was replaced by Mendel Abraham representing the firm Eminescu as publisher while Arnold Schwartz who was active for years as an editor became chief editor for the Allgemeine Zeitung.

Around the turn of the century the “Bukowiner Post” which appeared three times weekly existed in Czernowitz. It was edited by Moritz Steckler. The tone of this paper was set by the leader of the Bukovina Ukrainians, Nikolai Ritter von Wassilko who worked for political cooperation between the Ukrainians and the Jews. One of the employees of this paper was Josef Koller, who later became chief editor of the New Vienna Journal.

Between 1904 and 1912 for several years the Volkswehr appeared three times weekly as an organ of the leader of the Bukovina Jews, Dr. Benno Straucher. The editor of the paper was Julius Weber who as a young man had left Lemberg for Germany where for several years where he worked in the Frankfurter Zeitung which was published by Leopold Sonnemann. Immediately after his arrival in Czernowitz he joined the editorial department of the Allgemeine Zeitung and later he became the art editor and local editor of the Czernowiter Tagblatt.

Before the 1910 elections for the Bukovina parliament, the Jewish political party founded by Prof. Dr. Leon Kellner and Dr. Mayer Ebner had a weekly paper, called the Volksrat (People's Advisor), edited by Dr. Abraham Robinsohn. Among the employees of the paper was high school teacher Dr. Hermann Sternberg, who when at the Czernowitz University was named “Doctor of Philosophy sub auspiciis Imperitoris.

Shortly before the end of the First World War in May 1918 Julius Weber and Dr. Elias Weinstein founded the Czernowitzer Morgenblatt (Czernowitz Morning Paper) which replaced the Czernowitzer Tagblatt. The annexing of Bukovina which took place in fall of the same year brought difficult times for the German language newspapers published by Jews. Especially endangered was the existence of the Morgenblatt when Julius Weber wrote a widely read article, entitled “Who does that help?” against the issuing of a decree by the Bukovina Romanian President, Dr. Jancu Ritter von Flondor. The decree contained the words ”the minority must subject itself to the new regime.” The president ordered that the paper cease publishing for three days and that Julius Weber's name must be removed from the mast head.

In 1919, the Jewish Unity Party led by Dr. Mayer Ebner brought out the Ostjuedische Zeitung (East Jewish NewspaperJ) which originally appeared once a week and later 3 times a week. The article by Dr. Mayer Ebner severely criticizing the anti-Jewish tendencies of the government created strong interest even in Romanian official circles. At the same time, the paper was the official mouth piece of the Bukovina State Zionist organization whose president was Dr. Mayer Ebner

At the beginning of the thirties, Arnold Schwartz founded a new daily newspaper, Der Tag (The Day) which ceased publication after a few years. The successor to Arnold Schwarz at the Allgemeine Zeitung was Dr. Adolf Niederhoffer.

The annexing of Bukovina by Romania brought about a change in the condition of the Jewish community as well as basic changes for the press.

In addition to the afore mentioned newspapers, several newspapers in Yiddish, German and also Hebrew appeared in Bukovina between the years 1919 and the end of July, 1940 when the Russians occupied North Bukovina. In the memory of our contemporaries, they live on: The Freiheit (Freedom), founded on May 1, 1919, printed in Yiddish, under the leadership of Dr. Feiwel Sternberg. His chief fellow workers were Dr. Leo Schaefler, high school teacher Dr. Chaim Lecker, Dr. Schlomo Bickel and S.A. Soifer. In July, 1920 Dr. Schlomo Bickel took over the editing of this paper. Dr. Bickel remained in this position until he moved to Bucharest in September, 1922. After that, the Freiheit appeared only irregularly. Dr. Bickel's successor was Chaim Kraft. Dr. Bickel confined himself after that to occasional contributions. After Dr. Bickel moved to Bucharest, the newspaper went out of business. Moreover, in the Yiddish language appeared the periodicals, Juedisches Volksblatt (Jewish People's Paper) edited by Schamschon Schaechter, Arbeiterzeitung (Worker's Newspaper), Poal Zion (edited by S. L. Steinmetz), Dos naje Leben (organ of the Bund[2] ) edited by Dr. Joseph Kissman and Sarah Kaswan. In this connection, special mention should be given to Dr. Jakob Pistiner who departed this life at a relatively young age. Dr. Pistiner who had a leading position in the Bund was chief editor of the weekly German language publication, the Volkspresse (People's Press) of the Social Democratic party which eventually became a daily paper under the name Vorwaerts (Forwards). Czernowitzer Bletter (independent) edited by S.A. Soifer, Kultur published by the Jewish Culture Federation, Schoiben (Literary Society pamphlet) edited by Jakob Sternberg, Aufbau (to “build up”) which was earlier the Worker's Newspaper Poal Zion edited by B. Engler, Yiddish.

In German language appeared in the time period being discussed (between 1919 and 1940) the young people's newspaper Hador Hazair published by an editorial committee composed of Dr. Manfred Reifer, Prof. Julian Silberbusch, Dr. Hermann Glaser and Dr. Leon Schmelzer, Das Freie Wort (Free Speech) edited by Dr. Benjamin Fuchs, Neue Juedische Rundschau edited by Manfred Reifer and Bukowiner Volkszeitung (Bukovina People's Newspaper) (organ of the Union of Romanian Jews) edited by Dr. Salomon Kassner. In the Hebrew language appeared the Hacheruth edited by Dr. Zwei Ellner and M.D. Rabinowicz and Hatechiah edited by Prof. Dr. Herman Glaser and Naftali Siegelboim.

In conclusion it can be said that the newspapers published by Jews in Bukovina, in the main supported the realization of Zionist goals and therein supported the official organs of the Zionist organizations. As far as the German language newspapers (Czernowitzer Algemine Zeitung and the Czernowitzer Morgenblatt) are concerned it is characteristic that the Dr. Mayer Ebner and the other leading figures of the Bukovina State Zionist Organization were among the employees of these papers and regularly published articles with Zionist content.

The Jewish press in Bukovina as well as the papers supporting particular political parties like the daily Czernowitzer Allgemine Zeitung and the Czernowitzer Morgenblatt led a hard fight in the period from the end of 1918 to 1940 to protect the political rights of the Jews of Romania which were guaranteed in the constitution, but which were repeatedly weakened by administrative attacks. In this fight, the Ostjuedische Zeitung, published by Dr. Mayer Ebner had an important part.

On January 1, 1938, a decree issued by the Cuza-Goga government ordered that all newspapers in Romania published by Jews cease publication. Because of the proposal of Prof. Nicolai Jorga, two daily papers, the Allgemeine Zeitung and the Morgenblatt were able to start appearing again. The papers were no longer entirely printed in German; parts of the papers had to be in Romanian.

Written by Dr, Elias Weinstein (Tel Aviv)
Translated by Jerome Silverbush


1.  Nachrichten: I'll translate the German newspaper names that make sense in translation. 

2.  Bund: Jewish Socialist political movement founded in Vilnius in 1897 by a small group of workers and intellectuals from the Jewish Pale of tsarist Russia.






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