A region in transition / a state in the making. The establishment of the state of Burgenland and its impact on the (Jewish) population.
After the end of WWI, as many other regions, the boundary region between Austria and Hungary (“Deutschwestungarn”) too was undergoing a period of upheaval. Despite the peace treaties of St. Germain (1919) and Trianon (1920), which meant to clarify the borders of the states of Austria and Hungary, the belonging, administration and control of the entire Austrian-Hungarian border region remained obscure. For some years it was not clear when and where new borders would be drawn. Different groups were involved in shaping this process (politicians, “Ödenburger Heimatdienst” etc.). One of the notable spaces of negotiating the border were the massive propaganda efforts by these Austrian and Hungarian groups. However, in fact these efforts were primarily made by the “elites”. I will argue that the population itself was less occupied with these topics as they had other problems to deal with. After all, all these developments were accompanied by a great instability, experiences of insecurity and violence (“Red Terror”, “White Terror”, and Hungarian “Freischärler” guerillas) and a notable increase of Anti-Semitism. So how did people with different religious and/or ethnic background manage their daily living in this time and region? Which impact had the numerous political, economic, infrastructural and juridical changes (e.g. the transfer of administrative staff, police etc. or the approximation of laws)? How did it influence everyday lives, in particular in regard to the Jewish communities? How did the process of establishing (re-)new(-ed) Jewish communities take place? There was a need for creating “identity” (on a state level as well as on an individual level) – albeit it remained shifting and contested.