Jews like Adolf Fischhof and Ludwig August Frankl were prominent participants in the revolution of 1848. Their speeches, poems, and portraits circulated in Vienna and throughout the Empire. With the suppression of the revolution, most of these prominent Jews had to either leave Vienna or retreat to the private sphere. Only in the late 1850s did Jews regain their public presence, starting with the opening of the Leopoldstaedter Tempel in 1858 and the building of the Ringstrasse from 1860 onwards. Many Jews hoped that the new liberal era would grant them civil rights and legal emancipation. Jewish intellectuals and journalists supported this struggle from within and outside the growing Jewish community. An important weapon in their struggle were Jewish newspapers. These newspapers not only provided information, but also served as mouthpieces for different Jewish movements. They featured biographies with portraits (in words and images) of distinguished Jewish leaders (mostly men and a few women), which were supposed to present the social achievements of a certain group within Jewish society to a broader audience. In fact, these portraits served as a form of self-assertion for the publisher as well as for the audience. It projected the message that Jews not only merited emancipation, but also struggled for it on various levels. The paper therefore addresses questions of biography and the (Jewish) identity these portraits at once reflected and shaped.
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