Goodbye, Vienna

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Standpoint‘s editor, Daniel Johnson, has written today’s Daily Feature on Jewish Ideas Daily. It concerns the rich cultural contribution the city of Vienna, and its Jewish inhabitants in particular, has made to Western civilisation:

The Jews of Vienna did not merely understand the world: they took Marx’s point and changed it, too. From Freud’s psychoanalysis to Wittgenstein’s philosophy, from Mahler’s music to Herzl’s Zionism, this community made a unique contribution to modernity.

Yet our fascination with a handful of celebrities may blind us to the foundation on which their intellectual and artistic pre-eminence rested. Though many examples of Jewish genius rose from humble origins, the milieu to which these figures aspired and in which they could flourish was that of Vienna’s commercial and professional bourgeoisie. Their parents belonged to the first generation of Jews to reap the full benefits of emancipation and industrialization.

Read the rest of the piece here.