Habsburg Sons describes Jewish participation in the Habsburg Army, 1788-1918, concentrating on World War I. Approximately 300,000-350,000 Jews fought in the Austro-Hungarian Armies on all fronts; of these, 30,000–40,000 died of wounds or illness, and at least 17% were taken prisoner in camps all over Russia and Central Asia. Many soldiers were Orthodox Ostjuden, and over 130 Feldrabbiner (chaplains) served among them. Antisemitism was present but generally not overt. The book uses personal diaries and newspaper articles (most available in English for the first time) to describe their stories, and compares the experiences of Jews in German, Russian, and Italian armies.
“Jewish soldiers fought in all European armies during the First World War. We are in Peter Appelbaum’s debt for telling the story of Jews in the Austro-Hungarian army, and for bringing out their dignity and their pride in being both Jewish and Austrian. This is a part of Austrian history the Nazis could never erase.”―Jay Winter, Charles J. Stille Professor of History Emeritus, Yale University“Habsburg Sons brings to light a wealth of sources documenting the experience of World War I for Jewish soldiers, prisoners of war, and military chaplains across a vast empire that was home to one of the world’s largest Jewish communities. A meticulously researched and deeply moving book.”―Derek Penslar, author of Jews and the Military: A History
Peter C. Appelbaum is Emeritus Professor of Pathology, Pennsylvania State University. His publications include Loyalty Betrayed (2014), Loyal Sons (2014), and, as translator/editor, Hell on Earth (2017), Carnage and Care on the Eastern Front (2018), Voyage into Savage Europe (2020), and Jewish Self Hate (2021). He is the recipient of the 2019 TLS-Risa Domb/Porjes Prize for Hebrew-English translation.