Antisemitism as a Decision-Making Factor

The Migration of Salonica’s Jewish Elite to the Habsburg Empire and its Successor States, 1867–1938


  • Lida Maria Dodou University of Vienna



Habsburg Empire, Salonica, Balkan Wars, WWI, Austria, Czechoslovakia, Greece, migration


This article examines the role Antisemitism had on the decision of Salonican Jews to migrate from Salonica to the Habsburg Empire and its successor states. The period under examination extends from 1867, when the December Constitution was proclaimed and equal political rights were given to the Jews in the Habsburg Empire, until 1938 and the Anschluss. The article examines how Antisemitism influenced the decision of people to leave Salonica and choose these states to settle in. It argues that, despite contemporary views about Antisemitism in the Austrian lands during the imperial and interwar period, the perception of it among the Jewry in Salonica was quite different. The application of Critical Discourse Analysis on two major Jewish newspapers demonstrates that Antisemitism was considered to be relatively marginal as a phenomenon, especially in comparison to other countries, such as France. While taking into account the significant events of the some seven decades in question, most notably the transition from empires to nation states, the article argues that it was the continuity of links between the persons under examination and the specific places that impacted their decisions, even during the interwar period. Moreover, and in line with recent research examining the impact of Antisemitism on the decisions of Salonica Jews to migrate elsewhere, the article argues that Antisemitism was not a push factor leading people to leave Salonica, as the main reasons for this choice were the potential financial opportunities in the Habsburg lands and the political upheaval in Salonica. However, as is demonstrated, Antisemitism functioned as a pull factor towards Austria-Hungary and, in particular, towards Moravia, where the majority of the Salonica Jews were to be found. The article aims to offer an account on the migration of Salonica Jews to the Habsburg Empire and its successor states, while also addressing the issue of Antisemitism in both the countries of origin and the destination, thus offering new insights on both major research topics.

Author Biography

  • Lida Maria Dodou, University of Vienna
    Lida-Maria Dodou is a PhD candidate at the University of Vienna. Her research project concerns the Salonican Jews who settled in the Habsburg Empire, and the project is part of the research cluster “State, Politics and Governance in Historical Perspective”. She holds an MA in Political Sciences and History from Panteion University in Athens, and she was awarded a fellowship from the Provincial Government of Styria, Austria, for her MA thesis Economy, Society, Politics and the Relations between Greeks and Jews in Salonika, 1908–1913.




How to Cite

“Antisemitism As a Decision-Making Factor: The Migration of Salonica’s Jewish Elite to the Habsburg Empire and Its Successor States, 1867–1938”. 2023. S: I.M.O.N. Shoah: Intervention. Methods. Documentation. 10 (1): 57-74.