The Jewish Economic Elite

The Jewish Economic Elite

Making Modern Europe
Cornelia Aust
Distribution: Global
Publication date: 02/27/2018
ISBN: 978-0-253-03217-1
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In this rich transnational history, Cornelia Aust traces Jewish Ashkenazi families as they moved across Europe and established new commercial and entrepreneurial networks as they went. Aust balances economic history with elaborate discussions of Jewish marriage patterns, women's economic activity, and intimate family life. Following their travels from Amsterdam to Warsaw, Aust opens a multifaceted window into the lives, relationships, and changing conditions of economic activity of a new Jewish mercantile elite.

Author Bio

Cornelia Aust specializes in the history of Jewish communities in Poland and German speaking lands from the seventeenth to the nineteenth century at the Leibniz Institute of European History in Mainz, Germany.


“The importance of Cornelia Aust's work goes beyond regional history and fits beautifully into transnational and interregional models that are so appropriate to the topic of Jewish economic history. She provides an understanding of how Jewish merchants could prove so vital to both the feudal and emerging capitalist economics of Eastern and East Central Europe through original research and mastery of all the relevant literature.”
 — Jonathan Karp, author of, The Politics of Jewish Commerce: Economic Thought and Emancipation in Europe

“Cornelia Aust has written an extremely important and innovative book which promises to make a major contribution to our understanding of the history of the Jews in modern Europe. She succeeds in presenting not only the broad structures of family and business networks, but also the fascinating human stories of those who constituted them.”
 — Adam Teller, author of, Money, Power, and Influence in Eighteenth-Century Lithuania

“Aust's meticulous research will hopefully lead not only to further developments in economic history along the lines she has laid down, but to deeper thinking across religious studies, among historians, ethicists, theologians, and anthropologists or sociologists of religion.”
 — Reading Religion

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Table of Contents

Note on Spelling, Transcription, and Translation

1. Amsterdam: A Center of Credit
2. Frankfurt an der Oder: Central European Middlemen
3. Border Lands: Legal Restrictions, Army Supplying, and Economic Success
4. Praga: A Stepping Stone
5. Warsaw: The Rise of a Jewish Economic Elite