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Degeneration in Easter European communities

I have a question if anybody here might have sources. I was reading Only Yesterday by Agnon and in the introduction they talked about how he saw the “degeneration and ruin of the Eastern European communities before the Shoah.” This is a theme I have seen before, specifically with the term degeneration. What I have never seen was anything specific to explain what that idea actually looks like. Is it degeneration because of anti-semitic policies and violence? Is it degeneration of communities because of moderninity and the battle with tradition? Is it a combination of both? I am just not sure how we are defining these terms and what that looked like on the ground. If anybody has expertise in Eastern European Jewish history of the 19th century, that would be helpful.

submitted by /u/Calm-Structure-3918
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Source: Reditt

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