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[Page 91]

The History of Zionism in Bukovina

by Dr. Leon Arie Schmelzer (Jerusalem)

Translated by Jerome Silverbush

The geographical situation of Bukovina at the three country corner of Eastern Europe as well as the striving of the central government in Vienna to make Bukovina a bulwark of German culture and power in the Eastern portion of the Austrian monarchy created the foundation for the development of national {read Zionist} Judaism which also due to its numbers became an influential factor in Austria (1774-1918) and Rumania (1918 – 1940).

The tolerance of the Austrian government, especially since Bukovina became an independent crown land in 1849 and thereby separated from Galicia, allowed the Jews of Bukovina to achieve a high cultural intellectual level and at the same time deepen their connection with Jewish tradition and so to lay the foundation for Haskalah 1 which came from Galicia as well as for the Chasidic movement which originated in Russia and Galicia. The Chibat Haarez movement called to the pious to fulfill the Mizwath Schwut Haarez by emigrating to Eretz Israel and spending the remainder of their lives in prayer and study of the Torah. Money was collected so the Olim {emigrants to Eretz Israel} wouldn't have to worry about their daily bread. The Zaddikim 2 led these organizations and saw to the fair distribution of the money to 4 cities: Jerusalem, Safed, Hebron and Tiberias.

Until the founding of the Sadagura Rabbini Court, Bukovina was under the Kossow “Kotel” founded by Reb Mendel Kossower and then the Sadagura and Bojan Zaddikim.

In the short time period from 1860 – 1880, hundreds of Chasidim closed their businesses, left their children and family, took the often months long trip to a distant land to fulfill the mitzvah 3Schwut Haarez” put into their minds by the zaddikim.

Many of them communicated with their children by mail and planted in their souls the desire to come to this land that had become a new homeland for them. Out of the correspondence remaining to us sent in 1879 from the emigrant Seew Schmeltzer in Eretz Israel to his son Jossel Schmelzer we see that after bringing in his harvest, he {Jossel} , the owner of the farm “Tulova,”near Suceava, traveled over the mountains of Seletin – Wiznitz to Kossow to spend the holidays with his Zaddik. There he made the decision to follow the advice of his Zaddik and make the Aliyah 4 to Eretz Israel. He said goodbye to his sons who lived in various cities in the land and started the long trip through Vienna and Trieste, Alexandria and finally to Palestine. The trip took 6 months. In Safed he built a house to be used as a school for pious Olim 5.

The well preserved grave stone carries the inscription “Seew b'reb Schmeltzer from Gurahumora, died 25 Elul 5652 (1892). His sons took over the school and with the help of the Austrian consul, the Kolel 6 today, 60 years after his death the building still serves the congregation as a school and prayer house. His grandchildren returned to the land as Zionists and their children born in the land are the fourth generation in the country, that their great grandfather emigrated to out of his love of Zionism. The gravestone of Reb Chaim Kraemer from Czernowitz also to be found in Safed establishes the connection with the grandchildren of the decedent who were already in the land.

The baptism movement which started with emancipation in the West could not cross the barriers of the “parent's house” and the “Jewish Street” in Bukovina and so the book Rome and Jerusalem by Moses Hess which discussed the national rebirth of the people and the high values of Judaism found its way to the Jews of Bukovina in whose hearts the idea of Zionism lived and who were in connection with their fathers and grandfathers in Eretz Israel. The picture of Moses Montefiore graced the “good room” of many families and in every Synagogue and Klaus a Misrach was hung, a picture that illustrated the Temple of Solomon.

The strong anti-Semitic pressure, the persecution of the Jews in Russia and Rumania caused ever new waves of Jewish emigration which used the welcoming Bukovina as a transit route. Two events were seminal in the creation of the first Zionist organization in Czernowitz. The publication of the brochure “Auto-Emancipation“ 7 in the German language in which Dr. Leo Pinsker, the Russian doctor, with anatomical precision designated anti-Semitism as a sickness which had afflicted the people for thousands of years.

“A people without a country and without a language wandered like the dead among the living spreading fear and terror. We don't need emancipation, but auto-emancipation, freeing of their own I-self help and rebirth of the people to new life.”

It is not by chance that the two orthodox Jews who led the first Zionist organization in Czernowitz were not normally ready to make any compromises with the “progressives” in the Jewish community 8. Here, however they found common ground. Efroim Melzer, a respected Jewish merchant and the much younger Selig Wagschal who in spite of his youth already sat on the board of the Czernowitz community and fought at the side of his father-in-law, Jossel Schmelzer for the religious beliefs of the Jews who were true to the Torah.

When in the year 1883, the first Jewish student organization in Austria, Kadimah, was founded byPerez Smolenskin and NathanBirnbaum, its members were students at the university in Vienna who came from Bukovina. During the vacation month that they spent at their homes in Bukovina, they promoted the national Jewish solution which they brought from Vienna and found enthusiastic youth among the gymnasium 10 students of Czernowitz. Josef Bierer, Isak Schmierer and Moses Igel, a son of the state 9 Rabbi Dr. Lazar Igel were the torch carriers of national Jewish thought among the gymnasium youth. Their efforts to create a student organization similar to Kadimah in Czernowitz repeatedly failed. They didn't give up their idea and kept the gymnasium group that they influenced together. The leader of this group was Mayer Ebner whose destiny as to be the spiritual leader of many generations of Bukovina Jews.

Mayer Ebner stood to the side of Isak Schmierer, Jakob, Kommer and Philipp Menezel, as well both sons of the state rabbi, Dr. Lazar Igel. Self-Emancipation edited by Nathan Birnbaum, the study of Jewish history, the spreading of the national Jewish idea {Zionism} was the driving force in their lives.

Chief Rabbi Dr. Igel surprised his congregation through a fiery call for the student organizations striving toward Eretz Israel with whom he was in constant contact as a sign of which he dedicated his 1890 Rosh Hashanah sermon to the collection of funds for the Palestine movement.

This sermon caused much controversy in the Community, but the supporters of Zionism ruled the field. Few synagogues followed the orthodox rabbi Benjamin Weiss who spoke out against such collections. The young students and the gymnasium students used this propaganda for the colonization of Palestine to promote their collections and collected significant sums. The national idea engaged ever growing numbers of citizens.

On July 14, 1891 the initiators of a yearlong effort to form a dynamic student organization in Czernowitz reached their goal. The gymnasium students led by Mayer Ebner had successfully passed their final exams and had founded a student organization called Hasmonaea. Following pattern set by Kadimah (Vienna) they wore caps and sashes and defended their honor in duels as in all German national student organizations. A breach had been made in the assimilation front that gave students the opportunity to declare themselves as Jews. The first executive committee consisted of Isak Schmierer as chairman and Mayer Ebner as secretary. The Jewish members of the existing German national student organizations took the founding of this new organization as a challenge to battle and many bloody duels were the result of the traditional first parade of the young Hasmonaea members in their caps and sashes through the central streets of the city.

A single student had left Ebner's group and joined the the German Corps Alemannia. This was the spark for Ebner's first bloody student duel as he fought for Hasmonaea's motto “For honor and the good of the people. ”

Josef Bierer, one of the founders and long time member of Kadimah had proposed as a motto for the organization, “For Zion's wellbeing and the honor of the nation. It took many years, however this motto replaced the original one which didn't mention the then non-existing Zion.

On December 12, 1891 the official founding celebration took place. The few months that had passed since the first “stroll” through the city had sufficed, to earn the bold students an honored place among the students of Czernowitz, literally fighting with saber in hand earning respect in local Jewish society.

The founding celebration of December 12 1891 was a social event for the city. The dean of the Philosophy faculty, Prof. Dr. Isidor Hilberg appeared to represent the rector of the university, Captain D. Baltinester . Also attending were representatives of all the Jewish organizations and institutions and other personalities from the Jewish intelligentsia. Also in the Jewish world, this founding was joyfully accepted and the greetings and telegrams from people like Chief Rabbi Dr. Igel, Dr. Karl Lippe (Iasi), Dr. Bodenheimer (Cologne), Dr. Nathan Birnbaum (Vienna) and Zionist organizations in Berlin, Lemberg and Breslau were numerous.

At the center of the speeches stood that of the dean of the philosophy faculty of the Czernowitz University who was carried away by the atmosphere of national enthusiasm and - against all usage – made a 2 hour nationalistic speech. This speech made a great impression on the assimilated circles in the city and was much discussed. It could have also been the cause that the newspaper Bukovina Rundschau, published by Jews came out against the founding of Hasmonaea and feared a weakening of the German national front. “our place is alongside the Germans, in this land inhabited by people of many nationalities,” wrote the paper, “and it would be a mistake to promote a new country.” In Self Emancipation, Birnbaum spoke out against Hasmonaea, the organization he helped to create for other reasons. He accused them of watering down their nationalism by adopting the symbols of the German student organizations, cap and sash and saber. “Purge yourself of your colors,” he said.

The members of Hasmonaea not only dueled, they traveled to the provinces, made speeches, held Maccabee celebrations and prepared the ground for organized Zionist activity.

A year later Dr. Birnbaum visited Bukovina, spoke at many gatherings and founded colonization organizations in all the larger cities. In Czernowitz Admath Jeschurim, in Radau Ahavath Zion. Two organizations were created in Suceava, Seletin and Frumosa. Nathan Birnbaum's Self-Emancipation became the bible of the speakers.

Hasmonaea dedicated itself mainly to the fight against assimilation and Mayer Ebner was the standard bearer in this fight with his cry, “Against Jewish Assimilation.”

Dr. Philipp Menczel founded the weekly publication the Jewish Echo, dedicated to promoting Zionism in 1894.

Building the Jewish Nation was the rallying cry taken up with enthusiasm by the Jewish masses and rejected by intellectuals.



The publication of Herzl's Jewish State as well as the calling of the first Zionist congress in 1807 in Basel found the ground fertile for Zionism. The Jews of Bukovina sent three delegates and it is no surprise that all three were members of Hasmonaea. Indeed, this student organization had become the flag carrier for Zionism. Dr. Isak Schmierer, Dr.Mayer Ebner and Dr. Leo Picker were chosen to represent Bukovina at this first congress.

Dr. Mayer Ebner's appearance at this first Zionist congress in1897 in Basel, his battle cry against German assimilation and his prophetic warning against assimilation with the developing Romanian nation found and enthusiastic echo in Bukovina. The first Zionist congress was of great significance for the organization of the Zionist movement and uniting the Jewish population of Bukovina to a national unit with a common goal.

At the 50th anniversary of the first Zionist congress conferences and celebrations took place throughout the entire Zionist world. The celebration that took place in the Herzl room of the Keren Kajememeth 11 Building in Jerusalem attended by the still living delegates to the first Congress on August 31, 1947 had special significance. At the same time the members of the Executive Committee and the Action Committee in met in Basel shortly after the Investigating Committee of the UN had issued their report in which they suggested the creating of a Jewish state in a part of Palestine. In Basel Prof. Chaim Weizman along with others celebrated and said:

All who are familiar with the history of Zionism know that Zionism existed long before Herzl. The path to Zion began at the end of the 6th decade of the previous century and progress has continued until today. In 1896, a small brochure appeared under the name, The Jewish State whose writer was a man from my home town who was practically unknown. It is possible that people in Western Europe knew this name, but in the ghettoes of East Europe his name was unknown. The Jewish State was a utopian writing like many similar writings that had appeared before it. There flowed however from these brochures, a warmth that touched the soul and captured the hearts of the masses. The reader found in this writing the spirit of the prophet and this impression was strengthened because, at the same time heavy clouds darkened the Jewish skies in Russia and Poland. And that was the way the Nation and its prophetic hopes that it would find a way out.in times of spiritual need.

And Herzl's writings didn't remain merely writing. Already in the following years he gathered around himself the people {Jewish people} of all nations of the world. And for the first time in the thousands of years of our history a self-proclaimed leader got a response like no crowned head before him. Delegates came from all corners of the world to meet this man, to hear his words, to understand the concept of a Jewish state, and then traveled from land to land to spread Herzl's words to the people and to make his concept of the Jewish State and his rallying cry “If you want it, it is no fairy tale” understandable to them.

And today, 50 years later, in the fateful hour of the first congress, the commission established by the UN has finished its work and authorized the Jewish State. “Atchalta Degeulah”- The beginning of deliverance.

In connection with the 50 th anniversary of the first Congress, the “SaferHakongress”{Book of the Congress} from which we extract the biographies of the 3 Bukovina delegates:

Dr. Isak Schmierer, born 1869 in Czernowitz, 1896 received doctoral degree from the Czernowitz University, practiced the profession of attorney in his home town.

In his youth, he and his friends Phillip Menczel and Moses Igel were concerned with the idea of fighting the assimilation movement and in particular the movement in the academic world to blend in with the Germans. They joined the Choveve-Zion Movement 12 and using the academic student organization Kadimah as a model founded a similar organization in Czernowitz. In the house of Chief Rabbi, Dr. Lazar Igel like-minded youth gathered and decided after the end of their gymnasium studies to found a national academic student organization. A knightly character, a noble thinker, an advocate of Zionism, he was loved by his comrades who chose him as their leader. He stood true to Zionism. He fell on the front as an Austrian officer in 1915 in the First World War.

Dr. Leo Picker was born 1877 in Czernowitz. He was one of the first in elementary school and middle school and his student years at the University. Since the first Congress which he attended as a delegate from Bukovina he remained true to Zionism until his death (1922). He was an unconditional fighter for the Jewish state, whose birth he didn't experience. His both children - son and daughter - died when the Strum was sunken on its way to Eretz Israel.

Dr. Mayer Ebner, born 1872 in Czernowitz lived already for many years in Tel Aviv. The leader of the Bukovina Jews and one of the oldest members of the Zionist Action Committee, founder of the first Jewish national student organizations, Hasmonaea in Czernowitz (1891), delegate to the first Zionist congress and a leader of the Bukovina Jews since then. Before the First World War a lawyer in Czernowitz and a leader in the Jewish community government. As a hostage of the Russians, he was sent to Siberia. After his return home, he again became a leader of the Jewish community. After Bukovina was annexed by Rumania, he became leader of the Jewish National Council. In 1926, he was elected to the Romanian parliament and led a vigorous battle against anti-Semitism in the government, in parliament and in the state. He called the Jewish masses to boycott Romania. In 1929 as a member of the upper house (senate) of the Romanian parliament Ebner appeared before King Carol II of Romania to protest against the dominant anti-Semitism and the restrictions placed on the rights of the Jewish people. His East Jewish Newspaper became the leading organ in the fight against the poisoning of the atmosphere which was spreading in the land. He was one of the founders of the Jewish World Congress and a participant in the Minority Congress. One of the few who experienced the realization of the state, its war of liberation. He called it his most uplifting experience when on the day of the Medinah, 20 Thamus, 1948 in Tel Aviv, he saw the entrance of the {Jewish} army, the realization of Herzl's dream.

In the records of the first Congress, we see that Dr. Mayer Ebner on the first afternoon meeting read a report on the situation of the Bukovina Jews.

Among other things, he reported:

“The Jews had, I repeat, “had” considered themselves as Germans and had remained true to the Germans. When the German Liberal Party collapsed, the Organization of the Christian Germans was born in Bukovina. That was the “reward” for decade long Jewish loyalty to the Germans.

The Jews of Bukovina now are prepared to make a second mistake. They seek annexation to Romania. They will go from the frying pan into the fire. Most of the Jews have lost the backbone of a man who will bow before no person.

We have in Czernowitz and many other cities in Bukovina brought Zionist organizations to life. Zionism encompasses many groups, but Zionism but Zionism is far from being a mass movement. We must do more to transform Zionism from theory to practice and then the people will support us”

The Bukovina Rundschau, the mouthpiece of assimilation, presented, only reluctantly, but never the less objectively the fact that Zionism, in the short time since the delegates returned from the first Zionist Congress in Basel has turned into a true peoples' movement and Zionist organizations have been created in even the smallest villages.

There was no lack, however of aggressive assimilationists. Dr. Heinrich Kiesler published in 1897 a brochure with the title, Judaism and modern Zionism. “The Jews are not a nation and Israel will be a country that isolates Jews from all other people wrote Dr. Kiesler.

The leaders of the East Galician Zionists repeadly tried to unite with the Bukovina group.

Loebel Taubess, a notable figure among Eastern, came to Bukovina. Wide circles associated themselves with the Zionist movement under the influence of his propaganda 13 work. For weeks he traveled with Tallis and Tefillin under his arm, from village to village, from city to city awakening national awareness in the masses who from time immemorial had been close to Zion. 14

The tall man with the long flowing beard and flaming eyes, permeated with deep piety found the way to the hearts of the simple village Jews who were farmers and were bound to the earth and only at the time of the high holidays listened to the Zaddik with humility. He spoke with the intellectuals and defeated them with his quick wits. The Bukovina Zionists united with the Kolomea District Committee under the chairmanship of Dr. Rosenheck joined the state Zionist organization of Austria, but the difficulties of combing the two groups could not be overcome. For the Zionist for Palestine colonization efforts and collection of money in the villages propaganda work the Yiddish language was used by both the east Galician and the Bukovina groups. In the cities, for the fight against assimilation and in spreading the national Jewish principals, one had to use Polish in Galicia and German in Bukovina.

These language differences led to the formation of a separate Bukovina district within the framework of the Austrian state organization. This decision was confirmed in 1901 at the conference of the Austrian Zionists in Olmuetz.

The first meeting of the Bukovina committee took place in Suceava in 1902. The estate owner Sigmund Weissglas from Zastavna was elected as president of the Bukovina District Committee and he led the organization until 1910. At the Uganda conference Weissglas was selected as an expert for the Uganda Commission.

The serious fulfillment of the rallying cry, “The Jews, a nation” had to lead to the decision” that state 15 political action was urgently necessary and that the Zionist organization could not simply restrict itself to the collection of money for the settlement of Palestine. Separate from the Germans, no allying with the Romanian, Ruthenian and Polish minorities were the solutions of the fighting Zionist leaders in Bukovina . Naturally, this path had to lead to the creation of a national Jewish list of candidates for the elections in city and state.

Unfortunately the young Zionist leadership lacked didn't have a good organization. The organization of the students was, the only concession to the “academic spirit” ruling at that time. They however rejected the cap and the saber duels. Those who wanted could have saber duels, those who didn't want to could settle their affairs of honor in other academic, but peaceful ways. The ways of the German student organizations repelled many Jewish hearts. Nathan Birnbaum's ideas again took life, self-emancipation took root in Jewish circles.

While the three academic organizations Hasmonaea, Hebronia, and Zephirah, stressed the characteristics of the German organizations and used their energy to fight each other, Emunah used its time to bring up a new generation of Zionist leaders. Intensive study of Jewish history, the Hebrew language, sociology of the Jews, Jewish cultural history as well as Palestine lore were the main demands on the members. Significant Jewish scholars were invited from abroad and lectures were held for the circles of the intelligentsia. The educated students in their circle traveled through city and country, held lectures and arranged celebrations in memory of historic days. They did all that was in their power to elevate the niveau of the village Jews and make them ripe for self-emancipation.

This type of work led to a separation of the realpolitik from the Palestine work which now became the chief goal of Zionist efforts.

In 1903 the worker movement Poale-Zion began in Bukovina and it chose as its main task, organizing the workers and craftsmen, who up to then had belonged to the international socialist organizations, for national {Zionist}work. Their leader, Berl Locker, who for decades had been a member of the leadership of the Zionist world organization and for a time had been chairman of the executive committee of the organization, Dr. Meier Rosner, Dr. Paul Sokol, Leib Steinmetz and Dr. Meier fostered respect for the new worker movement in the land and in particular they led the fight against assimilation with international organizations and turned their attention to the Jewish language movement.

Jewish students traveled the land creating Zionist organization, Hebrew kindergartens and schools. Large gatherings of the people were organized. Depending on the goal of the gathering, Palestine problems or “work of the present” {immediate work} were discussed. Collections for the Jewish National Fund and in particular, the Herzl Forest brought in significant sums. The shekel exchange rate was favorable enough to allow the sending of a respectable number of delegates to the congresses.

The central office of the Zionist World Organization which after Herzl's death was moved to Koln, the home of David Wolfsohn stayed in active contact with the Bukovina District Committee. The framework was still very small and very little cooperation was asked for from the Zionists. The correspondence for that year mainly concerned the shekel exchange rate and the contributions for olive trees. Significant for this period is the tone of the circulars and appeals, one of which, the one for the Herzl Forest of 1907 (Elul 5667) which follows below:

A monumental cultural and social-political work is presently taking place in Palestine, the land we long for. On a strip of land owned by the Jewish National Fund, belonging to the entire Jewish people, a great olive tree forest, named after our unforgettable leader, Dr. Theodor Herzl s. A., “Herzl Forest “will be planted with 10,000 trees.

In this way will our land, according to a declaration of the German Kaiser, gain the lacking shade. This blessed humane, cultural and social-political work is under the leadership of the well-known social economics professor, Dr. Otto Warburg in Berlin. Our brothers in Germany have contributed 2,000 trees. A tree costs a mere 7 kroner.

Therefore, we appeal to you, dear fellow Jews in Bukovina.

Show your Jewish heart and help us.

That was the spirit of the time. For a few kroner or marks one felt he was serving the German Kaiser. Palestine was still not a reality for the Jewish people of Europe, the Herzl Forest, a humane work.

At the district meeting on September 25, 1908, the new leadership was charged with obtaining approval from the world organization for the creation of a state {Bukovina I assume} organization. The leadership that was elected at this meeting consisted of Sigmund Weissglas, Obermann, and Max Vender – deputies, Dr. Philipp Fleischer – secretary, Banker Adolf Harth – Treasurer, Herman Gottesmann – Jewish National Fund commissioner, as well as the gentlemen Engineer David Miseles, Dr. Mendel Kinnsbrunner, Dr. Chaim Kinnsbruner, Loebel, Tauber and Dr. Salomon Kassner. In a personal letter dated November 29, 1908, the president of the Zionist World Organization replied to the request of the District meeting saying that a district organization can only be formed when it has 3000 contributors. Taking into consideration the special conditions that exist by you, we want in accordance with your wishes to have direct talks with you. We recognize with pleasure that you have begun great activity. The National Fund business from now on will be carried out in the main office in Koln.

On November 3, 1909, the Zionist central office in Koln said that Bukovina, based on the contributor list, could have 5 delegates to the Congress.

These contributor lists are as best we can determine from those to be found in the central Zionist archives in Jerusalem “letters of commendation” for the families whose family head, during the first years of the existence of the Zionist organization, in spite of the pressure that was placed on them by the opposition, courageously and uprightly declared themselves as being Jewish. We find in these lists, among others the following names:

Kimpolung: Jewish National Organization Theodor Herzl: Berl Siegel, Martin Storfer, Chaim Ellenbogen, Dr. LeopoldZaloscer, Dr. Rudolf Marian, Phoebus Glueckstern, Dr. Carl Munisor, Mendel Diener, Joseph Harth, Gertzel Gronich, Israel Roll, Wolf Tanner, Julius Kreindler, Hermann Jawetz, Leib Tauber, Meir Neumann, Isak Kahan, Dr. Josef Glueksmann, Eveline Glueksmann. Obiziora – Breaza: Jacob Schlesinger.

Sadova: Markus Axelrad.

Vama: Markus Schapira, Leiser Herer, Schimon Baran, Moritz Jawetz.

From this small start, an organization was built that had 10,000 contributors.

With the moving of Dr. Nathan Birnbaum to Czernowitz began the cultural battle in the ranks of the Zionist movement in Bukovina.

While the Jewish student organizations advocated Hebrew as the national language and Hebrew was taught in kindergartens and private schools, a new Jewish national academy named Culture was brought into life in order to serve the propagation of the Yiddish language.

In the summer of 1908, the first Yiddish language conference which leading Jewish writers attended took place. Jizchak Leib Perez and Schalom Asch made presentations. Abraham Reisin demanded the recognition of the Yiddish language as the national language of the Jewish people. The conclusion was to recognize both Hebrew and Yiddish equally worthy national languages.

The fight for the recognition of the Jewish nationality which the Zionist organizations fought in the political arena was carried by the academic student organizations onto academic grounds when they in the 1910 school year demanded of the rector that they be allowed to write in their nationality as Jewish when they filled in the registration forms. When the rector denied their request a mass demonstration was held by the Jewish students in the aula of the university. Using sharp words, the speaker presented to the rector, who was present at the demonstration, the students' grievance. We were born Jews and we want to remain as Jews. We don't want to be considered as Germans. We are not just a religion, but also a nation declared the speaker. They demanded that the rector present their just demands to the Senate of the University and expressed their hope that a department of Hebrew language, Jewish history and literature be established at the Franz Joseph University of Czernowitz so that within a reasonable time the needs of the Jews be cared for. This notable mass gathering of the academic Jews was closed with the singing of Hatikvah. Singing their color song the students marched in closed formation from the University to the center of the city cheered from many thousands of Jews who lined the streets of the city.

This student gathering marked the beginning of a tough and bitter fight of the Jewish academic youth with the University officials who supported the position of the government. The German student organizations 16, the International Student Corps and to some extent the organizations representing student minority groups attacked the Jewish students in the University's aula {courtyard}.It came to bloody fights. The police were not allowed to enter the University grounds and performed first aid on the injured students who were often carried out from the University grounds and left on the street.

Many Jewish students who took part in demonstrations held outside of University grounds were expelled and had to enroll in other universities insofar as they had the means to relocate to Lemberg, Krakow or Vienna. Others gave up their studies. Every Jewish national student crossed out the word “German” in the space for mother tongue and substituted “Yiddish.”

After a few years of bitter fights with University officials and bloody fights with the Germans the students managed to push through their demands. In the years 1912/1913, under the heading “German mother tongue,” in brackets was printed the number of those who claimed the Jewish nationality. Of critical significance for the development of the Zionist organization in Bukovina was the Bukovina Zionist state party day which took place in Czernowitz on February 27, 1910, attended by 50 delegates coming from all parts of the state. For the first time the academic students organizations stood up to the leadership demanding precedence for the practical Zionist work over the state-political “work of the presence.” For years this dispute had occupied the Zionists in Bukovina. The compromise that Theodor Herzl achieved in the meeting of the Action Committee with the Zionist leaders of Bukovina, Dr. Mayer Ebner, Dr. Josef Biener, Dr. Philipp Menczel in May 1900 concerning abandoning the idea of creating their own list of candidates for the Reichsrat election of 1901 was confirmed. The state {Bukovina}politics, however put ever more pressure on the practical Palestine work and the education of the youth for this work. The problem of state politics or Palestine work didn't remain specifically a Bukovina problem. In the wider world the fight continued. Articles pro and con appeared. Zionist leaders concerned themselves with this problem. Internal party fights often crippled practical work. Also, the Party Day that took place in Krakow in 1906 didn't produce a satisfactory solution for the problem.

Meanwhile, in Czernowitz, in the academic student organization Emunah new initiatives were developing focused on pure Zionist work for Palestine. The two sons of Loebel Taubes, Israel and David became the leaders of Emunah and attracted like-minded students to themselves among whom Theodor Weisselberger was one of the most outstanding and this student group was successful together with like-minded students from Zephirah among whom Markus Kraemer was especially outstanding, in bringing about a decisive change of direction at the party day of February, 1910.

Inspired by Theodor Weisselberger who led the opposition, the president of the District Committee, Sigmund Weissglass, who for 8 years had led the organization, but didn't have the power to favor the Zionist work, the neglect of the State political activity to hinder, his motion.

To the great applause of all the delegates Prof. Dr. Leon Kellner was elected president of the Bukovina Zionist Committee.

At his side in the State Committee stood Loebel Taubes, Dr. Mayer Ebner, Dr. Mendel Kinnesbrunner, Leo Kraemer, Dr. Ellenbogen, Dr. Moses Hauer, Dr. Philipp Fleischer, Hermann Gottesmann, and Joseph Hornstein.

At the debate in this conference which was conducted at a high level and the following delegates were particularly involved Israel Taubes, and Theodor Weisselberger (Emunah), Markus Kraemer (Zephirah), Meir Teich (Suceava), Koerner (Suceava), as well as Loebel Taubes.

The constitutional meeting took place on April 18, 1910. Professor Leon Kellner was elected president and Loebel Taubes and Dr. Mayer Ebner as vice president s. Leo Kraemer (Emunah) was elected as secretary and Dr. Mendel Kinnsbruner (Zephirah) was elected as Contributions 18 Commissar and Herman Gottesmann was elected National Fund Commissar.

Already in this first sitting, it was decided:

1: Founding of new organizations and naming of liaison officers in smaller towns.

2: Holding of meetings in all cities and villages in honor of the 50th birthday of Dr. Theodor Herzl.

3: Prof. Dr. Kellner to be leading speaker in gatherings in Czernowitz, Radautz, Kimpolung, Sereth, Storozynetz, Suceava, Kotzman, Wiznitz and Gurahumora.

In the name of the Zionist central office in Cologne Martin Rosenblueth wrote on April 26, 1910:

“We have noted with great satisfaction your leadership. A new epoch in the Zionist movement in Bukovina has begun. The academic organizations have taken over the leadership.”

A systematic agitation activity began. Collections began in all cities of Bukovina. The themes were:

1: Zionism as solution to the “Jewish problem.”

2: Zionism and work of the present.

3: Zionism and emigration.

4: Colonization of Palestine.

5: Jewish art.

The speakers were: Prof. Dr. Kellner, Luebel Taubes, Dr. Mayer Ebner, Dr. Mendel Kinnsbrunner, Dr. Max Diamant, Dr. Markus Schapira, Dr. Philipp Fleischer, Dr. Moses Hauer, Dr. Hoffmann, Dr. Efraim Brenner, Dr. Salomon Kassner, Dr. Bruno Weber, Dr. Baeumer and Dr. M. Gingold.

Locations of the gatherings were Czernowitz, Radoutz, Sirit, Suceava, Storozynetz, Gurahumora, Kimpolung, Dornawatra, Wiznitz, Kotzman, Sadagura, Zastwana, Waschkoutz, Nowosielitza, Itzkany, Solka, Wama and Bojan.

Hebrew courses were initiated and on the long winter evenings, the Palestine problem was discussed by families and entire communities. The inner political organization of the Bukovina Jews, which the ruling parties still controlled and whose votes in the elections for the federal, state and the Community leadership were steered to the majority party by vote buying and pressure applied on the common man by the “patricians.” didn't allow any effort to be exclusively directed to the Palestine cause. The Zionists who were just interested in Palestine work only considered important as “work of the present,” that concerned with recognition of the Jewish nationality and recognition of cultural autonomy and didn't take part in the internal political fighting.

After initially directing the Zionist effort to Palestine work and study of Judaic, at the recommendation of Prof. Dr. Kellner they built their own political machine. He called on the entire people to elect delegates who would create this new entity. This political party was to attract Jews from the other parties of the land, represent all the Jews as a nation and so to make possible the pushing through of collective rights. The program encompassed political, economic and cultural issues.

The plan for a People's Council consisted of the following points:

1: The purpose of the People's Council is to advise the Jews in both business and politics and to be their interface with the other nations.

2: Promotion of culture

  1. Creation of kindergartens and children's homes.
  2. Creation of apprentice's homes.
  3. Toynbee Halls (Founded in Vienna in 1904 by Prof. Dr. Kellner for education and socialization.
  4. Libraries for the people.

3: Improving of commerce through promotion of agriculture, business, industry and trade.

4: Loan societies.

The People's Council should demand that the Austrian government provide{the Jewish people} the equal rights guaranteed in the constitution, provision of a Jewish land register for the areas thickly settled by Jews like Bukovina and Galicia, encouragement of farming and business, industry and trade by the government by means of granting support like that they have given to other nationalities.

In his call to the Bukovina Jews to form a People's Council Prof. Dr. Kellner wrote in October 1910:

“The bountiful table of this earth is occupied to the last place. The educated gentlemen of our race have observed this. The unemployed among us count in the hundreds. Our unemployed jurists number in the hundreds, no one wants to try the skills of our doctors who can be counted in the dozens, no one wants to test the education of our academic teachers.

In these times of want we need, what our ancestors never lacked, courageous people, spirits filled with the love of Go d, men of truth, and enemies of avarice.”

A national Jewish newspaper was established and appeared in January, 1911under the title “Jewish Peoples Council.

The election for the Jewish Council was held in 18 districts with a population of 100,000 Jews. The election, in and of itself, was a grandiose announcement of the new national way of thinking, the unbending will of the Jewish people, from now on they alone must lead the fight for equal rights and national recognition as a people.

36 nationally inclined men who were prepared to fight for the good of the Jews in Bukovina were elected.

The first priority of these men was the fight against the government, the Germans, the assimilated Jews and also to gain control of the Jewish community government {see note 8}.

This fight against Dr. Benno Straucher, who since 1890 had ruled Jewish life, was carried out with particular bitterness.

Lifted from the masses to the People's Tribune, he led the fight against assimilation with the Germans and the patricians in Jewish society using the rallying cry “Jehudi Anochi,” or “the interests of the common man, but then went over to the side of the patricians and became the dictator of the “Jewish street.” He was the first Jew in Bukovina who dared to go up against the all powerful “family dynasty” {Chasidic family dynasty?} and supported by the masses, “the little man,” without party and without a power base, tore away the parliamentary mandate of the mayor of the Czernowitz municipality, Kochanowski.

In the Imperial Assembly in Vienna he remained a “wild card.” He didn't join any party, fought against the spreading anti-Semitism and fought against the oppression of the Jews in Russia and Romania. In spite of the fact that he soon had even outside of Austria the reputation for fighting for the equality of the Jews, he didn't follow Herzl's call to the first Zionist Congress, remained distant from the Zionist organization and only used the national-Jewish solution as a tool in his fight for power and votes. He rose from one position of power to another, took control of the Czernowitz City Council with 20 of the 50 seats which up until then had been controlled by the Germans, Romanians and Poles with the cooperation of the Jews. This way he was able to control the mayor of Czernowitz.

The highpoint of his fight in the Austrian Parliament was his attack on the Austrian judiciary in the ritual murder process against Leopold Hilsner.

He was the only Member of Parliament who was not a member of a strong party. In his delegation he spoke in a forceful way about Zionism, stimulating much attention. This was the first time that Zionism had been discussed in a European parliament. The president of the Zionist World Organization, David Wolfsohn thanked Dr. Straucher in an official letter in which he particularly stressed the importance for Zionism of a speech given in such an important forum.

For Straucher, Zionism was only a means to an end. He wanted to harness Bukovina Zionism, which was groping for a direction to proceed in, to a “victory wagon” and tolerated, however no intellectual at his side. The little man, lifted to a position of power, was a tool in his hands.

Dr. Heinrich Gabel, Docent Dr. Arthur Mahler and Adolf Stand, who were permeated with deep love for Zionism chose Dr. Straucher the proven and skilled parliamentary fighter as president of the first Jewish parliamentary club.

He promised the Jewish students his support for the recognition of the Jewish nationality in the University and thereby came into direct conflict with the leaders of the Zionist movement in his homeland, Bukovina.

In a meeting in the Jewish House, a beautiful building which Straucher had built with his energy, Jewish students opposed the fact that, against all Jewish custom, he had a bronze bust of himself set up in the lobby. Straucher had his bodyguard, which watched him at every meeting, to prevent anyone from uttering a word of reproof or anything other than praise be said about him, literally drive the students from the hall with blows. With bloodied heads, the students went home and a fight against the dictator began in the “Jewish street” that continued for many years and drew the best strength of the Bukovina Jews from the Zionist work and diverted to this unrewarding fight.

Also Professor Dr. Kellner was drawn into this fight and conducted it with great energy.

Dr. Straucher and those placed by him at the head of the city government, the Jewish community, the Chamber of Commerce and various town boards opposed the newly created Peoples Council.

With the creation of the “People's Army” by Dr. Straucher, the battle took on a new character. This fight echoed far over the borders of little Bukovina as Zionist groups moved to Dr. Straucher's side. Efforts by the Zionist World Organization to end the fight failed because Straucher was never a Zionist in the true sense of the word and didn't consider opening the way for Zionists into the political arena as long as all key positions were in his hands.

The situation created by the 1911 state elections was described by Dr. Kellner in a report to the Central Committee in Cologne as follows:

The year 1911 as well as the second half of 1911 were periods of heavy political fighting, such as the Jews of Bukovina have rarely experienced. In 1910 the fight about the inner organization started, which today is still not concluded and at the same time, the agitation for the state parliament that has caused state residents to hold their breaths for 6 months began. And the state parliament elections were hardly over with the joyful outcome that 10 Jewish representatives joined the “Jewish Club” as members of the parliament in Bukovina, when again when the federal parliament elections again set people in unrest. On top of these political events which naturally drew all public interest and unfavorably acted on Zionist activity, came a further unfavorable factor, the business depression which was considered in all of Eastern Austria as a financial catastrophe. On October 31, 1910 the propinationsrecht ended: This meant ruin for thousands of Jewish families who up to then had earned their living in the Schankgewerbe. In Bukovina, because of the decline of the lumber industry, another income source for the Jews was lost and more circles of Jews joined the proletariat.

Considering these circumstances, it would not of been a surprising if there had been a significant reduction in Zionist activity compared to earlier years. Happily, that was not the case. The collection of Shekels actually increased. It is certainly not unreasonable to attribute this result to the activity and authority of the new State Committee. Professor Dr. Kellner, the chairman of the State Committee, during May and June traveled throughout Bukovina and stopped in the cities of Czernowitz, Suceava, Sereth, Radautz, Kimpoling, Wiznitz, Gurahumora and Dorna-Watra to give speeches that attracted new converts to the Zionist way of thinking.

Above all, credit should be given to the academic Jewish students in all of Bukovina. The academic organizations Emunah, Hasmonaea, Hebronia, Zephirah, (Czernowitz), Chermonia (Radautz), Hatikvah (Suceava), hold true to Zionist ideals. From these enthusiastic youth we can expect great things for the Zionist cause.

The plan to join with the Settlement Fellowship of Jewish Workers from Bukovina in Palestine has received from the aforementioned organizations, the most joyful agreement and warmest acceptance.

The elections for the Bukovina Parliament in 1911 put the Peoples' Council, founded by Prof. Kellner and his followers, to the test. Would it succeed, against a brutal opponent who wouldn't hesitate, to financially destroy people who stood in their way, in proving that the Jewish people would not be manipulated, but that the Bukovina Jews were permeated with the national awareness. That was the question that Prof. Kellner's staff had to resolve. And the men surrounding Dr. Kellner stood this test as they always had in saber duels against students of other nationalities and they didn't give up, even with saber slashes on their faces. They didn't back off as they fought for recognition of the Jewish nationality against the University officials, the German students and the assimilated Jews. They even dared to invade Straucher's Jewish House to continue the fight although they were sent home with bloody heads and they were today prepared as “old gentlemen,” to carry on the fight for Jewish freedom and honor against Straucher at the general election.

Their leader was a man who had the appearance of a peaceful sober university professor who was interested in nothing but his science, who had a reputation for English language and literature in the world of the educated and who was recognized by the Austrian government as a inoffensive professor at the Franz Joseph University in Czernowitz.

This quiet man became a fiery prophet who captured the masses with flaming words. He woke them out of their lethargy, freed them from their fear of the all powerful Straucher and his thugs who throughout the cities and villages into the smallest community exercised a terrible pressure on the Jewish population. As in a trance, with their heads held high, they went to the polls and voted for the Jewish slate.

Anna Kellner, Prof. Kellner's widow described the 1911 elections for the Bukovina legislator in her book, “Leon Kellner, His Life and Work. “with the following words (Vienna, 1936):

“The days will remain unforgettable for me, when I was at his side, as he gave his inspiring speech in the numerous cities of Bukovina. The entire trip was like a triumphal parade. Everywhere people joined our group to accompany us to our next destination. Hundreds of people waited at the railroad stations to see and greet the man who would rescue them from their hopeless existence. Mothers held their children high to show them Prof. Kellner at the window of his compartment. Joyful cries filled the streets of the cities that we entered. A coach took us to the hotel that we would stay at and the horses were unharnessed and students pulled the coach. Never before or since have I experienced something similar.”

The victory of the Jewish Peoples' Council signified Dr. Straucher's defeat. Both candidates of the People's Council, Dr. Prof. Kellner and Dr. Max Fokschaner were elected to the state legislator. In this election, the Jews in the various voter categories received (there were voter rights classes), 10 mandates, 2 from Jewish large land owners, 2 from businesses and 6 from the general class. They formed a Jewish legislative club and were represented in the Bukovina Landesausschuss, which consisted of 8 of the 63 elected representatives, by Dr. Neumann Wender.

The new legislator decided in its first sitting to handle the Jews as a national entity. This decision signified much for the Jews of Bukovina and had general significance for the Jews of Austria.

The national political work of two decades had achieved its first significant success.

This political activity had absorbed all energy and it appeared that there was none left for pure Zionist work directed toward Palestine. In spite of everything, this was not so. The separation of “realpolitik” from Zionist work proposed on Delegates Day of February 19 was approved.

Thanks to this Zionist activity Bukovina could send 4 delegates to the 10th Zionist Congress which took place in Basel, one of whom was selected for the Permanezzausschuss.

In the middle of the most difficult election campaign, the Zionist work was carried on and the elections to the 11th Zionist Congress, which took place in 1913 in Vienna, proved the correctness of this approach. Among the delegates to this congress who were elected in Bukovina, were to be found Dr. Theodor Weisselberger, who was one of students who were drawn from the ranks of the national academic organization Emunah and who had taken over the leadership of the Zionist work in Bukovina while Dr. Straucher, to prove his Zionist credentials sought to obtain a mandate to congress. Dr. Phillip Korngruen, the travel secretary of the Action Committee wrote to Dr. Martin Rosenblueth, the leader of the Organization Department in Berlin on May 21, 1912:

“Despite hundreds of conversations and conferences, I have not been successful in finding a single person who is capable of staying above the fray. Some call for Kellner, others cry, “not Kellner”, but don't answer the question, “who then?” I have succeeded in finding the best people from all the organizations to run in the election for the State Committee so the general opinion is that the State Committee will have within itself the seed of progress. This will be the first State Committee made up of all young people, a number of whom we have great expectations for. At the beginning of our movement, there were only a small number of true Zionists (the Organization Hasmonaea) and the indifferent. All Jews were German liberals or German's for freedom. Unfortunately Straucher realized that there was a force in Zionism that could be useful for his purposes. The only credit that we can give him is the fact that he made the Bukovina Jews “Jewish national.”That was very easy because he didn't demand any sacrifices for Jewish Nationalism.

Dr. Philipp Korngreun came often to Bukovina, traveled through the cities, visited the various Zionist groups and made close contact with the central leaders of the World Organization.

In the newly built Toynbee Hall, Professor Kellner won the married couple Markus Kisslinger over to the idea of putting up this magnificent building using their own funds, the Zionist organization gained the acclaim that Dr. Kellner desired for it. Sponsored by Hebronia, lectures were held here every Saturday afternoon. Discussions about Zionist-Palestine problems were carried on, art, literature and programs of common interest filled the large hall. The public was served tee and pastries at no cost.

Toynbee Hall became a Zionist temple. The Zionist office was installed in special rooms where the secretary worked. The first person to hold this office was the student Salo Dachner who came from Emunah. He was followed by Leon Schmelzer also from Emunah who held this office until the outbreak of the World War in 1914. The activity of this secretary was to set up the travel arrangements for Dr. Philipp Korngruen and Meir Gayner, the delegates to the World Central, to send propaganda material to the local groups, organizing the collections for the Jewish National Fund, managing the correspondence with the local groups and especially to monitor the “Shekel collection.”

Meanwhile, ,the organization had grown to encompass many communities. Speakers drawn from all the Zionist organizations were sent to all the communities.

With the outbreak of the First World War in July, 1914 this work was abruptly ended. To be sure, the Bukovina Zionists continued the Zionist work in all the places that fate had delivered them to. As soldiers and officers they even collected for the Jewish National Fund on the various fronts and sent their Shekels to the Vienna organization. The state organizations as such had ceased to function and were reorganized after the end of the World War in 1918.



With the outbreak of the First World War, the activity of the Zionist Organization, the work of the Jewish National Fund and especially, the contact with the jischuw 19 in Eretz Israel 20 was abruptly ended.

While the leader M. M. Ussischkin who came from Russia, Dr. Chaim Weizmann, Seew Jabotinsky from neutral Switzland, England and America organized help for the Jischuw who were with threatened with annihilation by the Turks supported by the worker leader Jizchak Ben-Zwi who had been driven out of the land and David Ben-Gurion, Dr. Mossinsohn the director of the Herzl Gymnasium in Tel-Avi who established connections with Israel and through active military help and organization of a spy network in the land provided important services, helped the German and Austrian Zionists the Jischuw through their connections with the German government with the Turks, who in spite of this continued their oppression of the Jews of Palestine, but, under the pressure of the allies held back from a full scale eradication of the Jischuwk.

The tragedy of the Jewish people who possessed no land to enable to let them be recognized as an independent nation was highlighted by the events of the war. In the lands of mass settlements: Russia, Romania, Palestine, they were decimated by pogroms and in the areas of Austria occupied by Russia: Galicia and Bukovina, the Jews were the first victims of the murdering and burning Cossack hoards. The Jews of Bukovina who fled their burning homeland placed themselves in the hands of the Austrian military officials in Vienna to do military service for the other nations. German and Austrian Jews distinguished themselves through their bravery and self sacrifice and received the highest medals for bravery from both countries. The casualty rate of the Jews fighting for the allies, Austria and Germany, exceeded by far, that of other troops.

In 1917 Kaiser Karl prepared an Orient Corps to fight in Palestine and only volunteers who had shown great bravery on other fronts were allowed to join. Many honored Jews, who had been awarded the highest medals, were included in the ranks of this expeditionary force and among them were not a few from Bukovina. After a review of the troops in Belgrade this elite force was suddenly sent to the Italian front where it was decimated at the Battle of the Piave River.

The desperate situation of the Jischuws called for constant interventions by both nations at war. The Zionist World Organization led by Otto Warburg remained, to be sure, in Berlin, but opened however in neutral Copenhagen in Denmark, a branch office directed by Dr. Arthur Hantke, which soon through its newly created connections became the World Central. The main office of the Jewish National Fund was transferred from Cologne to neutral Holland and from the Hague managed the collection of contributions from the entire world.

Because of the good relations with the German government, which since Herzl's time had supported the Zionist cause, a German victory would help lead to Zionist success in Palestine. The allies also said they would help the Zionist cause if they won.

The Zionist leaders who were located in the United States and in particular in England were concerned with the difficult question if it would be advisable to drop their neutrality and come out openly on the side of the Allies in the war against the Central Powers and to help to get Palestine out of Turkish hands. Seew Jabotinsky advocated the forming of their own expeditionary force while Menachem M. Ussischkin was for remaining neutral in order not to endanger the Jews in the lands of the Central Powers.

Together with the units already organized by Josef Trumpeldor, the Jewish Gdud, the first genuine Jewish field corps was set up. A flaming call was sent to all Jews in the Allied countries to enlist in the Corps.

Hear Israel, listen to the voices of your hearts, The hour has come to conquer our land with our own strength. “Follow your understanding and ask yourself, should the English fight for us while we sit quietly in our homes until the land is again given to us? The blood of the martyrs calls out of the earth, “join the Jewish army.”

Among the brave who particularly distinguished themselves was Chaim Halbrecht who came from his home in American to volunteer for the people. He remained, after the conquest of Palestine, in the service of the neutral Palestine Border Corps, from which the Trans-Jordan Legion evolved. After this unit became a pure Arab organization he left the service.

The news of he Balfour Declaration which on 11/2/1917 which guaranteed the Jews in Allied lands the creation of a national home found its way through the efforts of the Copenhagen office to the Zionist ranks in Germany and Austria.

The Jews of Bukovina were filled with hope to be able to move to the new homeland as soon as the war was over which would also bring an end to the refugee camps. No one believed that a new attempt would be made to rebuild the burnt earth of Bukovina.

It was not to happen.

The war ended. There was no longer an Austrian empire. In the east of the Monarchy, new states arose, Palestine was far from being ready to accept the Jewish masses. The English and French were not united on the question of who this strip of land should go to and how it should be divided up. The promise of the Balfour Declaration agreed to individually, but not collectively by all the powers remained an unfulfilled promise.

In this situation, the Jews of Bukovina as individually and in groups and then in mass-transports began to return to Bukovina and there started the attempt to restore the destruction.

The Jewish National Council of Bukovina stepped forward courageously to help the home comers gathering at the Border to gain permission to enter from the now ruling Romanians. Reconstruction of the destroyed locations was started. The Joint, the charity started by American Jews for reconstructing the destroyed Jewish settlements and providing help and rehabilitation to the victims of the war sent as their representative Lieutenant Backer of the American army. He traveled through the destroyed towns and villages and was shaken by the misery that met his eyes. He immediately made large sums available for the rebuilding. An inter-party committee chaired by Chief Rabbi Dr. Joseph Rosenfeld was charged with the task of building an organization and led the first efforts at ameliorating the worst suffering.

The Jewish parties sent their representatives to the newly created organization. These representatives unanimously elected Karl Klueger as their chairman. We should make special mention of those among them who dedicated their entire souls to the rebuilding: Markus Kisslinger, the builder of Toyenbee Hall, Jacob Wiznitzer, Dr. Berthold Friedmann, Dr. Josef Ohrenstein, Markus Schmelzer, Dr. Gabriel Rosenrauch, the widow of the delegate to the first Zionist conference, Dr. Schmierer who fell in the First World War, Seide Engler, Director MathiasRoll, Dr. Mosner, Nathan Horowitz the founder of the Jewish Children's Home, Dr. Salomon Kinsbrunner, the gerent of the Jewish Community, Juda Teitler, Schaul Barnik, Prof. Dr. Leo Hoffmann, Hildebrand and above all, the president at the head, Karl Klueger whose life work it was to rebuild the destroyed home of the Jews. In a short time, Sadagura, Waschkautz, Wiznitz which had been totally destroyed and were pure Jewish centers were rebuilt and engaged in business. In all the cities of Bukovina branches of Joint were set up, a commercial bank was established and long term credit was made available for businesses. All social institutions of the land received generous grants. In this way, the Jews of Bukovina were helped to do constructive work.

The leaders could now again direct their full attention to Zionist work.

The fight for national rights in Romania quickly became a secondary issue as after the dissolution of the National Council the Zionist organization was restructured. The Zionist youth who had led the fight for national recognition at the universities in Lemburg and Czernowitz took over the leadership of the Zionist organization. The Zionist academic organizations were reactivated and their “old gentlemen” were sent as delegates to the State Committee.

The state conference of the Bukovina Zionists took place on October 25 and 26, 1919 in Czernowitz. Kurt Blumenfeld represented the Executive at this conference. For the Praesidium were elected: Dr. Mayer Ebner as president, Dr. Salomon Kassner and Dr. Theodor Weisselberger as vice presidents, Dr. Manfred Reifer as secretary.The Executive consisted of Dr. Marcus Kraemer, Prof. Hermann Glaser, Prof. Julian Silberbusch, Prof. Israel Schleyer, Dr. Ludwig Chajes, Dr. Leon Schmelzer, Josef Wiznitzer, Dr.Josef Bierer, Engineer Michael Schindler. A state committee with 30 members representing the larger town groups was also elected.

Systematic work and precise organization characterized the activity of these bodies which carried out the separation of local politics from Zionism.

Dr. Ebner dedicated himself to the political work: Achieving representation corresponding to population numbers in city and state, strengthening the national awareness of the Jewish masses were the objectives that Dr. Ebner sought to achieve in a decade's long fight in speech and print, in parliament, meetings, conferences, trips abroad as well as in the press, especially the East Jewish Newspaper, brochures, personal letters, political actions and the use of every opportunity offered to him.

At the forefront of the Zionist organization directed at Palestine work stood Dr. Theodor Weisselberger who stood at the side of Dr. Ebner who had been involved with the State Organization since 1910. Dr. Weisselberger had dedicated his life to the Zionist cause and for more than 2 decades was at the forefront of all parts of the State Organization until its dissolution with the Russian invasion in 1940. Deported to Siberia by the Russians he never experienced the realization of Zionism and the creation of the Jewish state in Israel.

Dr. Marcus Kraemer, who as a young member of Zephirah traveled through the provinces, soon became one of the leading figures of Zionist life in Bukovina. He attained this stature through his superior speaking ability and organizational talents in the People's Council movement. He took over the difficult mission of the Bukovina Zionist State Organization by advising the Comite de Delegations juives in Paris together with Dr. Max Diamant. For a long time, he remained far from home and dedicated his capabilities to the Bukovina Jews in the fight to keep their rights. Repeatedly elected to the Board of the State Organization {Bukovina} ,he created the city organization in Czernowitz which had its seat in the Hotel Central, that became the meeting place for most of the Zionist clubs in Czernowitz. In this work, he was strongly supported by the members of the Zionist State Board, Marcus Gold. Eisenberg , Mendel Engler, Roll, Wiener, Wronski and Jsaak Zehnwirth.

The Zionistic work was divided into the following self sufficient areas at the annual conference of the State Organization:

The strengthening of the youth was the purview of the Maccabi which evolved in 1913 from the sport organization Hakoah and the youth group Blue-White.

Dr. Marem Sommer who eternally remained the young student took over the organizing and leading of the Maccabi . Thousands of young boys and girls streamed to him. Every branch of sports was taken up.

The building used by a few dozen members of the General Gymnastic Club soon became the center for the Maccabi. Members of the board of the General Gymnastic club, the leading Zionists Dr. Salomon Kinsbrunner and Georg Haller obtained the agreement of the president Olgr Zrkan and several hundred gymnasts marched in summer of the following year at a large sports festival. In 1921 there was a gathering of the Maccabi in Sidoli in Iasi and Landsman a sports teacher from the ranks of the Czernowitz Maccabi remained there to organize the local Maccabi

The youth went hiking in the mountains, rowing and swimming, skiing in the winter brought joy to their lives.

After Dr. Marem Somer emigrated to Vienna, Dr. Leon Schmelzer took over the chairmanship and the active leadership of the mountain sport group, Dr. Emanuel Flor the ski section, Schlomo Gottlieb the gymnastic section, Berl Engler the light athletic section and Dagobert Grossmann, the water sport section.

In 1921 Dr Schmelzer was the driving force in having a law worked out by him, based on an existing Austrian law passed at the state {Bukovina} level that created the Imperial Federation of Jewish Athletes and Gymnasts of Greater Romania. The initial officers were: Dr. Schmelzer president, Prof. Isaiah Tumarkin from Chisinau vice president, Dr. Robert Weinberg (Bucharest) secretary and Weissberg (Iasi) .

Engineer Michael Schindler who after Dr. Schmelzer became a member of the board of the State Organization took over the leadership of the Maccabi developed the organization into a all parts of Romania embracing national youth movement which took part in both Maccabiade in Tel-Aviv as well as the Maccabiade in Prag and the winter sport Maccabiade in Zakopane. Many of these athletes made their Aliyah and became leading athletes there.

The Tarbuth-Ressort was led by Dr. Hermann Glaser who together with the Hebrew teacher Nafali Siegelbaum published a weekly periodical, Hatechiah. The Hebrew language movement accelerated under Josef Bierer as president of Safa Iwria, which became the center of the many Ganei Jeladim elementary school seminars for Gananoth and teachers. The pedagogic leader of all these institutions was Dr. Ephraim Porah, who came from Palestine to organize the Speech Movement in the Golah {the scattered colonies of Jews outside of Palestine}. A Hebrew gymnasium was set up in Storozynetz and a real school in Gurahumora. One of the especially gifted teachers of the real gymnasium in Storozynetz was Dr. Alexander Schorr who emigrated to Eretz Israel in 1926 and there died at a young age. We can thank him for the Hebrew translation of Herodoth, Tacitus, Josephus Flavius and more. His son, Dr. SchmuelSchoor is docent at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. One of his daughters who lives in Jerusalem is married to the founder of the university workshops for medical and chemical installations, Wilhelm (Seew) Tutnauer.

The Jewish singing club Hasamir staged large performances of great artistic value which interpreted Hebrew songs and folk music from Palestine and which found great favor with Jews and non-Jews. The center of Zionist activity was the Palestine office led by Professor Julian Silberbusch which had a series of offices in Bucharest, Constanza, Cluj and other important cities which made it possible for the Aliyah {immigration to Israel} from Poland to pass through Romania rather than take the long and costly route through Trieste. Particularly, in the twenties, there was a large illegal Aliyah from Poland. Hundreds of youth whose passports were rejected came over the border illegally and got a Laisserpasser from the Palestine Office, a document that said a passport was pending and which was accepted by the Romanian officials as a “waiting paper.”Often, the holders of these documents had to wait in Czernowitz more than a year. They were sequenced by the Zionist officials, received provisional work and Hachscharah for Palestine {Hachscharah is a Hebrew word meaning preparation}.

Special training was given to the various youth groups which developed in Czernowitz: Blue-White, Gordonia, Hechawer, Haschomer-Hazair and Wizo-Hazeirah were the most important of them. Hundreds of these youth left the schools and universities and took Hachscharah to prepare themselves for the land and its kibbutzim {communal settlement/farm} . Thanks to the glorious youth movements of Bukovina Israel obtained many leaders.

A people's university was established. Docents were Dr. Theodor Weisselberger, Prof. Julian Silberbusch, Prof. Dr. Hermann Glaser, Dr. Markus Kraemer, Dr. Manfred Reifer, Dr. Leon Schmelzer and others. All Zionist themes were discussed and the copious Zionist literature was made available to the youth.

Special efforts were devoted to the funds. Keren Kajemeth, {the Jewish National Fund} was led by Dr. Ludwig Chajes, who reorganized the fund and ran it until 1922.

The main office wrote about Dr. Chajes : on December 13, 1922:

He was in charge of the collection stations from May 1, 1920 until August 1, 1922. In this activity, he distinguished himself by his devotion to our instition which served us all. He laid the foundation for buying the land for Eretz Israel.

His successor was Dr. Leon Schmelzer who for 2 yeaars had led all the large collection efforts in Bukovinaand brought the Fund to a high level that Ussischkin praised with the following words:

“The days I spent in Czernowitz are unforgettable to me. I felt the pulse beat of the people there.”

The newly created fund Keren Hayesod {Palestine Foundation Fund} was dedicated to building the land of Palestine up into a Jewish homeland. For 5 years every Jew was supposed to give 10% of his income to the Fund.

In Bukovina, the State Organization placed one of their best men at the head of this fund, Engineer Dr. Markus Reiner, a man who as an engineer obtained an excellent reputation during the First World War as builder of the first narrow gauge railroad over the Mogura ,a 1500 meter high mountain pass which connected Bukovina with Siebenbuergen. The Russian invasion was halted at the southern corner of Bukovina and in all the war years they couldn't conquer this part. No connection served this part of the land, only high passes. There the engineering genius Reiner built this train line, previously considered impossible.

Engineer Reiner collected respected people around himself who had the moral strength to collect great sums. The connection with the daily work of Palestine led Reiner to give up his leading position with the management of the railroad in Czernowitz and to make his Aliyah.

Starting in 1922, he was one of the leading administrators of the mandate in Eretz Israel and today is a professor in the Technical Highschool (Technion) in Haifa (detailed biography in vol. II of this work).

The leadership of the Palestine Foundation Fund was assumed by Dr. Manfried Reifer who held this position until 1934. He was followed in the leadership by Engineer Maximilian Zwilling who until his early death dedicated all his free time to the Palestine Foundation Fund. Dr. Reifer sent a report to the main office of the Palestine Foundation Fund covering activity from 1921-1923 from which the following information is extracted.

On December 12, 1921 delegates from all of Bukovina attended the first Palestine Foundation Fund conference in Czernowitz. Under the influence of the speaker Kurt Blumenfeld, the most prominent Jewish personalities of Bukovina gave celebratory speeches about the Palestine Foundation Fund. A Board of Advisors and a Executive Board were elected from among all the strata of the Jewish population and from all parties of Bucovina with the exception of the Bund.The Palestine idea brought together Assimilationists and Zionists, Orthodox and Reform, right and left.

It was an uplifting moment as the first Maaser Commission began its work and demanded the fulfillment of this duty from the front ranks of the Zionists. The Palestine Foundation Fund's Executive Board published a manifesto for the Bukovina Jews demanding fulfillment of their duty to Eretz Israel. All the Communities, B'nai Brith lodge Orient, the Federation of Small Businesses. The Business Association, the State Rabbi's Association, the Jewish Bucovina Legislators, the publishers of the newspapers, the board of JOINT, all the Zionist factions and the Zionist State Organization signed this manifesto which reads as follows:

In this fateful hour we call on you, the Jews of Bucovina.

The Great Powers have decided upon the re-creation of the Jewish national home in Palestine. The UN will give England the responsibility for carrying through this mandate. But only the creative power of the entire Jewish people without consideration for party affiliation or “world view” can build Eretz Israel. The work demands tremendous resources. These must be provided by the by the Palestine Foundation Fund. The screams of the victims of the terrible Jewish martyrdom in the Ukraine still echo. The Jews of East Europe still struggle for their existence. Ever so much greater is the responsibility that rests on us.

Together with the Jews of the entire world we want to do our part for the Palestine Foundation Fund. Streets, railroads, bridges and harbors must be built. Agriculture, business and industry will be promoted. The key to the gates of Palestine is in your hands. Open them for the masses who await redemption. Large delegations were sent to all cities of the land. It was important above all, to popularize the “Masser” idea. The East Jewish Newspaper and especially, its publisher Dr. Mayer Ebner were at the front ranks of the press campaign which was supported by the General Newspaper {Allgemeine Zeitung} and the Morning Newspaper {Morgenblatt}. The land was almost flooded with Palestine Foundation Fund flyers. The masses understood that the future of the people was at stake, but there was a shortage of people who took the fruit of the propaganda to heart.

One of the Palestine Foundation Fund centrals for Europe delegations Julius Berger and Mrs. Sari Kohn-Berger came to Bukovina and laid the foundation for the future organization which was to be run by a group of officials. Leading men were called from their professions to serve a one year stint running the organization {the Central} and giving it giving it legitimacy and respectability. The first to volunteer for the one year of service to the Zionist cause were Engineer Dr. Markus Reiner, Dr.Manfred Reifer, Prof. Julian Silberbusch, Dr. Ludwig Chajes, Dr. Leon Schmelzer and Prof. Dr. Hermann Glaser.

After Eng. Dr. Reiner who was called into service by the Palestine Office and emigrated to Eretz Israel, Dr. M. Reifer took over the leadership of the Fund. His secretary was Mrs. Dr. Sari Lachs.

Also Dr. Reifer was delegated by the Central to “Old Rumania” where he gave Dr. Wilensky valuable assistance. At that point, the upswing that the Palestine Foundation Fund had taken in Bukovina was seriously interrupted. An especially difficult problem was presented in the creation of a corps of functionaries. The growth of the activity, which encompassed all the areas of Zionist work, as well as the education of the youth and training for Eretz Israel, the organizing of the aliyah, the obtaining of the money for these purposes, building up of a collection apparatus for the Fund could not remain dependant on volunteers if Bukovina was to rise to the level, that she thanks to her past and the quality of her leaders could reach. It was not easy to persuade individuals who were especially qualified to give up a successful political or professional life in New Romania. Jewish lawyers, doctors and engineers were fully engaged in a blossoming industry and commerce. Many new industries were founded by Jews in Bukovina. The lumber export industry lay fully in Jewish hands, saw mills were built in forest rich areas and all these brought in solid profits for the Romanian state. All these activities attracted Jewish students after they graduated from the university in Czernowitz, not only the Bukovina natives, but also those from Bessarabia, the Old kingdom {Romania} in so far as the didn't choose to enter the professions in order to build the foundation for later becoming rich in industry and commerce. The main offices for the Palestine Foundation Fund and the Jewish National Fund made great efforts to recruit candidates from the ranks of Zionists in Bukovina for the corps of officials they were attempting to create. Entering this service was considered the equivalent of being a “pioneer,” since these individuals were giving up the opportunities to gain riches in industry and business.

The correspondence between the Funds and the candidates they were seeking to recruit gives an exact picture of this situation:

In a letter of March 27, 1927 M. M. Ussischkin takes the following position:

Be prepared to face the consequences and to support the pioneers of the Zionist corps of officials. Just as no one can be forced to be a pioneer in Israel, no one can be forced to become a pioneer in the corps of Zionist officials.

To live as a pioneer in Palestine is not only merely romantic, it is free from subjective restrictions. One who knows the conditions in Palestine, the particular misunderstanding between “middle class” Zionism and worker Zionism, he understands that much inner determination is required in order for people from Czechoslovakia, Germany, Bucovina, or other civilized lands, academics, people who already have a position in society, young people with feelings of honor to decide to take on the economic, social and moral impossibilities and difficulties of the land.

We demand the same from our friends in the lands of exile. Join the organization of officials which will make possible the building up of Eretz Israel.

The same degree of commitment was required to become and remain a member of the Zionist corps of officials. This appeal had full success. The partnership with the pioneers was a goal worthy of achieving.

Already, the leaders who had come out of Emunah, Dr. Manfred Reifer, Julian Silberbusch, Prof. Dr. Hermann Glasser, Dr. Ludwig Chajes and Dr. Leon Schmelzer had voluntarily accepted the one year commitment and had become officials of the Fund. The academic organizations, however after their reorganization had taken different paths since a unified front was no longer necessary in the fight for the recognition of the Jewish state. For the youth, there could be only one goal and that was to prepare themselves for the Aliyah to Eretz Israel. To the 5 academic organizations that existed before the outbreak of the World War, a sixth with the name Hedtid was added, a dynamic group that was quite similar to Hasmonaea. Of these organizations, only Emunah and Ziphirah concentrated exclusively on Zionist work and Eretz Israel. Emunah was reorganized in 1918. All the “old gentlemen, this title being given by the the academic organizations to those who had graduated, dedicated themselves to Zionist work, took up the daily Fund work and the practical work in the State committee, led the propaganda work and visited the provinces to reorganize the Zionist organizations or to found new ones. The dedicated student body gathered around these groups and entered the ranks of Emunah to receive Zionist education and to find an area of Zionist work to occupy themselves with.

One group of Palestine oriented students was not allowed to join since this group wanted to enter as a unit, not as individuals which was the normal usage and in addition, the group had female members, which Emunah would not accept since that was contrary to the traditions as a student group. This group led by Samson Schaechter and David Spiegel joined as a body with the “old gentlemen” of Zephirah who because of a lack of new members could not reorganize and with this action, a new Zephirah was created that became a valuable leader of the Zionist world movement.

Samson Schaechter became a leader in the Hechaluz movement, David Spiegel joined the leadership of the Palestine Office and soon made his Aliyah and became the director of the large library in Haifa. Presently, Dr. David Spiegel-Marani section leader in the Education ministry in Jerusalem, Moritz Friedmann from Emunah is presently in the service of the Land Collection Section of the KKL and took over the leadership after Dr. Schmelzer left. In 1957,after 30 years of valuable service and 14 years of leading the Tel-Aviv office, Moritz Friedmann went into retirement. Dr. Karl Klinger, who until 1941 directed the Palestine office in Czernowitz and along with Dr. Theodor Weisselberger was deported to Siberia where to this day he is being punished for his Palestine work. Moreover, Jakob Wohlfeld worked in the Palestine office while Zephirah member Dr. Jakob Geller provided valuable service as an official of the State Organization. Jakob Geller from the ranks of Zephirah developed himself in a short time to a splendid speaker, visited all the provincial organizations and was loved in all circles because of his integrity and his dedication to the Zionist ideal. He died a terrible death in his wife's home village, who was a daughter of the estate owner David Katz from Millie where he together with his wife and daughter was stoned to death on the plaza before the church.

About the preparations for the ninth conference of the Bukovina Zionists which was to be held on January 5 and 6 in 1924 Professor Julian Silberbusch wrote to Jerusalem:

In our Zionist work we have several great successes to note. We have built a strong local group in Czernowitz which was lacking up to now. Hopefully, this group will contribute much to the success of our cause.

We have established contact with several hundred youth and have created a board with 13 representatives from youth groups. Dr. Weisselberger, Dr. Schmelzer and I will hold seminars. Our youth newspaper Hador Hazair is developing well. We have 1000 subscriptions. Our newspaper has become the official organ of the Old Romanian Haschomer Hazair.

From the report on the conference we find: Prof. Julian Silberbusch writes:

“In spite of great difficulties all the delegates were present . Unfortunately, there was no representative from the World Board. Goldman declined to come and Wilensky explained that he opposed the leadership and therefore couldn't give a presentation. Despite the absence of one non-local delegate the debate was held at a high level.

Special mention should be made of the debate on bringing in the youth (the most serious groups among them were Hechawer, Haschomer, Blue-White). The representative of the newly created Central for the youth groups of Bukovina spoke and his talk drew a favorable response from the delegates. A committee consisting of Dr. Weisselberger, Dr. Schmelzer, Dr. Glaser and Julian Silberbusch was formed to deal with the youth work. The Palestine Foundation Fund is troubling us. After momentary success, the fund was declared a permanent fund, but didn't find the right functional format. We had a good organization, but it almost collapsed and it will take us months to get it functioning properly. The state conference created an organizational table that gives the organization a fixed form. A 17 member board and a party council with 56 members were set up. The former shall meet every 3 months and shall have a more controlling function. The board consists of: Dr. Mayer Ebner, Dr. Theodor Weisselberger, Dr. Salomon Kassner, Dr. Hermann Glasser, Moritz Geiger, Julian Silberbusch, Dr. Leon Schmelzer, Adolf Rosenwald, Engineer Michael Schindler, Dr. MendelKinsbrunner, Dr. Josef Bierer, Dr. Markus Kraemer, Beno Sternberg, Josef Wiznitzer and Dr. Manfred Reifer as well as 2 new people, Dr. Moses Hauer and Dr. Brettschneider.

It should be mentioned that the Permanent Commission was checking that all mandate suggestions conformed to the 1923 Maaser obligations.

Dr. Leon Schmelzer writes: The conference showed a point of light, that we in Bukovina have Palestine oriented youth. Youth groups have been created that have stepped into the place of the student academic organizations and who attend the seminars that we hold, discuss the problems of the “building up,” are ready to help with the collections and prepare themselves for the Aliyah.

Many of them particularly stand out and will help bring youth to the Palestine leadership.

The youth debate has brought to our attention in a lively way that the student academic organizations will soon loose every moral right to profess the Zionist idea unless they radically change their program. We can again believe in our youth and so the conference was a great success. We shall work more intensively to prepare for the next conference.

The Jewish National Fund went about the collection work in Bukovina using carefully worked out plans. After creation of a state office and reorganization of the local offices, a state conference will take place in Suceava in the summer of 1923. Preceding that, a “unifying” conference of the leading men in the Fund and Zionist State Organization in which the operating methods of both funds were to be discussed was planed. The Palestine Foundation Fund must, in the framework of the Maaser, ask for donations bases on “the ability to pay,” while the Jewish National Fund will seek voluntary contributions.

For that reason, at the State Conference in Suceava, the leader of the State Collection Office for the Jewish National Fund, Dr. Leon Schmelzer demanded that the propaganda for the plan be made more concrete. It must be emphasized that the Jewish National Fund is for acquiring land and that the Palestine Foundation Fund is for building up the land. We cannot be satisfied with an occasional contribution. The program must have educational value for all people.

First, a Zionist foundation must be created. Then the amount of the contributions to the Jewish National Fund would reach a higher level. Then a demand on Maaser would become a reality.

At this conference, it was decided to guarantee the acceptance of the collection boxes for the Jewish National Fund by every household, to concentrate on educating the Jewish National Fund workers and to perfect the technical aspects of the work. Special thanks were offered to the leaders for the success achieved up to now. The contributions were steadily increasing. In 1922 the canisters had accumulated a total of 56,404 Lei and after the first half of 1923, 75,700 Lei per month was being collected.

The negotiations that Dr. Theodor Weisselberger and Dr. Leon Schmelzer held with the director Berliner vom Wiener “Phoenix” had special significance. These negotiations were arranged by the representative for Romania, Wolf Weidenfeld (Old Gentleman of Emunah). Director Berliner agreed with the plan of the three Bukoviner, to negotiate a contract with the main office of the Jewish National Fund and in the name of the Jewish National Fund to get agreements in all the lands of the world. Great financial advantages will be made available to the Fund. The representative of the main office, Dr. E. M. Zweig was hesitant at first to get involved in an enterprise that involved the World Organization of the Jewish National Fund and was first drawn in to the negotiation when Dr. Schmelzer received the explicit approval of Dr. M. M. Ussischkin to this plan. This activity brought many thousands of pounds to the Fund.

The reports from the state collection office of the Jewish National Fund in Bukovina showed a significant ½ year to ½ year increase. In six months (October 1923 to March 1924 600,000 Lei were collected, 4 times that collected in the preceding period.

The public not only joined the ranks of the contributors, they also joined the ranks of the organizers and set up local groups in every village and city.

A report containing a complete list of the Fund officials in Bukovina as of January 1 1924 that was distributed from the main office to the State Collection Center is enlightening.

The list contains names of organizations and officials in 10 cities and 67 larger and smaller Jewish communities in Bukovina.

They are reproduced below:

Czernowitz: Jewish National Academic Society Emunah, Herrengasse 22; Jewish National Academic Society Hasmonaea, Armeiergasse 10; Jewish National Academic Society Heatid, Franzensgasse 3; Jewish National Academic Society Hebronia, Rathausstrasse 18; Jewish National Academic Society Zephirah, Heinegasse 3/27.

Bukovina Zionist State Organization: Heinegasse 3, Rayonskomitee, Zeire Zion, Postfach 34.

State Organization Misrachi, Nathan Boral, Music Society Street contributed sum = 500 Dunam in 2 years = 2,000,000 Lei.

Radautz: Organization Dorschei Zion, Dr. Lapajowker, 100Dunam =200,000 Lei

Kimpolung: Theodor Herzl, Dr. Israel Wassermann, 50 Dunam =100,000 Lei.

Gurahumora, Jewish National Fund Local Committee, Dr. Abraham Schaerf, 50 Dunham = 100,000 Lei.

Storozynetz: Jewish National Fund, Local Committee, Engineer Jonas Spindel, 50 Dunam =100,000 Lei.

Sereth: Jewish National Fund Local Committee Aron Stober, 50 Dunam =100,000 Lei.

Russ.-Moldavitza: Jewish National Society Haschachar, Isidor Fischer, 30 Dunam = 60 Lei.

Dorna-Vatra: Jewish National Society Zion, Leon Hauslich, Ladies Society Ruth, 50 Dunam = 100,000 Lei.

Zastavna: Theodor Herzl Society, Dr. Emil Diwer, 25 Dunam =50,000 Lei. Arbora: Jakob Haas, Alt-Fratautz: Berl Rosenhek, Ber-hometh, B. A. Seckler, Berhometh a. P.: Regina Hellenberg, Balaczana: Josef Neumann, Boroutz: Alter Prostak, Czerenkoutz: Leiser Tauber, Cziresch: Markus Sattinger, Czudyn: Dr. B. Flemingeer, Davideni: Frl. Chaja Schorr, Dorna-Candreni: Mendel Hammer, Doroschutz: Wolf Wahrmann, Frassin: Berl Engler, Fundul-Moldovei: F. Reger, Falkau: Emanual Halpern, Dornesti: Frl. Rifka Freier, Hatna: Leopold Holz, Adancata: Max Sandhaus, Hlinitza: Max Weininger. Idzesti: Meier Goldhagen, Ispas: Leiser Knoll, Itzkani: Dr. Josef Goldstein, Ivankoutz: Jakob Epstein, Jakobeni: Society Makkabaea, Jakob Scheuermann, Jordanesti: Dora Rosen, Illischeschti: Efroim Schmelzer, Karapcziu, Jakob Kleiner, Karapcziu a. S.: Jakob Kleiner, Karapcziu a. S.: Meschulim Schaerf. Kissileu: Simon Bilgrey, student of medicine, Koschczuja: Meir Tuchmann, Society Dorschei Zion Dr. Chaim Birnbaum, Krasna-Ilski: Wolf Hammer, Kaczyka: Theodor Horowitz, Lukawetz: Mendel Pistiner, Felix Landwehr, Luzan: Dr. Moritz Samson Biller, E. Weisselberger, Ludilhumora: Zacharjahu Merling, Malatinetz: Schaja Kirmayer, Mihova: Jakob Enzenberg, Millie: Meier Goldhagen, Mold-Banila: Frieda Haber, Schmarjah Winter, Grigore-Ghica-Voda: Saul Suchestow, Neu Fratautz: Moses Drassinower, Okna: Roessler, Orosscheni: Koppel Kreisberger, Pozorita: Max Wagner, Petrautz: C. Herschman, Putilla: Dr. Joachim Greif, Pepi Huebner, Putna: Israel Salzberger, Russ-Banila: Efraim Hudes, Rifka Thau, Rewakoutz: Markus Schnapp, Sadagura, Makabiaea, Steuerverwalter Schnapp, Seletin: Dr. Marosch, Julius Paecht, Sergie: Hermann Hasenfratz, Solka: Attorney Dr. Noe Rath, Szipot: Samuel Weiner, Suchoverchov: Nathan Schaechter, Stavczan: David Aufleger, Stulpikani: Mechel Hass, Tautri: Jakob Laxer, Unter Stanesti: veterinarian Sommer, Mechel Tauber, Dentist Merdler, Wamas: Hermann Schlegel, Achilles Fraenkel, Waszkoutz: Chaim Buller, Oberoff Diener, Wiznitz: Zion Society, Oberoff, Haber, Ober Wikow: Markus Kurzberg, Wassileu: Wagner & Greif, Zadova: HerschHarnik, Zviniacze: Moses Lindenbaum.

The organizing created by the State Office of the Jewish National Fund in Bukovina made it possible to fulfill great obligations t o the main office and to take on a goal of 2 million Lei for the next 2 years. This goal seemed unobtainable when one considered the collections for the previous years which never exceed 200,000 Lei per year. The Bukovina Jews were to collect 10 times that amount in a year for the purchase of new land.

Menachem M. Ussischkin, the towering figure in Zionist life, the man who had the courage to face up to Herzl when he proposed Uganda, as an intermediary solution, for the Jews in Bukovina stood at the head of the Jewish National Fund. With iron energy and an unbending will, he moved his program forward point by point, delivering the 3 most important stretches of land in Israel into the hands of the Jewish people. The Emek Israel, the coast from Tel-Aviv to Haifa and the Haifa Bay to Akko. He completed large, at that time fantastic appearing land purchases in Emek Israel. Nahalal and Ein harod were originated without any help from the Jewish National Fund. Every state was to supply a certain sum. Bukovina provided 2000 Lei in the area of Haifa.

Ussischkin traveled to Europe to speak to the Jews and demand that they fulfill their obligations. Everywhere he was joyfully received. His reception in Czernowitz beat that of all other lands. The city of Czernowitz was a host par excellence. When Ussischkin arrived at the Czernowitz railroad station in 1924, he was received with royal honors. The student societies in gala dress with drums and colors stood in military formation in the railroad station hall along with delegates from all the Zionist parties, societies, youth groups, representatives from all Jewish communities in Bukovina, the director of the state Zionist organization, as well as all the Jewish National Fund officials. Several hundred people had appeared for the reception. The singing group Hasamir sang Hebrew songs in greeting. Visibly moved Ussischkin responded to the short welcoming speeches given for him. In a long column the 200 various vehicles in the city moved toward the Jewish House. Tens of thousands lined the streets and cheered him. A rain of flowers flew out of the windows of the surrounding houses creating a blanket of flowers on the streets of the city. The days of M. M. Ussischikin's visit were days of celebration in the city. The days of celebration were closed with a demonstration of highly skilled gymnastics by the Maccabi youth. In a few days 1.5 Lei were contributed for buying land.

The impression that this reception made on the guest is interesting. In a letter sent to all the main offices of the Jewish National Fund on July 6, 1924 the following words were used to describe the success of the visit:

For a long time, nothing has given us so much joy as Ussischkin's report on his stay in Czernowitz. The trip was like a triumphal march. What Czernowitz accomplished exceeded all expectations and also our rather high estimates were far under the actual results. The organization and planning of the reception and stay of Mr. Ussischkin were really excellent and well thought out and because of that, were carried out with great success. The associated action was apparently handled with great skill and therefore was also very successful. Ussischkin was also extraordinarily satisfied so it is no indiscretion when we report that Vienna by far didn't give Ussischkin the satisfaction that Czernowitz did.

We have expressed heartfelt thanks to our Czernowitz friends and especially the leader of the Jewish National Fund collection station, Dr. Schmelzert for the successfully carried out event.

The success in Czernowitz had shown what it is like when a job is done correctly. If Bukovina keeps working like previously, it will be a land where the efforts of qualified workers are clearly demonstrated. This grandiose reception made a large impression. Only a few years earlier King Ferdinand I had visited the capital city of Bukovina and was received by the entire population as one who came to free the land. The people cheered him. Never the less the Romanians sensed that Ussischkin's reception was not only a surface event, but one that made the hearts of the Jews beat faster. They learned for the first time to differentiate genuine enthusiasm from superficial pomp.

As one year later Sokolov was a guest of Bukovina King Ferdinand I invited him to Bucharest and gave him a special honor by receiving him in the intimate circle of his closest associates. “It was reported, said the King to Sokolov that the most cultured Jews in Czernowitz greeted their leader from abroad more heartily than they did their king.”As Sokolov tried to balance this statement against the anti-Semitism then reining in the land, which made it impossible for the Jews to blend with the masses, Queen Maria said, “Yes, but the King is the least anti-Semitic of his people.”

In December 1927 the president of the Zionist World organization, Chaim Weizmann, came to Czernowitz. The King put the royal automobile at his service. One of the king's adjutants accompanied him on his trips through the land and on his trips out of Czernowitz as far as the border. The Romanian officials in the city competed with the Jews in preparing for his reception and his stay. Weizmann gave a a2 ½ hour speech to a standing audience of 5000 Jews. The visit was concluded with a banquet that 300 people attended. This visit served the building up of Palestine and the raising of money for the National Jewish Fund. The speech made in Czernowitz by Weizmann at the banquet reverberated far over the borders of the land and was discussed in all the Zionist groups of the world. It was really a dispute with Herzl over the way to realize the goals of Zionism.

Some particularly noteworthy sections of this speech follow:

“My stay here with you was a really memorable experience. Almost always, my life and my work have led me to Jewish communities that no longer have the cohesiveness and the spiritual strength that I find here and for that reason this visit possibly means more to me than to you. I have more than once explained the geography of the greatest enemy of Zionism. To conquer the geography is one of the biggest difficulties, but just because we want to create an organism out of thousands of cultures and shades, tremendous caution is required in order that everything comes together to form a symphony.

Herzl had it easier. He didn't know the weekdays of reality.

First a Jewish state, then it was a charter and then Uganda when earlier ideas didn't work.

Herzl came from the West, I came from Lithuania.

I know the Jewish people only too well and still better, it knows me. And for that reason, I lack the wings that Herzl was given. He came from a strange world that we didn't know and we bent the knee before the noble one who came from this world. If Herzl had gone to school at a cheder {Jewish primary school} the Jews never would have followed him.

I have learned something from sunrays. Believe me, when I held the Balfour Declaration in my hand, I was struck by sun rays.

When I came to Paris in 1918, we stood before an iron wall. The military government of Palestine and Downing Street were separated by at least 5 centuries. And we had to run into this iron wall. We either had to convince Allenby or fight with him and today he is an upstanding friend of our movement.

We have convinced everyone except for the Jews. We will, however bring them to our point of view through education and for that reason I speak with pain in my heart about the slow pace of our work. Don't you believe as others do in a “great Palestine” in our days?

And, in the end Zionism is a faith that will help to overcome all difficulties. And for that reason, I don't fear the Arabs or the smallness of the land.

Perhaps I have talked longer than I normally do.

I hope for you that the work should be easy, the hand of God should rest lightly on you and the work should not be so difficult and painful for you as it has sometimes been for me on my way.

Chasidic mysticism, traditional hospitality, and routine as hosts of great men came together to celebrate the man who had opened his heart and talked to the people as one of them and who already at that time was the uncrowned king of his people.

Professor Dr. Weizmann's admiration was of special significance to the students of Czernowitz and the members of the Jewish National Academic Society Emunah who made him an honorary member. In a simple but especially impressive celebration, the induction of the new member took place. The chairman of the “Old Gentlemen's Society” Dr. Leon Schmeltzer laid the gold, violet, gold sash on the breast of the president of the Jewish World Organization who took the oath according to the custom of this student group. The “old gentleman,” of the society Dr. Theodor Weisselberger who at that time was president of the Zionist State Organization and Dr. Manfred Reifer, the leader of the Palestine Foundation Fund in Bukovina gave short speeches, and the national anthem was sung. During this short period of time, the members of Emunah stood hand in hand in a circle with the president of the World Organization who deeply moved, thanked them for the honor of bringing him again into the circle of the academic students, the Zionist youth who had fought untiringly for the recognition of the Jews in the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

Prof. Weizmann remained in contact with Emunah and congratulated them on their 50 th semester anniversary with the following words:

“You can be proud that from your ranks there emerged a great number of men who carried on their shoulders the heavy load of Zionist work and who today stand in the front ranks of fighters for our ideals.

One day, the writers of history will report that the Zionist student movement made an important contribution to the building of the Jewish national home in Eretz Israel.

The leaders of the people came repeatedly to the land {Bukovina}. Well known Zionists led the great actions of the Palestine Foundation. Schmarjahu Lewin, Dr. Chaim Arlosoroff, Prof. Martin Buber, Dr. Nahum Goldman, Joseph Sprinzak, Dr. Imanuel Olsvanger, Alexander Goldstein, Kurt Blumenfeld, Dr. N. M. Gelber, Prof. Selig Brodetzki Were the guests of the organization.

Seew Jabotinsky, Jehoschua Wedgwood, Lord Melchett were received with special enthusiasm.

At the 3rd state conference of the Palestine Foundation Fund in Czernowitz in November 1925 Jabotinsky gave a talk on the Fund and his part in the building of Israel that drew considerable attention. Jabotinsky dominated the opening evening, while on the second day of the conference Alexander Goldstein gave a presentation that demonstrated in brilliant style the fundamental roll that the Palestine Foundation Fund played in the building of Eretz Israel.

At this conference, a 30 member board of directors was elected. Director Max Siedman was elected as president of the Fund and Dr. Manfred Reifer was elected to the Direktorium.

Other members were: Josef Blum, Nathan Boral, Salomon Doregger, Seide Engler, Dr. BenjaminFuchs, Moritz Geiger, Schaje Goldfeld, Nathan Horowitz, Engineer GustavHildebrand, Dr. Markus Kraemer, Dr. S. Mosner, Juda Preminiger, Prof. Samuel Rosenstock, Prof. Julian Silberbusch, Oskar Schaechter, Joachim Sokal, Dr. Theodor Weisselberger , Josef Wiznitzer, Engineer Max Zwillin, all in Czernowitz, Dr. S. Fleminger in Czudyn, Moses Gaster in Waschkoutz. Dr. Ludwig Jurim in Suceava, Chief Rabbi Dr. J. Nacht in Radautz, Adolf Rosenwald in Dorna-Watra, Dr. Abraham Schaerf in Gurahumora, Pharmacist Emil Schaecht in Zastavna, and Engineer Jonas Spindel in Storozynetz.

Members of the Revision Committee were: Dr. Max Fokschaner, Director Robert Schaff and Dr. Leo Weich.

The land was filled with Zionist work. Every year well attended state conferences for the Funds took place. The Jewish National Fund and the Palestine Foundation Fund competed with one another to collect ever greater sums to be used for Palestine. Broader circles were brought in, especially found the Jewish National Fund as Land Fund with its motto, “ Gathering the land and putting it in the hands of the entire Jewish people. Willingness to sacrifice in all circles of the Jewish population.” The National Fund canisters enhanced almost every Jewish house . In most synagogues at the call to the Torah, contributions were made to the Jewish National Fund. Collection teams visited weddings, bar-mitzvahs and other family celebrations and it became Jewish usage in Bukovina to include Eretz Israel in the daily budget.

While in earlier years anti-Semitism was the driving force for Zionist work, new hope began to fill the hearts that it would be possible to turn Palestine into Eretz Israel if the people were ready to make the necessary sacrifice. Hundreds of women and girls organized themselves in circles, clubs and societies. The women's organization, Deborah joined the world organization of Zionist women, WIZO and became a large, strong state organization which added thousands of woman to the Zionist World Organization. Leading this organization for decades was Klara Klinger as president; a woman truly dedicated to Zion whose goal it was to replace the mothers of orphan children. She raised the children for Palestine, spoke only Hebrew with them and prepared them for Aliyah. In Czernowitz the following women stood at the president's side: Klara Dachner, Bertha Rim, Selzer, Mirjam Katz, Julie Drimmer, Rubinger, Fany Glasberg, Julie Schaechter, Lotte Weissel berger, Hellreich, Peretz, Steuer, Rose Kraft, Zehnwirt and others. In addition to the existing youth organizations was added the Wizo affiliated Girls Organization named Young Wizo which was Palestine oriented and prepared its members for Eretz Israel spiritually as well as professionally. Young Wizo founded local groups in all the larger cities of Bukovina and soon had several members who made themselves available for the Jewish National Fund collection work. They regularly collected the money from the canisters in their district, attended the Palestine seminars of the State Zionist Organization, set up hachscharah groups and prepared for the Aliyah.

At the head of the state leadership stood Ruth (Rosl) Gottesmann. After her aliyah Lea Mondschein took over and after her Aliyah, Ida Bllumenfeld. The leadership was in communication with the young Wizo group for Central Europe which had its headquarters in Vienna which was led by Mrs. Dr. Henrietta Lichtenstein-Rappaport. In 1937 ,the Bukovina Young Wizo sent a delegation to the world conference of Young Wizo in connection with the 20th Zionist Congress in Vienna. Miss Ida Blumenfeld was chosen as the delegate from Bukovina. She then successfully built up the organization in the cities of Bukovina.

The following were especially active in Young Wizo: Rosa Klipper, Mirjam Krauthammer, Jenny Gottesmann, Rachel Sperber, Gina Rosenblatt-Moses, Aranka Landau and more.

In Gurahumora Young Wizo is led by the physician Frau Dr. Donetz, Gusta Braun and Hasenfratz. In Dorna-Watra the wife of the physician Dr. Gotlieb, Mrs. Sofie Gotlieb was the leader. Two mass actions of the Bukovina Jews for the Jewish National Fund are particularly notable: The mass address to the Jewish National Fund in connection with its 25th anniversary in 1927 as well as the action to enter deserving people, organizations and institutions in the Golden Book of the Jewish National Fund. In a report to headquarters, Meier Haesrachi, the leader of the Organization Department wrote on April 5, 1927:

This time, I only remained in Bukovina for a short time and visited the 3 most important large cities and 5 smaller cities. Thanks to the energy and organization capability of Dr. Leon Schmelzer a good apparatus exists in Bukovina The connection with the local collection stations functions faultlessly. There are collection canisters in almost all Jewish houses for the J.N.F. (Jewish National Fund) Especially youth are involved with the J.N.F. with great zeal. unfortunately, the Orthodox circles stand in the way of the development of the Schomer Hazair{youth training group}. They forbid their children from attending the evening courses and gatherings of the Schomer Hazir claiming that it is irreligious.

In the entire land with great success, a mass communication with the board of the J.N.F. in Jerusalem was conducted. Letters and telegrams were sent to the board of the Jewish National Fund in Jerusalem congratulating the members on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the Fund. The moral success of the effort was great. More than 30,000 names were collected in a short period and the telegrams were saved in a special book so they could be presented to the directors by a delegation.

The “Golden Book Action” became a manifestation of the Jewish communities and organizations of Bukovina. The Jewish communities of Czernowitz contributed a respectable sum. 50,000 Lei is, even considering the conditions in Czernowitz, a great amount. Suceava, Radautz and other communities followed this example. In the past year, the Zionist organization of Bukovina became an important political factor for the Jews. Dr. Mayer Ebner was elected to the Romanian to the Romanian parliament as a representative for Bukovina. This election had a great influence on the Jewish community since the government listed the Zionists in the community representation {as a legal party?} The Austrian government gives the communities a taxation right and the Zionists now include in the budget great sums for the Palestine fund.

When one leafs through the pages of the first volume of the Golden Book of the Jewish National Fund in the main office in Jerusalem, one already finds in the second volume from the time of the First World War, entries from Bukovina. Among others should be mentioned: “The Zionist organization ERETZ ISRAEL in Czernowitz led by Dr. Ber Kinnsbrunner and the National Fund Commisar Benedikt Flor (1913).” Efraim Greif recorded by the Business School Society Ahavath Zion in Czernowitz (1914), Professor Dr. Hermann Sternberg from Emunah, Dr. Theodor Weisselberger, Dr. Leo Picker, Dr. Abraham Scjhaerf, Gurahumora, Dr. Mayer Ebner. In the 3rd volume which came from the 20's, among others, the following are to be found: the English consul John Cameron (4/27/1924), entered by his Zionist friends in Czernowitz because of the help he gave the Palestine movement, Jitzchak ben Jehuda Leib Rosenfeld Chisinau, editor of the East Jewish Newspaper for Bessarabia, the Bukovina East Jewish Newspaper, the Free Word newspaper, The New Life and Hador Hazair.

Dr. Mayer Ebner: president of the Zionist State Organization of Bukovina, “entered for his outstanding work for the Zionist cause by the local groups of Bukovina,” Abraham Pariser (Sereth), in recognition of his dedicated activity in all areas of Jewish community life in Sereth, Society of Zionist Women in Bukovina for their excellent work on the collection action in connection with the presence of M. M. Ussischkin in Czernowitz from 11 to 16 June 1924.

Mrs. Rose Kraft and Julie Schaechter for the best accomplishment in the collection action for Geulath Haarez in connection with the visit of M. M. Ussischkin in Czernowitz.

Aron Stober – Sereth, Dr. Manfred Reifer (Emunah)m /dr, Leon Schmelzer (Emunah), Hersch Reicher, Isak and Regina Spitzer, Ada Brauner – Kimpolung; Schmuel Falikmann, Dr. Josef Wassermann (Emunah).

Julius Kreindler entered by the Jewish Community of Kimpolung in thankful memory of the hard work and sacrifice he made in all areas of Jewish life in commemoration of his tragic death on 7 Siwan.

Isak Zehnwirt entered by the officials of the Contenental.

Director Max Seidmann, President of the Bukovina Palestine Foundation board honoring the 25th anniversary of the Foundation entered by the members of the State Board for his excellent service and untiring work in the interest of the Bukovina Palestine Foundation.

The VI state conference of the officials of the Bukovina Jewish National Fund was to take place in Suceava , entered by the people of that town in honor of the first conference taking place in Suceava on 6/13/1926.

Dr. Leon Schmelzer, leader of the Jewish National Fund collection stations in Bukovina entered by the fifth state conference of the officials of the Jewish National Fund for his dedicated work for the Fund, Radautz, 7/5/1925.

In the 4th volume of the Golden Book one finds the entries for the year 1927:

Community of Suceava, Community and Zionist Group of Gurahumora, B'nai Brith Lodge “Orient,” Zion Society of Wiznitz, Community of Radautz, Society of Zionist Women in Bukovina, The Local Zionist group of Dorna-Vatra, the Local Zionist Group of Suceava, Markus and Eleonora Juster in honor their golden wedding anniversary on 3/18/1927.

The married couple Juster deserved to be especially honored because of their large contributions to the Jewish National Fund to buy land in Palestine.

Markus Juster was a respected large land owner in Romania. After the First World War, he moved to Bukovina and settled in Czernowitz and acquired the estate Ober-Scheroutz in North Bukovina. When the Zionist organization asked land owners to provide opportunities for training future settlers of Palestine in farming Juster was the first to respond and took a group of Jewish boys and girls for training on his estate. His ideal was that the young people would learn to work the land so that they could own the land in Palestine. In many talks with leading Zionists the plan ripened to sponsor an agricultural middle school in Palestine in which Jewish youth would receive their training in farming. He sold his estate in Scheroutz in parcels to the local farmers intending to collect the purchase price installments, gave the purchase price to the National Jewish Fund with the stipulation that it be used to purchase land for the agricultural school in Palestine. With their permission, Prof. Chaim Weizmann, M. M. Ussischkin and Dr. Arthur Ruppin were recorded as trusted agents for the collection of contributions, in the Bucovina book. In a short period, 2 million Lei flowed into the fund designated for the purchase of land. The Jewish National Fundpurchsed the land in Kubeiba near Rechohoth which was to be used for building the girls school to be directed by Ada Fischmann-Maimon.

For years Markus Juster and his wife Eleonora were active in every Zionist action. When sickness prohibited him from visiting Sokolov during his visit to Czernowitz, he wrote him a warm letter which with its sincerity deeply moved Sokolov. He sent his greetings to the Justers by way of his daughter Dr. Celine Sokolov.

Rav Berlin from the World Central of Misrachi visited him in his home and received a large contribution. His last wish was to be buried in the earth of Eretz Israel. Unfortunately, this wish could not be fulfilled and Juster rests in his grave in Czernowitz.

With the development of Zionist parties in Bukovina, over time some allied themselves with the State Organization and others stood in strong opposition to it.

Complete understanding/cooperation and often common goal setting existed between the State Organization which belonged to group A at congresses (those who followed Weizmann) and the Hitachduth “Zeire Zion,” as well as Misrachi, Wizo and Young Wizo. Conflicts naturally arose with the radical Zionists (followers of Gruenbaum) and the revisionists who then completely left the Congress and the State Organization and founded their own world organization

Bukovina Zionists were leaders in all these groups. The lawyer Dr. Severin Lazarowicz who died with the sinking of the Struma was the president of the Revisionists in Bukovina moved to Bucharest in order to rule the Old Romanian Revisionist party from there. Benno Sternberg was the general secretary and then president of the Revisionists with his headquarters in Bucharest and the Megilath Hamedinah {scroll on which the declaration of independence of the state of Israel is declared}bore his signature.

Among the leading Zionists of Bucovina was Moritz Geiger who switched his membership from the General Zionists to the Revisionists and then to the Jewish State Party. As Procurer of the Vienna Bank Company he had created a place for himself in the commercial life of Bucovina and he put all his capabilities in the service of the Zionist cause, belonged to the Zionist State Board, the leadership of the Palestine Foundation and the Palestine Office. From Bucharest during WW II he provided especially valuable services for the Jews of Bukovina.

Hitachduth was a special student group which produced leaders. Salman Schaechter, Dr. Benedikt Kaswan, Dr. Josef Thau, Mayer Schapira, Dr. Benjamin Fuchs, and Dr. David Spiegel (Marani) should be named.

New newspapers started and were dedicated to the building up of Palestine. One of the most loyal and dedicated workers of the East Jewish Newspaper was BenediktFlor who ran the administration of the paper and Dr. Ebner who had the heavy responsibility of assuring that the paper had enough money to keep on publishing. Benedikt Flor came from the old Zionist gard of Herzl's time and today lives in Heime the Malben in Nathania.

Bucovina took the initiative to even out the work load in the 4 Romanian provinces. For this purpose, a “High Council of the Zionist Organization in Greater Romania was created with its office in Bucharest. Prof. Julian Silberbusch, presently leader of the Central Palestine Office in Czernowitz was named director of the new organization.

The government of the Mandate sent an English Consul to Czernowitz in order that this center, so vital for the Aliyah out of Eastern Europe have an English Consul.

Trips to Palestine were looked upon favorably in Jewish society and many of the trips conducted by the Zionist State Organization brought large amounts of capital into the land. Many Zionists built houses in Jerusalem, Tel-Aviv and Haifa. The Hotel ZION, which was a Haifa landmark was built for the Czernowitz industrialist Abraham Dresdner by Czernowitz engineer Jakob Sternberg, who came from the ranks of Emunah.

Bukovina chaluzim {pioneer, early Jewish settlers} by the hundreds received their agricultural training on large Jewish owned estates in Bukovina. Industrialists and merchants moved the site of their operations to Palestine. Cattle export from Bukovina from Siebenburgen was organized by Bukovina estate owners.

Bukovina Zionists were represented at all the Congresses until the outbreak of WW II. The election battles raged even in the smallest villages and their ferocity was not less then that of the parliamentary battles. The central election commission in Czernowitz which oversaw the elections didn't have it easy and engaged the congress court at many congresses.

Listed in no particular order, the following people were particularly active at the Zionist congresses:

General Zionists, Group A followers of Weizmann: Dr. Mayer Ebner, Dr. Theodor Weisselberger, Dr.Manfred Reifer, Prof. Julian Silberbusch, Klara Klinger, Josef Wiznitzer, Dr. Leon Schmelzer, Dr. Chaim Ehrlich, Group B Radical Zionists, followers of Gruenbaum: Dr. Markus Kraemer, Judenstaatspartei (Jewish State Party): Dr. Josef Mann, Revisionisten: Moritz Geiger and Benno Sternberg, Misrachi: Schaje Goldfeld Chief Rabbi Dr. Abraham Mark, Rabbi Barauch Hager, Chief Rabbi Dr. Nacht (Radautz).

The world conference of the Fund took place at the same time as the Congress which because of the intensifying of the work served the exchange of work methods and information and control. Dr. Theodor Weisselberger, Dr. Leon Schmelzer, and Moritz Friedmann moved into the state leadership of the Jewish National Fund and Dr. Manfred Reifer joined the leadership of the Palestine Foundation. Professor Julian Silberbusch was associated with the Central Palestine Office during the conference. Bukoviner were elected to the ruling body of the World Organization.

Dr. Mayer Ebner belonged to the Action Committee for many decades. Dr. Theodor Weisselberger was a member of the Congress Court.

The Hebrew speech movement found a good Zionist atmosphere in Bukovina. Clubs originated in all cities and one we could mention was the Hebrew club that met at the Hotel Central in Czernowitz. Some of the members were the Chief Rabbi Dr. Abraham Mark, Dr. Josef Bierer, Dr. Benedikt Kaswan, Dr. Leon Schmelzer, Dr. Josef Mann, Dr Karl Klinger, Dr. Chaim Ehrlich, Moritz Geiger and Benno Sternberg.

The sport festival of the Maccabi in their own stadium in Czernowitz was enthusiastically followed by a public that did not only include Jews. Masses of people came to these festivals to see performances of an international level and tens of thousands of viewers cheered on the blue-white banner. King Carol II saluted the banner as it was carried by his tribune.

Academies were set up in the largest halls of the cityby Maccabi, Hasamir and the Hebrew Tarbuth movement in connection with groups from the Youth Movement which showed that the Hebrew culture movement of the Jews had reached a high niveau. The Jews rose in the estimation of the other nations as a result of these great accomplishments and became recognized as a nation.

The efforts of 4 decades began to bear fruit. A new race was born which considered Palestine as the homeland. The groups arriving every month began to put down roots and an active contact was maintained. Palestine was not only a bridge to the future, but the future itself. Thousands went in groups to Eretz, the majority as “illegals” since the Mandate authorities didn't want to ease their restrictions. The Aliyah had taken on a new form. Not only the Chaluzim went to Israel, but also professionals in accordance with the possibilities and demands of the land. From the student societies and the youth groups as well as Young Wizo went smaller groups to training farms and then to Eretz.

The names of some of the Chaluzim {early settlers} in the land who rose to prominence follow: Jizchak ben Aharon, the leader of the Achdulh Avoda, the members of the HaschomerHazair Pessach, Huber, Doerfler, Polesiuk an Emunah member, Peter Liquornik. Prof. Kalman Gronich, Rauchbach, Engineer Schlomo Gottlieb who had a leading position in the administration of the Mandate and who lived in the Jerusalem “Old City” and who fell into the hands of the Arabs only a few days before the declaration of statehood in May 1948.

This Zionist development was only possible because at the same time the political fight for equality continued and the Jews in Romania fought step by step for their recognition.

The fight for citizenship was especially sharp in the annexed provinces {of Romania}. The law of 1924 became a source of suffering for the Jews of Bukovina who in Austria didn't concern themselves with the “homeland right” and enjoyed all rights and now suddenly had to have “homeland rights” in one of the Bukovina Jewish communities which required 10 years of residence in order to be considered a Romanian citizen. Thousands of Jews had to emigrate since they were now considered as “strangers” who were given no protection in the country and could be driven out at a moment's notice.

The Jewish politicians with Dr. Mayer Ebner leading them led an untiring fight for citizenship, a fight that still didn't end even after Romania's form of government ceased to be a kingdom. In this fight, the leaders of the Jews in the Old Kingdom {of Romania} stood together with the Jews of Bukovina. The most significant among them were Adolf Stern and Dr. Wilhelm Fildermann who in 1932 followed him in office as the president of the UER.

In 1926 Dr. Mayer Ebner was elected to the Romanian parliament and Karl Klueger was elected to the Senate. With the entrance of these two respected fighters as the representatives of Bukovina in the Romanian Parliament began a new epoch in the fight for the recognition of the Jewish people as an ethnic minority in Romania. In Czernowitz a national Jewish party, the Unity Party was founded. One of the top men, Director Fleminger who up to that time had recognized Dr. Straucher as the leader joined the Nationalists led by Ebner. In a common fight, the Hochburg Strauchers {who ran?}the Jewish community of Czernowitz were defeated. The class voting right was done away with and common voting rights were introduced, election lists were posted and free elections were held. The Unity Party, from which the all encompassing Jewish Reichspartei {direct translation, empire or kingdom party?}emerged moved into the community as the strongest group. Even though because of “coalition,” a representative of the Romanian Government Party stood at the head of the community, the Zionists were the real leaders of the community and a reorganization of Jewish life in the city began. Step by step the institutions like the orphanage, the old folk's home, the hospital, the synagogue were conquered, the governmental apparatus reorganized, the social help system put on a modern basis and the schools were nationalized.

A cultural fight with the Bund concerning the use of Hebrew or Yiddish as the teaching language in the Jewish schools began. It had taken decades until Herzl's battle cry, “Conquer the communities in Czernowitz and Bukovina” had success. And so it was up to the Zionists in the largest Jewish communities of Romania in Czernowitz to make Herzl's cry a reality. Karl Klueger and Dr. Leon Schmelzer were officers in the Community government and were able together with the representatives of other groups, do much to modernize the Community institutions in their 10 years in office.

The infirmary became a modern healing center and sick people from the entire land streamed to the doctors who soon had acquired a reputation which spread out over Bukovina. Dr. Emanuel Flor and Dr. Lipa Wiznitzer became the leaders of the surgical clinic and trained a generation of surgeons in that department. (Dr. Wiznitzer succeeded in 1945 in leaving the land and is now active in Haifa while his son Theo Wiznitzer is already a well known surgeon in Hadassa in Jerusalem.

Dr. Jakob Landau who as professor at the Jerusalem University leads the eye department of Hadassa had erected a modern eye clinic in the infirmary in Czernowitz and was the director for 2 decades.

Dr. Gideon Bierer, the well known orthopedic surgeon in Tel-Aviv was leader of the same type of clinic he instituted in the infirmary in Czernowitz.

This exemplary clinic was the only one in Bukovina in which young Jews who had studied medicine abroad when it was impossible for Jews to study medicine in Romania where they could have clinical experience and further their education. The leader of this program was Dr. Joseph Ohrenstein, a well known gynecologist who for decades had led the infirmary and in spite of all political fluctuations was untiring in his efforts to improve the infirmary. Also Dr. Ohrenstein came to Israel and died there at a ripe old age.

Social services were rebuilt from the ground up by Dr. Schmelzer. Especialy worthwhile assistance was offered by Chief Rabbi Dr. Abraham Mark and an officer of the Community government Isak Einhorn. Up to then, the Community was satisfied with giving the needy occasional charity, firewood in winter and matzoth for Passover. Through intensive measures concerning social welfare groups of clients were found who could be taught to do useful work in occupations or crafts. Other areas developed were help for families with many children, improvement in sanitary conditions and support for orphaned babies who were handed over to the community by the infirmaries, police stations and Christian institutions in so far as it is a Jewish child whose mother died at birth and who has no living father. Wood, food packages, clothing, woolen goods and underwear, were delivered by the post to addresses that had never sought public help. Ladies committees and volunteers were ready to help the Social Department and especially the lodge B'nai B'rith helped with advice and money in this effort that helped approximately 10,000 people.

A central card file was available to all help groups in the city to make possible equitable distribution of the charity funds.

A social care central was created which was used by representatives from all organizations in the city. Mrs. Gusti Weich, Mrs. Josepfine Horowitz and Miss Klara Klinger, Mrs. Rosa Rosenstock and Mrs. EllaHaller were untiringly involved in this charitable activity. To name only a few, there were in Czernowitz infant and child care associations, bride outfitting associations, people's kitchens, firewood associations, sickness support associations, help for criminals released from jail, etc. Ort, Ose, Joint had large apparatuses (details in volume II of this work).

The Zionists were concerned with the schools in the community. Dr. Josef Mann a fighter who came from the ranks of the academic society Emunah was long concerned with the quality of the schools.

That the Zionists had seized power in Bukovina through their conquest of the Community government was proved by the fact that in 1936, the representative of the Jischuw, found in Joseff Sprinzak in Dr. Schmelzer the man who was at time the head of the Community government, who helped him to build up the Keren Bizaron and in few days to build up a sum of money to purchase weapons for Israel which exceeded the amount collected by the Palestine Foundation and the Jewish National Fund in over a year. This was possible because in the interim, a union of all Jewish Communities of Bukovina was formed; this union was called to a full meeting and 24 hours after the arrival of representatives from Israel, they were ready for an action. On his departure Sprinzak gave thanks for this wonderful action which had assured Israel worthwhile weapons. This was the first such action in the Galuth {lands of exile}.

At the same time of attainment of recognition as a nation and an ethnic minority in the land, for the Jews, especially in Bukovina there was a grim fight against anti-Semitism. Numerus clauses at the universities was introduced as the “de facto” condition and the Jews were literally physically driven out of the schools. On November 10, 1926, in the court building in Czernowitz the Jewish student Fallik was shot by fanatic Romanian students. 20,000 Jews accompanied Falik to his burial. All the stores in the city were closed and in the Romania parliament on November 16, 1926 Dr. M. Ebner appealed to the government and his quo usque tandem echoed throughout the land.

There was a ruler straight line from Cuza-Goga-Codreanu to Antonescu. German instructors helped them by showing the way to achieving their goal: Wiping out the Jewish minority. The victims mourned by the Jews were piled up on both sides of the road. Murder, fire, Loss of rights, until total annihilation were the mile markers of this road.

Courageous men stood in these years of battle at the head of the Bukovina Jews. At the right time they showed the way that the Jews had to travel.

The road to becoming a people led out of the Golah to Palestine. To transform this land in Israel was our generation's task. The realization of the dream of the previous generation was only possible through enlightening the masses who were blinded by the achievement of equal rights in the Golah. The putting together of the individual pieces in the lands of exile, the bringing of national awareness to the students, the return to Judaism before the return to the land of the Jews had to be achieved by tough minded goal oriented planning.

Today, 25,000 Bukovina Jews live in Israel. This is the reward of goal oriented national work of two generations in the Golah {lands of exile}.

Many leading men in the administration, justice, parliament, health, military, as well as in industry came from Bukovina.

To lay out the path that the Jews of Bukovina walked, from its beginning forward, the individual periods of its development to a nation and its integration in the people of Israel was the goal of this essay.

« Previous Page Table of Contents Next Page »

  1. Haskalah: Jewish rationalistic “enlightenment” in eighteenth – and nineteenth-century Europe.  return
  2. Zaddik: Zaddikim (pl): A general term for a righteous person in Jewish tradition.  return
  3. Mitzvah: A commandment, obligation. A ritual or ethical duty or act of obedience to God's will.  return
  4. Aliyah: Aliyah refers to when one is called to the altar (bema) to read from the Torah. Also immigration to Israel.  return
  5. Olim: Someone who makes Aliyah is called an oleh (male) or a olah (female). The plural for both is olimreturn
  6. Kolel: a community or congregation of Jewish settlers in Israel receiving financial support from the halukkah fund.  return
  7. In this pamphlet Pinsker discussed the origins of anti-Semitism and argued for Jewish self-rule and the development of a Jewish national consciousness. He wrote that Jews would never be the social equals of non-Jews until they had a state of their own. He called on Jewish leaders to convene and address the problem. In the pamphlet, he describes anti-Jewish attacks as a psychosis, a pathological disorder and an irrational phobia.  return
  8. Community: The author uses the term “Kultus Gemeninde” when referring to the Jewish community in a village or town. I'll simply use the term “Community.” Jewish communities in Eastern Europe had a form of self-government with a board and some elected positions. This government ran orphanages, burial societies, infirmaries, nursing homes, hired rabbis and kosher butchers, collected taxes, etc.  return
  9. State: When I say “state,” I'm referring to the whole of Bukovina. Sometimes, “land” refers t o the same thing.  return
  10. Gymnasium: High school.  return
  11. Keren Kajemeth: Jewish National Fund. It collected money in little blue boxes starting in about 1901 to buy land in Israel. In 1948 when Israel became a state, they had purchased about 12.5% of the land.  return
  12. Choveve-Zion: Founded by Schaje Langer in Suceava in 1882, the organization sought the colonization of Palestine. The words mean “Lovers of Zion.”  return
  13. Propaganda: Propaganda seems to have a somewhat negative connotation in the English language, but the same word in German, simply means promoting a particular viewpoint.  return
  14. Zion: Zion is an ancient Hebrew designation for Jerusalem, but already in biblical times it began to symbolize the national homeland.  return
  15. State: In this case, I assume that the author means Galicia when he says “state.”  return
  16. Student organizations: The author sometimes uses the word “Burschenschaften” which translates as fraternity. I just stick to “student organizations.”  return
  17. Work of the present: Author says “Gegenwartsarbeit” and the best I can do with this ils “work of the present of immediately important work.
  18. Contributiors: Author uses term “Schekelzahler” which is not in dictionary, but I assume this means contributors.  return
  19. Jischuw: This word refers to the Jews living in Palestine before the founding of the state of Israel.  return
  20. Eretz Israel: The Land of Israel is a name for the territory roughly corresponding to the area encompassed by the Southern Levant.  return

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