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[Page 328]

Professor Dr. Jakob Mann (Mannen)[i]

by D. N.

Jakob Mann was born in 1888 in Przemysl to his father Reb Nissan, a shochet (ritual slaughterer) in the community of Przemysl, and his mother Mindel. He received his early traditional education from various melamdim, and later studied Torah along with his brother Izaak from their father, who was a scholar. Mann did not study in a secular school, but he took private classes in secular subjects from Dr. Moshe [Mojzesz] Friedman[ii].

When he was approximately 20 years old, he left his birthplace and traveled to London, where he prepared for his matriculation under very difficult conditions. After about two years, he began to study history and literature in the University of London. During that era, he also studied at the rabbinical seminary of London. He studied particularly from Professor A. B. Bichler.

In the year 1914, prior to the outbreak of the First World War, after he concluded his course of studies in the rabbinical seminary and university, Mann received a position of rabbi in a city in the vicinity of London. However the war broke out before he was able to commence his tenure, and he was not permitted to serve in this position due to his Austrian citizenship. Thanks to the intervention of Dr. Hertz, the Chief Rabbi of the British Empire with whom Jakob Mann had formed an acquaintance in the mean time, he was not imprisoned or sent to a camp for enemy aliens. On the contrary, he was permitted to remain in London on the condition that he present himself at the police from time to time.

He devoted the war years to research and study of manuscripts of the Cairo Geniza and documents connected to them, which were collected in the library of the British Museum and the universities of Oxford and Cambridge, as well as in the private collection of the scholar Elchanan Adler in London. As a result of this research work, in 1920 and 1922 he published his first book, “The Jews in Egypt and the Land of Israel under the Rule of the Fatimid Caliphs”[iii]. This was based primarily on material that was found in the Cairo Geniza that had not yet been published. The first volume of the book (1920) describes the events of the Jews in Egypt and to some degree in the Land of Israel during the era of the rule of the Fatimid Dynasty (969-1171) and for an additional 50 years thereafter – that is during the era of Maimonides and his son Rabbi Avraham. The second volume (1922) includes transcripts and in some cases photocopies of sources that were uncovered in the Cairo Geniza by Professor Shechter of Cincinnati a few years previously. Most of the documents that were found were transferred to England. Some remained in Egypt or were transferred to the United States. Mann dealt with the documents that were in England, except for those that were written in the Hebrew Language beyond his level of comprehension of that language, or that he did not have time to study.

Until this time, Jewish historians had dealt with the Fatimid era only with the tip of a fork, for they did not know very much about it. Professor Mann became therefore, an expert researcher into that historical area, and achieved renown as an important historian also outside of the literature that was written in English. In a very extensive review of his article, a reviewer[iv] writes that Mann was lacking in the “linguistic abilities” that Professor Graetz possessed in his time,” however he admits that Mann has

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a great deal of knowledge, exceptional diligence in his research, and he excels in his great care and obvious punctiliousness in rendering texts. With respect to the talents of Jakob Mann in writing history, we must note that the well-known Jewish historian, a native of Poland, Dr. Rafael Mahler, wrote a long article on the two books, approximately 15 years after Dr. Helfer. His article is very extensive and one of the most important from the 1930s[v]. Despite his opposition to the idealistic approach of the author, he expressed his wonder and reverence for Mann's talents and his ability to find solutions. The article is a detailed song of praise to the magnitude of his historical work. On the other hand, Dr. Helfer apparently evaluated Mann as an equal to Graetz[1].

Mann, whose book on Jewish life under the Fatimid dynasty served as a thesis for receiving a Doctor of Literature degree at the University of London in 1920, set out for the United States already in 1921. He remained in Baltimore for about a year, and then was invited in 1922 to the Hebrew Union College theological seminary in Cincinnati, where he served as a professor of Jewish history, Hebrew literature and Talmud until his death in 1940. Mann visited Egypt in1923 on account of his additional research work into the manuscripts of the Geniza. He took that opportunity to make a short visit to the Land of Israel. When he was invited in 1927 by the Hebrew University of Jerusalem as a guest professor of Jewish history, he once again traveled to Egypt and collected material and photographs gathered from the Geniza by Mr. Jack Mosri in Cairo. After his visit to the orient, he traveled to Leningrad in 1928, where he received photocopies of various manuscripts that were located in the public government library. When he returned from the Soviet Union he spent some time in Germany, where he married Mrs. Margit Klein, the daughter of a rabbi from Czechoslovakia. He then returned to Cincinnati.

As a fruit of his research, Mann published in the United States his important book “Texts and Research into Jewish History and Literature”[vi] in two volumes. The first volume, which deals primarily with the era of the Babylonian Gaonim and consists of 728 + XVI pages[2], was published in Cincinnati in 1931. The second volume, dedicated primarily to the history of the Karaites and consisting of 1600 + XXIV pages, was published in Philadelphia in 1935 with the support of large private academic foundations in the United States.

Mann did a great deal of work over the years in preparing extensive academic material. Aside from publishing the famous book, Mann also published various research articles in Jewish academic periodicals, including some on other topics of Jewish studies. Throughout his years of service at the theological institution Mann was the editor of the college yearbook, in which he published many variegated articles. According to the opinion of Dr. Rafael Mahler, Jakob revealed new ideas in historical research in these books as well, and it is hard to understand how Mann dealt with the extensiveness of this type of work. The first volume of the book deals with the Land of Israel, Egypt, Babylonia, Syria, Kurdistan and Northwest Africa. The second volume, dealing with historical material on the Karaites from the 9th to the 19th century, deals with the lands of the Near East, as well as Eastern and Southeastern Europe. From among the research articles that he published in Hebrew, it is appropriate to pay attention to the extensive research work entitled “Messianic Movements during the Time of the First Crusades”[vii] Among other things, this article deals with a Christian from Normandy who converted in 1120, and within one year, joined a Messianic movement in the northern part of the Land of Israel.

In 1940, the year of his death, Mann published the first volume of his last book entitled “The Bible as Read and Preached in the Old Synagogue”[viii]. This book deals with the Triennial Torah Reading Cycle

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of the Land of Israel, as it applies to the books of Genesis and Exodus. The cycle includes sections of the prophets, and starts with words of Midrashim that come from the Geniza relating to this cycle, and a new Midrash on these books (the Midrashim are included in the Hebrew section). The plan of the second volume, as he announced in the first volume, included material similar to the Triennial Cycle of Genesis and Exodus, but related to the books of Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. It also mentioned a third volume that would include a survey of the Babylonian Cycle and its offshoots, as well as a historical survey of the rise and development of the “Old synagogue' that includes the reading of the Torah, Prophets, Psalms and Agada (lore) that deals with this reading cycle.

Mann died of heart disease on Sukkot of 5701 (1940). In his legacy, he left behind a great deal of material that he had prepared for the second volume. The material was arranged and edited for publication by his friend, the renowned writer and academic Yeshayahu Sonne, the cousin of Yitzchak Sonne and the former brother-in-law of Izaak [Yitzchak] Mann. After a few years, Mann's widow married Yeshayahu Sonne. There is reason to hope that the second volume will appear shortly.

Jakob Mann left two sons. One of them is active in the Zionist Workers' movement in the United States. Mann was considered by many to be one of the luminaries of Jewish academics of the 20th century, especially for his research in Jewish history.

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Dr. Izaak [Yitzchak] Mann

by Professor Josef Klausner


Dr. Itzhak Mann

{There is a long footnote in the text here as follows: The article of Professor Dr. Yosef Klausner of blessed memory was published under the title “One of the Disappearing Ones” in the book “Man and Society” that was published in honor of the memory of Dr. Izaak Mann, published by Nur in Jerusalem, 5717 (1957). It is brought down here in a somewhat abridged form. Professor Klausner does not tell about the activities of Izaak Mann in the important Ivriya youth organization in Przemysl, of which a special article is devoted in this book; nor about his membership in the Theodore Herzl academic organization during his studies in Vienna, from where a great deal of activists and nationalist writers emerged.}

Izaak the son of Nisen Mann was a modest and discreet man who did not push himself to the front of the line. Nevertheless, when he was taken from us on the first Intermediate Day of Passover of 5716 (1956), his absence was strongly felt in the community of faithful Hebraists and Zionists. His absence was felt in several areas of Zionist life and Hebrew academic literature.

Dr. Mann was one of the archetypical Hebrew writers and Zionist activists of the previous generation. He was born in 1890 in the city of Przemysl (Primisla in medieval literature) that was well known in the annals of Galician Jewry as a city of rabbis, Gaonim and even of Hebrew writers and poets, and important Zionist activists.

His father Reb Nisen was a shochet. He was a scholarly Jew and pious Hassid. When the Hassidim found out that the son of the shochet started studying “treif-passul[3], they began to persecute his pious father and forcefully prevented him from serving as a prayer leader.

However, these persecutions forged the spirit of youths like Izaak Mann like molten iron. He was 14 years old when he and approximately 40 other youths of his circle entered into a flimsy Sukka to discuss what to do about the persecutions and conflict that arose from their Zionism. Then Izaak the youth arose and made them swear to remain faithful to the idea of the renaissance of our nation, its language and its land. All 40 youths answered Amen with raised hands after the enthusiastic words of the oath.

Along with his enthusiastic orations for Zionism, he began to prepare himself for the external examinations of the gymnasium. He passed the tests and entered university in Vienna, where he studied both natural sciences and humanities: philosophy, Greek language and literature, mathematics and physics. He obtained his PhD there in 1920.

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He moved to Holland for a few years, and in 1924 he made aliya to the Land of his desire, along with his friend from his youth, his wife the erudite physician. They settled in Jerusalem. After two years, he received work in the main office of the Keren Kayemet, where he conducted his prime work for 30 years, until his last day.

Indeed, a significant portion of the cultural work of the Keren Kayemet was given over to his faithful hands. The excellent library “LaNoar” (For Youth) which published dozens of monographs on the Zionist movement and various kibbutzim, published by the Keren Kayemet from time to time, was edited by Dr. Mann, who edited and revised these articles for their content, language and style. In all of these, the hand of a writer who possessed fundamental Hebrew knowledge as well as general knowledge was evident.

Dr. Mann also occupied himself a great deal with writing outside of the Keren Kayemet, especially with translations of fundamental academic books. He was so bold as to prepare the Hebrew translation of the monumental book Das Kapital by Karl Marx in two large volumes (the first along with Dr. Tzvi Wislowsky). This was an influential task, and on account of this translation, Dr. Mann received the Tshernikovsky prize in 1948.

Another important endeavor was his translation from its Greek original of “On the Creation of the World” by Philo of Alexandria. Dr. Mann also translated the “Essays” of Heraclitus “The Dark”, as well as “Pericles on Democracy” by the historian Thucydides from its original Greek. From classical Socialist literature, Dr. Mann translated from German the book of Friedrich Engels, the friend of Marx, under the name of “The Academic Revolution in the name of Mr. Oygn Dohring”, as well as the book “The Role of the Individual in History” by Plekhanov. We should also mention here the book of H. Marcuse “Hegel's Theory” – a very difficult task that required a special Hebrew philosophical style.

In addition to this, he edited, revised and improved the “Hundred Years of Psychology” by Professor Fliegel (that had been translated by Dr. M. [A.A Brill); the book of the great orientalist I. Goldziher “Lectures on Islam”; and the book “History of Zionist Settlement” by Dr. A. Bien. He also arranged the “Last Works” of M. M. Ushiskin, and others.

We have before us a variegated literary work.

We should also mention the communal work of Dr. Mann. He built a fine home for himself in the Talpiot section of Jerusalem. There as well, he was a very active communal personality. He was a member of the Talpiot council and served as the president of the Talpiot synagogue. He often served as the prayer leader in that synagogue and whomever did not hear Dr. Mann read the Five Scrolls or the Haftaras of Shabbat Chazon or Shabbat Nachamu has never heard a fine traditional reading in his life[4]. He read the Shir Hashirim megilla publicly on the first day of Passover 5617 (1957) even though he already felt unwell. The next day, on the first intermediate day of Passover, he died after a sudden, severe heart attack[5].

Indeed, Dr. Yitzchak the son of Nisan Mann was one of the few people, whom are disappearing from our midst, whom had deep roots in nationalist Judaism and whose entire life was devoted to its revival, its language, its literature, the building of the Land and the establishment of the state. Anyone who came in contact with him, even briefly, will never forget him.

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Abraham Kahane (Avre”ch)

by M. N.


Abraham Kahane

“The beauty of Japheth in the tents of Shem”[6] – this fine blend, typical in the personalities of the best of the Zionists of Galicia, founds its complete expression in Abraham Kahane.

To benefit from the interior of the “pomegranate” of secular Haskalah, and simultaneously to keep faith with the ancient, hallowed culture – was only possible from such a soul, not only with his talents, but also because of a strong tendency to internal purity. If you add to this the background of the difficult struggle for existence, the light will increase sevenfold.

Kahane was born in Tarnow on the 20th of Iyar 5649 (1889). He was orphaned from his father when he was still a child, and from his early youth, he bore the yoke of livelihood of his family. Despite this, he was able to study Torah and secular subjects diligently, as well as to occupy himself faithfully with communal needs.

During his youth, he was numbered among the first organizers of the Mizrachi movement in Tarnow. He founded a Hebrew library and was one of the activists of the hashachara movement in Galicia during the time preceding the First World War. He always participated in its publicity.

During the war, he arrived in Prague with the stream of refugees. There, he came into contact with the circles of Zionist Maskilim who were centered around the Bar Kochba academic organization, as well as with local writers who looked kindly upon those who came from Eastern Europe. Relationships of understanding and friendship were forged during these meetings that took place between “the two worlds”. Avraham Kahane's role in this was very great, for he knew how to present in a positive light the warm-hearted image of eastern Judaism that kept the traditions of its ancestors.

Despite his modesty, Kahane stood out in the Zionist circles of Prague as someone with a fundamental grasp of the concept and someone with a fruitful pen. This opened for him the gates of Jewish journalism in the German language in Prague, Brno and Vienna. Once again, he occupied himself in work with one hand, and held a book of study in the other hand. His time in Prague was also devoted to the acquiring of deep knowledge of Jewish studies, including philosophy. Both were intertwined. This knowledge gave him the material for writing historical articles and monographs on Biblical personalities.

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In the year 5680 (1920) he married Golda (nee Nacht) and settled in Przemysl, where he continued his literary and communal endeavors. His literary bounty – poems, stories, humoresques, “images and icons”, articles on issues of the world stage. He also collected adages from the Talmudic literature. (After some time, one such anthology reached the hands of Professor Dov Sadan, who not only received this graciously, but also encouraged the author and added a preface to an additional edition.)

At times, he occupied himself in translations. This was also done with his characteristic excellence. He also translated the play of the Czech writer Jaroslav Vohralik on the Maharal of Prague, as well as “Gulliver's Travels”.

At times he signed his name with various pseudonyms, such as Sh. M. Lazar in Hamitzpeh, and Avre”ch, Av-hamon, Rama”ch and others in Haolam and Hatzefira.

As has been noted, Kahane was involved in communal affairs, and when he lived in Przemysl, he was numbered among the supporters of Rabbi Gedalia Szmelkes. He was not only active in the Mizrachi movement, but he was also among the supporters of the Jewish gymnasium. During his lectures on Hebrew cultural problems he was joined by large circles of youth in the Haivria organization.

He made aliya to the Land of Israel in the year 5696 (1936). Here, he published his articles in the Hatzofe, Haaretz, Davar, Mishor, Sinai, Nerot Shabbat and other newspapers. His literary legacy includes: his books on the history of the Jew of Bohemia, essays on Avraham Mapu and Micha Yosef Levinson, works on Hassidim, essays on Maimonides, the Baal Shem Tov and the Gra (Vilna Gaon), research on the annals of the Haskala writers n Galicia, and more.

All of these publications are in the “public domain”, the fruits of his spirit and creativity that he gave forth with the pureness of his heart and with his diligent pen to his thousands of readers. However very few people knew of his “private domain”, which was illuminated with the brilliance of his modesty and privacy. He fled from honor and hastened to any matter of a mitzvah. Satisfied himself with little, loved his fellow man, and gave every person the benefit of the doubt.

His life in the Land was not easy. Issues of livelihood stressed him, and he also felt deprivation with respect to his marginal status in communal activities. Fate did not give him the opportunity to attain a fitting status that would have been appropriate for him with respect to his talents and intelligence. Nevertheless, he did not grumble or complain. On the contrary, he willingly accepted his sufferings, and remained faithful to his path until his final day – the 11th of Elul 5714 (1954).

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Rabbi Dr. Shmuel [Samuel] Hirschfeld

(Memories from his son)


Rabbi Dr. Shmuel Hirschfeld

My father of blessed memory, Rabbi Dr. Shmuel Hirschfeld, was born in Przemysl in 1892. He was the only son of Reb Yaakov [Jakob] Hirschfeld. Reb Yaakov Hirschfeld was numbered among the merchants of Przemysl, but he also dedicated any free moment to the study of Torah. The large Beis Midrash on Walowa Street was build through his efforts. Reb Yaakov Hirschfeld conducted Mishna classes in this Beis Midrash every night, attended by a large crowd. At a later time, my grandfather of blessed memory was the head of the communal leadership of Przemysl, representing Agudas Yisroel.

My father was born into a very Orthodox home, and his education was in the spirit of Jewish tradition. However, the ways of the world were not foreign to my grandfather of blessed memory. He was fluent in both written and spoken Polish and German. Therefore, he did not want to withhold secular subjects from my father. It was impossible to send him to a public school. Therefore, my father of blessed memory studied secular subjects from private teachers. Thus he prepared himself for the government matriculation examinations. A youth with peyos and a small beard sat on the examination bench in the Przemysl gymnasium, and he astonished his examiners with his knowledge. My father of blessed memory was known as an expert in Torah and secular studies. My father married Esther Friedman at a young age. Her family was occupied in manufacturing, forestry and housing goods, and moved to Wieliczka, a town known for its ancient salt mines. There my father became involved in the family business, but not for a long time. The First World War broke out. The Russians were advancing and they temporarily conquered Wieliczka which was on the road to Krakow. The family moved to Vienna, the capital of Austria. My father registered as a student in the rabbinical seminary headed by Professor Schwartz and in the Faculty of Philosophy of the University of Vienna. He spent the war years in study. When the war concluded, he had become a rabbi, and had received a Ph.D. His research was on the topic of “Yosef Ezofowicz – one of the interesting personalities of Polish Jewry”[7]. He was examined by the Torah leaders of the generation and received his rabbinical ordination from them. My father returned with his family to Wieliczka, but that time, it was also for a brief period. Various communities were urging him to agree to occupy their rabbinical chair. He hesitated – for he did not want to make the rabbinate into his means of earning his livelihood. However, in 192, he responded to the invitation from the city of Biala in Western Galicia, on the border with Silesia.

Despite its proximity to the border of Galicia, this city was unique. Its Jews were all assimilated into German culture. Neither Yiddish nor Polish were heard on its streets, only German. The

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economic situation of the Jews of Biala was particularly good. As a textile manufacturing city, it did not know financial duress. The splendid synagogue building rose atop a hill that overlooked the city. My father of blessed memory saw it as his holy task to draw the Jews of this city close to Judaism and Zionism.

As chairman of the Mizrachi organization, he saw it as the purpose of his life to draw this community close to Zionism and the values of religious Judaism. He did not close himself off in his own four cubits, but rather began to conduct broad branched communal work.

When the power of the Polish government increased in the region, my father became a just intermediary between this Jewish community and the government with regard to matters of religion, discrimination against Jews, or suspicion by the government against the many Hachshara kibbutzim in the city. My father always knew how to convince the gentile and soften his heart. Slowly but surely, other communities in Silesia saw him as their representative before the government, and turned to him with any problem that required involvement with a government official, even if it was the minister himself. He was also active in the Zionist movement and was selected as a member of the broad based active Zionist committee. My father visited the Land in 1937 and dreamed of settling there. However, it did not enter his mind to leave his community particularly at the most difficult of times, when harsh anti-Semitic disturbances were afflicting it that year. He pushed off the realization of his idea. In 1939, he attended the Zionist congress in Switzerland. He heard the news about the war that was about to break out. He and a number of his friends rented an airplane, and were on Polish soil when the war broke out. He returned in order to be together with his community at that difficult time, and he was not prepared to find respite for himself in Switzerland where he was at the time. He paid a high price for his dedication. Hitler's armies reached Biala within hours. He and his family – my mother and my two sisters – set out eastward by foot. He reached Przemysl, which was to transfer to the control of the Red Army within weeks. The Russian occupation authorities appointed him as director of the Jewish school in Dobromil. However, my father resigned from his position and moved to Lvov when they issued an order that this school must conduct its lessons on the Sabbath as well. The rest of my family remained in Tarnow in the interim, which was located on the German side of the border.

In Lvov, he prepared to escape to Vilna, but a severe heart condition prevented him from doing so. In Lvov, he turned to his friends and acquaintances in the movement and discussed the possibility of saving himself, but with no results. The Nazi army broke through once again, and Lvov was conquered by the Nazis. My father returned to his family in Tarnow. The Gestapo followed his path. One evening, my father was informed that they would come to arrest him at nightfall. He heard the footsteps of the Gestapo through the window in the stillness of the night. His heart stopped beating. When the Gestapo men broke through the door, the found him lifeless.

My mother and sisters dug a grave for him with their own hands. They too disappeared at the time of the liquidation of the Tarnow Ghetto.

May their souls be bound in the bonds of eternal life.

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Rabbi Itzhak [Isak] Jacob Thumim[ix]


Itzhak Jacob Thumim


Rabbi Itzhak Jacob Thumim was born in the city of Buczacz in the year 5623 (1863) to his father the rabbi of Buczacz, the Gaon Rabbi Abraham Thumim, the author of the Chesed LeAvraham responsa book, and his mother Fruma, the daughter of the Gaon Rabbi Tzadok Rappaport of Dubno, the author of the book Mizbeach Cohanim, the great-grandson of the great Gaon Rabbi Chaim Cohen Rappaport the head of the rabbinical court of Lvov.

Rabbi Itzikel was orphaned from his father when he was three yeas old. Therefore, the family moved to Lvov. At the age of ten, the lad moved to the city of Chorostkow, where he was educated in Torah in the home of the local rabbi. He married the daughter of the very wealthy scholar Reb Efraim Fischel Aberdam from Stryj-Sambor. Reb Itzikel, who diligently studied Torah through the generosity of his father-in-law, was ordained as a rabbi by the renown Gaonim Rabbi Tzvi Hirsch Ornstein and Rabbi Itze Ittinger of Lvov. However he refused to ascend a rabbinical seat and preferred to earn his livelihood through business.

When his father-in-law died, Reb Itzikel moved to Przemysl, where he opened up a bank in partnership with his brother who was great in Torah, wealth, and generosity, Reb Moshe Thumim; and with his (Reb Itzikel's) sons-in-law. He built houses and acquired estates and a petroleum refinery in Boryslaw.

Reb Itzikel, together with his brother, published two volumes of the Chesed LeAvraham responsa – the fruit of the pen of their father. Each of them wrote their own preface to this book.

When the world Agudas Yisroel organization was founded, Reb Itzikel participated as a delegate to the founding meeting in Katowice (1912), and was one if its chief spokesmen. He delivered a speech that enthused the delegates. Before this time, he had already forged ties of friendship with the leaders of the generation and Gaonim of Torah who participated in the Katowice convention. He was one of the most active delegates at this convention, and was chosen to put together the first world leadership council of the Aguda. Reb Itzikel saw in Agudas Yisrael the spiritual consolidation of Judaism, the vision of everything, and set himself as the chief battler in the battle against the Hassidim of Belz and all of those who strongly opposed the founding of Agudas Yisroel.

Reb Itzikel moved to Vienna at the outbreak of the First World War, and remained there until 1917. There too, he dedicated himself fully to Agudas Yisroel, and gathered around him the Orthodox Jews who had come from Hungary who worshipped in the Schiffshul. His friendships with the head of the Vienna community, Dr. Alfred Stern, with the chief rabbi Dr.

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Gidman, with the leaders of progressive Jewry of Vienna, and with the rector of the rabbinical seminary Rabbi Aryeh Schwartz, were able to assist him in his wide-branched and variegated efforts to support the refugees of the sword both materially and spiritually.

When he returned to Przemysl after the First World War, he slowly returned to his business and communal activity. He founded the Volksrat along with the notables of the city. In 1921, Thumim traveled once again to Vienna, and returned to Przemysl in 1935. This era distanced Reb Itzikel from the movement. With the entrance of new members to the world active committee of Agudas Yisroel that was headed by Dr. Pinchas Cohen of Vienna, an entirely new protocol was established and the activities changed direction completely. Rabbi Itzikel was not in favor of comprehensive political activity, and he distanced himself from such. He opposed the politics that was conducted by the heads of the world Agudas Yisroel organization in general, and in particular he opposed the political activities for the Land of Israel and its settlement. The desire of Rabi Itzikel Thumim was to turn Agudas Yisroel into a Torah oriented spiritual organization and nothing more. When he was not able to do so, he distanced himself from it.

In the year 1932, an orphanage for the victims of the war, sponsored by Agudas Yisrael was established in Baden near Vienna through his efforts and with the assistance of the Aguda. This exemplary institution existed until the Nazi invasion of Austria.

Rabbi Itzikel Thumim had a renowned Torah library with approximately 15,000 volumes, including hard to find books, incunabula[8], first editions and very rare manuscripts.

He had four daughters. The eldest, Fruma married Reb Aharon Zeldovitz of Minsk, the son of Reb Baruch Zeldovitz, a descendent of the Gaon of Vilna. His second daughter, Vita, was the wife of Reb Shalom Schonblum, the son of Reb Josef Schonblum of Rzeszow. The third, Golda, was the wife of Reb Samuel Babad, the son of the Gaon Rabbi Moshe [Moses, Mojzesz] Babad, the head of the rabbinical of Lvov. Chaya was the wife of Reb Abba Ettinger, the son of Reb Shlomo, the son of the Gaon Rabbi Itza Ettinger, the head of the rabbinical court of Lvov.

In 1940, when Przemysl was annexed by Russia, Reb Itzikel was force to leave it. From then he lived in the home of his daughter Mrs. Schonblum. Even during such difficult times, he took interest in the fate of the refugees and deportees, and attempted to offer them his help and encouragement.

Rabbi Yitzchak Thumim died in the year 5701 (1941) before the conquest of Lvov by the Nazis.

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Dr. Maurycy Richter


Dr. Maurycy Richter


He was one of the prominent Zionist activists in Przemysl. He was born in Janow near Lvov in the year 1887. He participated in the organization of the Zionist youth movement from the beginning of the 20th century. He was among the organizers of the Judea academic Zionist group in Lvov. Immediately after the First World War, he settled as a lawyer in Przemysl, where he began his Zionist activism with all of his energy and strength. Already in 1919, he represented the Zionist faction in the Volksrat. He won over the ranks of the Zionists in the city and stood as their head for six year. He was designated as the united nationalist candidate of the Sambor region for the Sejm elections. He organized and led economic institutions in the city. Richter moved to Lvov in 1932 and continued his Zionist activity there.

He was one of the expert jurists and became famous as an interpreter of laws. He published a number of professional books, and he edited the judicial publication Nowa Palestra. He was a member of the Lvov chamber of commerce and manufacturing.

During the war, he made aliya to the Land from Romania as a refugee. In the Land, he dedicated himself to the organization of Polish émigrés. Richter returned to Poland in 1947 with the aim of assisting the Holocaust survivors. He died in Warsaw in 1955. His family remained in Israel. His daughter Tova Richter-Rauch is a well-known artist. His son Adam Richter became well known as a polyglot, and he served as the chief interpreter during the Eichmann trial.

Dr. Tzvi-Henryk Reichmann


Dr. Henryk Reichmann


He was one of the prominent personalities of Jewish Przemysl. He was born in Rzeszow in 1892. He began his Zionist activities when he was still a student of the gymnasium. During the years that he studied at the university, he was one of the founders of the Maccabia Zionist academic organization in Rzeszow, and he served as its president for many years. During the First World War he participated in battles on all the fronts as an Austrian captain, and he earned many tokens of excellence. He transferred to the Polish army at the end of the war.

He continued his Zionist activity after the First World War, first in Rzeszow and later in Przemysl, where he worked as a lawyer during the 1920s. He immediately found his place in the city and imprinted his signature on Jewish life in Przemysl. He was a tireless activist who neglected his private life and his business, and devoted his entire life to communal work. He quickly rose to a leadership position of Przemysl Jewry. He served as the president of the local general Zionist organization. He represented the chapter in the national active committee and as a delegate to a few Zionist congresses.

He was a member of the Jewish agency from 1935. When he was elected as the vice mayor of Przemysl in 1928, he protected the rights of the Jewish population. During his tenure in this position, all of the Jewish organization in the city benefited from grants from the budget of the city hall.

[Page 340]

In 1939, Dr. Reichmann moved with the Polish army to the Hungarian border. He continued his Zionist cultural activities in the prisoner-of-war camp among the hundreds of Jewish soldiers and captains who were interned in the camp. He was saved by a miracle after he endured the full tribulations of the death march from Hungary to Austria. In 1945, he returned to Przemysl for a brief period. His heart was broken at the sight of the destruction of the city. He went to Krakow, where he immediately resumed his communal work. He was the force behind the “Zionist Union” and served as the general secretary of the regional Jewish council. He made aliya in 1949 and settled in Holon, where he continued his communal work. There, he was chosen as the chairman of the chapter of the general Zionist organization. He died in Tel Aviv on March 13, 1951, and was buried in Nachalat Yitzchak in Israel.

Dr. Efraim Schutzmann

by Y. A.


Dr. Efraim Schutzmann


He was a Zionist activist and modest man, dedicated to the Zionist idea with his full heart.

He was the son of the lessee of an estate in Podolia. He was educated in the bosom of nature, which influenced him throughout his life.

He received his secondary education in the government gymnasium of Stanislawow. After concluding his course of studies in the faculty of law, he chose the profession of lawyer and settled in Przemysl.

There, he dedicated his life to Zionist activity, and was in deed the de facto leader of the general Zionists in the city. His leadership did not always have the official imprimatur, for a man of his nature never pursued honor.

In 1918, after the dispersion of the revolutionaries of the community, he was appointed as a member of the Volksrat by the Zionists.

Dr. Schutzmann was one of the forces that founded the Hebrew gymnasium in the city, which was very dear to him, and to which he was dedicated with his entire soul. He was a tireless activist in all areas of Zionist activity, and a member of the city council from the Zionist block. He often sat as chairman of the local chapter of the general Zionists. His wife Roberta nee Axer turned into a fruitful Zionist activist under his influence.

He fled to Lvov at the time of the conquest of the city by the Russians in 1939, in order to save himself from deportation to Siberia – which was the fate of the Zionist activists of the city. There, he hid from the alert eyes of the N.K.V.D. When Lvov was captured by the Germans in 1941, he was invited by the Zionist activists of Lvov to serve as the director of the housing office of the Judenrat. In this role, he concerned himself with a fair allocation of dwellings to the Jewish population that was deported to the ghetto, and he fought against all those who wished to utilize their position for personal aims. Through Dr. Schutzmann's efforts, underground Zionist work was organized in his department with the aim of smuggling Jewish youth out of the borders of Poland.

Dr. Schutzmann fell on the line of duty. In a letter to him, one of the members of the faction in Przemysl wrote to him, asking him to save his son from the camp in Janow[9], where he was captured by the Gestapo. The next day, the head of the Judenrat in Lvov was asked who Dr. Schutzmann was. When he was summoned to the office of Dr. Landsberg, the head of the Judenrat, he was asked to accompany the Gestapo men to write a brief protocol.

Dr. Schutzmann never returned to his office. When a Judenrat official as sent to find out why he was missing, he was informed that he had been taken out to be killed.

Thus was the end of this Zionist fighter – strong, without duplicity, and faithful to the idea of national renewal.

[Page 341]

Abraham Chaim Klagsbald

by Y. A.


Abraham Chaim Klagsbald


Abraham Chaim Klagsbald was born in 1875 in Cieszanow to Avigdor and Breindel Klagsbald. Cieszanow was a small town in western Galicia, where he received his Torah education and excelled with his great diligence. He did not attend the government school as did most of the Jewish children of Cieszanow. He studied in a cheder, and his father woke him up at 3:00 a.m. every day to study Torah. Already from his childhood, he would secretly read books in German, as well as all of the monthly publications and newspapers that were published in the Hebrew languages. He read all of the classics, and he particularly loved Heine. He would always read the poems of Heine to his children. Klagsbald was an autodidact, with a great deal of knowledge. He excelled in his powers of persuasion and his sharp debating skills.

His father would destroy all books in the vernacular as well as all Hebrew books that he read. In the era when the Hassidim used to sing, “We hear about all the trash, Hebrew songs they sing – these are the Zionists, the ordained youths”[10], it was difficult to maintain oneself as a Zionist. When the child reached the age of Bar Mitzvah, his despairing father took him to the Sanzer Rav to influence him to return to the proper path. The Sanzer Rav spoke to the child for three hours, and finally told his father that his son would either be a great rabbi or a Catholic bishop.

Already as a youth, he found his way to the Zionist camp, and came to a harmonization of Torah with the ways of the world, of cleaving to the traditional values of Judaism along with a desire for modern Zionism.

At the age of 21, he left Cieszanow and settled in the city of Przemysl. Local Zionism, embattled and pushed at that time into a corner, gained a talented and vigilant member who joined the small group of activists as a simple soldier, into his turn came to stand at the head.

Despite his many occupations, Chaim Klagsbald took part in all Zionist activities in the city as well as throughout Galicia. When the Zionist movement grew and renewed its activities at the end of the First World War, Chaim Klagsbald was one of the most active in the movement. Through his efforts and assistance, the Zionist weekly “Der Przemysler Yid” was founded in the city, and the Hebrew gymnasium was founded. Chaim Klagsbald was the first chairman of the gymnasium leadership, and devoted all of his energy to developing the institution. He aided its development with significant financial contributions. He served for some time as the head of the local chapter of the general Zionists. He was the president of the Keren HaYesod committee from the day of its founding until the outbreak of the Second World War, and he worked greatly to increase the donations to the fund. He was a member of the communal council, representing the general Zionists. Through his efforts and financial assistance, the old synagogue was renovated. This was a splendid era of his communal activity.

During the period between the two world wars, Klagsbald moved from commerce to manufacturing. He founded and developed a factory for agricultural machines and “Polna” sewing machines. One thousand workers worked for his enterprise at the outbreak of the Second World War, of whom approximately one third were Jewish. Throughout the time, his enterprise served as a Hachshara location for chalutzim who were making aliya to the land. These were among the first professional workers in the metal field.

He made aliya to the Land in 1940 during the war, along with his family. Here he founded and directed, along with his son the engineer Shimon Klagsbald, a metalworking manufacturing enterprise. Despite his business activities, he found time to take interest in Hebrew literature and the cultural life of the State. He died in Tel Aviv on the 17th of Av, 5718 (1958).

[Page 342]

Words of Eulogy that were Never Spoken

by A. Cohen

My good friend Chaim Klagsbald went to his eternal world, and I feel the personal need to join in with the words of the small group of Przemysl natives who stood by his grave, enveloped in sorrow and grief, the surviving ones of his old friends, his acquaintances and family friends, remnants of the Zionist movement in our city, in which the deceased worked for most of his years.

We have lost a beloved and close friend, a dedicated friend, advisor and helper, a dear and precious human being, with a variegated, rich and dynamic personality.

With his external appearance, his successful blend of practicality and idealism, he was without doubt an extraordinary person who stood above the day to day ordinary people. Despite this he was a classic personality, who was dear to the Galician Jews and Zionists.

He stemmed from a small town in Western Galicia, from a region steeped in traditional life, where he received his Torah education. He studied deeply and diligently, and he preserved everything he learned in his heart throughout his life, thanks to his shining talents.

Those who were close to the deceased and were witnesses to his activities, remember and will continue to remember throughout their lives the dear friend, the man full of charm and brightness, his enchanting personality, his glorious countenance, the pleasant man, the intelligent Jew filled with humor, filled with wisdom, knowledge, spirit and understanding.

His house was a gathering place for scholars, guests and many friends. He was a patriarchal figure in his family, a dear partner to his wife, a beloved father and grandfather to his children and grandchildren. We lack the words to describe the feeling of love, grief and comfort in our hearts.

We, his old friends, weep with aching hearts over the death of Chaim Klagsbald, our dear friend, our beloved friend, he faithful Zionist of many activities, and one of the final representatives of the first generation, the generation of the builders of Zionism in Galicia, who once were and are no more.

Lipa Geller

by Y. A.


Lipe Geller


Lipa Geller was born in Grodek Jagiellonski in 1888, a scion of a family of rabbis. He primarily received a Torah education. From a young age, he joined the Zionist movement and was numbered among the members of Ahavat Tzion in Krzywcza near Przemysl.

He moved to Przemysl in 1919 and immediately obtained status in the Zionist community of the city. He was among the diligent activists of the local chapter of the general Zionists. He was a member of the leadership of the chapter for many years, as well as a member of the leadership of the Keren Hayesod, and a member of the Jewish communal council representing the Zionists. From 1928, he was their representative of the city council for eight years. He worked a great deal for the Hebrew gymnasium in the city and served for many years as the vice chairman of the leadership of the institution.

His activities in the economic field sprung forth from the local realm. As a veteran manufacturer and exporter of flax, he was a member of the regulatory committee of flax in the office of commerce and manufacturing. In the city, he was one of the founders of the Bank of Jewish Merchants and Manufacturers, and a member of its directorship. His effective activities led to the development of the institution, for the benefit of the Jewish community of Przemysl.

Lipa Geller worked a great deal in the social area as a member of the leadership of the orphanage.

From 1923, he was the chairman of the New Synagogue on Slowackiego Street. He perished in the Holocaust of European Jewry.

Original Footnotes

  1. Most of the information about the man and his activities were received from Mrs. Dr. Maacha and Herr Emanuel Mann, Jerusalem. The evaluation of his academic work depends in part on the opinions of Dr. Ben-Zion Helfer (in Hatekufa, volume 18) and Dr. Rafael Mahler in “Bleter fun Geschichte” II (Warsaw, 1938). [Mannen – German/Yiddish plural from surname Mann. Chapter is devoted to other members of Mann family, not only to Jakob Mann – ed.] Back
  2. A native of Przemysl who later lived in Lvov. See information about him in the article on the Zionist movement in Przemsyl during the Austrian era in the article about “Agudat Herzl”. Back
  3. The Jews in Egypt and Palestine under the Fatimid Caliphs. (Translator's note: this is written in English in the footnote in the original text.) Back
  4. Dr. Ben-Zion Helfer, “The Jews Under the Rule of the Fatimid Caliphs”, Hatekufa, 20, 18, pages 175-215. Published by Sztibel, Warsaw, 5683 (1923). Back
  5. This was published under the title “Two Monumental Works of Yaakov Maan About Jewish History” in “Bleter fun Geschichte” (Pages of History) 11, pages 150-174, published by the historical group of the Friends of YIVO, Warsaw, 1938. See also note 1. Back
  6. Texts and studies in Jewish History and Literature (Translator's note: This is written in English in footnote the original text.) Back
  7. Hatekufa, 23, 24, published by Sztibel. Back
  8. The Bible as read and preached in the Old Synagogue (Translator's note: this is written in English in the footnote in the original text.) Back
  9. A précis of the article by Zev Zohar in Shearim, a daily newspaper in Tel Aviv, from November 16, 1956, with additions. Back

Translator's and Editor's Footnotes

  1. Heinrich Graetz (1817-1891) was one of the most notable of Jewish historians. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heinrich_Graetz Back
  2. I suspect that the Roman numerals refer to the preface or appendices. Back
  3. Treif means unkosher food, and passul means halachically invalid. Back
  4. The five scrolls (Megillot) are Ruth (read on Shavuot), Song of Songs (Shir Hashirim, read on Passover), Kohelet (Ecclesiastes, read on Sukkot), Lamentations (Eicha, read on Tisha Be'Av, and Esther (read on Purim). Shabbat Chazon is the Shabbat preceding Tisha Be'Av, upon which the Haftarah (prophetic reading) is read in the tune of Eicha. Shabbat Nachamu is the Shabbat following Tisha Be'Av. Back
  5. This was published under the title “Two Monumental Works of Yaakov Maan About Jewish History” in “Bleter fun Geschichte” (Pages of History) 11, pages 150-174, published by the historical group of the Friends of YIVO, Warsaw, 1938. See also note 1. Back
  6. A reference to Noach's blessings of his sons Shem and Japheth after the incident of drunkedness. The meaning of this quote is a person that is both scholarly and has an appreciation of the arts. Back
  7. We are not sure if this is correct spelling of the name Ezofowicz and who he was - ed. Back
  8. Books or manuscripts that was printed (not written) in Europe prior to 1501. Back
  9. Most probably the author had in mind Janowska St. camp in Lvov, called “Janowska camp” or “Janowski camp” - ed. Back
  10. Ordained here has the implication of a non-Jewish religious ordination. Back

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