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December 18, 1959 - Image 11

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1959-12-18

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

By JOSEF FRAENKEL
Moses Montefiore, the great
philanthropic a n d religious
Zionist, visited Palestine seven
times between 1827 and 1875.
In 1827, the country was
desolate and barren, sunk in
lethargy, covered with sand. A
thousand Halukkah Jews lived
in Jerusalem, Hebron, Safed
and Tiberias. But at the same
time, however, the dawn of
Zionism in the Diaspora W.434
beginning.
On his last visit in 1875,
Moses Montefiore saw the
awakening of the country—the
first settlers and worker s.
Palestine already had an agri-
cultural school and Mikveh
Israel was in its fifth year.
From 1875 to 1882 the number
of immigrants rose, Lawrence
Oliphant had published "The
Land of Gilead," Petach Tikvah,
Rosh Pinah and Rishon 'Zion
were in existence, and Naphtali
Herz Imber wrote the hymn
"Hatikvah.". In Charkov, stu-
dents founded the "Bilu,". and
in Vienna, ten students met
and formed the "Kadimah."
Mainly in Eastern, but in West-
ern Europe too, "Hovevei Zion"
societies were established, and
Baron Edmond de Rothschild
began to take a lively interest
in the Jewish colonization of
Palestine.
Twenty years after the pub-
lication of "Rome and Jeru-
salem" by Moses Hess, there
appeared in 1882—as a conse-
quence of pogroms in Russia
— another German brochure,
"Auto-Emancipation," by Leon
Pinsker. Pinsker demanded ac-
tion and the convening of a
"National Congress" for the pur-
pose of obtaining territory in
North America or in Asiatic
Turkey for the settlement and
colonization of several million
Jews. He was soon to realize
that the Jews desired but one
territory—the Holy. Land.
Dr. Leon Pinsker wanted a
"Congress of Jewish Notabil-
ities" or at least a "Directorate"
composed of representatives of
the Alliance Israelite Univer-
selle and similar organizations
to be responsible for the real-
ization of his plans. But this
came to nothing. "Auto-Eman-
cipation" was read more widely
than "Rome and Jerusalem,"
especially in the circles of the
new movement "Hibbat Zion,"
soon to be called "Hovevei
Zion."
Pinsker's most important
_achievement was the . organ-
izing of a meeting of the
"Hovevei Zion" representa-
tives which came to be known
in Zionist history as the Kat-
towitz Conference."
Thirty-six delegates. mainly
from Russia, but also from Eng-
land, France and Upper Sile-
sia, met Nov. 6, 1884, at head-
quarters of the Bnai Brith in

Reunion Aboard Israel
Liner S.S. Jerusalem

AROSHA LEROW (left),
band leader aboard the Israeli
luxury cruise liner, SS Jeru-
salerh, and his brother, David,
a pianist at the Carillon Hotel
in Miami Beach, run through
a few arpegios together to
mark their first meeting in
23 years.

Kattowitz. Pinsker,. who was in
the chair, said in his opening
speech:
"On this memorable day,
the 100th birthday of our
greatly-esteemed Sir Moses
Montefiore, we are gathered
together here, thanks to the
Almighty, to honor the name
of this wonderful gentleman,
the realization of whose idea
will, with God's help, be a
blessing and bring salvation
to our suffering brethren."
Pinsker proposed the estab-
lishment of a "Montefiore Foun-
dation for the Support of the
Colonies in the Holy Land"
("Maskereth Moshe b'Eretz
Hakodesh").
The four-day conference dis-
cussed financial matters, which
of the colonies should be sup-
ported and in what manner,
the need of sending one or two
representatives to Palestine to
ascertain the - position of the
colonies, as well as the despatch
of a delegation to Conitantino-
ple to ask removal of obstacles
to Jewish colonization.
Pinsker compared Jewish
colonization with "the shep-
herd Moses who, hardly having
seen the light of day, had been
condemned to die in muddy
waters and was only saved from
this fate by the compassionate
princess." He hoped that the
Jewish people would rouse it-
self from servitude to foster
the noble work of colonization.
He was followed by the vet-
eran of the Hovevei Zion, Rabbi
Samuel Mohilever, who quoted
the fiery words of the 37th
chapter of Ezekiel: "And I
will put my spirit into you, and
ye shall live, and I will place
you in your own land."
The Kattowitz Conference,
though of propaganda value,
fulfilled neither the hopes
nor the expectations it had
awakened. True, new colonies
were founded, but this was
mainly thanks to Baron Roth-
schild's activities, who was
called "the father of Jewish
colonization." The decision to
make 'Odessa the seat of the
movement was an unhappy
one. Russia was never a suit-
able country for the direction
of a national movement for
the colonization of Palestine.
A West European capital,
such as Vienn a, Paris or
Berlin, would have made
better headquarters, but Lon-
don would have been best,
where Colonel Albert E. W.
Goldsmid had already in 1882
been willing to undertake
the organizational work of
the young movement. Apart
from the fact that the Rus-
. siari government did not
grant permission for the reg-
istration of the "Society for
the Support of Jewish Agri-
cultural Workers in Pales-
tine and Syria" until 1890,
the "Odessa Committee" was
incapable of wielding the nec-
essary authority either in
Eastern or Western Europe,
nor in the position to estab-
lish a proper organization.
England, Germany and in
particular Galicia, took little
notice of the "Odessa Com-
mittee" and undertook inde-
pendent action, though on a
small scale.
T h e Kattowitz Conference
also omitted to formulate a
program which could stimulate
the imagination of the Jews.
Kattowitz regarded Jewish colo-
nization as an internal matter
of the Hovevei Zion and ap-
pealed neither to the Jewish
people nor to the peoples of
the world for help.
What a difference between
Pinsker's ."Kattowitz Confer-
ence" and Thedor Herzl's first
Zionist Congress in Basle
(1897)! The Kattowitz Confer-
ence addressed itself to the
representatives of a few Hovevei
Zion societies; the Basle Con-
gress spoke to the Jewish peo-
ple and to the non-Jewish
world. Kattowitz was hardly

mentioned in the Jewish press,
and not at all in the non-Jew-
ish press, whereas Basle was
reported in the press of the
world, since Herzl regarded the
Jewish problem as an interna-
tional issue, not just an internal
one.
The Odessa Committee was
not even in a position to take
political action on behalf of
a Jewish Palestine; political ac-
tion on behalf of the Jewish
people never developed in Rus-
sia, but in London, Paris or
Vienna.
The Hovevei Zion movement
was never a strong one, neither
in Eastern nor in Western Eu-
rope. But in spite of these nega-
tive characteristics, it played an
important role in pavirig the
way for Theodor. Herzl and
political Zionism. Jewish colo-
nization was . about to collapse
when a third brochure ap-
peared in German, "The Jewish
State," by Theodor Herzl.
"Rome and Jerusalem" was
a voice crying in the wilder-
ness; "Auto-Emancipation" ral-
lied the Jews to help them-
selves, but only "The Jewish
State" forged the Jews into a
people which could convert
ideas into action. Moses Hess

was a philosopher, not a man
of action. Leon Pinsker was a
man of action, but not an or-
ganizer. Theodor Herzl, the
visionary, on the other hand,
was the first Jewish statesman
and—what of equal importance
—the greatest organizer of the
Jewish people.

Pinsker knew nothing about
Hess, and Herzl knew neither
of Hess nor of Pinsker. But
through Herzl, Hess and Pinsker
will remain forever alive in
Jewish memory.

LONDON (WJA)—The anti-
Semitic, leaflets of Einar Aberg,
the notorious Swedish Jew-
baiter, are now also reaching
Switzerland, the World Jewish
Congress. learns from the Union
of Jewish Communities in
Switzerland.
Earlier last month, it had
been reported that Aberg's leaf-
lets in the best style of Hitler's
"Mein Kampf" had been ad-
dressed to a'number of govern-
ment offices in Great Britain.

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11 —THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS—Frida y, December 18, 1959

Aberg Sends Anti-Semitic
Leaflets to Switzerland

Mark 75th Anniversary of Kattowitz Conference

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