Fascinating Backgrounding of Founding of JTA
BY JOSEF FRAENKEL
Special Jewish News London
A dispute has arisen concerning
the date of the foundation of the
Jewish Telegraphic Agency. When
was the JTA established—in 1917,
1918 or 1919? Who was the founder,
or who were the founders? Here
is the story of the JTA—how it was
started and by whom.
The first Jewish paper, "Gazeta
de Amsterdam," was published in
1675. Today there are nearly 900
Jewish newspapers and periodicals
in 79 countries all over the world.
Jews have been founders or co-
founders of international news
agencies (Reuters, Agence Havas
and others) but 240 years had to
pass before an international Jewish
press agency dealing with the dis-
tribution of news of interest to the
Jewish press was established.
A certain Dr. Singer founded
the f i r s t "Korrespondenz-bur-
eau" in Strasbourg In 1830 to
supply papers with information,
articles, pictures, etc. Soon simi-
lar "bureaux" or agencies were
founded in various countries.
Theodor Herzl established his
weekly Die Welt (Vienna) in 1897.
The paper had excellent Jewish
news coverage thanks to reports
from correspondents- in almost
every country. Die Welt, as well as
the Jewish Chronicle of London
published the latest Jewish news.
Editors would wait for the latest
edition of their papers in order to
get up-to-date Jewish material for
their own papers. Soon there were
more Zionist papers, and the Zion-
ist Organization established a
"Press Bureau" in order to pro-
vide them with regular information
on Palestine and news of Zionist
events for publication. However, it
was considered essential to create
an independent news agency.
At the seventh Zionist Congress
(Basle, 1905), Dr. Sammy Grobe-
mann urged the establishment of
a "J e w i s h Correspondence"
which would supply papers with
news of Jewish interest for a
small fee. The "Juedische Kor-
respondenz" appeared in Ger-
man and in English and served
the Jewish and non-Jewish press
until shortly after the outbreak
of the First World War.
countries of the Allied and Central
Power s. In Stockholm, too, a
"Juedische Arbeiter Korrespond-
enz" (Jewish Workers' Correspond.
ence) was published; in Lausanne
a "Bulletin Juif"; in Zurich a
and a "Juedische Pressezentrale,"
The best organized news cover-
age was probably that of the
"Juedische Pressezentrale" in Zur-
ich. All these agencies distributed,
usually once a week, news or
items of party interest, but they
found it impossible to enlarge their
press service. Their correspond-
ents and contributors were few in
number but the agencies' main
task was to scan the world press
for information of Jewish interest
and to pass it on to the Jewish
In November, 1916, the Ger-
mans seized the mail of the
Dutch steamer, "Koningen Re-
gentis," which contained a letter
of five pages from Jacob Landau
to Vladimir Jabotinsky, dated
Amsterdam, Nov. 9, 1916, and a
copy of a letter from Max Nor-
dau to Landau. The letters were
forwarded to the German For-
eign Office in Berlin, because of
the "apparent hostile attitude of
German Zionists, among them
the well-known Max Nordau." I
found these letters in the Ger-
man archives in Bonn.
Jacob Landau, in his letter, de-
scribed his propaganda in Holland
for Vladimir Jabotinsky's idea to
create a Jewish Legion and he
tried to publish information about
it in the local Jewish papers. Zion-
ists, born in Austria, but now in
Holland, he wrote, were prepared
to join the Jewish Legion. He
asked Jabotinsky to send him a
press card and wanted to come to
London to help him.
In 1915 Jabotinsky visited Copen-
hagen but the Zionist Bureau de-
nounced his Jewish Legion plan as
dangerous, appealed to all Zionists
not to violate the neutrality of the
Zionist Organization and to oppose
the Jewish Legion. Only one man
assisted Jabotinsky — Meir Gross-
man. He was editor — Grossman
was always an editor — but he was
dismissed from the "Yiddishe
Folkszeitung" because he pub-
During the First World War, the lished an interview with Jabotin-
Zionist Organization moved its sky. In 1916 he became co-editor of
headquarters from Berlin to a "Unsere Tribune" in London.
In 1919 Grossman was in Lon-
neutral country—to Denmark—and
opened a "Zionist bureau" in don again, and in the offices of
Zionist Organization in Great
Copenhagen, where "Mitteilungen"
(Reports) was published under its Russell Street, Grossman dis-
with Landau the founda-
auspices in t h r e e languages —
English, French and German. In- tion of an independent news
formation and News put out by agency to collect and supply
"Mitteilungen" were reprinted by news of Jewish interest for Jew-
Jewish and non-Jewish papers in ish and non.Jewish papers. That
Displaced Persons' Sad Recollections
From 1943 to 1961, when he re-
tired, Rabbi George Vida held a
U.S. army chaplaincy. He was edu-
cated in Germany, visited Germany
again after the war, holds a doc-
torate from the University of
Breslau, has held rabbinic poets in
this country and is highly qualified
to write as a former chaplain on
experiences of displaced persons.
From Doom to Dawn." his de- Germany, some of whom had
scriptive work, published by Jona- fought in Israel but left the coun-
than David (131 E. 23, NY10), is try.
Many of the recorded exper-
iences relate to the holocaust. The
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news, important news, informa- 36 Pct. of Israel Is Arab;
tion, accurate information from Includes Occupied Lands
whatever party, Zionist or non-
Zionist, Jewish or non-Jewish,
should reach the desk of the
editors, was the main aim of
Grossman and Landau. They
registered the "Jewish Corres-
pondence Bureau News and Tele-
graphic Agency Ltd." on Dec.
3, 1919, and it was approved a
fortnight later. It would be ap-
propriate, therefore, to accept
Dec. 3, 1919 as the official date
of its foundation.
The agency's directors were
Grossman and Landau and its
shareholders included Joseph
Cowen, former president of the
Zionist Federation, Dr. D. Jochel--
man, one of the leaders of the
Jewish Territorial Organization, M.
Schalit, Isaac Naiditch, M. Edel-
stein, N. Katznelson, J. Goldberg,
James de Rothschild, V. Jabotinsky
and Chaim Weizmann. On Oct. 25,
1923, the name of the agency was
changed to "Jewish Telegraphic
Agency, Ltd." (JTA).
Correspondents were set to work
in many countries and branch
bureaus were established in Lon-
don, New York, Warsaw, Paris and
Jerusalem. Daily bulletins were is-
sued in various languages. In Jer-
usalem a bulletin was issued in
Arabic. In February, 1928, Gross-
man resigned. He died in 1964 and
Landau in 1952.
Today the Jewish Telegraphic
Agency has news bureaus in Wash-
ington, the United Nations (New
York, Editor V. M. Bienstock),
Jerusalem, London (European Edi-
tor S. J. Goldsmith, Manager S.
Matins), Tel Aviv, Johannesburg,
Buenos Aires, Sao Paulo and Lima,
as well as correspondents in vari-
ous countries. A quick and efficient
news agency is essential to a vigil-
ant Jewish press and the JeNvish
Telegraphic Agency has rendered,
and still renders, great and ef-
fective services in this field. The
Jewish Telegraphic Agency is the
guardian of Jewish information
and the source of Jewish news.
reader is treated to a new way
of life, to a return marked by sad-
ness, to a life replete with tensions
that can not be erased.
Dr. Vida has contributed an
unusual tract to the growing Holo-
caust library — provinding details
about aspects not too often written
ar spoken about.
IF TON TIMM 11
JERUSALEM (ZINS)Israeli gov-
ernment statistician Prof. R. Bald,
estimates that 36 per cent of the
population in Israel and the terri-
tories occupied by Israel, is Arab.
In Israel proper, including the
Eastern part of Jerusalem, the
Arab ratio is 14 per cent.
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filled with experiences of the peo-
ple who could not forget the hor-
rors that preceded 1945. He had
gathered the data during his visits
in Germany, his talks with DPs
enriched his knowledge and the
reader of this volume gets an idea
of the torments that marked these
people's lives and the anxieties that
accompanied them after the war.
There are those who returned to
Friday, February 23, 1968-13
THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS