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Baruch, Joseph Marcou


BARUCH, JOSEPH MARCOU (1872–1899), early Zionist propagandist in Western Europe and Mediterranean countries. Baruch, born in Constantinople, conducted an anti-assimilation campaign among Jewish students in Berne and was wounded in a duel with a non-Jewish student over an antisemitic remark. In 1893 Baruch went to Vienna and joined the student circle of the Zionist Kadimah association. In 1894, in Algeria, he edited the newspaper Le Juge, in which, despite the opposition of local Jewish leaders, he tried to awaken the national consciousness of Algerian Jewry. Registered with the police as an anarchist, Baruch was compelled to leave the country. In 1895, after returning to Vienna, he went to Bulgaria and established a Zionist group in Sofia. In Philippopolis (Plovdiv) he published a French-language newspaper with a Ladino supplement, called Carmel, and helped establish Zionist associations in various Bulgarian towns, until he was imprisoned. He was released under the protection of Prince Konstantinov, and in 1896 left Bulgaria for Egypt where he continued his Zionist activity in Port Said, Alexandria, and Cairo. Some of his ideas later reached Herzl, particularly his criticism of "infiltration" (i.e., small-scale settlement in Palestine without prior political guarantees), and his advocacy of the foundation of an internationally recognized Jewish state. Toward this end he proposed war with Turkey, even joining the group called Garibaldi's army, which eventually fought for the liberation of Crete from Turkish rule. When Herzl appeared on the Zionist scene, Baruch was among his supporters. He attended the Second and Third Zionist Congresses (1898, 1899), and went on Zionist propaganda tours. Herzl's feelings for Baruch alternated between sympathy and dislike, as a result of the latter's eccentric personality, and Herzl was even afraid he might make an attempt on his life. Baruch's last days were spent in Italy, where he published his book Le Juif à l'Ile du Diable, a defense of Alfred Dreyfus. He committed suicide in Florence.


Y. Weinschal, Marcou Baruch, Nevi Milḥemet ha-Shiḥrur (1949); T. Herzl, Complete Diaries, ed. by R. Patai, 5 (1960), index; Molcho, in: Haolam, 33 (1946), 16–18; M.D. Gaon, Yehudei ha-Mizraḥ be-Ereẓ Yisrael be-Avar u-va-Hoveh, 2 (1938), 172–5.

[Getzel Kressel]

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