Bettelheim, Samuel

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BETTELHEIM, SAMUEL (1872–1942), early Zionist and Mizrachi leader in Hungary, later in Czechoslovakia. Bettelheim was born in Pressburg (later Bratislava), where he received a religious and secular education. Under Herzl's influence, he formed the first Zionist association in Hungary. When the Mizrachi movement was founded in 1904, he became one of its leaders. From 1908 he published and edited in Pressburg a Zionist weekly, Ungarlaendische Juedische Zeitung. During World War i, the Austro-Hungarian government sent him on a mission to the United States to influence American Jewry in its favor. After the war, he became a leading Zionist in Czechoslovakia. However, Bettelheim, who opposed the political and cultural activities of the Zionist Organization, soon joined Agudat Israel, taking an extreme anti-Zionist stand. He edited their newspaper Juedische Presse in Bratislava and Vienna and from 1922 Juedische Zeitung in Bratislava, where he propounded Agudat Israel. In 1934–35, he published in Bratislava a German-language monthly called Judaica, devoted to Jewish literature and history and containing material on Jewish and Zionist history in Hungary. In his last years he lived in Budapest.


S.H. Weingarten, Toledot Yehudei Bratislava (1960) 139–40; eẒd, 1 (1958), 272–4.

[Samuel Weingarten-Hakohen]