Bienenstock, Max

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BIENENSTOCK, MAX (1881–1923), writer, educator, and Zionist leader of the labor movement. Bienenstock was born in Tarnow, Galicia, and educated at an Austrian high school. He graduated as doctor of philosophy from Cracow University. He taught in government high schools from 1904 until the collapse of the Hapsburg monarchy. From his early youth he was an active Zionist. During the short-lived Jewish autonomy in western Ukraine (1918–19), he was director of the Department of Education and Culture. When the Ukrainian Republic was overthrown by the Polish army, he was arrested for a few months as a political criminal. Afterwards the Polish authorities refused to confirm his appointment as teacher and director of the Hebrew high school in Cracow. From then on, he devoted his efforts to writing and to Zionist education. Attracted by socialist ideology, Bienenstock formed and led the Hitaḥadut party in eastern Galicia. In the Polish parliamentary elections of 1922, his party, in the framework of the Jewish national bloc, elected him to the senate for the Lvov district. Bienenstock was a progressive educator and a gifted writer in Polish, German, and, later, Yiddish. He published two books, Das juedische Element in Heines Werke (1910) and Henrik Ibsens Kunstanschaungen (1913). He translated Polish classics into German, including The Ungodly Comedy by Krasinski. He wrote essays on Zionist socialist topics and, in his last years, on Yiddish literature. He died in Lvov.


M. Bienenstock, A Zamelshrift Wegn Zeyn Leben un Shafen (1924); N.M. Gelber, Toledot Ha-Tenu'ah ha-Ẓiyyonit be-Galiẓyah, 2 (1958), 757–8; D. Sadan, Avnei Zikkaron (1954), 98–110. add. bibliography: N. Meltzer, Dr. Max Bienenstock (1924).

[Aryeh Tartakower]