Feiwel, Berthold

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FEIWEL, BERTHOLD

FEIWEL, BERTHOLD (1875–1937), Zionist leader and poet. Born in Pohrlitz, Moravia, Feiwel began his higher education in Brno, where he founded the Zionist student organization Veritas. In 1893 he studied law at Vienna University and became Herzl's close associate, helping to organize the First Zionist Congress in 1897. He contributed to the central organ of the Zionist Organization, Die Welt, and became its editor-in-chief in 1901. In his articles he emphasized that Zionism cannot content itself with the political and diplomatic activity of its leaders; it must also bring about the renewal of Jewish spiritual and social life in the Diaspora. At the first Conference of Austrian Zionists at Olmuetz (1901), Feiwel introduced a program of Zionist Diaspora activity, arguing that Zionism means not only the Jewish people seeking refuge in Ereẓ Israel, but also preparing itself (in the Diaspora) for its future commonwealth. Diaspora work covered the whole range of Jewish life in the countries of dispersion: political, economic, cultural, and sporting activities. When his program was rejected by the Zionist Executive, Feiwel resigned as editor of Die Welt and, together with Martin Buber, Chaim Weizmann, and others, created the Democratic Fraction as an opposition group at the Fifth Zionist Congress. Together with Martin Buber, Davis Trietsch, and the painter E.M. Lilien, Feiwel founded the *Juedischer Verlag, a publishing house that distributed mainly German translations of Hebrew and Yiddish literature.

In 1903, after the *Kishinev pogrom, Feiwel published Die Judenmassacres in Kischinew under the pseudonym Told. Based on an on-the-spot investigation, this book shocked public opinion. Feiwel had close contacts with Jewish authors in Eastern Europe and became a gifted translator of their works. In the book Junge Harfen (1914) he presented their modern poetry. The Juedischer Almanach (1902), an anthology edited by Feiwel, as well as Lieder des Ghetto (1902, 1920), translations of poems of the Yiddish poet Morris Rosenfeld with drawings by E.M. Lilien, also had considerable literary influence. After World War i (1919), Feiwel's friend Weizmann summoned him to London to become his political and economic adviser. When Keren Hayesod was founded (1920), Feiwel became one of its first directors. In 1933 he settled in Jerusalem.

bibliography:

Berthold Feiwel ha-Ish u-Fo'alo (1959); Ch. Weizmann, Trial and Error (1949), index. add. bibliography: A. Schenker, Der juedische Verlag 19021938Zwischen Aufbruch, Bluete und Vernichtung (2003).

[Samuel Hugo Bergman]

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