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Hantke, Arthur


HANTKE, ARTHUR (Menahem ; 1874–1955), Zionist leader. Born in Berlin, the son of a religious family from the district of Posen, Hantke was in 1893 a founding member of the Juedische Humanitaetsgesellschaft, a society of Jewish students in Berlin, which in the course of time adopted a Jewish national outlook. He joined the Zionist Organization soon after it was founded in 1897. In 1905 he became a member of the Zionist General Council of the World Zionist Organization and was appointed director of the office of the Zionist Federation in Germany. From 1910 to 1920 he served as president of this organization. At the Tenth Zionist Congress held in Basle (1911) he was elected to the Zionist Executive, a post in which he was responsible for financial and organizational affairs. During World War i he was charged with important political tasks, one of which was to establish contact with the German Foreign Ministry on behalf of the Zionist Organization. After the publication of the *Balfour Declaration in London he attempted to obtain similar declarations from the Central Powers and succeeded in obtaining a pro-Zionist statement from the Austro-Hungarian foreign minister, Count Czernin (Nov. 17, 1917). After the war he lived for a time in London, where he continued to deal with organizational affairs of the Zionist Organization. In 1920 he was put in charge of the Central European department of the *Keren Hayesod and of the Berlin office of the Zionist Organization. In 1926 Hantke settled in Palestine, and from then he served (with L. *Jaffe until 1948) as the managing director of the head office of the Keren Hayesod in Jerusalem. The moshav Even Menahem on the Israel-Lebanese border is named after him.


K. Blumenfeld, Erlebte Judenfrage (1962), index; R. Lichtheim, Toledot ha-Ẓiyyonut be-Germanyah (n.d.), index; I. Gruenbaum, Penei ha-Dor, 2 (1960), index; Z. Shazar, Or Ishim, 1 (19632), 108–18.

[Michael Heymann]

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