Hellman, Jacob

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HELLMAN, JACOB (1880–1950), labor Zionist leader and editor. Born in Talson, Latvia, Hellman studied at yeshivot, and from 1897 at Frankfurt and the University of Marburg (where he was a pupil of Hermann *Cohen), completing his studies at the University of Berne in 1910. He took part in Zionist activities from his early youth, after having displayed some interest in the Territorialist movement and the Social Revolutionaries. He lived in Berlin and Riga and during the war years in Russia, where he became one of the founders of the *Ẓe'irei Zion movement. When he settled in Riga in 1919, he became one of the prominent leaders of Latvian Jewry, especially of the Zionist Socialist movement, and in 1920 was elected to the Latvian parliament. He edited various periodicals in Riga, including the Yiddish daily Frimorgen and as one of the founders of *Hitaḥadut he traveled on its behalf in various countries and became a member of the central body of the World Union of Po'alei Zion. In 1933 Hellman served as editor in chief of Dos Naye Vort, the Po'alei Zion organ in Warsaw, and remained in that post until 1936. After attending the 21st Zionist Congress (1939), he went to Argentina as the representative of the *World Jewish Congress. There he also became active in Zionist and general Jewish affairs and was a regular contributor to the press. His book Yerusholaim (in Yiddish) was published posthumously (1951; Hebrew translation, 1957). In 1952 his remains were transferred from Argentina and he was reinterred in Jerusalem.


M. Gertz, 25 Yor Yidishe Presse in Letland (1933), 30–38, 43–49; Y. Uri, Ketavim Nivḥarim, 2 (1967), 79–83; G. Ḥanokh, Bi-Demi ha-Sa'ar (1962), 209–10; Yahadut Latvia (1953), 421–3.

[Getzel Kressel]