Hermann, Leo

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HERMANN, LEO (1888–1951), Zionist journalist and a founder of the *Keren Hayesod. Born in Landskron, Bohemia, Hermann studied law in Prague where he joined the students' society *Bar Kochba (1906), became one of its leading members, and its chairman in 1908–09. He exercised a great influence on Bohemian Zionism between 1909 and 1913, mainly through his editorship of the Zionist weekly *Selbstwehr (1910–13). He brought Martin *Buber to Prague, where under Bar Kochba's auspices, he delivered his famous "Three Speeches on Judaism," which laid down a philosophy adopted by Bar Kochba as its own. In 1913 Hermann became secretary of the World Zionist Executive in Berlin and, for a time during World War i, edited Die Juedische Rundschau. He remained secretary of the Executive until 1920, when he joined Berthold *Feiwel in organizing the newly created Keren Hayesod. When the fund's headquarters were transferred to Jerusalem in 1926, Hermann moved there and became its general secretary. He wrote Nathan Birnbaum, sein Werk und seine Wandlung (1914) and edited and published a collection of ideological essays on Jewish and Zionist topics, Treue (1916), and a pamphlet on the language controversy in Ereẓ Israel, Im Kampf um die hebraeische Sprache (1914) on behalf of the Zionist Executive. He was also among the initiators and founders of the monthly Der Jude, which was edited by Martin *Buber. During his last years, he devoted himself to films about Israel, among which was Le-Ḥayyim Ḥadashim ("To a New Life").


F. Weltsch (ed.), Prag vi-Yrushalayim. Sefer le-Zekher Leo Hermann (n.d., 125–200); Z. Shazar, Or Ishim, i (19632), 126–8.

[Oskar K. Rabinowicz]