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Kessler, Leopold

KESSLER, LEOPOLD

KESSLER, LEOPOLD (1864–1944), engineer and one of Herzl's early aides. Born in Tarnowice, Upper Silesia, Kessler completed his studies and went to South Africa, where he was a consulting mining engineer. He was influenced by Zionism when Herzl's Der Judenstaat was published, and from the Second Zionist Congress was one of Herzl's loyal aides and a member of the Zionist General Council. He headed the scientific delegation to *El-Arish in 1903 and submitted its report on March 26. Later he was chairman of the Jewish National Fund in England. During World War i he became a member of the committee that helped Chaim Weizmann during the negotiations with the British government which led to the *Balfour Declaration. He also was chairman of the Zionist Federation of England (1922). From 1907 he served as a director of the Jewish Chronicle, assumed controlling editorship, and became its chairman in 1932. From 1939 Kessler lived in the United States, where he was active in the Freeland League, a territorialist association (see *Territorialism). His son, david francis kessler (b. Pretoria, 1906), became managing director of the Jewish Chronicle in 1936 and chairman in 1958.

bibliography:

C. Roth The Jewish Chronicle (1949), index; R. Patai, in: Herzl Year-Book, 1 (1958), 107–44.

[Getzel Kressel]

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