Kremenetzky, Johann

views updated


KREMENETZKY, JOHANN (1850–1934), engineer and industrialist; first head of the *Jewish National Fund (jnf). Born in Odessa, Kremenetzky settled in Vienna in 1880 and built the first factory in Austria for electric bulbs, which soon grew into one of the largest enterprises in Europe. In 1920 he built a factory for electric appliances and, together with Boris *Goldberg, the "Silikat" factory in Tel Aviv. Kremenetzky joined Herzl after the publication of Der Judenstaat (1896) and became one of his close friends and admirers. He was elected to the Zionist Executive at the First Zionist Congress and remained a member until 1905. At the subsequent Congresses (1905–13) he was elected to the Zionist General Council. On the basis of a memorandum drafted by Kremenetzky and read in his absence to the Fifth Zionist Congress (1901) by Isidor *Schalit, the jnf was officially established. He became head of the jnf until its headquarters were moved to Cologne from Vienna in 1907, and his activities laid the foundations for this popular Zionist institution. Herzl nominated him as one of the executors of his will. Together with M. Reichenfeld he founded the Herzl Archive. He was made an honorary citizen of Vienna (1930).


L. Jaffe (ed.), Sefer ha-Congress (19502), 353–4. add. bibliography: M. Hoff, Johann Kremenetzky und die Gründung des kkl (1986); Oesterreichisches Biographisches Lexikon, vol. 4, 252.

[Oskar K. Rabinowicz]