Loewe, Heinrich

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LOEWE, HEINRICH (Eliakim ; 1867–1950), one of the first Zionists in Germany, scholar in Jewish folklore, and librarian. Born in Wanzleben, Germany, into an assimilated family, Loewe was raised without a Jewish education and at the age of 13 began to study in a Protestant high school in Magdeburg. Afterward he studied at Berlin University and at the Hochschule fuer die Wissenschaft des Judentums in Berlin. Together with Shmarya *Levin, Yosef *Lurie, Naḥman *Syrkin, and Leo *Motzkin he established the Zionist group known as the Russian Jewish Scientific Society and was the only one among this group who was born in Germany. In 1892 Loewe founded Jung Israel, the first Zionist group in Germany. He was also among the founders of the Vereinigung Juedischer Studierender, which gave rise in 1914 to the *Kartell Juedischer Verbindungen, the roof organization for Zionist students in Germany. Loewe edited the Juedische Volkszeitung in Berlin from 1893 to 1894 and, from 1895 to 1896, the monthly Zion.

In 1895 Loewe visited Ereẓ Israel for the first time and became known to *Herzl even before the publication of Der Judenstaat. Two years later he returned to Ereẓ Israel with the intention of settling there, but he returned to Europe in August 1897 as a delegate from Ereẓ Israel to the First Zionist Congress. After the Congress he remained in Germany and established the Zionist Federation. From 1899 Loewe worked as a librarian in the University of Berlin. He quickly rose in professional status until he was appointed professor in 1915. From 1902 to 1908 he was the first editor of *Juedische Rundschau, the central organ of the German Zionists. In 1905 he gave impetus to Joseph *Chasanowich's idea to establish a Jewish national library in Jerusalem by writing a memo to the Seventh Zionist Congress. His proposal was accepted unanimously. Throughout his career he worked for the library and was the moving spirit of the Verein der Freunde der Jerusalem-Bibliothek.

In 1933 Loewe settled in Palestine and assumed the post of librarian of the municipal library Sha'ar Zion in Tel Aviv. In 1948 he prepared a collection of his writings on Zionism formerly published in part under the pseudonym Heinrich Sachse as Anti-semitismus und Zionismus (1894) and Zionistenkongress und Zionismus eine Gefahr? (1897). He frequently published works in the field of Jewish folklore such as Die Sprachen der Juden (1911), Die Juden in der katholischen Legende (1912), Schelme und Narren mit juedischen Kappen (1920), and Reste vom alten juedischen Volkshumor (1922).


J.L. Weinberg, Aus der Fruehzeit des Zionismus: Heinrich Loewe (1946).

[Jacob Rothschild]