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Loewenstein (von Opoka), Nathan

LOEWENSTEIN (Von Opoka), NATHAN

LOEWENSTEIN (Von Opoka), NATHAN (1859–1929), lawyer and political leader, born in Bucovice, Moravia. Loewenstein was the son of the preacher of Lemberg, Bernhard *Loewenstein. He became leader of the assimilationists of Galicia, and editor of the Polish nationalist-oriented weekly Ojczyzna. Between 1881 and 1886 he was a member of the community council, the municipality of Lemberg, and the Galician Sejm (parliament). From 1907 he was a deputy to the Austrian parliament as a member of the "Polish club." In 1906 he conducted an inquiry into the living conditions of the Jews of Galicia which served as the basis for his speech in the Galician Sejm (1907) on the gravity of the economic situation. During the parliamentary elections of 1911 there were bloody clashes in *Drogobych (Drohobycz) between his supporters and Zionist opponents over the question of his candidacy; the army intervened, and a number of Jews were killed. Loewenstein withdrew his candidacy, but after a few months he ran again and was reelected, retaining his seat until World War i. With the creation of independent Poland, he was automatically given a seat in the Polish Sejm, as deputy of the region where elections could not be held since there was a military and political struggle between the Poles and Ukrainians over the control of eastern Galicia. In the first Sejm he was prominent for his conservative approach as a landowner and an assimilationist, ignoring the Jewish deputies' campaign on behalf of the needy Jewish population. Having lost public support, he retired from political life after the elections of 1922. Loewenstein gained note at the *Steiger trial (1924–25) for his brilliant speeches in defense of the accused and his resolute struggle against the authorities, who introduced false evidence into their indictment. Loewenstein wrote a book on the Steiger affair, O sprawe Steigera, which was published in 1926.

bibliography:

Almanach Żydowski (1937).

[Moshe Landau]

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