Marmorek, Alexander

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MARMOREK, ALEXANDER (1865–1923), bacteriologist and Zionist leader. He was born in Mielnice, Galicia, and studied in Vienna and at the Pasteur Institute in Paris, where he became assistant and subsequently chef de travaux. Early in his studies, he discovered an antidote (antistreptococcus) against puerperal fever. In 1903 he addressed the Paris Académie de Médecine and claimed the discovery of the toxin of the tubercle-bacillus and of the antituberculosis vaccine. This discovery was hotly debated in expert circles and was finally accepted as an invariably successful cure if prescribed up to a certain stage of the disease. With this discovery, Marmorek also initiated the serum study that led to the modern treatment of typhus and diabetes. Marmorek was also an ardent Zionist. In Vienna he belonged to *Kadimah, the first students' society to join *Herzl after the publication of Der Judenstaat. With his brothers Oscar and Isidor, he belonged to the circle of Herzl's closest friends and was repeatedly consulted on political steps contemplated by the Zionist leader. He was elected member of the Zionist General Council at the first 11 Zionist congresses (1897–1913). After Herzl's death Marmorek remained an adherent of Herzl's political Zionism and, next to Max *Nordau, became the foremost spokesman of the opposition, when "practical" Zionists assumed the movement's leadership in 1911. After World War i he strongly opposed *Weizmann's policies and refused to participate at the 12th Zionist Congress (1921). In his articles and speeches he emphasized that the Palestine Mandate was not the fulfillment of Herzl's idea of a Jewish state. Marmorek was chairman of the French Zionist Federation and one of the co-founders of L'Echo Sioniste, the Zionist monthly published in Paris. He founded the Jewish Popular University in Paris, chiefly for the benefit of foreign Jews who settled there. As a foreign national he was unable to remain in Paris during World War i and served as a doctor with the Allied armies in Eastern Europe.

His brother oscar (1863–1909) was an architect and Zionist leader. Born in Skala, Galicia, he studied in Vienna and Paris. He built a great number of important buildings in Vienna and Austria and also some synagogues, in which he attempted a style based on his studies of old Jewish architecture. He attained fame through his pavilion "Venice in Vienna" at the world exhibition of 1900 in Vienna.

Oscar Marmorek joined Herzl after the publication of Der Judenstaat and was elected to the Zionist Executive at the first six Zionist congresses. He was a co-founder of Die *Welt. Herzl depicted him in Altneuland as Architect Steineck. He died by his own hand.


D. Jacobson, A. Marmorek (Fr., 1923); jc (July 20, 1923); Die Welt (April 16, 1909); L. Jaffe, Sefer ha-Congress (1950), 339–40; M.I. Bodenheimer, Prelude to Israel (1963), index; M. Schach, Asher Ittam Hithalakhti (1951), 123–42.

[Oskar K. Rabinowicz]