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Meisl, Joseph


MEISL, JOSEPH (1883–1958), historian and archivist. Born in Brno, he became an official of the Berlin Jewish community in 1908, rising to general secretary, and was later librarian of the community's important library. After the Nazis seized power, Meisl settled in Jerusalem. There he founded (and to 1957 directed) the *General Archives for the History of the Jewish People (see *Archives). Before and after World War ii he was able to transfer valuable archival material from Central and Eastern Europe to the archives.

Writing mainly in German, Meisl made considerable contributions to Jewish historiography. His works include Geschichte der Juden in Polen und Russland (3 vols., 1921–25); Haskalah, Geschichte der Aufklaerungsbewegung unter den Juden in Russland (1919), a history of the Haskalah movement in Russia; and Die Juden im Zartum Polen (1916). He also wrote studies on well-known Jewish historians: H. *Graetz (1917), S. *Dubnow (1930), and his father-in-law S.P. *Rabbinowitz (Heb., 1943). In 1939 he published his study of Sir Moses *Montefiore's (abortive) endeavors to raise the educational and economic standards of Jerusalem Jewry, while his important edition of the minute books of the Berlin Jewish community, 1723–1854 (Pinkas Kehillat Berlin) was published posthumously in 1962 by Shaul Esh. Meisl was a coeditor of the Festschrift zu S. Dubnows siebzigstem Geburtstag (1930).


N.M. Gelber, in: Ḥokhmat Yisrael be-Ma'arav Eiropah, ed. by S. Federbush, 2 (1963), 170ff. add. bibliography: NDB, vol. 16 (1990), 688f.

[Getzel Kressel]

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