nationalrat (Ger. "[Jewish] National Council"), committee of Zionist roof organization in Austria. It was formed at the time of the collapse of Austria-Hungary in November 1918, in Vienna, to advance the claims of the Jewish people as a national entity in still unsettled postwar Austria and was active until the end of 1920. Initially it consisted of 50 members, representing a number of Jewish organizations. The Zionist Robert *Stricker was its most active chairman and its outstanding leader. The other chairmen were Adolf Boehm, Isidor Margulies, Bruno Pollack Parnau, and Saul Sokal. Its secretary was Robert Weltsch. Due to the segmentation of the Jewish population of old Austria, the sphere of influence of the Nationalrat was limited to the Jews of German-speaking Austria, who were too weak to demand extended minority rights. The Nationalrat was not based on elections and represented only part of the Jewish population. Its claims were opposed by the non-Zionist Jews who were satisfied with the existing legal autonomy of the Jewish religious community, and by the Social-Democratic Party, and were not accepted. Similar organizations were later established in other postwar Central European countries. The Nationalrat organized a legal department, a social welfare department for former soldiers, and an employment exchange. Its department for social welfare was directed by Anitta Mueller-Cohen. The Nationalrat was instrumental in promoting modern Hebrew education by initiating the Hebrew Teachers' College (Hebraeisches Paedagogium), founded in 1917, and by establishing the Jewish Realgymnasium in 1919, a secondary school with the language of instruction partially in Hebrew, directed by Viktor Kellner. The program of the Nationalrat was later taken over by the *Juedische Volkspartei ("Jewish People's Party").
J. Kreppel, Juden und Judentum von Heute (1925), 618, 630–2; R. Weltsch, in: Der Jude, 3 (1918/19), 350–8; J. Fraenkel, Robert Stricker (Eng., 1950), 78–79; A. Boehm, Die Zionistische Bewegung, 2 (19372), 685. add. bibliography: R. Weltsch, in: Michael. On the History of the Jews in the Diaspora, 2 (1973), 204–15; D. Rechter, The Jews of Vienna and the First World War (2001).
[Hugo Knoepfmacher /
E. Adunka (2nd ed.)]