Rabinowicz (Kwasnik), Oskar K.

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RABINOWICZ (Kwasnik ), OSKAR K. (1902–1969), financier, author, and Zionist. Born in Aspern, Austria, Rabinowicz studied at Brno, Prague, and Berlin, later engaging in the gold business. He was active in the Zionist Revisionist movement and after 1933 became chairman of the Czechoslovak committee to boycott Nazi Germany. When the Germans occupied Prague in 1939, he barely managed to escape, though he had helped 3,000 Jews leave Czechoslovakia for Palestine. He went to England, living mainly in London, and became active in communal life, being on the councils of Jews' College and the Jewish Historical Society. He was director of the Anglo-Federal Banking Corporation from 1946 to 1956. In 1956 he settled in the U.S., where he was active in communal affairs, particularly in the Jewish Theological Seminary and the Jewish Publication Society of America.

In his Prague period Rabinowicz wrote, among other works, Einleitung in die Probleme des rituellen Schlachtens (1937), in defense of sheḥitah and edited his father's Makor Niftah (1938), a lexicographical Bible index. In England he wrote Vladimir Jabotinsky's Conception of a Nation (1946), submitted Chaim *Weizmann's autobiography Trial and Error to a searching factual criticism in his Fifty Years of Zionism (1950), and championed Herzl as the great figure in Zionism in his Herzl, Architect of the Balfour Declaration (1958). Among his other works is Winston Churchill on Jewish Problems (1956, 19602) and the posthumously published Arnold Toynbee on Judaism and Zionism: A Critique (1974). He was one of the initiators of the Society for the History of Czechoslovak Jews and co-editor of The Jews of Czechoslovakia (vol. 1, 1968). His literary work was based on his extensive library, which was particularly rich in periodicals and works on Zionist and contemporary history. This was bequeathed to the National and University Library, Jerusalem. Rabinowicz was a departmental editor of the Encyclopaedia Judaica for Czech Jewish history.

His son, theodore k. rabb (1937–), was a professor of history at Princeton, specializing in 16th- and 17th-century European history. His works include Enterprise and Empire (1967), a study of merchant and gentry investment in early English maritime ventures; The Struggle for Stability in Early Modern Europe (1975); Industrialization and Urbanization (1981); Renaissance Lives (1993); Origins of the Modern West (1993); and the audiobook What If? (with J. Ober, 2001). He co-edited Action and Conviction in Early Modern Europe (1969); The New History, the 1980s and Beyond (1982); and The Making and Unmaking of Democracy (2002).


A. Hertzberg, in: jsos, 32 (1970), 99–100.

[Cecil Roth /

Ruth Beloff (2nd ed.)]