Schechtman, Joseph B.
SCHECHTMAN, JOSEPH B.
SCHECHTMAN, JOSEPH B. (1891–1970), Zionist leader, authority on population movements, and author. Schechtman, who was born in Odessa, served in the all-Russian Jewish Congress convened in Petrograd (1917) and the Ukrainian National Assembly convened in Kiev (1918). After leaving Russia in 1921, he became coeditor and later managing editor of Razsvyet (1922–32), the organ of the Federation of Russian-Ukrainian Zionists, and subsequently the leading *Revisionist weekly. Schechtman approved *Jabotinsky's resignation from the Actions Committee of the World Zionist Organization in 1923, but disagreed with his concurrent resignation from the Zionist Organization itself. However, this partial support later became total when the two men took the lead in founding the World Union of Zionist Revisionists in Paris in 1925 which elected Jabotinsky its president. Schechtman, in common with Jabotinsky, became steadily disenchanted with the subsequent actions of the Zionist leaders. He opposed the proposed enlargement of the Jewish Agency (1929) to include a 50% proportion of non-Zionists, fearing that such a move would contribute to the dilution of, and possibly betray, the aims of political Zionism. However, he and the other Revisionists were not averse to an Agency that would be elected by universal suffrage. In 1929 Schechtman became chief editor of Nayer Veg, a Yiddish-language Revisionist organ.
In 1935, the Revisionists left the Zionist Organization, established the New Zionist Organization in Vienna, and elected Jabotinsky its president. Schechtman continued his work in the Revisionist movement both in Europe and after going to the U.S. in 1941. From 1941 to 1943 he was a research fellow for the Institute of Jewish Affairs. He directed the Research Bureau on Population Movements (1943–44), and from 1944 to 1945 served as a consultant to the Office of Strategic Services (oss) on population movements. Schechtman was subsequently a member of the World Zionist Organization's Actions Committee; a member of the executive of the World Jewish Congress; and chairman of the World Party Council. At his death, he was president of the United Revisionists of America and chairman of the World Council of the Zionist Revision Movement.
Schechtman's books include: a two-volume autobiography of Vladimir Jabotinsky, his best-known work, entitled Rebel and Statesman; the Early Years (1956), and Fighter and Prophet; the Last Years (1961); On Wings of Eagles (1961); The United States and the Jewish State Movement (1966); Star in Eclipse; Russian Jewry Revisited (1961); European Population Transfers, 1939–1945 (1946); and Postwar Population Transfers in Europe, 1945–1955 (1962).