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Schnirer, Moritz Tobias


SCHNIRER, MORITZ TOBIAS (1861–1941), physician and early Zionist. Born in Bucharest, from 1880 Schnirer lived in Vienna, where he qualified as a doctor in 1887. In 1882 he was among the founders of the *Kadimah society, the first nucleus of the Zionist movement in Austria. He joined *Herzl upon the latter's first appearance and assisted in preparations for the First Zionist Congress, the introduction of the *shekel, and the founding of the *Jewish National Fund. He was also the moving spirit behind the drawing up of the first constitution of the Zionist movement. Schnirer accompanied Herzl on his trip to Ereẓ Israel to meet Kaiser William ii (1898) and was a member of the Zionist Executive until the Fourth Zionist Congress. The lecture he delivered at the First Congress formulated what was to remain the basic policy of political Zionism on settlement in Ereẓ Israel for many years, i.e., that settlement activities should not be continued until the Zionist movement received a charter for that purpose. Disagreement with Herzl and the demands of his medical practice prevented Schnirer from continuing to play an active role in the movement, although he remained in close contact with the Zionist Organization. He had a very large practice, and his medical textbooks (among others Encyklopaedie der praktischen Medizin (1906–09) and Taschenbuch der Therapie… (1925) ran into many editions. He also served as the editor of professional journals in German and French for several decades. He committed suicide together with his wife during World War ii. Schnirer's reminiscences of his Kadimah days were published by N. Sokolow in Ḥibbat Ẓion (1935).


L. Jaffe, Sefer ha-Congress (19502), 359–60; N. Sokolow, Ḥibbath Zion (Eng., 1935), index; T. Herzl, Complete Diaries, ed., by R. Patai, 5 (1960), index.

[Getzel Kressel]

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