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Schocken, Salman


SCHOCKEN, SALMAN (1877–1959), Zionist, art and book collector, and publisher. Born at Margonin, province of Posen (now in Poland), in 1901 Schocken, together with his brother Simon, founded the concern of I. Schocken Soehne at Zwickau, which developed into a prosperous chain of 19 department stores. Passionately interested in Judaism, as well as in all aspects of the mind, he used his fortune to collect rare books and manuscripts and became a Maecenas of general and Hebrew literature. He was patron and publisher of S.Y. *Agnon from the first stages of his literary activity. In 1929 he founded the Research Institute for Medieval Hebrew Poetry (under the direction of Ḥayyim *Brody) in Berlin, transferred to Jerusalem in 1934; it was concerned with editing hitherto unknown medieval Hebrew manuscripts which Schocken had acquired. In the early years of the Nazi rule Schocken Verlag, Berlin (1931–38), as a Jewish concern, was entitled to publish Jewish authors. Later Schocken established publishing houses in Tel Aviv (Hebrew) and New York (English). In 1934 Schocken moved from Berlin to Jerusalem and transferred his library and collections there, but went on to the United States in 1940.

From 1912 to 1945 he was very active in Zionist affairs. He was a director of the Jewish National Fund and a member of other public bodies. From 1934 to 1945 he was chairman of the Executive Council (administration) of The Hebrew University. After his death, the Institute for Hebrew Poetry and his library and collection in Jerusalem became the *Schocken Institute for Jewish Research of the *Jewish Theological Seminary of America. In 1952 a Festschrift, Alei Ayin, was published in his honor, containing contributions on biblical and post-biblical Hebrew literature and belles lettres by a circle of his friends, including Martin Buber, Gershom Scholem, and S.Y. Agnon.

His son, gershon (1912–1990; see previous entry), was the owner and chief editor of the leading morning daily Haaretz (from 1939). He was director of the family publishing house in Israel and was a Knesset member representing the Liberal party (1955–59).


S. Moses, in: ylbi, 5 (1960), 73–104; G. Schocken, in: Haaretz (Oct. 18, 1967).

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