SINGER, LUDVIK (1876–1931), Czech political leader. Born in Kolin, Singer established himself as a lawyer first in his native town and afterward in Prague. In 1907 he joined the Zionist movement and soon became the leading personality among Czech-speaking Zionists. In 1916, his proposal to establish a Zionist newspaper led to the creation of the Czech Židovské Zpravy and the German Selbstwehr.
In 1917, during World War i, Singer advanced the idea of recognizing Jewish nationality in his country. It was quite natural for him to put forth the idea of founding the Jewish National Council (Židovská Národna Rada) in October 1918, following the example of the Czechoslovak National Council in Prague, which took power in the new state on October 28, 1918. He understood the necessity of reaching an understanding with the Czech National Council. On October 28 he led a delegation to discuss the future situation and the status of Jews. His initiative met with understanding. As chairman of the Jewish National Council, Singer participated in the Paris Peace Conference and achieved recognition for Jewish nationality in the Czechoslovak constitution of 1920, the first recognition accorded Jewish nationality in Europe. On January 4–6, 1919, the first Czechoslovak Jewish National Congress convened. The republic's Zionist leaders who participated in the Congress elected Singer president of the temporary Zionist Central Committee on January 5, 1919. Thus Singer became the head of two key political bodies of Czechoslovak Jewry, and its spokesman. He was also active in the regional leadership of Czech Jewry. On June 15, 1919, he was elected to the City Council of Prague, the first Jew to hold such a position. In 1930, when the Zionists defeated the Czecho-Jews (Čechú-židú) in the Prague elections of the Jewish community, Singer replaced the former president, August Stein.
Various tasks called for Singer's intervention. In 1918–19, when the Jews of Slovakia were regularly attacked and robbed and the national authorities discriminated against them, Singer met with Czech president Thomas Garrigue *Masaryk on June 24, 1919, to protest. The president intervened on behalf of the Jews in Slovakia. Similarly, when authorities in Slovakia and Carpatho-Rus discriminated against Jewish businesses on the Sabbath and Sunday and tried to force them to regulate their opening hours according to the Christian calendar, Singer intervened on behalf of the Jews.
Jews of Czechoslovakia, 1 (1968), index; F. Weltsch, in: Prag vi-Yrushalayim (1954), 73–74: idem, in: Selbstwehr, 20 (1926), no. 7, 1–2; no. 8, 2–3.
[Milos Pojar (2nd ed.)]