Stricker, Robert

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STRICKER, ROBERT (1879–1944), Zionist leader and journalist. Born in Bruenn (Brno), Stricker worked as an engineer for the state railways, rising to the position of chief surveyor. He was a member of the students' Zionist association, Veritas, and a contributor to the Juedische Volksstimme (Bruenn), founded by Max *Hickl. Stricker was a co-founder of Emunah, an association of Jewish shop assistants and clerks. Before World War i he edited the Vienna Juedische Zeitung, the official organ of Austrian Zionists, and in 1915 he founded the Jewish War Archives, of which Nathan *Birnbaum was secretary. After the collapse of the Austrian monarchy, Stricker became president of the Jewish People's Party (Juedische Volkspartei), and in 1919 was elected to the Constituent National Assembly of the Federal Austrian Republic, to which he belonged until 1920.

Stricker founded and edited the only German-language Jewish daily, the Wiener Morgenzeitung (1919–28), and from 1928 edited the lively Zionist weekly Die Neue Welt. In 1912 he was elected to the board of the Viennese Jewish community (Israelitische Kultusgemeinde) and in 1932 he became its vice president. He was a member of the Executive of the *World Jewish Congress and president of its Austrian section. At the 12th and 13th Zionist Congresses in Carlsbad (1921, 1923), he proposed that Chaim *Weizmann be elected president of the Zionist Organization, but in 1924 he opposed Weizmann's policy and resigned as vice president of the Zionist General Council. He was a co-founder of the Radical Zionist Faction. In 1931 he joined the *Union of Zionist Revisionists, and after it split in 1933 became one of the founders of the *Jewish State Party. After Austria was annexed to Nazi Germany (1938), he had the opportunity to leave the country, but refused, saying: "I cannot. I must stay with my constituents." He was arrested by the Nazis, and sent to Dachau, Buchenwald, and then to Theresienstadt. Even in the concentration camp he preached hope, maintaining his belief in the defeat of Hitler and in the establishment of a Jewish state. In the autumn of 1944 he and his wife Paula were transported from Theresienstadt to the gas chambers of Auschwitz. A selection of his speeches and essays, Wege der juedischen Politik, was published in 1929.


J. Fraenkel (ed.), Robert Stricker (Eng., 1950); L. Lipsky, A Gallery of Zionist Profiles (1956), 116–20.

[Josef Fraenkel]