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Weltsch, Robert


WELTSCH, ROBERT (1891–1982), Zionist editor and journalist. Born in Prague, while a student he joined the Zionist students' society Bar Kochba. During World War i he served as a frontline officer in the Austro-Hungarian army. In 1920 he participated in the Prague Conference at which the Ereẓ Israel *Ha-Po'el ha-Ẓa'ir Party formed a union with *Ẓe'irei Zion organizations in Eastern and Central Europe (Hitaḥadut). In the same year he was appointed editor of Die *Juedische Rundschau, the organ of the Zionist Federation of Germany, which was widely read by German-speaking Zionists all over Europe. In 1921 he was elected by the 12th Zionist Congress at Carlsbad as alternate member of the Zionist Executive representing Hitaḥadut. Weltsch retained his post as editor of Die Juedische Rundschau until 1938, when he left Berlin and settled in Jerusalem. Until 1945 he edited the German-language weekly Yedi'ot shel Hitaḥadut Olei Germanyah (afterward also the organ of the Aliyah Ḥadashah Party) and also contributed articles to Haaretz. From 1946 he lived in London as the Haaretz correspondent there. He lived his last years in Jerusalem.

In the Zionist movement Weltsch called for an understanding with the Arab national movement, and for many years he was close to the *Berit Shalom movement, which supported the creation of a bi-national state in Ereẓ Israel. A series of articles he wrote in 1933, after Hitler came to power, earned him fame throughout the Jewish world and had a profound effect on the morale of German Jews; one of the articles, published on April 1, 1933, bore the title "Tragt ihn mit Stolz, den gelben Fleck" ("Wear It with Pride, The Yellow Badge"), which became the slogan for German Jews who had found their way back to Jewish values. The entire series was published in a special volume under the title Ja-Sagen zum Judentum. In 1963 he edited Deutsches Judentum, Aufstieg und Krise. Festschriften were published in his honor for his 60th and 70th birthdays (1951, 1961).

[Walter (Shlomoh) Gross]

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