York-Steiner, Heinrich Elchanan
YORK-STEINER, HEINRICH ELCHANAN
YORK-STEINER, HEINRICH ELCHANAN (1859–1934), Zionist publicist and author. Born in Senica (Hungary; now Slovakia), York-Steiner entered business in Vienna in his early youth. Self-educated in literature and art, he went to the U.S., returned to Vienna in 1884, and became director of a publishing house and an editor. After the appearance of Der Judenstaat, he joined Theodor *Herzl and became an ardent Zionist. He participated in the March 1897 conference that decided to convoke the First Zionist Congress and was responsible for the technical preparation of the central Zionist organ, Die *Welt. At the First Zionist Congress (1897) he submitted, on behalf of the organization commission, the proposals for adapting the constitution of the World Zionist Movement to the legislative requirements of various countries. These proposals became the basis of the Statute of the Zionist Organization. At the Sixth Zionist Congress in Basle (August 1903) he was an outspoken opponent of the *Uganda Scheme. While in Rome, York-Steiner heard about the disappointing results of Herzl's visit there. He called on the papal secretary of state in February 1904 and was finally authorized to state that the Apostolic See would not object to Jewish settlement in Palestine on humanitarian grounds. He published a report on the interview in Die Welt (no. 14, 1904).
After Herzl's death York-Steiner fought for strict adherence to Herzl's political Zionism and strongly opposed the gradual expansion of Zionist activities to other spheres in the Diaspora according to the *Helsingfors Program (1906), as well as premature, unorganized settlement in Ereẓ Israel. When the practical Zionists attained the leadership of the movement, he left it (1911). During World War i he visited the U.S. on behalf of the Austrian Freemasons to seek the immediate cessation of hostilities. In the late 1920s he joined the *Revisionist movement, but was no longer active. He settled in Palestine in 1933, having visited the country repeatedly since 1898.
Among his publications are Kuenstlerfahrten vom Atlantischen bis zum Stillen Ozean (New York, 1883); Anti; Croccolos Synagoge; Der barmherzige Bruder (three stories, 1895); Mutter Eva (1897); Der Talmudbauer (1904); Der hohe Kurs (1908); Bedeutet der Krieg einen Ausnahmszustand? (1915); Vom sterbenden Geld (1921); Die Kunst als Jude zu leben (1928), containing many biographical notes and reminiscences; and "Aus Herzl's letzter Zeit" (in Tulo Nussenblatt, Zeitgenossen ueber Herzl, 1929, 213–17). He also published many articles in various Jewish and Zionist magazines.
L. Jaffe, Sefer ha-Congress (19502), index; Tidhar, 3 (1949), 1413–14. add. bibliography: Menorah, 7 (1929), 542; Davar (Feb. 18, 1934); P. Arnold (Kellner), Zikhronot be-Ahavah (1968), 81–83; Th. Herzl, Briefe und Tagebuecher (1982–1997), indices; A. Schnitzler, Briefe 1913 – 1931 (1984), 192–93.
[Oskar K. Rabinowicz /
Archiv Bibliographia Judaica (2nd ed.)]