Zipper, Gershon

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ZIPPER, GERSHON (1868–1921), leader of the Zionist Movement in Galicia. Born in Monasterzyska, East Galicia, Zipper became one of the outstanding lawyers in Galicia. His special concern was the oppressed and the poor. From his early youth he was an active Zionist. He was a member of the group that published the first Polish-language Zionist periodical, Przysloszcz ("Future") in 1892, and, together with A. Korkis, was the author of a Zionist booklet in Polish, "The Task of Jewish Youth." Zipper was one of the founders of a Galician Zionist organization that preceded by several years the appearance of Theodor *Herzl's Der Judenstaat, and became one of the leading protagonists of political Zionism in Galicia. He also became active on the local political scene and played a leading role in the 1911 elections to the Austrian parliament on behalf of a Zionist list. The list, however, suffered a severe defeat as a result of the intimidation practiced by the Austrian administration, in cooperation with the Jewish assimilationists. The following year he visited Ereẓ Israel, where he met Solomon *Schiller, his former associate in Zionist work in Poland, who had become director of the Hebrew high school in Jerusalem. On his return, Zipper organized a campaign for the creation of a building fund for the high school and succeeded in raising the money for the erection of the school building. He was also active on behalf of the *Jewish National Fund. During World War i he served in the Austrian army. On his return to Lvov after the war, he resumed his activities in the Zionist Organization of Galicia and when the Zionist leaders of Lvov were arrested, after the pogrom, Zipper alone was left to lead the struggle with the Polish authorities for Jewish rights. At the beginning of 1919 he founded Chwila ("The Moment"), a Polish-language Zionist newspaper.


B. Ginsberg, Gershon Zipper (Yid. 1937); N.M. Gelber, Toledot ha-Tenu'ah ha-Ẓiyyonit be-Galiẓyah, 2 vols. (1958), index.

[Getzel Kressel]