Nathan Birnbaum (writer)

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Nathan Birnbaum

Nathan Birnbaum ( Yiddish נתן בירנבוים Nosn Birnboym ; born May 16, 1864 in Vienna ; died April 2, 1937 in Scheveningen ) was an Austrian- Jewish writer and activist, who repeatedly advocated new and different ideas, for a short time before Herzl was a Zionist and first general secretary of the Zionist Organization. He fell away from Zionism, represented ideas of diaspora nationalism, became a Yiddishist and then a separatist ultra-orthodox agudist . He used various pseudonyms, mostly Mathias Acher, Hebrew “another”, after Elischa ben Abuja ; further pseudonyms u. a .: Dr. N. Birner, Mathias Palme, Anton Skart, Theodor Schwarz, Pantarhei.

Live and act

Nathan Birnbaum was the only child of the merchant Menachem Mendel Birnbaum and his wife Mirjam, geb. Soul mate who were East Jewish immigrants. After a traditional religious upbringing, he was already busy emigrating to Palestine at high school . From 1882 to 1885 he studied law at the University of Vienna , but also heard after the promotion even philosophy and Oriental studies . At the end of 1882 he was a co-founder of the Kadimah and in 1885/1886 its praeses.

In 1890 Birnbaum married Rosa Korngut (1869 - May 22, 1934), a relative of Saul Raphael Landau . The marriage had three sons Solomon Birnbaum (1891-1989), Menachem Birnbaum (1893-1944) and Uriel Birnbaum (1894-1956). In 1897 he gave his speech on Zionism as a cultural movement at the First Zionist Congress . In April 1933, Birnbaum emigrated with his family to the Netherlands (first Rotterdam, then Scheveningen), where he died in 1937 after a serious illness. He was buried next to his wife in the Jewish cemetery in The Hague, Oud Wassenaarseweg.

Birnbaum was active as a journalist until his death, but had not campaigned for Zionism for a long time, although it was he who coined the term: Birnbaum had used the term Zionism since 1890 and made it more widely known.

Birnbaum, who had accompanied Theodor Herzl at a young age, was a representative of the cultural variant of Zionism , which propagated the settlement of Palestine even without a state of its own and was only increasingly bracketed again with so-called political Zionism by Chaim Weizmann . In addition, however, Birnbaum was especially committed to Eastern Judaism , Hasidic culture and the Yiddish language. For this he initiated u. a. the first conference for the Yiddish language in Chernivtsi . Later Birnbaum, who had gone through almost all religious variants up to atheism , came to Orthodox Judaism and became General Secretary of the Agudas Yisroel .

In addition to the term “ Zionism ”, the term “ Eastern Judaism ” coined around 1900 also goes back to Birnbaum.

Works (selection)

Birnbaum's journalism

  • Editor of the magazine Selbst-Emancipation! (the first issue appeared in Vienna on February 1, 1885 under the title Selbst-Emancipation! Journal for the national, social and political interests of the Jewish tribe; the last issue also appeared in Vienna on July 6, 1886; in 1890 the magazine - with Birnbaum as editor-in-chief, but no longer in his possession - to be revived; the definitely last issue appeared on December 15, 1893).
  • From 1886 to July 1888 he worked on the national Jewish monthly Serubabel founded by Albert Katz in Berlin . Organ for the interests of the Jewish people. ZDB ID 1427297-0 .
  • Jüdische Volkszeitung, the successor to the self-emancipation that had entered into , Birnbaum contributed significantly to it and was nominally editor-in-chief until October 1894; the last issue of the Jewish People's Newspaper appeared on January 23, 1895 under the editorial direction of Heinrich Loewe
  • 1896–1897 publisher of the Berlin monthly Zion .
  • 1906–1907: New Newspaper. Independent Jewish weekly. Edited by Nathan Birnbaum; appeared independently (with interruptions) from September 1906 to September 1907 in Vienna and was then merged with the (albeit Zionist) Jüdische Zeitung ; the short-lived Neue Zeitung saw itself as a forum for the largely assimilated Jewish youth around 1900, whose sense of community was to be renewed; it pleaded for a cross-party “national rebirth of Israel”; The paper turned in detail to the increasing crisis in Eastern Jewry in order to discuss basic socio-economic and popular educational topics.
  • September / October 1908 Publication of the short-lived (only 6 issues) Yiddish-language magazine Dr. Birnboim's weekly paper .
  • May to July 1910: Nathan Birnbaum publishes the short-lived bi-monthly publication Das Volk in Czernowitz
  • April 1913 to July 1914 participation in the “all-Jewish” Freistatt ( Die Freistatt. All-Jewish Revue. Monthly for Jewish Culture and Politics. Ed. By Julius Kaufmann; Editing: Fritz Mordechai Kaufmann, Andreas F. Meyer) - according to Simon Dubnow , “Kaufmann and his employees (Nathan Birnbaum ...) ... among the German Jews as cranky eccentrics ”.
  • (Ed.) The rise. A Jewish monthly published by Braunfeld & Eisen, Antwerp, Berlin & Vienna, 1930–1933 (or: Verlag Aulim, Berlin and Vienna). Some booklets in the media library of the Joods Historisch Museum in Amsterdam; the "Aulim" ("the ascending") should form a Jewish elite, a kind of Jewish order within Orthodoxy, according to Birnbaum.
  • (Ed.) Journal Der Ruf 1934–1937, ZDB -ID 1402966-2 (newspaper appearing in the Netherlands, later monthly; here Birnbaum won, inter alia, Döblin and Fritz Rosenthal - later the Schalom Ben-Chorin - as authors).
  • Translator: three book. Jewish stories by Sch. Gorelik, IL Perez, Scholem Alejchem. How should one read this story? From Yiddish. Preliminary remark by Max Brod . Jüdischer Verlag, Berlin 1916, DNB 579315193 (according to the DBN, it is the 2nd edition of the books: Shemaryahu Gorelik: Die liebe Provinz; I. L. Perez : Volkstümliche Geschichte; Scholem Alejchem : The lost battle. ).

Literature (selection)

  • About the meaning of Judaism. A scrapbook in honor of Nathan Birnbaum. Edited by A. E. Kaplan and Max Landau, Frankfurt a. M. 1925 ( limited preview in Google book search).
  • Pear tree Nathan. In: Austrian Biographical Lexicon 1815–1950 (ÖBL). Volume 1, Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, Vienna 1957, p. 87.
  • Desider Stern : Works by Jewish authors in the German language. A bio bibliography. Book exhibition of the B'nai B'rith . 2nd, rev. u. bed. exp. Edition. D. Stern, Vienna 1969, DNB 1045425419 , p. 81 - Biography, works. Until about 1910 under a pseudonym. These books and others are not in the DDB Opac. On the other hand, works listed in the OPAC are missing here. Reprinting of Birnbaum's early texts: The Jewish Modern Age. Early Zionist writings (= Jews on the Jewish question. Volume 2). With a foreword by Henryk M. Broder . Ölbaum-Verlag, Augsburg 1989, ISBN 3-927217-05-0 .
  • Solomon A. Birnbaum : Nathan Birnbaum. In: Leo Jung (Ed.): Men of the Spirit. Kymson Publ., New York 1964.
  • Solomon A. Birnbaum: Nathan Birnbaum and National Autonomy. In: Josef Fraenkel (Ed.): The Jews of Austria. Essays on their life, history and destruction. Series: World Council of Jews from Austria Publications, contributions by Walter Pillich, Hilde Spiel , Martha Hofmann , Arieh Tartakower. Vallentine-Mitchell, London 1967; 2., unchanged. Edition. 1970, ISBN 0-85303-000-6 (the article contains German-language minutes of the “Nationalities Conference” in Vienna 2005, Birnbaum's lectures there, an article from Der Weg 1905, a presentation to the Berlin Zionist Association in 1906 and an article from East and West 1906).
  • Joachim Doron: Jewish nationalism with Nathan Birnbaum (1883-1897). Tel Aviv 1984 (translated Hebrew title).
  • Joshua A. Fishman: Ideology, Society and Language. The Oddyssey of Nathan Birnbaum. Karoma Publ., Ann Arbor 1987.
  • Josef Fraenkel : Matthias Acher's fight for the “Zion Crown”. Jüdische "Rundschau Maccabi", Basel 1959, OCLC 469521443 ( limited preview in Google book search).
  • Angelika M. Hausenbichl: Nathan Birnbaum. His endeavors for the Jewish theater and Jewish culture . Unprinted diploma thesis, University of Vienna 2001.
  • Angelika M. Hausenbichl: Really only politicians? In: David. Jewish culture magazine . 54 (09/2002).
  • Leo Herrmann: Nathan Birnbaum. His work and his transformation (= the Jewish community ). Jewish publishing house, Berlin 1914.
  • Michael Kühntopf-Gentz : Nathan Birnbaum. Biography. Unprinted dissertation, University of Tübingen, Tübingen 1990, DNB 910487421 .
  • Michael Kühntopf-Gentz: "Israel goes before Zion." Nathan Birnbaum and the question of Palestine. In: Journal of Religious and Intellectual History . 44, 1992, pp. 118-139.
  • Michael Kühntopf: Nathan Birnbaum's attitude (s) to the Jewish state or the state of the Jews - or: what color is a chameleon actually? In: Samuel Salzborn (Ed.): Zionism. Theories of the Jewish state (= understanding of the state. Volume 76). Nomos-Verlagsgesellschaft, Baden-Baden 2015, ISBN 978-3-8487-1699-9 , pp. 93–116, urn : nbn: de: 101: 1-201607182775 .
  • Herbert J. Lerner: The Tshernovits Language Conference. A Milestone in Jewish Nationalist Thought. New York NY 1957, OCLC 56143593 (Masters Essay. Columbia University).
  • Jess Olson: Nathan Birnbaum and Jewish Modernity. Architect of Zionism, Yiddishism, and Orthodoxy. Stanford University Press, Stanford 2013.
  • M. Ravitch: צום יובל פון דער ערשטער יידישער שפראך־קאנפערענץ אין טשערנאוויץ Tsum Yoyvl fun of the first Yidisher Shprakh conference in Tshernovits. 1908–1958 (= Steven Spielberg digital Yiddish library. No. 15957). Montreal Komitet fun Yidishn Visnshaftlekhn Institute, Montreal 1958, OCLC 746561158 (Yiddish).
  • Max Wertheimer : People of God or People of God. A reply to Dr. Nathan Birnbaum's People of God. R. Löwit, Vienna / Berlin 1919, DNB 578320703 .

Web links

Commons : Nathan Birnbaum (writer)  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Federal Agency for Civic Education : Biographies of the Founding Fathers of Zionism. In: March 28, 2008. Retrieved June 20, 2012.
  2. The noun “Zionism” appears for the first time in Birnbaum's self-emancipation. III, 4, of May 16, 1890: "In addition to considerations of an economic nature, those of a national-political nature also gave rise to and matured Zionism" ( The goals of Jewish-national endeavors. A series of articles. II. National-political part. P. 1 ). See Michael Kühntopf-Gentz: Nathan Birnbaum. Tübingen 1990, p. 40.
  3. See editors note. In: Jewish People's Newspaper. October 24, 1894, p. 1.
  4. Title recording. In: Jewish Historical Museum, Amsterdam , accessed July 6, 2018.