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Hausner, Bernard Dov

(1874–1938), Zionist leader, rabbi, and Polish consul in Palestine. Born in Czortków, Galicia, Bernard Hausner was involved in Zionist activity during his high school years. He was ordained by the rabbinical seminary in Vienna and received a doctorate in philosophy from the German University in Prague. When he returned to Galicia in 1903, he taught Jewish studies at the government high school in Lemberg (Lwów) and also participated in Zionist activities. As an administrator, he granted financial aid to needy students, and initiated programs to encourage the involvement of Galician Jewry in the fields of crafts, industry, and agriculture.

When Lemberg was occupied by the Russians between 1914 and 1916, Hausner replaced the rabbi of the “progressive” community in the city and acted as the representative of the Jews before the occupation authorities. He also served as the main secretary of the Va‘adat ha-‘Ezrah (Aid Committee), which helped the city’s Jews as well as refugees. When Austria regained control of the area, Hausner volunteered for the army and worked as a chaplain on the Italian front.

At the end of the World War I, Hausner helped to reorganize Mizraḥi and to establish schools under its sponsorship. In 1921, he was elected to be the first president of the movement in eastern Galicia, a position he held until 1925 (he also served as the chairman of the Jewish National Fund in Galicia between 1921 and 1924). In 1927, however, he resigned all of his positions in Mizraḥi, declaring that the movement needed to evolve into a nonpolitical ideological organization within the framework of the Zionist movement, in order to reduce the polarization between secular and Orthodox Zionists.

From 1922 to 1927, Hausner served as a deputy in the Polish Sejm (parliament); there he dealt with both Jewish and general economic issues. As an executive member of Koło (the Jewish parliamentary faction), he tried to bridge the gaps between the Zionists of Congress Poland—who radically opposed the authorities—and Galician Zionists, who promoted a more compromising approach. In 1927, Hausner was appointed to be the economic adviser of the Polish government in Palestine. He earned a Polish state medal for his effectiveness in this position, and in 1932 was chosen to be the Polish consul in Tel Aviv. In 1935, however, he resigned from his Polish government positions and remained for the rest of his life in Palestine.

Hausner published essays on diverse topics, including Hebrew grammar, the Polish poet Juliusz Slowacki’s use of scripture, and parallels between the Book of Job and Greek tragedy. He also translated the maḥzor (prayer book) for the High Holidays (Modlitwy Na Dni Swiateczne; 1912) and published the booklet Sanacja Polskiego Pieniadza (Rehabilitation of Polish Currency; 1926).

Suggested Reading

N. M. Gelber, ed., “Toldot Yehude Lvov,” in Entsiklopedyah shel galuyot, vol. 4, Lvov, cols. 334–339 (Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, 1956); “Hausner Dov,” in Entsiklopedyah shel ha-tsiyonut ha-datit, ed. Yizḥak Raphael, vol. 2, cols. 19–23 (Jerusalem, 1960); Asaf Kaniel, “Ha-Mizraḥi be-Polin ben shete milḥamot ha-‘olam” (Ph.D. diss., Bar Ilan University, 2004); Tsvi Karl, ‘Ha-Ḥayim ha-datiyim shel Yehude Lvov,” in Entsiklopedyah shel galuyot, vol. 4, Lvov, cols. 421–450 (Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, 1956).



Translated from Hebrew by Carrie Friedman-Cohen