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Hollaenderski, Leon

(1808/12?–1878), bookseller, printer, and journalist. Little is known about Leon (Leib ben David) Hollaenderski’s family background, childhood, and adolescence. As a printer and bookseller of Polish literature in the border region of Suwałki near Lithuania, Hollaenderski was vulnerable to police persecution and decided in 1843 to move to France.

Inspired by the historical writings of Joachim Lelewel, Hollaenderski wrote a brief historical brochure, Les Israélites de Pologne (The Jews of Poland) in 1846. His study attracted attention because of its critical appraisal of the Catholic church and frank discussion of Jewish support for the November uprising in Poland in 1830; it also pointed out the limited enthusiasm for Jewish emancipation within the Polish independence movement. The study was published in English in 1865 as The History of the Israelites of Poland.

Hollaenderski broke with the Polish independence movement after émigré groups held Galician Jews partly to blame for the crushing of the Kraków uprising of 1846. In July 1847, he withdrew in protest from a committee that, at the suggestion of Adam Jerzy Czartoryski (1770–1861), the uncrowned king of the exiled Polish aristocracy, had been set up to rally interest in the Polish cause among both Polish and West European Jews. Nevertheless in April 1848, in light of revolutionary and patriotic movements in Europe, Hollaenderski drafted appeals to both Poles and Polish Jews in which he called upon both sides to unite in a common struggle against Russian domination.

The appeal to Jews, which Hollaenderski wrote in German, contrasted the tradition of religious tolerance in the Polish Commonwealth with the legal constraints under Russian rule. Hollaenderski believed that Jewish support of the Polish cause would lead to the “liberation of Israel.” His call to Poles underlined his plea to extend the principles of equality, liberty, and fraternity to Poland’s Jewish population as well.

Hollaenderski also published philosophical and historical works, though they were of little note. He also produced a Hebrew–French dictionary and a translation into French of a medieval Hebrew-language treatise on chess (Délices royales ou le jeu des échecs, son histoire, ses règles et sa valeur morale par Aben-Ezra et Aben-Yehia [Royal Pleasures or The Game of Chess, Its History, Rules and Its Moral Value, by Ibn Ezra and Ibn Yaḥya]; 1864).

Suggested Reading

Abraham Duker, “Leon Hollaenderski’s Statement of Resignation,” Jewish Social Studies 15 (1953): 293–300; Abraham Duker, “The Polish Political Émigrés and the Jews in 1848,” Proceedings of the American Academy for Jewish Research 24 (1955): 69–102; Artur Eisenbach, Wielka emigracja wobec kwestii żydowskiej, 1832–1849 (Warsaw, 1976).



Translated from German by Deborah Cohen