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Landau, Adolph

(1842–1902), publicist, editor, and publisher. Adolph Landau, first known as Aharon Landau, was born in Rassein, Kovno province, to a maskilic merchant’s family. He received a traditional Jewish education and studied at the Vilna Rabbinical Seminary (1855–1862). In 1860, he began publishing short articles about contemporary Jewish life; he wrote for various newspapers, including the Russian Jewish journals Razsvet and Sion.

In 1862, Landau moved to Saint Petersburg to study law at the university, but devoted most of his time to writing articles for the liberal press, calling for Jewish emancipation. Under the pseudonym Ha-Mabit (Heb., Onlooker) he wrote articles for the Russian Jewish weekly Den’ (Day; published in Odessa between 1869 and 1871). In these, he sharply criticized both wealthy Jews and the community’s shtadlonim (intercessors; lobbyists). In the 1870s, Landau published the annual Evreiskaia biblioteka (Jewish Library), which was the first serious attempt to create a regular Russian-language Jewish literary and scientific organ. In 1873, he set up a Jewish printing press, which enabled him to run a profitable publishing business.

At the end of 1880, and after much pressing, Landau was granted permission to turn his annual publication into a monthly, which he called Voskhod (Dawn), and which was soon supplemented by a weekly titled Nedel’naia khronika Voskhoda (Weekly Chronicle of Voskhod). After the 1881–1882 pogroms, he boldly called for Jewish self-defense. During the 1880s and 1890s Landau opposed Ḥibat Tsiyon and Zionism. He sold Voskhod in 1899 and the following year tried unsuccessfully to launch a historical monthly called Istoriia (History). He did manage to renew publication of Evreiskaia biblioteka, and in 1901 the ninth volume was published. A year after Landau’s death, the tenth volume, edited by his son Grigorii (Gabriel) Landau (1877–1941), made its appearance.

Suggested Reading

Viktor Kel’ner, “Adol’f Landau: Izdatel’, redaktor, publitsist,” Vestnik Evreiskogo universiteta 2.20 (1999): 238–273; Grigorii Landau, “Vospominaniia,” Vestnik Evreiskogo universiteta v Moskve 2 (1993): 149–173; 3 (1993): 183–212; Benjamin Nathans, Beyond the Pale: The Jewish Encounter with Late Imperial Russia (Berkeley and Los Angeles, 2002); Yehuda Slutsky, Ha-‘Itonut ha-Yehudit-Rusit be-me’ah ha-tesha‘-‘esreh (Jerusalem, 1970); Yehuda Slutsky, Ha-‘Itonut ha-Yehudit-Rusit be-me’ah ha-‘esrim, 1900–1918 (Tel Aviv, 1978).



Revised by Avraham Greenbaum; translated by David Fachler