Find more information about

at the Center for Jewish History:

NOTE: you will be redirected
to the Web site for the

Naiditsch, Yitsḥak Asher

(1868–1949), manufacturer, Zionist activist, and philanthropist. Born in Pinsk where his father was a distiller, Yitsḥak Naiditsch was raised as a Karlin Hasid, though when he completed his heder education he was taught modern subjects and Russian by a tutor. At age 15, Naiditsch joined the Ḥibat Tsiyon movement and formed a friendship with Chaim Weizmann. In 1889, Naiditsch settled in Moscow, where he built factories to produce liquor and invented a method to extract alcohol from potatoes. The Russian Ministry of Finance sent him abroad to promote trade.

As a leader of the Moscow branch of Ḥibat Tsiyon, Naiditsch gave financial support to Russian-language Zionist as well as Hebrew publications (including the newspaper Ha-Zeman). In 1913 he was elected to the Va‘ad ha-Po‘el ha-Tsiyoni (the Zionist Executive), and in 1915, when many Jews were forced out of regions near the front lines of World War I, Naiditsch assisted them. During the war he traveled to France for the Russian government and was able to use his contacts to help Jews there.

After the Bolshevik Revolution, Naiditsch settled in France, though he still maintained commercial contacts with the USSR and continued to promote Zionism. He founded the Keren Hayesod Foundation Fund in 1920 with Hillel Zlatopolski (1868–1932). Later he helped the engineer Mosheh Novomiski (Novomeyski; 1873–1961) establish a factory to produce raw materials from the Dead Sea and also worked with Pinḥas Rutenberg to build a power station in Palestine in 1932, an enterprise that eventually became Israel’s electrical company.

In 1940, after Germany had occupied France, Naiditsch fled to the United States, though he returned to Paris after World War II to assist refugees. Remaining in Paris, he subsequently published articles in Hebrew, Yiddish, and Russian in the Jewish press, wrote poems and reviews of Hebrew authors, and in 1945 wrote a book about Edmond de Rothschild. His selected writings are found in the collection Be-Ḥalom uve-ma‘aseh (Dreams and Actions; 1956).

Suggested Reading

Shelomoh Gofstein, “Yitsḥak Naiditch,” Katsir, vol. 2, pp. 416–420 (Tel Aviv, 1972); Isaac Grünbaum, Pene ha-dor: Morim, ḥaverim, yerivim (Jerusalem, 1957), pp. 333–336; Yitsḥak Naiditch, Be-Ḥalom uve-ma‘aseh: Sefer zikharon (Tel Aviv, 1956).