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Hartglas, Apolinary

(1883–1953), Zionist, attorney, and Polish parliament deputy. Born in Biała Podlaska, Apolinary Hartglas came from an assimilated Jewish family. From 1892 to 1900, he attended a Russian high school and subsequently studied law at the Russian University in Warsaw, graduating in 1904. While a student he joined the rapidly growing Zionist movement in the Polish Kingdom, editing, with Yitsḥak Grünbaum, the first Zionist journals there: Głos Żydowski (Jewish Voice) and Życie Żydowskie (Jewish Life).

Hartglas was a Polish delegate to the Russian Zionist Congress in Helsinki in 1906; at that convention, the organization recognized the struggle for the national rights of Jews living in the Diaspora. In August 1914, he was interned in Germany as a Russian citizen, and was freed one year later. In 1917 he was elected vice president of the local council in Siedlce.

In 1919, Hartglas was elected to the Constituent Sejm (parliament) on the list of the Provisional Jewish National Council; he served in parliament until 1930. As a follower of Grünbaum, he supported efforts to introduce national–cultural autonomy in Poland. With Grünbaum, he also became involved in the National Minorities Bloc, formed in 1922. From 1925 to 1927, he prevented the Jewish Circle of Sejm members from splitting by agreeing to serve as its president. Beginning in 1930, he no longer stood for parliamentary elections, choosing this manner to express opposition to the growth of authoritarianism in Polish politics. He subsequently dedicated more time to the Zionist Organization, of which he was president in the second half of the 1930s. He wrote articles on Zionist themes, mainly for the newspapers Haynt and Nowy Dziennik.

From 1907 until his departure from Poland in 1939, Hartglas worked as an attorney and was involved, for example, in the case of the rehabilitation of Rabbi Ḥayim Szapira, sentenced to death for treason by a Polish military court in Płock in 1920. Hartglas left German-occupied Warsaw on 20 December 1939, reaching Palestine by way of Trieste at the beginning of 1940. Within the framework of the Jewish Agency, he was involved in gathering testimony of Jewish refugees from Poland, and later received reports of Jewish soldiers from the Polish Anders Army as well.

In 1942, Hartglas became secretary of the rescue committee established by Grünbaum to assist European Jews. In 1945, Hartglas began to work as an official of the Jewish Agency. After the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, he became a high official in the Ministry of the Interior, directed at that time by Grünbaum. Toward the end of his life, Hartglas wrote his memoirs in Polish, Na pograniczu dwóch światów (Between Two Worlds). He died in Jerusalem.

Suggested Reading

Apolinary Hartglas, Na pograniczu dwóch światów, ed. Jolanta Żyndul (Warsaw, 1996); Ezra Mendelsohn, Zionism in Poland: The Formative Years, 1915–1926 (New Haven, 1981).



Translated from Polish by Karen Auerbach