Blumenfeld, Kurt

(1884-1963), Zionist; championed the resettlement of Jews* to Palestine. Born to a judge s family in the East Prussian town of Marggrabowa, he was raised in an assimilated home. Although after legal studies he worked briefly in a judicial office, he was increasingly drawn to Zionism. Having joined the Zionist Student Movement in 1905, he was general secretary of the Zionist Federation of Germany (Zionistische Vereinigung fur Deutsch-land, ZVfD) during 1911-1914, charged with responsibility for propaganda and organization. During this period he evolved his concept of "postassimilationist" Zionism. His overlapping ambitions were to invite assimilated Jews to redis-cover their roots while encouraging massive emigration of Ostjuden* to Pales-tine.
   Blumenfeld was the precursor of a second and more radical generation of Zionists. Through his clear and well-publicized espousal of Jewish nationalism, he hoped to reestablish a Jewish homeland; indeed, his influence was paramount in the 1914 passage of a resolution at the ZVfD s Leipzig convention stipulating that Jews had no roots in Germany. He expressed privately that Germany was the home "of the parvenu and the snob." The implication that assimilation was wrong and that it bred anti-Semitism* was censured by the Central Association of German Citizens of Jewish Faith.*
   Blumenfeld used his analytical skill to subvert the ideological basis for eman-cipation and to demonstrate the hollowness of other liberal ideals embraced by assimilated friends. During 1924-1933, as president of the ZVfD, he generated a vigorous and financially sound program of emigration, the majority of whose converts were Ostjuden. Lest anyone question his personal commitment to Ju-dischkeit (Jewishness), he chose an unassimilated Russian Jew as his wife. Ac-knowledging the potential for problems between Jewish settlers and the indigenous Arabs, he proposed a binational Palestinian state in 1929.
   Blumenfeld emigrated to Palestine in 1933. From 1936, as part of the inter-national organization Keren Hayessod, he labored for a middle position between Zionism s extremes.
   REFERENCES:Aschheim, Brothers and Strangers; Hans Bach, German Jew; Benz and Graml, Biographisches Lexikon; Niewyk, Jews in Weimar Germany.

A Historical dictionary of Germany's Weimar Republic, 1918-1933. .

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