Page 18 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 46

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sense of self,’ a hungering for ‘Jewish contents.”’9 The publish­
ing house, which had been absorbed by the Zionist Organization
in 1907, was always a step-child of the Zionist leadership, which
was scarcely interested in cultural affairs and was financially
weak. This precarious situation did not change until Siegmund
Kaznelson took over the management in 1920. Under his lead­
ership the publishing house got its “ultimate direction that was
to define it for the last generation of German Jewry.”10 Aided
by the strengthening of the Zionist movement and a generally
growing interest in the “Jewish question,” the publishing house
became a flourishing literary and economic enterprise. Its pub­
lications found a market far beyond the Jewish circle. Kaznelson
specialized in ambitious subscription works, such as the five-
volume
Jiidisches Lexikon
(Jewish Lexicon), the ten-volume
Weltgeschichte des jiidischen Volkes
(World History of the Jewish
People) by Simon Dubnow, and the twelve-volume
Babylonischer
Talmud
(Babylonian Talmud), trans la ted by Lazarus
Goldschmidt. These great works, as well as many individual
publications, such as Joseph Klausner’s
Jesus von Nazareth
(Jesus
of Nazareth, 1930) and Arthur Ruppin’s
Soziologie derJuden
(So­
ciology of the Jews, 1930-31), are among the classics of scholarly
Jewish literature. Some of these works sold over 100,000 copies.
By the fateful year 1933, Jiidischer Verlag was already in
decline. From 1933-1938, aside from the final volumes of the
Talmud, only 12 titles in 25 volumes were published, among
them the three-volume abridged Jewish
Weltgeschichte
(World
History) by Dubnow (1937-1938) and T h eodo r H erz l’s
Gesammelte Zionistische Werke
(Collected Zionist Works) in five
volumes (1934-1935). During this last period Jiidischer Verlag
had to restrict itself to overseeing some 300 publications from
an earlier period, especially from the twenties. This can be at­
tributed principally to financial difficulties that could have re­
sulted to a large extent from the dwindling of the non-Jewish
market.11
9 Cited in:
Almanack 1902-1964
(Berlin: Jiidischer Verlag Berlin, 1964), p.
10
.
10
Ibid.,
p. 17.
11 For details concerning the history and the publications o f Jiidischer Verlag
see
Ibid.,
pp. 7-29, 66/67 (supplement: “Verlagswerke 1902-1920”) and pp.
159-167 (catalogue 1920-1964). Cf. also
Jiidisches Lexikon,
vol. IV/2, article
on “Verlagswesen.”
10
JEWISH BOOK ANNUAL