Halpern, Karl

Halpern, Karl or Karol [Гальперн, Карл], b 1870 in Uman, Kyiv gubernia, d 23 April 1937 in Stanyslaviv, Galicia. Politician and banker, noted philanthropist, member of the Austrian Imperial Council. Born to a wealthy Jewish family of bankers and property owners, he graduated from gymnasium in Stanyslaviv in 1888 and went on to study agriculture and economics at the universities in Berlin and Halle. After returning to Galicia, he took over the running of the family estate in Vovchyntsi near Stanyslaviv. During the First World War he organized Jewish relief work in the region in support of refugees and deportees. Together with other Jewish dignitaries, Halpern was taken hostage by the Russian military authorities and spent three years in the internal Russian provinces. Between 1918 and 1919 he was a chair of the Jewish National Council in Stanyslaviv, where he met with Lev Bachynsky, then vice-president of the Ukrainian National Rada of the Western Ukrainian National Republic (ZUNR). Halpern was non-partisan and remained neutral in the Ukrainian-Polish War in Galicia, 1918–19.

In the interwar period, he sponsored and headed Jewish philanthropic organizations in Galicia, acting, at one point, as vice-president of the Central Committee for the Care of Jewish Orphans and Abandoned Children in Lviv, as well as being a member of the General Council of Central Union of Associations for the Care of Jewish Children and Orphans (Centos) in Warsaw. He initiated and co-sponsored the establishment of the craft school ‘Wuzet’ in Stanyslaviv.

‘Bł. p. Dr. Karol Halpern,’ Przegląd Społeczny no. 4/5 (May 1937)
Knauer, O. Das Österreichische Parlament von 1848–1966 (Vienna 1969)
Fan, Ruben. Istoriia ievreis'koï natsional'noï avtonomiï v period Zakhidno-Ukraïns'koï Respubliky (Lviv 2019)

Larysa Bilous

[This article was written in 2022.]

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