Waldman, Israel

Waldman, Israel [Isroel; Вальдман, Ізраель], b 10 March 1881 in Chortkiv, Galicia, d 10 September 1940 in Jerusalem. Jewish and Ukrainian activist and politician. After graduating from a Lviv gymnasium, he studied law in Vienna, where he became involved in the Zionist movement. After his return to Galicia, he worked as a legal assistant to Ukrainian leader Vsevolod Holubovych in Ternopil and wrote for the Polish-Zionist newspaper Przyszłość and its successor Wschód. It was in that period that he became familiar with the national aspirations and political activities of the Ukrainian intelligentsia. From the time of the 1907 elections to the Austrian Imperial Council he supported Ukrainian-Jewish cooperation. He stayed in Vienna during the First World War and returned to Galicia in 1918.

When the Western Ukrainian National Republic (ZUNR) was established in 1918, Waldman was selected as its commissioner for Jewish affairs in Eastern Galicia, but his tenure was never realized due to the Polish annexation of Galicia and the Ukrainian administration’s subsequent move to Vienna in May 1919. Nevertheless, he signed an appeal to then-President of the United States of America Woodrow Wilson and to the Central Zionist Office at Copenhagen, informing them of the neutral position of the Jews in the Ukrainian-Polish War in Galicia, 1918–19. Personally, he hoped that the Jews would unofficially support the ZUNR. In 1921, Waldman, with other Ukrainian representatives, participated in the Ukrainian-Polish peace negotiations in Riga. In 1922 he moved to Vienna and served as the commissioner for Jewish affairs in the government-in-exile of the ZUNR under Yevhen Petrushevych. Also in 1922 he joined the Western Ukrainian Society of the League of Nations and soon became its vice-president. Together with other members of the Society, he fought for the recognition by the League of Nations of the right of the Ukrainian people to national self-determination. After the dissolution of the ZUNR government-in-exile on 15 March 1923, Waldman worked as a lawyer in Vienna. He remained a supporter of political cooperation between Jews and Ukrainians, which, according to him, should be based on the positive nationalism of the two peoples. In 1935 Waldman moved to Palestine.

Monolatii, Ivan. ‘Ukraïns'ko-ievreis'kyi etnopolitychnyi dialoh na zakhidnoukraïns'kykh zemliakh (kinets' XIX – pochatok XX st.)’ in Ukraïns'ka oriientalistyka: spetsial'nyi vypusk z iudaïky (Kyiv 2011)
Österreichisches Biographisches Lexikon, 1815–1950. Bd. 15 (Vienna 2015)
Zakhidno-Ukraïns'ka Narodna Respublika, 1918–1923. Entsyklopediia. Vol. 1 (Ivano-Frankivsk 2018)
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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