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Katowice Conference

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Title: Katowice Conference  
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Subject: History of Zionism, History of the Jews in Poland
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Katowice Conference

Participants of Katowice Conference

The Katowice Conference (also known as the Kattowitz Conference)[1] was a convention of Hovevei Zion groups from various countries held in Kattowitz, Germany (today: Katowice, Poland) in November, 1884. It was assembled to address the need of a Jewish state and to develop a plan for the creation of a Jewish state.


The Hovevei Zion movement began in Odessa, anonymously published “Auto-Emanzipation. Ein Mahnruf an seine Stammesgenossen. Von einem russischen Juden” (Self-Emancipation. A Warning Addressed to His Brethren. By a Russian Jew) Pinsker outlined his belief that the root cause of anti-Semitism was that the Jews were a people without a nation of their own. He called on Jews to organize themselves for the establishment of a Jewish homeland.

Photo believed to show the victims, mostly Jewish children, of a 1905 pogrom in Yekaterinoslav (today's Dnipropetrovsk).

Leon Pinsker, Moses Leib Lilienblum, Hermann Schapira, Max Emmanuel Mandelstamm, and others took the initiative to convene a conference. Following the suggestion of David Gordon, Katowice, then in Germany, was chosen as the site for the conference. Its date was fixed for Oct. 27, 1884, the 100th anniversary of the birth of Moses Montefiore, at the suggestion of the Warsaw society. The conference was intended primarily for the Ḥibbat Zion societies in Russia, as the movement in Romania had greatly weakened and there were very few Ḥibbat Zion societies in other countries. As delegates from Russia encountered difficulties in arriving at the appointed time, the opening of the conference was postponed until November 6.


Invitation to Katowice Conference

Twenty-two delegates came to the conference from Russia and ten from other countries (one from France, one from Romania, two from England, and the rest from Germany). At the request of the Eretz Israel.


At the proposal of Pinsker the conference established an institution named Agudat Montefiore to promote farming among the Jews and support Jewish settlement in Eretz Israel. A decision was reached to send immediately 10,000 francs to Petaḥ Tikvah and 2,000 rubles for Yesud ha-Ma'alah. It was also decided to send a reliable emissary to Eretz Israel to investigate the standing of the colonies there. Nineteen members were elected to the central committee, including Leon Pinsker (chairman), Samuel Mohilewer (president), Kalonymus Ze'ev Wissotzky, Judah Leib ben Moses Kalischer (the son of Ẓevi Hirsch Kalischer), Max Emmanuel Mandelstamm, Ch. Wollrauch, and others.

At the first meeting of the central committee, which took place at the time of the conference, it was decided that two committees, one in Odessa and the other in Warsaw, should temporarily manage the affairs of the organization. The central committee, to be headed by Pinsker, was to reside temporarily in Odessa, and a subcommittee was to be established in Warsaw, subject to the authority of Pinsker. Kalischer announced his presentation of land acquired by his father near Rachel's Tomb to the central committee.


  1. ^ "Kattowitz Conference." Encyclopaedia Judaica. 2007. 19 Feb. 2014.
  • Road to Freedom, Writings and Addresses by Leo Pinsker (1944)
  • N. Sokolow, Hibbath Zion (Eng., 1935)
  • A. Druyanow, Ketavim le-Toledot Ḥibbat Ẓiyyon ve-Yishuv Ereẓ Yisrael, 1 (1919), 269–318
  • L. Taubes, Asefat Kattowitz (1920)
  • J.L. Apel, Be-Tokh Reshit ha-Teḥiyyah (1936), 171–95
  • I. Klausner, Be-Hitorer Am (1962), index
  • M. Yoeli (ed.), J.L. Pinsker Mevasser ha-Teḥiyyah ha-Le'ummit (1960), 107–12

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