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Israel Gruzenberg

1866 - 1940.


Israel (Oscar) Gruzenberg was a Jewish lawyer in Russia and a fighter for Jewish rights.


Israel Gruzenberg, between 1900/1910. Source, Wikipedia, public domain.

Born in Ukraine, he pursued legal studies at Kyiv University and engaged in several significant trials involving Jewish affairs.


However, he became particularly renowned for his leadership in the defense team during the Menahem Mendel Beilis in 1913, alongside Rabbi Yaakov Mazeh and with backing from the Zionist movement led by Leo Motzkin.


As a political activist in Russia, he was affiliated with the Democratic Party.


Following the Balfour Declaration, his leanings shifted towards Zionism, and he was elected as Odessa's representative to the Constituent Assembly on behalf of the "Zionist Bloc."


Leaving Russia in 1921 amidst the rise of Soviet rule post-October Revolution (1917) and the Civil War, he resettled in Berlin.


Later, in 1926, he relocated to Riga, Latvia, engaging in public activities and serving as the Jewish representative to Latvia in the Jewish Agency by 1929.


Subsequently, he moved to Nice, France, in 1932, where he lived until his death in 1940.


In his will, he expressed his wish to be buried in the Land of Israel, which was fulfilled in 1950 when he was interred in the Trumpeldor Cemetery in Tel Aviv.


Streets in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, and other cities were named in his honor.


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