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Simon Dubnow

Famous for:

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Jewish thought

Jews, write and record.

Simon Dubnow (1860-1941) was a Russian-Jewish historian, writer, and philosopher who developed the idea of Jewish autonomism. This was the theory that the Jews would be fine in Europe as long as they had some degree of autonomy within their communities, and could remain spiritually and culturally strong. If agreements could be struck with local political powers to ensure Jewish communal self-rule, then Jews could reject assimilation and, essentially, have their own mini-homelands wherever they were. He rejected both Zionism, which he believed to be an impossible achievement, as well as assimilation. He was sent to the Riga Ghetto in 1941 and was murdered there by the Nazis. The Holocaust permanently destroyed the idea of autonomism.


Appears in

Episode 26