Boris Katzman, Veteran Zionist, Dies at Age of 59

he was studying in the Russian secondary schools, he heard of Dr. Herzl’s call for the first Zionist Congress. Katzman entered into communication with Dr. Herzl and was authorized to make a tour of Russia, to urge the Russian Jews to participate in the election of delegates to the Congress. From that time on, Katzman devoted most of his energies to working for the cause of Zionism.

Sent by his father to complete his education at the University of Vienna, Katzman became a leader of the Jewish students at the university and a duellist of note, fighting many duels with the anti-Semitic students of Vienna. He was expelled from the university for refusing to obey an anti-Jewish regulation of the university. At the University of Montpellier in France, Katzman graduated as a chemical engineer, specializing in agricultural chemistry.

After his graduation he secured work as an engineer in sugar factories in the West Indies and in Lyons, N. Y. Later he became consulting chemist for the Kellogg Company in Battle Creek, Michigan. He visited Palestine frequently and was forever, in the words of one of his intimate friends, "evolving grandiose schemes for the benefit of Palestine." Katzman was a member of the Zionist Organization of America, never having joined any particular faction.

During the Bolshevik revolution, Katzman’s family in Russia was ruined, the Bolsheviks confiscating their property. After many hardships, the aged father escaped from Soviet Russia and after incredible difficulties made his way to Palestine and to his Rehoboth farm. Two months after he landed in Palestine he died, and his son arrived from America too late to see his father alive.

Some time ago, one of the projects evolved by Katzman interested American Zionists, particularly Justice Louis D. Brandeis, who provided funds for the experiments. Katzman perfected a process for extracting oil from the lime shale so plentiful in Palestine. The process was a success, but the development of the Mosul oil felds in near-by Iraq, made his process commercially unprofitable. Katzman remained in Palestine, sending for the two children of his first marriage to join him in Palestine. Katzman spent more than ten years in the United States, living in New York most of the time.

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