Itzhak Gruenbaum, Israel’s First Interior Minister, Polish Zionist Leader, Dies at 91

Funeral services will be held tomorrow at Kibbutz Gan Shmuel for Itzhak Gruenbaum whose death at the age of 91 following a long illness was announced here at midnight Monday. Mr. Gruenbaum was a pre-war leader of the Polish Zionist movement, a long-time member of the Polish parliament and served as Israel’s first Minister of the Interior. He was born in Warsaw in 1879 and was educated in Poland, graduating from the Warsaw Law School. He became a prominent journalist contributing to Hebrew, Yiddish, Polish and Russian language publications. From 1919-33 Mr. Gruenbaum served in the Polish Sejm (parliament) and was leader of its Jewish faction. During the same period he was President of the National Council for the Jews of Poland. He emigrated to Israel in 1933 and was elected to the Jewish Agency Executive where he served from 1933-51. He served on the pre-state National Council and was a signer of Israel’s Declaration of Independence. During the days of the British Mandate, he had been arrested in 1946 and held in the Latrun Detention Camp for 135 days. Mr. Gruenbaum served as Minister of the Interior in the Provisional Government of Israel from May. 1948 to February. 1949. He was the editor of Hatzfira and was the author of numerous books and pamphlets including an encyclopaedia on Jewish communities exterminated by the Nazis in World War II.

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