Founder of the Zim Line Dead at 78
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Founder of the Zim Line Dead at 78

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Naftali Wydra, founder of the Zim Israel National Shipping Line and later founder and manager of the Israel Shipping and Aviation Research Institute, died Wednesday at age 78. Wydra was born in Leipzig, Germany, and educated at German universities before immigrating to Palestine in 1933, when he opened a shipping and customs clearing agency.

In 1936, he took over the Jewish Agency’s Maritime Division and in 1947 organized and managed the Zim Shipping Company, serving as its general manager until 1966. He developed it from a one-ship company to an international concern operating 150 vessels, 70 of them its own.

In the early 1960’s, Wydra founded and organized the Black Star Shipping Line for Ghana and the Five Star Line for Burma.

Wydra served from 1969-81 as chairman of the Israel Ports Authority, and then founded the research institute that he managed until his death.

Founding Funders

The digitization of the JTA Archive would not have been possible without the generous support of the following donors:
  • The Gottesman Fund
  • Righteous Persons Foundation
  • Charles H. Revson Foundation
  • Elisa Spungen Bildner and Robert Bildner, in honor of Norma Spungen
  • George S. Blumenthal
  • Grace and Scott Offen Charitable Fund