Tuesday 4 August 2015


ARN GURLAND (b. 1881)
            He was born in Vilna, into a wealthy and prestigious family.  He received a Jewish and general education.  From 1903 he studied philosophy, sociology, and Semitic philology at the universities of Heidelberg (Germany), Bern, and Geneva (Switzerland).  He was active in the Zionist student colony in Switzerland, and for a time he was a member of Dr. Nachman Syrkin’s group.  He was a delegate to the Fifth Zionist Congress in Basle.  He received his doctoral degree in 1906 for a dissertation on agrarian laws in Turkey and other Muslim countries.  From 1909 to 1915 he was living in St. Petersburg.  He contributed to the philosophical and historical divisions of the Russian Jewish encyclopedia, where he brought out a series of longer treatises concerning Jewish culture in Spain and concerning Hermann Cohen—on the latter he published a separate work in Russian in St. Petersburg in 1915.  He wrote on religious-philosophical and national Jewish topics for: Novyi voskhod (New arise), Hamelits (The advocate), Haolam (The world), Hazman (The time), and Di yudishe velt (The Jewish world), as well as in general periodicals.  He departed for London in 1915 and from there for the United States.  In 1918 he joined the Jewish Legion, later assuming the post of senior notary in Tiberias and (using the pseudonym “Ben Giora”) wrote for Haemet (The truth) in Jaffa.  Following the pogrom of 1920, he left for Cairo, Egypt, and there (using the pseudonym “A. Tsofe”) in 1921 he published a pamphlet in Yiddish entitled Der ershter politisher pogrom (The first political pogrom), in which he came out in opposition to official political Zionism.  In the 1920 he was living in Vilna and Berlin.  He contributed to Tog (Day) in Vilna (articles about Alexander Blok, Spengler’s philosophy, and the like), in Milgroym (Miracle) in Berlin—in issue 2, he wrote “Gershenzons opzog fun kultur” (Gershenson’s turn against culture)—and in Tsukunft (Future) in New York in which he published “Shpengler un di yidn” (Spengler and the Jews), among others.  He was living in Berlin in 1929, and from that point he disappeared without a trace.

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 1; Dr. A. Mukdoni, in Tsukunft (October 1923); Dr. Sh. Elishiv, in Zamlbukh lite (Anthology Lithuania), vol. 1 (New York, 1951), p. 1315.

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