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Journal Article

Far Apart and Close Together: Fritz Haber and Chaim Weizmann


Friedrich,  Bretislav
Molecular Physics, Fritz Haber Institute, Max Planck Society;

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Bielik, T., & Friedrich, B. (2020). Far Apart and Close Together: Fritz Haber and Chaim Weizmann. Israel Journal of Chemistry, 60(10-11), 1061-1076. doi:10.1002/ijch.202000041.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0006-AF24-D
Fritz Haber (1868–1934) and Chaim Weizmann (1874–1952) were both prominent German‐speaking Jewish chemists with rather divergent views on Jewish assimilation and Zionism that only converged upon the rise of the Nazis to power in Germany. While Haber converted to Protestantism and followed the calling of a German patriot during World War One and the turmoil of the Weimar Republic, Weizmann became the leader of the Zionist movement whose efforts led to the founding of Jewish academic institutions in British Mandate Palestine and eventually to the creation of the State of Israel. Weizmann won the support of the British political establishment for the Zionist cause through his invaluable services to the British military as a chemist during World War One. Guided by the timeline of their encounters as well as their mutual correspondence, we trace the ever‐closer relationship between these two towering figures of the 20th century. Had it not been for his ill health, Haber would have likely assumed a leading position at what is today the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot as well as played a direct role in shaping other academic institutions, including The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, in the future State of Israel.