JUEDISCHE VOLKSPARTEI, party organized in 1919 by M. Kollenscher, H. Loewe, G. Kareski, A. Klee, and others from Zionist-oriented groups in Berlin and other large cities of Germany. The Juedische Volkspartei originated in circles influenced by Herzl's call for Zionists to enter communal politics to contest the dominance of assimilationist and conservative factions. This program was successfully carried out only after World War I by a coalition of East European Jewish immigrants (who, in a few communities, were not entitled to a communal vote as foreign citizens) and the Zionist parties. This coalition successfully agitated for the democratization of the statutes of the Jewish communities. Communal elections, formerly peaceful affairs, aroused great interest and were hotly contested. The Juedische Volkspartei achieved resounding successes in Saxony and a few larger cities after the electoral regulations of the communities had been democratized and standardized. In a coalition with the Orthodox forces they succeeded in the 1926 communal elections to overthrow the long-time Liberal dominance in Berlin. Under their leadership, new Jewish schools were opened and the social welfare institutions were strengthened. In the 1930 Berlin communal elections they had to return power to a Liberal majority despite an increase in the number of votes.
Cahnman, in: YLBI, 4 (1959), 134ff.; M. Brenner, in: YBLBI 35 (1990), 219–43
[Michael Brenner (2nd ed.)]
Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.