NUSSBAUM, HILARY (Hillel; 1820–1895), Polish historian, educator, and communal worker. Born in Warsaw, he was educated in the rabbinical seminary there and as a young man was active in communal affairs. He became a member ("dozor") of the community council, and was instrumental in building the progressive synagogue of Warsaw. Nussbaum may be considered a moderate assimilationist, influenced by the positivist tendencies in the Polish society of his time.
A prolific writer, Nussbaum contributed to the Polish-Jewish periodical *Izraelita. He was also a writer of apologetics. He published a German translation of a Hebrew treatise by his father-in-law, the Hebrew maskil Moses Tenenboim, under the title Der Talmud in seiner Wichtigkeit (1880), which was a refutation of Der Talmud in seiner Nichtigkeit by a radical assimilationist Abraham *Buchner, an associate of the antisemitic Catholic priest L. *Chiarini. Nussbaum is, however, remembered mostly as an author of popular historical works, namely Szkice historyczne z życia Żydów w Warszawie ("Historical Sketches from the Life of Jews in Warsaw," 1881); Historya żydow od Mojźesza do epoki obecnej ("History of the Jews from Moses to the Present," 5 vols., 1888–90). The works of Nussbaum, although outdated, still have some value for the history of the Jews in Poland. He attempted to stress their great antiquity and their glorious past. Nussbaum, who knew Hebrew well, also published poems and articles in that language.
J. Shatzky, Yidishe Bildungspolitik in Poyłn fun 1806 biz 1866 (1943), index; idem, Geshikhte fun Yidn in Varshe, vols. 2–3 (1948–53), indexes.
[Judah M. Rosenthal]
Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.