Hartglas Maksymilian Apolinary

Maksymilian Apolinary Hartglas - Personal data
Date of birth: 7th April 1883
Place of birth: Biała Podlaska
Date of death: 7th March 1953
Place of death:
Occupation: lawyer, politician, Member of the Legislative Parliament (Sejm) of the Republic of Poland
Related towns: Siedlce

Apolinary Hartglas Maksymilian (7 April 1883, Biała Podlaska – 7 March 1953, Tel Aviv) – lawyer in Siedlce, politician, Member of the Legislative Parliament (Sejm) of the Republic of Poland (1919–1922), Member of the Sejm of the first and second legislature (1922–1930), Zionist activist, publicist (literary pseudonym Ben-Lewi).

Born on 7 April 1883 in Biała Podlaska into a family of lawyers. His father, Kalman, was a barrister (Biała Podlaska); his mother was Aleksandra Debora, née Rozencwajg. He had six siblings. He graduated from secondary school in Biała Podlaska (1900).

During his time as a law student at the Royal University of Warsaw, Hartglass was a prisoner of the Pawiak prison – for underground activities. He was expelled from the university. He completed his studies externally, obtaining the degree of candidate of laws (1904). During his studies, he became involved with the Zionist movement. In 1906, he participated in the Zionist conference in Helsinki. In the same year he became co-editor of "Głos Żydowski"
He began practising law in 1907 as an assistant to a sworn lawyer in Siedlce. After four years, he opened an individual law office in Siedlce. At the same time, he became a member of the council of the Commercial Mutual Credit Society, a branch of the Principal Protective Council and president of the Jewish "Oświata" Association in Siedlce. Hartglass was at the same time an independence activist. Called up to the Russian army, he served in the 5th Kaluga Infantry Regiment.

In 1918, Vice-Chairman of the Siedlce Town Council, from 1919 to 1930 an MP. He volunteered in the Polish-Bolshevik War (Battalion for the Defence of Warsaw 1920). For two years (1919-1920), he was editor-in-chief of "Tygodnik Żydowski" and "Życie Żydowskie". He published articles in the Polish, German, Russian, American and Jewish press. He published: Terytorium a naród (Territory and the Nation, 1906), Zasady naszego programu politycznego w Polsce (Principles of our political programme in Poland,1918), a paper read at the 3rd Zionist Conference in Warsaw in November 1917, Mowy sejmowe (Sejm Speeches, 1923), Poznaj ten kraj (Get to Know this Country, 1944), Do żołnierza polskiego (To the Polish Soldier, 1944). He was also a legal advisor to the Łódź Deposit Bank and a councillor of the Warsaw City Council. He was also a member of the Masonic lodge "Braterstwo" ("Fraternity") in Warsaw. 

Hartglass was a participant in the Round Table Conference in London in February 1939 (attended by the British government and Jewish and Arab representatives).  The end result of the Conference was the publication of the so-called McDonald White Paper in May 1939.

After the outbreak of the Second World War, he helped to establish the Jewish Civic Committee in Warsaw. Later he was a member of the Warsaw Judenrat (from October 1939). In December 1939, he left Poland for Jerusalem. He was secretary of the Rescue Committee of the Jewish Agency in Occupied Europe. On behalf of the Agency, he organised the settlement of Polish Jews. After the war he was director general of the Israeli Ministry of the Interior. He died on 7 March 1953 in Tel Aviv.

In his marriage to Chawa (Ewa) he had two children, a daughter Maria Epstein and a son. He left memoirs published in 1996 in Poland (Apolinary Hartglas, Na pograniczu dwóch światów, introduction and ed. J. Żyndul, Warsaw 1996).

Maciej Kwiek


  • J. Fałowski, Mniejszość żydowska w parlamencie II Rzeczypospolitej (1922–1939), Kraków 2006;
    • W. Okniński, Adwokaci siedleccy. O patronach, adwokatach przysięgłych, adwokatach i obrońcach sądowych, Siedlce 2015, pp. 123–124;
    • Posłowie i senatorowie Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej 1919–1939, Warsaw 2005, vol. II, pp. 205–207;
    • S. Rudnicki, Żydzi w parlamencie II Rzeczypospolitej, Warsaw 2004, pp. 411–419;
    • T. W. Rzepeccy, Sejm i Senat 1922–1927, Poznań 1923, pp. 124–125.

The first printing of the biographical entry appeared in: Słownik Biograficzny Adwokatów Polskich A–Ż, vol. III (zmarli w latach 1945–2010), Warsaw 2018, p. 157.
Reprinted with the permission of the Supreme Bar Council.


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