Austrian writer and politician; born at Prague, Bohemia, in 1813. After acquiring at that city a thorough familiarity with Hebrew and the Talmud, and with classics and philosophy, he went as teacher in the primary school of Presburg, which had been founded by progressive Jews, admirers of Moses Mendelssohn, in opposition to the Orthodox Jews there. At the first disturbances preliminary to the Revolution of 1848, he went to Vienna, and took an active part in the insurrection. Here he founded the "Reichstagblatt," which he continued at Kremsier until the dissolution of the Constitutional Assembly, in March, 1849. He then joined the staff of the "Oesterreichische Post" of Vienna, which he represented at Berlin; subsequently he was the Paris correspondent of several papers. He returned to Vienna in 1855 and assumed the editorship of the "Oesterreichische Zeitung," occupying a position of importance as the official mouthpiece of the minister Bruck, the opponent of the clerical minister Bach. After the promulgation of the constitution of Feb. 26, 1861, he acted in a similar capacity to the Schmerling ministry, with which political party he remained connected until its fall.
Until 1875 Basch was engaged only in economic questions, but in that year he returned to political journalism. He represented the "Neue Freie Presse" at Paris; and in close fellowship with Thiers, Gambetta, and Barthélemy St.-Hilaire he defended the, republican policy against the men of the 16th of May. In 1883 he retired from journalism, but remained at Paris. He has published a number of political pamphlets; two of these, entitled "Deutschland, Oesterreich, und Europa," and "Oesterreich und das Nationalitätenrecht," Stuttgart, 1870—which appeared under the pseudonym "Ein Altoesterreicher"—created, on their appearance, a great sensation in Austria.