By: Isidore Singer
Austrian theologian; born in Bur Szt. Georgen, Hungary, 1842; now (1903) residing in Vienna. He was educated at the University of Prague, where he also attended the Talmudic lectures of Chief Rabbi Rapoport. His liberal views kept him from the rabbinical career. For a short period he filled the position of religious instructor in a gymnasium in Vienna; in 1875 he became secretary of the Israelitische Allianz zu Wien. In 1881-82, sometimes in company with Charles Netter, he made frequent journeys to Brody to cooperate with the delegates of the Alliance Israélite Universelle of Paris in assisting exiled Russian Jews to the United States. The wretchedness and misery he witnessed on these occasions he described in "Fünf Wochen in Brody." As secretary of the Allianz he succeeded, in spite of vehement opposition of the ultra-Orthodox party (Ḥasidim), in establishing in Galicia the first Jewish public school. Friedländer's memoir on his second journey to Galicia fell into the hands of Baron de Hirsch; the latter's munificent foundation (Baron de Hirsch Fund), enabling the Jewish youth in Galicia to secure an education and to acquire a trade, was a direct expression of his sympathy for his unfortunate coreligionists. Friedländer became the secretary of this fund, and established personally fifty schools in those localities of Galicia where there were large numbers of Jews. It was at his instance also that the baroness Clara de Hirsch established a fund of five million francs to found technical schools for girls and to clothe poor school-children in Galicia.
Friedländer wrote: "Patristische und Talmudische Studien" (1878); "Lessing's Nathan der Weise" (1880); "Apion: ein Culturbild aus dem Ersten Christlichen Jahrhundert" (1882); "Zur Entstehung des Christenthums" (1894); "Die Drei Belfer: ein Culturbild aus Galizien" (under the pseudonym "Marek Firkowitz": 1894); "Das Judenthum in der Vorchristlichen Griechischen Welt" (1897); "Der Vorchristliche Jüdische Gnosticismus" (1898); "Reiseerinnerungen aus Galizien" (1900); "Der Antichrist"(1902); "Geschichte der Jüdischen Apologetik" (1903); and "Der Freiwellige des Ghetto: Kulturbilder aus Vergangenheit und Gegenwart." He has also contributed to the "Nation," "Die Zeit," the "Revue des Etudes Juives," the "Jewish Quarterly Review," and to various Jewish weeklies.