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First edition of De Haan’s doctoral thesis, with a manuscript dedication to rabbi Abraham Samson Onderwijzer (Muiden 1862 — Amsterdam 1934); from the library of his son, Joseph Onderwijzer (Amsterdam 1892 — New York 1987).


Jacob Israël de Haan, a Dutch Jewish writer, lawyer, and journalist (born in Smilde on 31 December 1881 and died in Jerusalem on 30 June 1924), was definitely one of the most fascinating personalities in Dutch literature of the 20th century. His novel Pijpelijntjes (1904) explores his own homosexual relationship with physician Arnold Aletrino in Amsterdam, leading to a major scandal. 


Interestingly, De Haan evolved from a socialist to a Zionist and eventually an anti Zionist. He made Jerusalem his home in 1919, taking up a teaching position at a law school. His religious fervour intensified while in Jerusalem, resulting in his rise as a political leader in the anti-Zionist organisation Charedi Council of Jerusalem. On 30 June 1924, Avraham Tehomi, a militant Zionist and Haganah commander, assassinated him, viewing De Haan as a danger to Zionism.


His thesis, inspired by the work of the British philosopher of language Victoria Welby, is focussed on so-called ‘significs’, the name Welby gave to her theory of meaning.


The dedicatee, rabbi Abraham Samson Onderwijzer, served as chief rabbi of North Holland and established the Jewish labour union Betsalel. He published an important translation of the Pentateuch and Rashi's notes, along with a biography. Similar to De Haan, Onderwijzer was against Zionism, viewing it as utopian and playing into the hands of anti-Semites. Rabbi Onderwijzer is commemorated with the naming of the A.S. Onderwijzerhof, a square behind the Jewish Museum Amsterdam.


Onderwijzer had 11 children, several of whom were killed in the Holocaust. His son Joseph escaped to New York in 1942 with his wife Rosa Onderwijzer–Dünner.

Jacob Israël de Haan’s thesis; manuscript dedication to rabbi A.S. Onderwijzer

€ 475,00Price
  • Jacob Israël de Haan. 

    Rechtskundige significa en hare toepassing op de begrippen: „aansprakelijk, verantwoordelijk, toerekeningsvatbaar”. Academisch proefschrift ter verkrijging van den graad van doctor in de rechtswetenschap […] op Dinsdag 1 Februari 1916, des namiddags ten 4 ure.

    Amsterdam, W. Versluys, 1916.

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