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Szymon Aszkenazy

(1866-1935) A historian, diplomat and member of the assimilationist movement. Born in Zawichost to an Orthodox family, he was the descendant of Rabbi Tsvi ben Yaakov Ashkenazy (1660-1718). Known as Chacham Tsvi, Ashkenazy's ancestor had been a respected Talmudist who held religious posts in Berlin, Alton, Hamburg, Amsterdam and Lwow.

Askenazy graduated with degrees in law from the University of Warsaw and history from the University of Goettingen, where he was also granted the title of professor. As a Jew, he was not able to find work at the University of Warsaw, however, which prompted him to move to Lwow. During the years 1898-1914, he taught Polish and modern history at Jan Kazimierz University in Lwow. He was also active in the assimilationist movement, and was the co-founder (together with H. Wawelberg) of a foundation assisting poor Jewish students at all levels, as well as an assimilationist party.
Ashkenazy was primarily interested in eighteenth and nineteenth century Polish political history. In Kwartalnik Poswiecony Badaniu Przeszlosci Zydow w Polsce (Polish, Quarterly Dedicated to the Research of Jewish History in Poland) (1912), which he co-founded, he published a series of articles on the history of the Jews in the Duchy of Warsaw and the Congress Kingdom. He created his own school of historical analysis, emphasizing diplomatic sources and international relations. In 1909, he was made a member of the Academy of Sciences. He spent the First World War in Switzerland, where he actively agitated on behalf of Polish independence. Among other things, he published a periodical titled Moniteur Polonais, for example, and worked for the Committee for Aid to War Victims in the Polish Lands.

In 1920-23, Ashkenazy was the Polish minister plenipotentiary with the League of Nations in Geneva; in 1923, he was dismissed from that post. In 1924, he was once again refused a post at the University of Warsaw, where he only gave guest lectures from 1927 to 1935. He died in Warsaw.
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