Juda Kreisler (1904–1940s?): A Bio-Bibliographical Sketch of a Lviv Physicist and a Popularizer of Science

We present a detailed biographical account and analysis of works of Juda Kreisler (1904–1940s?), a theoretical physicist from Lviv. He was born in Tlumach (Ukrainian: Тлумач, Polish: Tłumacz, Yiddish: טאלמיטש ), nowadays a town in Ivano-Frankivsk oblast in the western part of Ukraine. In 1923, Juda Kreisler finished a gymnasium in Stanislaviv and entered the Philosophical Faculty of the University of Lviv (Wydział Filozoficzny Uniwersytetu Jana Kazimierza [UJK] we Lwowie) in order to study physics. In 1932, he was promoted to the doctoral degree in physics under the supervision of Professor Stanisław Loria. For a short period in the 1930s, Juda Kreisler worked at the Department for Theoretical Physics of the University of Lviv, and returned to the University in 1940, after the Soviets had reorganized it upon taking over Lviv in September 1939. His fate remains unknown: he is listed among murdered by Nazis Jewish employees of the University of Lviv in 1941–43.

Dr. Kreisler authored four scientific papers and four abstracts of conference presentations delivered at the Congresses of Polish Physicists in 1932–36. There is, however, another field, where he was extremely prolific in the late 1930s. We have discovered 122 of his popular articles in “Chwila” (English: “Moment”), a local daily newspaper published by the Jewish community in Lviv during 1919–39. These articles covered various subjects, that can be tentatively divided into the following major topics: chronicles and personalia; history of science; discoveries, new studies and inventions; the applied value of science (for medicine and economy in particular); interconnection between science and war; organization of scientific life; Hitler’s Germany and the problem of so-called ‘Aryan science’. While various branches of physics formed the largest part within disciplines reflected in Juda Kreisler’s articles, he also discussed biology, chemistry, meteorology, and geology. The latter field is closely related to his professional career at Lviv’s Geophysical Institute of “Pionier”, a joint-stock company for the exploration and exploitation of bituminous materials, where he spent nine months in 1936.

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