About V.V.

Siegfried Adolf Van Vriesland, 1886–1939, Zionist leader.

By all accounts a committed, passionate and practical Zionist, S.A. Van Vriesland had a successful law practice in Rotterdam before he accepted the position of Treasurer to the World Zionist Executive in 1919. Not long afterward,“V.V.,” as his colleagues often called him, immigrated to Palestine, where he sought to establish an orderly, rational Zionist financial system during especially contentious times.1 In Memoriam: Siegfried Van Vriesland, Palestine Post, December 13, 1939, p. 6. In 1927, he was appointed Dutch Consul General. In late 1929, he joined Palestine Potash, Ltd. as general manager, where he again worked to institute sound financial practices. In 1938, he was named General Manager of the Marine Trust, Ltd., and was largely in charge of the Tel Aviv Port. He oversaw significant expansion of infrastructure at the port, but faced crushing problems, at least in part due to the war. Early in the morning on December 4, 1939, a house maid found him in his bed, shot in the head, with his revolver at his side. No message was found.2Dr. S.A. Van Vriesland DeadPalestine Post, December 5, 1939, p. 1.

S.A. Van Vriesland actively supported the arts in Palestine. A tribute in the Palestine Post, shortly after his death, read: “There are few artists in the country, of the brush or the stage, who will not gladly own how much of their start as individuals or groups they owe to Van Vriesland.” As a judge, alongside Hermann Struck and Saul Tchernikhovsky, of the competition for the Keren Kayemet’s 1932 Golden Book cover, he chose Ismar David’s design as the winning entry.

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