Hanna Zemer

Hanna Zemer
Born Hanna Haberfeld
Bratislava, Czechoslovakia
Died June 3, 2003(2003-06-03)
Tel Aviv, Israel
Nationality Israeli
Other names Hanna Zomer
Occupation Journalist
Employer Davar
Title Editor-in-Chief
Religion Jewish

Hanna Zemer (Hebrew: חנה זמר, 1925 – March 6, 2003) was an Israeli journalist.[1][2][3] She was Editor-in-Chief of Davar from 1970 until 1990, the first female editor-in-chief of a major Israeli newspaper.[4]


Hanna Haberfeld (later Zemer) was born in Bratislava. Her father was Rabbi Shlomo Haberfeld, and her grandfather, Rabbi Jacob Haberfeld, was the rabbi of Turá Lúka.[5] Her family was ultra-Orthodox.[1]

During World War II, she was imprisoned at the Ravensbrück and Malchow concentration camps.[5] Most of her family was killed in the Holocaust.[5]

Zemer immigrated to Israel in 1950. [5] She was married briefly, and changed her married name from Zomer to Zemer.[1] She taught in the Orthodox Bais Yaakov (Beth Jacob) school system in Azor, southeast of Tel Aviv.[1]

Media career

Zemer began working as a night editor for a German-language Israeli newspaper, Yediot HaYom in 1950. In 1951 she was hired as a correspondent by the daily newspaper Omer, for new immigrants (with Hebrew vowels), which was a supplement of Davar. She then became a writer for Davar, and became its political affairs correspondent.[1]

In 1961, she became director of Davar’s editorial board. Over time, she became a radio and television host. She advanced to become Davar’s assistant editor, and in 1970 became its Editor-in-Chief, which at the time was the most senior position held by a woman in Israeli media. She remained as Editor-in-Chief for 20 years—the first female to hold the editor-in-chief title at a Hebrew newspaper.[1] Zemer retired from Davar in 1990.[6]

Zemer also wrote entries for Encyclopaedia Judaica, and was elected to the board of the International Institute of Journalism.[1]

Awards and recognition

Zemer won the 1972 Sokolow Award (awarded by Tel Aviv University), the title of 1975 Israeli Woman of the Year, the Herzl Award, the Nordau Prize, the Ted Lurie Prize, B'nai B'rith's 1993 Wolf Matsdorf Award for journalism, the Hadassah Women's Organization's award for outstanding women.[1][5][7]

Published works

God Doesn't Live Here Anymore is about her return visit to the Ravensbrück concentration camp:

On my travels abroad, and especially my trips to Germany, I am very careful not to eat treif. It’s a sort of demonstration of solidarity. But here at the doorway, at Ravensbrück, I would have eaten pork if I could have eaten at all. I would have eaten steak with cheese to take revenge on God for the deaths of my aunts and cousins, who counted the days of their niddah time according to the law, separated hallah from the dough, ran to the dayyan with questions about a spot on a slaughtered goose, and read from the Ze’enah U-Re’enah every free moment—and their reward was to be humiliated to the dust and tortured until they perished. Five minutes from Ravensbrück, I would even have eaten a baby goat cooked in its mother’s milk. Instead, I took a Valium.[1]


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Danny Rubinstein. "Hanna Zemer; 1925–2003". Jewish Women's Archive. Retrieved August 2, 2011.
  2. Yoram Peri (2004). Telepopulism: media and politics in Israel. Retrieved August 2, 2011.
  3. Gershom Gorenberg (2007). The Accidental Empire: Israel and the Birth of the Settlements, 1967–1977. Retrieved August 2, 2011.
  4. "Hanna Zemer, journalist, dies". Jweekly. March 14, 2003. Retrieved August 2, 2011.
  5. 1 2 3 4 5 "Hanna Zemer, renowned journalist, dies at 78". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved August 2, 2011.
  6. Emmanuel Mann (September 26, 1990). "Women Editors". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved August 2, 2011.
  7. "Noted". The Jerusalem Report. November 18, 1993. Retrieved August 2, 2011.
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