Thursday, 10 March 2016


TUVYE HEYLIKMAN (1870-April 24, 1948)
            He was born in Homel (Gomel), Byelorussia, into a well-to-do family.  His father, Borekh Heylikman, owned a dry goods store and was a devout Jew.  Heylikman attended religious elementary school, later a Russian high school, and later still the law faculty of Kiev University, where he joined illegal student circles.  During the mass arrest of 200 Jewish students in Kiev in 1898, he was among those arrested.  He was affiliated with Vladimir Medem who was also at the time a student at Kiev University.  In the “Jewish Student Organization” founded in Kiev in the fall of 1899, he distinguished himself as one of the theoretical initiators of the special “group of intelligent Jews” who around 1901-1902 transformed themselves into the group “Frayhayt” (Freedom), which was associated with the Bund.  After completing university, he traveled as an emissary for his party to various cities in Western and Central Russia and contributed (using the pseudonym “Sozhin”) to the Moscow Russian-language daily newspaper Kurier (Courier) in 1903 and the social-democratic journal Pravda (Truth) in Moscow (1904); he also served as editor (together with R. Abramovitsh and Vladimir Medem) of the Bundist journal in Russian, Nashe slovo (Our word) in Vilna (1906), in which he published major works on the Sejmist “revival” and “territorial autonomy,” and he contributed to other Bundist and general social democratic publications.  In 1912 he translated into Russian for the Moscow “universal library” Yankev Gordin’s dramas Mirele efros (Mirele Efros) and Got, mentsh un teyvl (God, man, and devil), which were staged that year in Korsh’s Theater in Moscow.  In 1915 he published in the Russian collection Evreiskii vopros v Pol’she (The Jewish question in Poland) an essay on “Territorial and Cultural-Nationalist Autonomy.”
            During the revolutionary of February-March 1917, he was living in Moscow where he was engaged in legal affairs and was a member of the leading organs of the Bund, of the management of the Moscow Jewish community, and on the editorial board of the Bundist monthly Di hofnung (The hope), edited by R. Abramovitsh in Moscow (August-December 1917).  In 1918 he served on the organizing committee of the first conference of Jewish communities in Russia, and at the conference he read a speech about the budget for Jewish communities; he was arrested by the Bolshevik authorities and imprisoned in the Butyrka Prison in Moscow.  He also took part in editing the Bundist anthology Tsum ondenk fun karl marks, a zamelbukh tsum hundert yorikn yoyvl, 1818-1918 (To the memory of Karl Marx, a collection to mark the one hundredth anniversary of his birth, 1818-1918) (Moscow, 1918), 115 pp.  During the rift in the Bund in April 1920, Heylikman joined the central committee of the social democratic Bund, and in February 1921 he was once again arrested by the Bolsheviks.  Around 1924-1925 (after switching to the Communists), he became a lecturer in the “Jewish Section of the Communist University of the National Minorities of the West in the Name of Yu. Markhlevski” in Moscow, and as a result of his lectures, in 1926 his book, Geshikhte fun der gezelshaftlekher bavegung fun di idn in poyln un rusland (History of the social movement of Jews in Poland and Russia), part 1, 244 pp., was published by the Central Publishing House in Moscow.  Meanwhile, he also published “Borekh shpinoze” (Baruch Spinoza) in the collection Di royte velt (The red world) (Kharkov) 4.12 (1927), pp. 95-103, and “Di yidn in onheyb rusisher untertanshaft” (The Jews at the beginning of Russian subjection), in Visnshaftlekhe yorbikher (Scholarly yearbooks) (Moscow, 1929), pp. 17-33.  Heylikman was subsequently professor of history and philosophy at a number of Moscow colleges and published such works as: “Evrei v Rossii” (The Jews of Russia), in Bolʹshai︠a︡ sovetskaia entsiklopediia (Great Soviet encyclopedia), vol. 24 (Moscow, 1932), cols. 58-85; the chapters on Jewish history in the multi-volume Russian publication, Istoriia SSSR (History of the USSR).  In the last months of his life, he completed the first volume of A geshikhte fun yidn in fss”r (A history of Jews in the USSR)—whether or not it was published remains unknown.  In 1946 he took part—with N. Oyslender, Y. Dobrushin, Z. Grinberg, Sosin, Sheynin, and others—in the historical commission of the Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee.  He died in Moscow.

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 1; D. Zaslovski, “Tsu der geshikhte fun ‘bund’ in kiev” (On the history of the “Bund” in Kiev), in Royter pinkes (Red records), first collection (Warsaw, 1921), pp. 70, 72-79; Vl. Medem, Fun mayn lebn (From my life), part 2 (Warsaw, 1923), pp. 132-33; “Historishe komisye baym antifashistishn komitet” (Historical commission of the Ant-Fascist Committee), Eynikeyt (Moscow) (March 2, 1946); obituary notice for Heylikman in Eynikeyt (April 27, 1948); F. Kurski, Gezamlte shriftn (Collected writings) (New York, 1952), p. 355; oral information from Grigori Aronson in New York.
Yitskhok Kharlash

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