Monday, 30 May 2016

I. I. VAYTSBLIT

I. I. VAYTSBLIT
            He was born in Ukraine.  Over the years 1928-1931, he was a member of the presidium of the Institute for Jewish Culture in Ukraine and a member of the editorial board of its publications.  He was a lecturer in Jewish technical high schools in Kharkov and Kiev.  He published articles of a sociological and demographic character, primarily in connection with Jewish colonization, in Emes (Truth) in Moscow, Shtern (Star) in Kharkov-Kiev, and Oktyabr (October) in Minsk, among others.  He was the author of books which were subsequently withdrawn from circulation by the Soviet authorities, among them: Derazhne, dos itstike idishe shtetl, monografye fun a idishe shtetl in ukraine (Derazhnia, the contemporary Jewish town, monograph on a Jewish town in Ukraine), with forewords by A. Larin and the author (Moscow-Leningrad, 1929), 119 pp.—a social cross-section of small Jewish towns in the Soviet Union, as well as a picture of the spiritual crisis of the Jewish population there.  Portions of this work, with a postface by the editorial board and with a characterization by the author, were published in the weekly Vokh (Week) 8-9 (1929) in New York.  He also wrote: Vegn altn un nayem shtetl (On the old and the new [Jewish] town) (Kharkov, 1930), 30 pp.; Di dinamik fun der yidisher bafelkerung in ukraine far di yorn 1897-1926 (The dynamic of the Jewish population in Ukraine for the years 1897-1926), with an introduction by the “Presidium of the Institute for Jewish Culture” which claims the importance of Vaytsnlit’s work (Kharkov, 1930), 190 pp., including a “list of 350 settlement points in the Ukrainian S.S.R.” indicating population figures for 1897, 1920, 1923, and 1926; Agrarizatsye oder industryalitatsye, di vegn tsu gezuntmakhn di yidishe oremshaft (Agrarianization or industrialization, the ways to cure Jewish poverty) (Kharkov, 1930), 141 pp., with a foreword from Motl Kiper and an introduction by the author who points out that “after the Revolution the Jewish population in the old Jewish colonies decreased by 5%, while the general village [population] grew overall by 50%,” and thus “one must refuse to canvass on behalf of urban Jewish poverty so as to settle them on the land.”  In another place the author notes that “there are no déclassé [elements] among the Jews who would be qualified for Birobidzhan.”  In early 1933 Vaytsblit was arrested for “leftism” and “nationalism,” and there has been no further information about till the present day.

Sources: A. Tshemerinski, in Emes (Moscow) (October 6, 1929); Vokh (New York) 8-9 (1929); R. Dunyets, In kamf af tsvey frontn (In battle on two fronts) (Minsk, 1932), p. 66; oral information from Al. Pomerants in New York.
Khayim Leyb Fuks


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