Monday, 13 June 2016


IZIDOR VISOTSKI (ISIDORE WISOTSKY) (November 29, 1895-June 12, 1970)
            He was born in Lipovets, Kiev district, Ukraine, into a poor working family.  Until age twelve he studied in religious primary school, later becoming a laborer himself.  He moved to the United States in 1910 and worked in various trades.  He was active in the industrial union I.W.W. (Industrial Workers of the World) and in the group of Frayhayt (Freedom) socialists.  He was arrested several times.  For a time he was chairman and secretary of the Pocketbook Workers’ Union.  He led the struggle against efforts by the Communists to take over the Jewish unions.  He debuted in print with an article on conditions in American prisons—in Fraye arbeter shtime (Free voice of labor) in New York (1914), and he would later become a regular contributor to this newspaper.  He published there in 1925 a series of travel narratives entitled “A togbukh fun a hitshhayker, fun nyu york biz san frantsisko” (A diary of a hitchhiker, from New York to San Francisco).  He also contributed work to the monthly Der paketbuk-arbayter (The pocketbook worker) in New York (1921-1930).  He served on the editorial board of the I.W.W. weekly Der veker (The alarm) in New York (1914-1915).  From May 1959 he was a member of the editorial collective of Fraye arbeter shtime.  His work, “A shturmishe epokhe” (A violent era), in which he described the struggle at Union Square in the American labor movement over the years 1913-1916, appeared in his own translation in the Sunday New York Times (October 12, 1958): "Echoes of the Union Square That Was."  He died in New York City.

Sources: Yoysef Kahan, Di yidish-anarkhistishe bavegung in amerike (The Jewish anarchist movement in America) (Philadelphia, 1945), pp. 16, 303, 308, 425, 435; B. Fraynd, in Fraye arbeter shtime (New York) (December 16, 1955).

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