ELYE KHEYFETS (ELIAS HEIFETZ) (b. ca. 1885)
He was born in Riga, Latvia, into a merchant family. He received a Jewish education in his childhood, and thereafter attended a senior high school and graduated from the Polytechnicum in Riga. In his student years he joined the Bund, and in 1905 he was active in the revolutionary movement in the Baltic region. He later graduated from the law faculty of Moscow University, where after the March Revolution in 1917 he became a private instructor in civil law. Around 1918 he moved to Ukraine, chaired a Russian circle in Kiev, and was one of the initiators (with Y. N. Heler, P. Anman-Rozental, Engineer Frenkel, Yitskhok Giterman, and others) to collect materials on the pogroms against Jews in Ukraine in 1919. At the beginning of 1920 he left for Berlin and from there for the United States. He spent several years in New York, wrote articles on social and political issues for various periodicals (including Fraynd [Friend], organ of the Workmen’s Circle in New York, 1921-1924), and prepared a compilation of pogrom materials which the Education Committee of Workmen’s Circle published in both Yiddish and English: Di ukrainishe shkhite in 1919 (The Ukrainian slaughter of 1919), vol. 1 (New York, 1921), 285 pp.; The Slaughter of the Jews in the Ukraine in 1919 (New York, 1920), 382 pp. The author of the book is given as Professor Elias Heifetz, and no subsequent volumes were forthcoming. Afterward he returned from the United States to Europe, worked for a time in the scientific-technical bureau of the Soviet trade office in Berlin, and later returned to Russia. What transpired subsequently in his life remains unknown. (MENDL KHEYFETS, a brother of his, worked in the trade union movement of the Bund and wrote for the Bundist press, Dos profesyonele lebn [The trade union life] in Petrograd, 1918, and elsewhere, about the trade union movement among workers.)
Source: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 1, cols. 1148-49.