YOYSEF LEVARTOVSKI (JÓSEF LEWARTOWSKI) (May 10, 1895-August 25, 1942)
He was born in Bielsk Podlaski, Grodno district, Russian Poland, into a laboring family. Until age sixteen he attended public school and high school, later working as a business employee. He was active until 1921 with the (left) Labor Zionists and in the Jewish trade union movement. During the Polish-Russian war of 1920, he was a member of “Revkom” (Revolutionary committee) in the areas settled by Russians, later becoming a professional in the Jewish section of the Communist Party in Poland. He was arrested and sentenced to three years in prison. He escaped from prison in December 1926 and fled to Moscow. Back in Poland, he was sentenced again in 1934, this time for twelve years. Released September 1, 1939, he took on leading positions with the Soviet authorities in Bialystok. When the Germans seized Bialystok at the end of 1941, he illegally made his way to Warsaw where he was among the organizers of the anti-fascist bloc and leader of the “Armia Ludowa” (People’s Army) among the Jewish fighting groups in the ghetto. He published journalistic articles under various pseudonyms. He wrote for Tsum kamf (To the fight) in Warsaw (1918-1938); co-edited Dos lebn (The life) in Cracow (1923-1924), the weekly Di tsayt (The times) in Lemberg (1924), and the publication of the anti-fascist bloc in the Warsaw Ghetto, Der ruf (The call) (May 1942); and he edited the Jewish Communist serials in the Warsaw Ghetto: Baginen (Dawn), Morgnfrayhayt (Morning freedom), Tsum kamf, Eynikeyt (Unity), Der funk (The spark), and Der hamer (The hammer), among others (1941-1942). At the time of the great expulsion from the Warsaw Ghetto (late August 1942), he was deported to Treblinka and murdered there.
Sources: Yoysef Sak, in Dos naye lebn (Lodz) 148 (1947); M. Nayshtat, Khurbn un oyfshtand fun di yidn in varshe (Holocaust and uprising of the Jews in Warsaw) (Tel Aviv, 1948), pp. 499-501; B. Mark, in Dos naye lebn (Warsaw) (April 19, 1949); Mark, Umgekumene shrayber fun di getos un lagern (Murdered writers from the ghettos and camps) (Warsaw, 1954), p. 68; Sh. Zakharyash, Yoysef levartovski (Yoysef Levartovski) (Warsaw, 1953); Zakharyash, in Yidishe shriftn (Warsaw) 4 (1953); Y. Shayn, Unter der fon fun k.p.p. (Under the banner of the Communist Party of Poland) (Warsaw, 1959), see index; Kh. Zaydman, Togbukh fun varshever geto (Diary from the Warsaw Ghetto) (Buenos Aires, 1947), p. 309.
Khayim Leyb Fuks