MIKHL SURITS (SURYC) (1896-Summer 1942)
He was born in Warsaw, Poland. He graduated from the Krinski high school and went on to study law at Warsaw University. From 1921 he practiced as an attorney in Warsaw. Over the years 1917-1939, he was active in the Jewish Folkspartey (People’s party), as well as in the Jewish businessmen’s association and artisans’ union in Poland. With a pro-Soviet orientation, in 1931 he carried out a field trip from Warsaw to Soviet Russia and Birobidzhan. He was a cousin of the Soviet ambassador in Berlin (also M. Surits), and for a time he was connected to Soviet foreign trade, principally imports of rain boots from Latvia to Soviet Russia, but just before WWII he cut off all contacts with Russia. From 1916 he was active in Yiddish journalism, initially with Tageblat (Daily newspaper) in Warsaw (1916-1918), later with the weekly Dos folk (The people) and Moment (Moment) in Warsaw. He authored the pamphlets: Militer-flikht, vos yeder darf visn vegn pobor militer-dinst un ibungen (Military duty, what everyone should know about enlisted military service and exercise) (Warsaw, 1924), 20 pp.; Di naye shteyer reform (The new tax reform) (Warsaw, 1928), 32 pp. In book form: Sovyet-rusland in 1931, ayndrukn fun a rayze (Soviet Russia in 1931, impressions from a voyage) (Warsaw, 1932), 342 pp., with illustrations (earlier published in Moment Nasz Przegląd [Our overview] in Warsaw and Di prese [The press] in Buenos Aires, among other serials). When the Nazis invaded Warsaw, with the mediation of his cousin (an assistant at the Nazi-Soviet non-aggression pact), he became a Soviet citizen and as such lived on the Aryan side of Warsaw. At the time he visited Berlin on several occasions with the mission of having those arrested in Soviet camps returned to Poland. He was also among the leaders of extracting (for money) foreign citizenship. When the order was given in April 1942 that Jews—foreign citizens—had to wear identifying patches as Jews and had to present themselves at Pawiak Prison, the Nazis threw Surits in prison, and from there he was sent to Treblinka where he was murdered.
Sources: Biblyografishe yorbikher fun yivo (Bibliographic yearbooks from YIVO) (Warsaw, 1928), see index; Yankev Leshtshinski, in Forverts (New York) (February 8, 1935); Z. Segalovitsh, Tlomatske 13, fun farbrentn nekhtn (13 Tłomackie St., of scorched yesterdays) (Buenos Aires, 1946), see index; Yanos Turkov, Azoy iz es geven (That’s how it was) (Buenos Aires, 1948), pp. 150, 151, 246; Dr. Emanuel Ringelblum, Ksovim fun geto (Writings from the ghetto) (Warsaw, 1961), vol. 1, pp. 115, 135, 149, vol. 2, pp. 233, 234.
Khayim Leyb Fuks