YOYSEF SULTAN (1892-1961)
The pen name of Y. Rashgal, he was born in a town near Kiev, Ukraine. He graduated from a Russian high school, and later he studied at Kiev University. From his student years, he was active in the revolutionary movement, and at the time of the revolution in Russia (1917) he stood with the Bolsheviks. In the early 1920s he came to the United States and was involved in Jewish Communist activities. He was a cofounder of the leftist associations: IKOR (Yidishe kolonizatsye organizatsye in rusland [Jewish colonization organization in Russia]), Gezerd (All-Union Association for the Agricultural Settlement of Jewish Workers in the USSR), International Labor Order, and IKUF (Jewish Cultural Association). He was the leader of IKUF from the time of the World Jewish Culture Congress in Paris in September 1937. In Morgn-frayhayt (Morning freedom), Eynikeyt (Unity), Der hamer (The hammer), and Nay lebn (New life), among other serials in New York, he published political essays, discussions of the history of the United States, “moments of revolt in the history of the American labor movement,” and the like. He was a regular contributor to the monthly Yidishe kultur (Jewish culture) in New York, and until 1954 he published the series: “Der kamf fun di amerikaner yidn far birgerlekhe rekht” (The struggle of American Jews for civil rights), “Di mitl-eyropeyishe yidn un zeyer role in der oysbildung fun amerikaner yidishn yishev” (Central European Jews and their role in the education of the American Jewish community), “Der oyfshtayg fun a veltlekh-yidish-lebn in amerike” (The rise of a secular Jewish life in America), and “Di amerikaner yidn tsvishn di tsvey velt-milkhomes” (American Jewry between the two world wars), among others. He also contributed work to: Frayhayt almanakh (Frayhayt almanac) in New York; Vokhenblat (Weekly newspaper) in Toronto; and in the Communist-tinged Yiddish press in Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, and other countries. In book form: Fareynikter front, ver iz far un ver iz kegn fareynign di arbeter-koykhes? (United front, who is for and who is against unifying labor’s strengths?) (New York, 1933), 40 pp.; Revolt-momentn in amerikaner geshikhte (Moments of revolt in American history) (New York, 1934), 128 pp.; Lenins lere vegn milkhomes in der epokhe fun imperyalizm (Lenin’s teachings on wars in the era of imperialism) (New York, 1934), 196 pp.; Amerike, a geshikhte fun di fareynikte shtatn (America, a history of the United States), vol. 1 (New York, 1937), 287 pp., vol. 2 (New York, 1938), 283 pp.; and Der kamf kegn antisemitizm (The fight against anti-Semitism) (New York, 1939), 64 pp. He also authored a pamphlet under the name M. Grin. He used such pseudonyms as: Y. Tan and Y. R. Until the end of 1954 he lived in New York, before moving to Mexico where he lived far from his public, political activities. He died in Mexico City.
Sources: Biblyografishe yorbikher fun yivo (Bibliographic yearbooks from YIVO) (Warsaw, 1928), see index; Zalmen Reyzen, Psevdonimen in der yidisher literatur (Pseudonyms in Yiddish literature) (Vilna, 1939); Ikuf-almanakh (IKUF almanac) (New York, 1961), p. 585; Yidishe kultur (New York) (January 1964), p. 47.
Khayim Leyb Fuks