SHOLEM SHVARTSBORD (SCHWARTZBARD) (August 18, 1886-March 3, 1938)
He was born in Izmail, Bessarabia. He moved with his parents to Balte (Balta), where he attended religious elementary school until age ten, and with his father he studied some Russian, accounting, and geography. He learned watchmaking, and this remained his profession. In his youth he joined the socialist movement, stole across a border with illegal literature and, after being arrested in 1906, fled to Czernowitz where he became an anarchist. He lived in Bukovina, Galicia, Hungary, Styria, Moravia, and Zurich. In 1910 he settled in Paris. Over the years 1917-1918, he fought against the Heidamaks in Odessa, and in 1919 against the Grigoriev pogroms in Ukraine and just afterward with Petliura’s bands. Shvartsbord’s battalion was broken up. He succeeded in escaping and in late 1920 reached Paris. On May 25, 1926, he shot Petliura in the middle of the street, and the shot and trial following it stirred the entire Jewish world. He wrote memoirs of the war and his experiences in Ukraine for Tsayt (Times) in London and Fraye arbeter shtime (Free voice of labor) in New York, and after he was freed about his life history for: Morgn-zhurnal (Morning journal) in New York, Idishe tsaytung (Jewish newspaper) in Buenos Aires, Moment (Moment) in Warsaw, and from time to time he also wrote articles. In book form: Troymen un virklikhkeyt, lider (Dreams and reality, poems) (Paris, 1920), 82 pp., under the pen name Bal-Hakhloymes; In krig, mit zikh aleyn (In war, by myself) (Chicago: M. Tseshinski, 1933), 259 pp.; Inem loyf fun yorn (Over the course of years) (Chicago, 1934), 364 pp. For his accomplishing Petliura’s execution, a volume of poetry was readied for publication: Yugnt un libe (Youth and love), as well as a volume of stories and war impression, Briv fun der fremd (Letters from abroad), and a diary Fun tifn avden (from deep in hell) for the years 1917-1919. He died in Cape Town.
Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 4; Shmuel Niger, in Tsukunft (New York) 12 (1934); Mortkhe-Zev Reyzin, Groyse yidn vos ikh hob gekent, eseyen (Great Jews whom I knew, essays) (New York: Tsiko, 1950), pp. 213-20; Mortkhe Hampel, in Idishe tsaytung (Buenos Aires) (November 10, 1967); Dovid Flinker, in Tog-morgn-zhurnal (New York) (December 10, 1967); A. Caesari, in Maariv (Tel Aviv) (December 12, 1967); Getzel Kressel, in Hapoel hatseir (Kislev 14 [= December 16], 1967); Meir Kotik, Mishpat shvartsbard (The Shvartsbard trial) (Ḥadera, 1972); Yeshurin archive YIVO (New York).