Thursday 24 April 2014


LEYB ABRAM (1896-1966?)

He was a community activist, writer on current affairs, and editor, born in Shavel (┼áiauliai), Kovne district, Lithuania.  His father was a cobbler.  He studied in religious schools and in the city school.  In 1915 he was working as a bookkeeper in a candy factory.  He was a member of the Bund.  In his youth he participated in the revolutionary movement, and in 1917 he spent some time in a prison in Minsk.  After the October Revolution, he played an important role in building Soviet power in Byelorussia and became one of the leaders of the Bundist Communists, and thereafter of the Jewish Communist Party and of the Communist League of Byelorussia and Lithuania.  He later became the leader of the Jewish section in Vitebsk and environs.  From 1920 to 1922, he was editor of the Vitebsk daily newspaper Der royter shtern (The red star), in which in 1922 he published a series of articles concerning the “history of the Communist League of Byelorussia.”  He later served on the editorial board of the newspaper Komunistisher fon (Communist banner) in Kiev, and he helped organize the “proletarian writers.”  In 1928 he was the editor of the newspaper Odeser arbiter (Odessa worker).  More than anything else, he was eminent as the leader of the largest “Jewish colony,” Kalinindorf (in Ukraine), the editor of Kolvirt-emes (Collective farm truth), and secretary of the local Party committee.  He was an experienced writer on current affairs, an engrossing speaker, and a skilled organizer.  He frequently published in the Yiddish press, primarily on issues of Party, Soviet, and collective farm building.  He also published articles in the Moscow Emes (Truth) and in other newspapers and magazines.  In the turmoil of the purges of 1937-1938, he disappeared and was reported to have been sent to a camp in Tugulim, Sverdlovsky district, Siberia.  In 1948, after completing the term of his exile, he returned to Shavel, and there Abram was arrested again and thereafter no one has had any news of him.  Other reports state that he was rehabilitated at the 20th Party Congress, freed, and lived out his life until 1966.  He was the brother of the writer William Abrams, a leading journalist in the American Yiddish press.  His books include: Zalbe tsveyt (All together), the history of May First in Vitebsk with a poem by M. Yudovin (Vitebsk, 1921), 18 pp.; Der mishpet ibern kheyder (The judgment over the cheder) (Vitebsk, 1922), 112 pp. (materials assembled, adapted, and edited by Abram together with Y. Khintshin and K. Kaplan). 

Sources: A. Kirzhnits, Di yidishe prese in ratnfarband (The Yiddish press in the Soviet Union) (Minsk, 1928), pp. 65, 183, 316; Dos yidishe bukh in fssr, 1917-1921 (The Yiddish book in the USSR, 1917-1921) (Kiev, 1930), p. 126; A. Abtshuk, Etyudn un materyaln (Studies and materials) (Kharkov, 1934), pp. 92, 93, 177, 178; Sh. Agurski, Der yiddisher arbeter in der komunistisher bavegung (The Jewish worker in the Communist movement) (Minsk, 1925), pp. 65, 66, 70, 92, 183.

[Additional information from: Chaim Beider, Leksikon fun yidishe shrayber in ratn-farband (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers in the Soviet Union), ed. Boris Sandler and Gennady Estraikh (New York: Congress for Jewish Culture, Inc., 2011), p. 12.]

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