Tuesday 10 June 2014


BORIS AYSUROVITSH (October 6, 1882-May 24, 1953)
Born in Sevastopol, Crimea, to well-to-do parents.  He studied in a secular high school and universities (Berne, Liège, and St. Petersburg).  From 1902 he belonged to the Russian Social-Democratic Workers Party.  He took part in several ethnographic expeditions of the St. Petersburg Ethnographic Museum in conjunction with the St. Petersburg Pedagogical Institute.  He often traveled on behalf of ORT (Association for the Promotion of Skilled Trades) and visited numerous countries on all continents.  From 1915 he was an active community leader.  Over the years 1915-1920 he was active in Yekopo (Yevreyskiy komitet pomoshchi zhertvam voyny—“Jewish Relief Committee for War Victims”), OZE (Obschestvo zdravookhraneniia evreev— Society for the Protection of the Health of the Jewish Population), ORT, and Kultur-lige (Culture league) in Russia and Ukraine; in the first half of the 1920s, also with Tsisho (Central Jewish School Organization) in Poland; from the early 1930s until his death, with Velt-farband ort (World ORT).  From 1921 he was a member of a series of Bundist and general cultural organizations in Poland, the United States, and Argentina.  He spent the last two years of his life in Argentina.  During the period 1938-1950, his regular abode was in New York.  An avid mountain climber, he frequently worked to develop relations between Jews and mountain climbing, and he wrote a brochure published via the Warsaw Jewish Society for Knowledge of the Land in 1927.  From time to time he published articles in the Yiddish press of various countries.  Four weeks before he died in New York, he burned his numerous journals.  He left a large portion of his life savings as an inheritance to various Jewish cultural organizations and to the Bund.  A portion of his inheritance was designated as a prize for the best Jewish travel book for the year.  When he became an American citizen, he shortened his family name—from Aysurovitsh to Surovitch.

Sources: Forverts (New York) (May 25, 1953); Y. Botoshanski, in Prese (Buenos Aires) (March 22, 1953); Undzer gedank (Buenos Aires) (April 1953); P. Vald, in Prese (Buenos Aires) (May 27, 1953); D. Naymark, in Forverts (New York) (May 28, 1953); Y. Novogrudski, Undzer gedank (Buenos Aires) (June 15, 1953); B. Varshavski, Undzer shtime (Paris) (July 2, 1953); A. Y. Dubelman, Havaner lebn (Havana) (June 6, 1953).

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