Thursday 19 June 2014


IZAK ALTER (1889-1937)

Older brother of the Bundist leader and writer Viktor Alter.  He was known in Bundist circles as “Izalt.”  On the eve of WWI, he was studying in Belgium.  In 1915 he came with his younger brother Viktor to England.  Using the name Lormen, he was active in the London Jewish socialist organization and in the auxiliary union “Veker” (Alarm)—organizations that were closely tied to the foreign committee of the Bund in Geneva.  During the years 1915-1917, he was a frequent contributor to the London Bundist weekly, Dos arbayter-vort (The workers’ word), which for a certain period of time was edited by M. Rofes.  He was among the most active leaders of the London “Anti-Conscription League” which agitated against efforts by England to enlist Russian-Jewish immigrants in its army.  On the threshold of the 1920s, he was active in the Bund in Poland and was publishing in Lebnsfragn (Life issues) in Warsaw, using the name “Izalt.”  Soon thereafter he was off to Soviet Russia, and over the period 1923-1937 he took up a variety of positions in Soviet embassies and consulates.  Using the name “Arens,” he was Soviet vice-consul in 1935-1936 in New York.  He was then recalled to Moscow and exiled for ten years.  His subsequent career remains unknown.

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