Tuesday 10 June 2014


SHLOYME EYNZAFT (1889-December 4, 1929)

A historian, he was born in Zhitomir (Zhytomyr), Ukraine, into a family of laborers.  He was a member of the Jewish Socialist Workers Party (SERP [Sotsialisticheskaya yevreiskaya rabochaya partiya]).  He was arrested in 1908 and exiled for three years.  In 1914 he became a member of the Bund, and in 1915 he was a delegate to the southwestern conference of the party in Kiev.  Shortly thereafter he was once again arrested and banished to do hard labor in the Irkutsk region.  After the February Revolution in 1917, he returned on his own and became active in the trade union movement and in the workers’ cooperatives.  During the German occupation of Ukraine, he was again arrested, and for a longer period of time he remained in jail.  In the early 1920s he began studying at the Institute of Red Professors in Moscow, and in 1922 he began his scholarly activity on the labor movement in Russia, writing on the “Zubatovshchina” [police administrator Zubatov’s police-infiltrated labor unions] and the Orthodox Priest Gapon [a police informant], as well as memoirs concerning the economic struggles of the Bialystok textile laborers in the 1880s and 1890s, about Jewish self-defense in Zhitomir, and other topics. A number of his writings appeared in Russian after his death as well. His books include: Di zubatovishe un gaponishe bavegungen (The movement of Zubatov and Gapon) (Minsk, 1926), 167 pp.; Di gapon-bavegung un der 9ter yanuar (The Gapon movement and January 9th) (Kharkov, 1926), 50 pp.; “Di dorem-mayrevdike konferents fun ‘bund’ in 1915” (The southwestern conference of the Bund in 1915), in Visnshaftlekhe yorbikher (Scholarly yearbooks), vol. 1 (Moscow, 1929).

Sources: “A yor arbet fun der gezelshaft tsu shtudirn di yidishe shprakh, literatur un geshikhte” (A year’s work of the society for the study of Yiddish language, literature, and history), Tsayshrift no. 2-3 (Minsk, 1928); “P. S. Eynzaft,” in Revoliutsionnoe dvizhenie sredi evreev (Revolutionary movement among the Jews), vol. 1 (Moscow, 1930); “In farvaltung fun der sektsye tsu derlernen di revolutsyonere bavegung bay yidn” (On the management of the section to teach about the revolutionary movement among the Jews), in ibid.

[Additional information in: 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. 19.]

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