Sunday 3 August 2014


PAVEL ANMAN-ROZENTAL (PINKHES, PINAI) (June 4, 1872-February 28, 1924)
Born into a well-to-do family in Vilna.  Until age nine he studied in a religious elementary school, and afterward in a Russian high school from which he graduated in 1891 with a medal.  He studied medicine at Kharkov University, but was expelled in 1893 for taking part in illegal student groups.  He was imprisoned for six months in the Tenth Pavilion of the Warsaw Citadel and then sent back to the city of his birth under police escort.  In Vilna he joined the illegal Jewish socialist movement, became a leader of the “Zhargonishe komitet” (Yiddish committee) which set as its goal to publish and spread Yiddish books among the workers, led underground groups, and continued as an estimable propagandist.  In 1896 he was accepted back into Kharkov University and graduated in 1898; he then married the young socialist Anna Geller (Heller, later well known as the Bundist leader, Anna Rozental).  The following year he settled in Byalistok where he practiced medicine and participated in the illegal Bundist movement.  He was brought onto the central committee of the Bund in 1900, and he organized its fourth conference—in Byalistok.  Together with Noyekh Portnoy at the fourth conference, he prepared the resolution on the national question, and otherwise he wrote proclamations for the party.  He also helped out (in 1901) when he returned to Vilna in building the first Jewish evening school.  He later wrote about this period of his life in Royte pinkes (Red records), vol. 1 (Kiev, 1920), republished in Warsaw (1921).
In 1902 he was arrested with his wife, and they were held for over a year in jails in Grodno and Moscow.  In the summer of 1903 they were banished for six years to the town of Magan in Eastern Siberia.  The population of the town was comprised of political exiles.  He quickly became very popular among them both as a doctor and as a propagandist.  He and his wife stood at the apex of the historic Yakutsk Protest (February 1904) in which fifty-six political exiles endured for three successive weeks a military siege in the barricaded home of Yakut Romanov.  Thereafter, he and other participants in the protest were sentenced to twelve years and sent further to Aleksandrovsk in Irkutsk Province.  (Rozental managed to send all the materials about this incident from Siberia to Geneva where the foreign committee of the Bund published them in four Russian-language pamphlets.)  The 1905 Revolution brought them their freedom, and on October 26, 1905 he and all the others involved received amnesty, and he returned to Vilna.  There he joined the editorial team of the first legal Bundist newspapers (Der veker [The alarm], Di naye velt [The new world], and Di folkstsaytung [The people’s newspaper]) in which he wrote on economic and historical issues.  In the autumn of 1907, with the demise of Di folkstsaytung, he returned to practicing medicine and worked as a bacteriologist in Vilna until the outbreak of WWI when he was mobilized as a doctor.  He was demobilized at the end of 1917 in St. Petersburg.  He was selected onto the new central committee of the Bund and together with the central committee traveled to Moscow.  There he worked further with his private practice until June 1919 when he traveled to Kiev to work on the pogrom committee of the Red Cross in which he served as manager of the information department.  He assembled numerous pogrom-related documents there (copies are now held in the YIVO archives).  He published a summary account of the pogroms in S. I. Gusev-Orenburgskii’s book, Bagrovaia kniga, pogromy 1919-20 in Ukrainie (Purple book, pogroms in 1919-20 in Ukraine) (Harbin, 1922), pp. 4-24.  He was later mobilized in the Red Army and sent as a military doctor from Kiev to Nezhin (Nizhyn), and from there back to Moscow where he was demobilized in June 1921.  In the fall of that year, he returned to Vilna.  He taught himself to write Yiddish and published articles in Bund publications in Vilna and Warsaw, collected materials for the second of his books, Kamf far di kolonyes (Struggle for the colonies), and edited the Yiddish publication of the first volume of the book (translated by A. Fridman), but the many years of incessant wanderings, difficult living conditions, and acute nervous exertion exacted their toll, and on February 28, 1924 he passed away.
Rozental began his writing activities in 1898 with an article in the Vilna publication, Severo-zapadnoie slovo (Northwestern word), using the pseudonym Semyonov.  From 1899-1902 he published articles anonymously in Arbeter shtime (Voice of labor), Byalistoker arbeter (Byalistok laborer), proclamations, and appeals to Jewish intellectuals in Yiddish, Russian, and Polish, accounts of the fourth conference of the Bund (with N. Portnoy), and Manifest fun algemaynem federativn garber-bund (Manifesto of the general federation of the tanners’ association); a revision of V. Kosovsky’s brochure concerning federation and autonomy (in Russian); under the pseudonym A. Bundovets, a book on codes in Russian entitled Shifrovannoe pisʹmo (Encrypted letter) (Geneva, 1904), written in Moscow prison cells; Politishe protsesn (Political trials) (Geneva, 1905); Ertseylungen vegn dem, vi es zenen forgekumen revolutsyes in mayrev-eyrope (Accounts of how the revolutions in Western Europe took place) (Geneva, 1905), written while engaged in hard labor in Aleksandrovsk, with the second part (also appearing in Russian) for the first time using the pseudonym An-man.  Under the pen name “P. Rol,” he wrote Di role fun lumpenproletaryat  (The role of the lumpen-proletariat) (Warsaw: Di velt, 1906) and Di ekspropryatsyes (Expropriations) (Warsaw: Di velt, 1908); during the years 1917-1921, he published three books in Russian on the revolution [Vokrug perevorota (About the revolution) (Petrograd, 1917); Zhizn i smert' uchreditel'nych sobranii (Life and death of the constituent assembly) (Petrograd, 1918); Zenit i zakat, puti revoli︠u︡t︠s︡ii (Zenith and sunset, tracks of the revolution) (Petrograd, 1919)], articles in Golos rabochei konferentsii (Voice of a workers’ conference), in the collection Tsum ondenk fun karl marks (To the memory of Karl Marx) (Moscow, 1918), and in such Moscow Bundist publications as Tsukunft (Future), Hofenung (Hope), and Yevreiskii rabochi (Jewish laborers); he worked on behalf of an encyclopedia of Russian laborers; together with his wife Anna, he wrote for the such publications of the Kiev “Culture League” as Di detsimale klasifikatsye-sistem fun bikher (The decimal classification system for books) and Vi azoy darf men funadershteln bikher in di biblyotekn (How one should deploy books in libraries) (Kiev: Melukhe farlag, yidsektsye, 1921), 20 pp.; and from the same publisher, Af morgn nokh der iberkerenish (On the morning after the uprising); in Russian, Bor'ba za kolonii i mirovye puti (The struggle for colonies and the peaceful track) (Moscow: Kniga, 1923); in Yiddish translation, Der kamf far velt-hershaft un velt-vegn (The struggle for global domination and global ways) (Vilna, 1924), 288 pp.; he was a regular contributor to Tsayt-fragn (Issues of the day) in Vilna even before WWI, to the Bundist social democratic Undzer tsayt (Our times) and Undzer gedank (Our ideas) from 1921 to 1923, in which he wrote solely in Yiddish, to Folks-gezunt (People’s well-being) in Vilna and edited by Tsemakh Shabad, to Royte pinkes in Warsaw, and to Bikher-velt (Book world) in Warsaw, among others.
Y. Kharlish

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 1; A. R., “Pavel Rozental,” detailed biographical introduction to Rozental’s Der kamf far velt-hershaft un velt-vegn (Vilna, 1924); A. Rozental, “Bleter fun a lebns-geshikhte” (Leaves from a life story), Historishe shriftn yivo (Historical writings from YIVO), vol. 3 (Warsaw, 1939), pp. 431-38; L. Hodes, “Pinkhes anman-rozental,” Foroys (Warsaw) (March 3, 1939); Frants Kurski, Gezamlte shriftn (Collected writings) (New York, 1952); D. Zaslavski, Yevreiskaia letopis' (Jewish annals), vol. 3.

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