YOYSEF ARONOVITSH (ca. 1890-late 1940)
Born in Vilna, studied in religious elementary school, later in a Russian public school, and around 1903-1904 he entered the Vilna teachers’ institute where he came into contact with the revolutionary movement, in particular the Bund. After graduating from the institute, he became a teacher in a state school in Lodz. He quickly and thoroughly mastered the Polish language, came to lead an intensive revolutionary action among Polish workers and shortly thereafter was arrested. In 1915 when the Germans occupied Poland, he was liberated from prison and for a time lived in Czernowitz where he was known as a member of the workers’ council. In 1919, in independent Poland, he became a member of the city council. He was arrested for a short time for distributing in public Bundist declarations against the Polish-Soviet War. Freed from jail, he returned to Vilna where he became a teacher of history in the first Yiddish scientific high school. In the 1920s and 1930s, he took part in—earlier as well in the Vilna weeklies of the Bund: Dos fraye vort (The free word), Undzer tsayt (Our times), Undzer gedank (Our thoughts), and later Folkstsaytung (People’s newspaper) in Warsaw in which he wrote under the pseudonym of Y. Arski. In September 1939, he was arrested by the Soviet authorities and from the end of July until the end of November 1940, he was seen in prison in Minsk. At that point he was transported half dead to a prison hospital where he died at the end of the year.
Sources: M. K., in Undzer tsayt (New York) (July-August 1951); H. Abramovitsh, in Lerer-yizker-bukh (Teachers’ memory book) (New York, 1954), pp. 22-23.