Thursday 2 October 2014



He was a journalist, editor, and community activist, born in Ponevezh (Panevezys), Lithuania, into a family of laborers.  He also worked as a laborer, later as a teacher.  From 1900 he was active in the Jewish labor movement, initially among Zionist socialist groups and thereafter he moved to the Bund where he worked until 1918.  He contributed to the socialist Zionist newspaper Frayhayt (Freedom) (Vilna, 1904), and later (1917) to the Bundist Veker (Alarm) in Minsk.  In 1919 he joined the Communist Party.  He worked as a journalist and editor of Communist newspapers and journals.  On several occasions, he was selected onto the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Byelorussia.  He edited Shtern (Stars) (Minsk, 1919); Veker (Minsk, 1920); the Minsk serial Oktyaber (October) until 1929; Pyonir (Pioneer) (Minsk, 1927); and he contributed to other Yiddish newspapers and periodicals, among them: Afn shprakhfront (On the language front) in Kiev, Royte velt (Red world) in Kharkov, and Emes (Truth) in Moscow.  He was also one of the first organizers of Soviet Yiddish writers in Byelorussia.  He wrote articles about the writers: Arn Kushnirov, Yoysef Rabin, M. Danyel, Izi Kharik, Moyshe Litvakov, Zelik Akselrod, Yashe Bronshteyn, and others.  When he was named editor of Afn shprakhfront, he proposed a diversified program to develop Yiddish scholarship not only in Byelorussia but throughout the entire USSR. The main work that he set before scholars in Kiev and Minsk was “to write over the course of two five-year periods the Marxist history of the Jews.” In 1937 when a terror campaign began in the country, he was arrested. In August of that year, his name disappeared from the literary and general press. His works were scattered through various publications. He co-edited: Lenin kegn bund (Lenin against the Bund) (Minsk, 1935); and Lingvistishe zamlung (Linguistic collection), issues for 1933, 1934, and 1936.

Sources: A. Litvakov, Af tsvey frontn (On two fronts) (Moscow, 1931), pp. 129-48; Di royte velt (October 1931); Afn visnshaflekhn front 2.1 (Minsk, 1932); B. Orshanski, Di yidishe literatur in vaysrusland nokh der revolutsye (Yiddish literature in Byelorussia after the revolution) (Minsk, 1931); Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 1 (biography of Avrom Vaynshteyn); M. Gutman, in Royte pinkes (Red records), vol. 1 (Warsaw, 1921).

[Additional information from: 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. 33.]

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