Tuesday 2 December 2014



Historian and writer on current events, he was born in Odessa. He was raised in an orphanage and later worked on the agricultural farm at the orphanage.  He later worked in a dispensary, in the Odessa city hall, and for a bookbinder in Odessa and Kharkov. He was an auditing student in St. Petersburg and later graduated there from the Herzen Pedagogical Institute and the Institute for Higher Jewish Studies. He debuted in print in the Russian press in 1910, publishing stories and articles. Over the years 1913-1915, he worked as secretary for a Russian newspaper in Simferopol. After the October Revolution, he was one of the first to work for the Commissariat for Jewish Affairs, as an administrator in the division of culture and education. He contributed to editing the first Soviet Yiddish anthologies, dedicated to issues of education and culture. From 1918 he was a member of the editorial board of the first Yiddish-language Bolshevik newspapers in Moscow, Di vorheyt (Reality) and Der emes (The truth), and he went on to edit a string of other Yiddish and Russian newspapers, weeklies, magazines, and anthologies, such as: Di fraye shtime (The free voice), organ of the St. Petersburg Committee for Jewish Affairs (initial issues in 1918, edited with Zerakh Grinberg and Sholem Rapoport); Kultur-fragen (Culture issues), an anthology (St. Petersburg, 1918, edited with Zerakh Grinberg and Shimen Dimantshteyn); Yevreyskaya tribuna (Jewish tribune), Di fray velt (The free world), and Vokhnbleter (Weeklies) (Minsk, 1919, edited with Zerakh Grinberg); Di komunistishe shtime (The Communist voice), a daily newspaper (Minsk, 1919); and Di velt (The world), a magazine (Petersburg, 1920).  He later devoted his attention primarily to the history of the Jewish labor movement, concerning which he also published treatises in such history journals as: Yevreyskaya starina (The Jewish past), Proletarskaya revolutsiya (Proletarian revolution), and Krasnaya letopis’ (Red annals), among others.  He initiated for scholarly use a significant complex of materials concerning the history of the Jewish labor movement that he disclosed from the archives of the Tsarist Ministry of Internal Affairs. In Leningrad in 1925, he published his Istoriya yevreyskogo rabochego dvizheniya v Rossii po neizdannym arkhivnym (History of the Jewish labor movement in Russia, according to unpublished archives), encompassing the period from the 1870s through 1917—translated into Yiddish by Dovid Roykhel (Vilna, 1931), 440 pp., as: Di geshikhte fun der yidisher arbeter-bavegung in rusland, loyt nit-gedrukte arkhiṿ-materyaln. He assembled a biographical dictionary of Jewish revolutionaries in Russia. He was harshly criticized in the 1920s for his “incorrect position regarding Lenin’s stance on the Jewish question.” He was a contributor in the early 1930s to the Leningrad division of Institute of Party History and the council of trade unions. In the late 1930s, he was a teacher in the Karelia-Finnish Pedagogical Institute (Petrozavodsk). His subsequent fate remains unknown.

He wrote a booklet about Lev Osipovich Levanda—L. O. Levanda po neizdannym arkhivnym materialam (L. O. Levanda according to unpublished archival materials (Petrograd, 1918)—and a series of brochures, such as: Di ratn-makht un di natsyonale fragn (The Soviet regime and the national question) (1918); Di oktyabr-revolutsye un di yidishe arbeter-masn (The October Revolution and the Jewish laboring masses) (St. Petersburg: Commissariat for Jewish Affairs, 1918), 8 pp., second printing (1919), 14 pp.; and A yor proletarishe diktatur un di oyfgabn fun di yidishe komunistn (A year of the proletarian dictatorship and the tasks for Jewish Communists) (1919); among others. 

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 1; S-T, in Algemeyne entsiklopedye (General encyclopedia), vol. 5 (New York, 1944); Dr. Y. Shatski, in Der veker (April 10, 1926).

[Addition information from: Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 72; and 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. 41.]

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