Thursday 23 July 2015


            He was born in Ruzhany (Ruzhenoy), Grodno region.  He received both a traditional Jewish and a secular education.  As a youngster he moved to Warsaw, and there he studied in a Russian high school.  He was, however, expelled for illegal socialist activities.  He worked among the Zionist socialists and territorialists.  Over the years 1914-1917, he lived in the United States, where he studied at the University of Chicago.  After the March [February] Revolution in 1917, he returned to Russia.  He worked for the “United” (Fareynikte) socialist party in Byelorussia.  He served as a member of the city council of Vitebsk and Mohilev.  He moved to Warsaw in 1919, and there he worked as a teacher of Yiddish at Kalecki’s school for girls.  Later he taught at Tsisho (Central Jewish School Organization) schools.  At the same time he was active with the “United.”  From 1921 he was a Communist.  As an envoy of the Comintern, he visited China and other countries.  For a long period of time he was under arrest in Poland, and he was subsequently exchanged for a prisoner in the Soviet Union.  In 1928 he was on a Soviet Communist mission in Danzig and Berlin.  He was arrested in 1937 in Russia and exiled to Kolyma in the distant north.  He returned to Poland in 1946, and as a diplomatic emissary he visited the United States, and later still he was back in Poland.  He began publishing in the party press of the Zionist socialists—Unzer vort (Our word) and Unzer veg (Our way); later, he served as editor and contributor to Literarishe tribune (Literary tribune) and other Yiddish publications of the Communist Party in Poland.  Among his pseudonyms: Y. Lenski, Y. D., and Der Shvartser.

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 1; Berl Kuczer, Geven amol varshe (As Warsaw once was) (Paris, 1954).

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