Friday 14 August 2015


REFUEL GINTSBURG (1895-January 19, 1956)
            He was born in Libave (Liepāja), Latvia, into a merchant household.  It was there that he graduated from a secular high school.  As a youth he joined the Bundist movement.  During the period of WWI, he was evacuated to Russia and for a time lived in Saratov, on the Volga River.  He was drafted in 1919 into the Russian army.  He left Russia in 1921, lived for several years in Berlin, later studied medicine in Jena (Thuringia, Germany), and became a doctor.  He was a contributor, 1931-1932, to a medical journal in Jena.  He spent the years 1933-1940 in Paris, devoted to his medical practice and at the same time active in the Jewish labor movement; he was also the founder of the Workmen’s Circle in Paris.  When Hitler seized France, he escaped to the United States.  He practiced his profession in New York.  He was active in Workmen’s Circle, and he gave lectures on the themes of social medicine and social psychology.
            He was a co-editor of the medical-hygiene section of Algemeyne entsiklopedye (General encyclopedia), in which (vol. 1-5) he published major writings on autosuggestion, asthma, internal secretions, blood, and more.  In his last years, he spent a great deal of time studying geriatrics (teachings on the elderly), was one of the speakers at the international conference on geriatric medicine in London in 1954, and wrote on the topic for the Forverts (Forward) and Der fraynd (The friend), organ of the Workmen’s Circle, both in New York.  He also published in the monthly magazine Unzer tsayt (Our times) in New York.  In his last years he worked as a doctor in a hospital in the state of Wisconsin.  He died there and was buried in New York.

Sources: R. Avromovitsh, in Forverts (January 26, 1956); G. Aronson, in Unzer tsayt (February 1956).

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