ELYE DAVIDZON (ELIYAHU DAVIDZOHN) (1873-1923)
He was born in Vilna, Lithuania, into a well-to-do family. He graduated from a Russian high school. He became active among Jewish socialists in Vilna and took part in the “Zhargonishe komitetn” (Yiddish committees [distributing written materials to laborers and creating libraries]. In 1894 he moved to Berlin and studied economics in university there. He was a member the following year of a Zionist democratic student circle (together with Bal-Makhshoves and Y. Ayznshtat). In 1896, when Dovid Pinski founded in Berlin the publishing house of “Tsayt-gayst” (spirit of the times), he was one of Pinski’s close associates. After 1908 he was attached to Iskra (Spark) and had a negative relationship with Jewish culture. After the Revolution, he returned to Russia and was active there among the Bolsheviks, but in 1920—as recounted by A. Litvak—he switched to join the Mensheviks in Kiev. At that time he was preparing for publication his study in Yiddish, “Onheyb fun der yidisher arbeter-bavegung” (Beginning of the Jewish labor movement), a portion of which he read before the Kiev “Kultur-lige” (Culture league), which was subsequently lost. He began his writing activities with an adaptation of Darwin’s pamphlet, Di eybike milkhome in der natur, darvinizmus (The eternal war in nature, Darwinism), a popularization of Darwin’s idea of the struggle for existence (Berlin: Tsayt-gayst, 1896; second edition, Warsaw, 1897), 48 pp. He was also the author of a popularization of Darwin’s book on sexual selection: Di natur iz di beste shatkhnte (Nature is the best matchmaker). He also published in Russian in Iskra and in Zarya (Dawn) polemical articles against the national program of the Bund, using the pseudonyms “Yevrey” (Jew) and “K. K.” He died in Kiev.
Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 2 (see under the biography of Dovid Pinski); A. Litvak, Vos geven (What was) (Vilna, 1925), pp. 108-9; Leninskii sbornik (Leninist collection) 2, 3, 4, 5 (Moscow, 1925), see indices.