Sunday 18 October 2015


MOTYE DOBIN (1880-July 1942)
            The younger brother of Shimen Dobin, he was born in Proskurov [now: Khmelnytskyi], Ukraine.  He graduated from a Russian high school and studied at the University of Kiev.  In 1916 he was a co-founder and a biology and physics teacher at the first high school in Kiev in the Yiddish language.  He survived the pogroms in Ukraine and later departed for Poland where he lived until 1921.  He subsequently left for Paris and until 1938 served as director of Labor Planning and of the Immigrants’ Aid Committee of HIAS (Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society).  At the same time, he was an active leader in the Parisian organization of the Bund.  He published current events articles in Der veker (The alarm) and Unzer shtime (Our voice) in Paris, among others.  In Yivo-bleter (Leaves from YIVO) (Vilna, April, May, August 1932), he published the following studies: “Yidishe emigrantn-arbeter in pariz” (Yiddish immigrant workers in Paris) and “Di profesyes fun di yidishe emigrantn in frankraykh” (The professions of the Jewish immigrants in France) which also appeared as a brochure, Yidishn emigrantn in pariz, finf yor erfarung (Jewish immigrants in Paris, five years of experience) (Paris: Emigdirekt, 1932), 43 pp.  In the latter he included interesting tables concerning the occupations of Jews in France and the restratification of the popular Jewish masses.  During WWII, he played an important role in organizing the armed struggle and uprising against the Germans in France.  He was a participant in the first secret conference of Jewish community leaders and a delegate from the Bund to the central commission of the five aid institutions in the Amelot Committee.  As Y. Yakubovitsh testified, Dobin was unwilling to accept the legitimacy of the Jewish Council—the Uzhif (UGIF, Union générale des israélites de France)—and benefitted from its protection, but he preferred to risk his life in the struggle against the German enemy.  He was arrested on July 14, 1942 and held for a time in the Vélodrome d’Hiver.  Together with his wife Grunye, a chemist and community leader herself, he was later deported to Treblinka, and there they were both murdered.

Sources: Yivo-bleter (Vilna) (April 1934); Y. Yakubovitsh, Ri alemo, hilf un vidershtand (The Amelot Committee, assistance and uprising) (Paris, 1948), see index; A. Golomb, A halber yorhundert yidishe dertsiung (A half-century of Yiddish education) (Rio de Janeiro, 1957), p. 93.

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