Saturday 24 October 2015


            He was born in Warsaw, Polamd, eldest son of the Warsaw Jewish community leader, Leybush Davidzon, and grandson of the community rabbi for Warsaw, R. Khayim Davidzon.  He received a traditional Jewish and a secular education.  He graduated from a Russian high school and went on to study medicine in Warsaw and Berlin Universities.  He graduated as an oculist.  From his early student days, he was one of the most active community and Zionist leaders in Poland, a pioneer in national and Zionist thought among academic youth in Warsaw, and a co-founder and chair of the semi-legal Jewish student corporation “Sifrut” (Literature) in Warsaw (1894).  He was also the secretary for the seventh Zionist Congress in The Hague, vice chairman of the Zionist conference in Helsinki in 1906, and among the leaders who proclaimed active Diaspora actions, the so-called “Kegnvart-arbet” (Work in the present).  He was a close friend of both Y. L. Peretz and Nokhum Sokolov.  He was a man with a profound sense of his social heritage, put himself at the service of the Jewish people, and as such he sacrificed virtually his entire personal life.  During the election campaign for the third Russian Duma in 1906, he was among the main leaders of the Jewish election committee in Warsaw, and assisted in the failure of the reactionary and anti-Semitic Polish candidates.  At the same time he led the fight against assimilation in the Warsaw Jewish community and he worked to make that community a democratic one.  He was one of those whom Peretz attracted when he was building a Yiddish theatrical society, and he was a member of the artistic council (1912).  During the years of WWI, he served as a military doctor on the Russian front, and during his stay in Kislovodsk (Kavkaz) he developed a large national effort which led to his being elected chairman of the local Jewish community.  He returned to Poland in 1919 and was soon selected to be chairman of the Zionist Organization in Warsaw.  He was also a member of the central committee of “Et livnot” (A time to build) and a founder and chair of the national Jewish club which brought unity to Polish Zionism.  He began his journalistic and publicist activities in the first Zionist periodical in Polish: Glos Żydowski (Jewish voice) in Warsaw (1902), which he edited.  He was also a contributor to Rassvet (Dawn) and Voskhod (Sunrise), and of other Zionist and ethnic publications in Russian and Polish—as well as in Yiddish with Der fraynd (The friend), Haynt (Today), and Moment (Moment) in Warsaw, and of the periodical press in Warsaw and in the hinterland.  He published current events articles and interesting impressions from his travels to Israel.  He was the author of a pamphlet in Polish (1912, 32 pp.) on the Jewish community of Warsaw.  He spent the last years of his life as director of the Jewish Academic Home in Warsaw.  He died in Warsaw.

Sources: Zakmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 1; E. N. Frenk and Y. Kh. Zagorodzki, Monografye-biblyotek tsu der geshikhte fun yidn in poyln, di familye davidzon (Monograph-library toward the history of Jews in Poland, the Davidzon family) (Warsaw, 1924); Dr. R. Feldshuh, Yidishe gezelshaftlekher leksikon (Jewish community handbook) (Warsaw, 1939); Dr. A. Mukdoni, Y. l. perets un dos yidishe teater (Y. L. Peretz and the Yiddish theater) (New York, 1949); Dr. Y. Shatski, Geshikhte fun yidn in varshe (History of Jews in Warsaw), vol. 2-3 (New York, 1953); M. Turkov, Di letste fun a groysn dor (The last ones of a great generation) (Buenos Aires, 1954).

Khayim Leyb Fuks

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