AVROM (ABRAHAM) DUKER (September 27, 1907-November 1, 1987)
He was born in Ripin (Rypin), Plotsk region, Poland. He graduated from a Hebrew public school and a Polish high school. In January 1923 he emigrated to the United States. He lived for a time in Pittsburgh, later moving to New York where he graduated middle school. Over the years 1930-1933, he studied at City University of New York, subsequently specializing in Jewish history at Columbia University in New York. He received his doctorate for his work, entitled “The Great Polish Emigration and the Jews.” At the time he was working in the library of the Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS). In connection with his studies, he visited Poland, France, Italy, and Russia in 1933-1934. During WWII he served in the American Army, and he assisted with the preparations for the Nuremburg Trials of the Nazi leaders. Over the years 1943-1955, he was a Lecturer in Jewish history at JTS, the New School for Social Research, New York University, Hebrew Union School of Education, and Columbia University. From 1956 he was president of social studies at the College of Jewish Studies in Chicago.
His first publication was in Hebrew, a work entitled “Eged hagadot” (A group of Hagadas)—a bibliography of Passover Hagadas, in Kiryat sefer (Republic of Letters) (Jerusalem, 1931). In Yiddish he wrote reviews in Yivo-bleter (Pages from YIVO) (Vilna, 1932). He contributed to a number of Anglo-Jewish and English-language periodicals, as well as to The Universal Jewish Encyclopedia, in which he published a large number of important works in the realm of Jewish community life, Jewish history, and bibliography, among others. He also contributed to research on Polish-Jewish relations, in particular in connection to the great Polish figures in the emigration of 1831-1865. His essay, “Adam Mickiewicz and the Jewish Problem,” in Adam Mickiewicz (New York, 1957), threw new light on Mickiewicz and his “Jewish mystique.” Over the years 1945-1949, he was a contributor and editor of the English section of Tog (Day) in New York. He was the author of: The Situation of the Jews in Poland (New York, 1936), 31 pp.; Jews in the Post-War World (with Max Gottschalk) (New York, 1945), 224 pp.; Minḥa leyitsḥak, bibliyografya shel kitve yitsḥak rivkind (Offering to Yitsḥak, bibliography of the writing of Yitsḥak Rivkind) (with Mordecai Kosover) (New York, 1949), 81 + 15 pp. He was editor of Contemporary Jewish Record in 1938 (now, Commentary); Jewish Social Service Quarterly; Jewish Social Studies; of the English sections in the trilingual Yorbukh (Annual), 1946-1951. In the summer of 1957 he participated in the Jerusalem Ideological Conference. He was living in Chicago.
Sources: Yivo-biblyografye (YIVO bibliography) 1 and 2, see indices; Who’s Who in World Jewry (New York, 1955), p. 168.