Thursday, 2 March 2017


            He was born in (or near) Vitebsk, Byelorussia.  As a child he studied in religious elementary school, later in yeshiva, and later still he turned to self-education.  In 1897 he became a Bundist and rapidly took on an important position in the party.  He was arrested several times for his political activities.  In 1903 he was exiled to Siberia.  In 1904 he took part in Yakutsk (eastern Siberia) in the uprising of political exiles (known as Romanovke) and received an additional twelve years of penal hard labor.  He was freed in 1905, due to a special amnesty.  In the party he was known as “Albert.”  He was active in 1907 in the Warsaw “Literary Society,” and he was highly talented public speaker.  Between one arrest and the next, he passed his examinations with exceptional scores as a jurist.  In 1917, during the February Revolution, he was a leading figure in revolutionary Odessa, vice-chairman of the city council, and one of the three chairs of the Jewish community.  At the tenth party conference in 1917 in Petrograd, he was selected onto the central committee of the Bund.  That year he became editor of the Bundist weekly Nash golos (Our voice) in Russian.  Together with Leybetshke Berman, in 1918 he edited the Bundist weekly newspaper Der glok (The bell) in Odessa.  In 1921 he was arrested by the Cheka at a joint meeting of Bundists and Mensheviks.  The central management of the cooperatives intervened on his behalf, and he was released from prison.  From 1920s he wrote in Yiddish and in Russia principally on the topics of the cooperatives, anti-religion, and the history of revolution.  He published in book form: Karl marks, zayn lebn un shafn, 1818-1883 (Karl Marx, his life and works, 1818-1883) (Odessa, 1922), 20 pp.; Shabes, vos men zogt vegn im un fun vanen er hot zikh in der emesn genumen (The Sabbath, what people say about it and from whence it in fact originated) (Odessa, 1922), 24 pp., second edition (Kharkov, 1923); Toyre, ir antviklung, vi un ven zi iz geshafn gevorn, vos meynt vegen dem di traditsye un vos zogt vegen dem di visnshaft (The Torah, its development, how and when it was created, what the tradition believes, and what scholarship says) (Kharkov, 1923), 57 pp.; Yom-kiper, hilfsbukh far propagandist (Yom Kippur, a manual for propagandists) (Kharkov, 1923), 48 pp.; Peysakh (Passover) (Kharkov, 1924), 46 pp.  In Russian: Anton Antonovich Kostyushko Valyuzhanich 1876-1908 (Moscow, 1926), 32 pp.  With S. Dimanshteyn and Osher Meyer, he prepared a Russian collection of political convicts: Revoliutsionnoe dvizhenie sredi evreev (The revolutionary movement among the Jews) (Moscow, 1934).  He also contributed to the Russian-language collection Katorga i ccylka (Penal servitude and exile).  He also wrote under the pen name of Gill, among others.  In 1937 during the Moscow show trials, the G.P.U. led him out of his home, never to be seen again.

Sources: Y. Sh. Herts, in the anthology Doyres bundistn (Generations of Bundists), vol. 1 (New York, 1956), pp. 249-54 (with a bibliography); Chone Shmeruk, comp., Pirsumim yehudiim babrit-hamoatsot, 1917-1961 (Jewish publications in the Soviet Union, 1917-1961) (Jerusalem, 1961), see index under “Lurye Hilel.”
Yankev Kahan

[Additional information from: Chaim Beider, Leksikon fun yidishe shrayber in ratn-farband (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers in the Soviet Union), ed. Boris Sandler and Gennady Estraikh (New York: Congress for Jewish Culture, Inc., 2011), pp. 196-97.]

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