Sunday 29 October 2017


            He was born in a village near Strikov (Strików), Lodz district, Poland, into a wealthy Hassidic family.  In late 1896 he moved to Lodz.  He studied in a religious elementary school, a Gerer Hassidic synagogue, and with private tutors.  Over the years 1909-1912, he attended Yarotshinski’s high school, later taking a business course which he was compelled to interrupt because of the impoverishment of his parents.  For a time he worked as an assistant bookkeeper, later becoming an employee of the Jewish community in Lodz.  In 1915 during WWI, he joined the Bund, and from that point he was active in the political and trade union movement among the Jewish workers in Poland.  He was a member of the Lodz committee of the Bund.  At the Bund’s 1921 conference in Danzig, he played a leading role among the leftist delegates and established there the pro-Communist grouping which later developed into the Kombund (Communist Labor Bund).  From that time until his disillusionment with the Communism in 1932, Mints was consistently one of the principal leaders of the Jewish Communist movement in Poland, a member of the central committee of the Polish Communist Party, and a member of the presidium of the central Jewish office of the Communist Party.  For many years he lived illegally, and many times he was arrested and thrown into Polish prisons; in 1929, after being freed from the Wronki Prison, he fled to Danzig and from there to Prague.  In 1932 he was the co-creator of the “opposition” within the Communist movement in Poland, before leaving the Communist Party in 1938 and returning to the Bund.  Over the years 1937-1951, he lived in Paris, where he was among the most active members of Jewish political and cultural life.  He was among the leaders, 1941-1944, of the French-Jewish resistance movement against the Nazis, and he took part in the armed struggle against the Germans in the woods.  From 1945 until he settled in Argentina (1952), he was a member of the world coordinating committee of the Bund.  In Argentina he was a member of the committee of the Bund in Buenos Aires and vice-president of the local division of World Jewish Cultural Congress, and he was active as well in the administration of the secular Yiddish Y. L. Perets schools, in the publishers “Yidbukh,” the administration of the Jewish community, and the like.  He began his activities as a writer in 1920 in the illegal publications of the Kombund in Lodz and Warsaw.  He edited the first issue of Lodzher veker (Lodz alarm), which the Kombund group took over in late 1921, and from that point in time he contributed to: Literarishe tribune (Literary tribune) and Der fraydenker (The free-thinker) in Lodz, and to other Yiddish and Polish Communist publications in Poland.  From 1938 he contributed to the Bundist press in France, and he edited the illegal Unzer shtime (Our voice) (Paris-Lyon-Grenoble, 1942-1944) and the daily newspaper Unzer shtime in Paris (1945-1952), in which he published daily on political events as well as literary matters—as well as a portion of his memoirs.  Over the years 1952-1962, he served as editor of the Bundist weekly Unzer gedank (Our idea) in Buenos Aires.  He contributed work as well to: Unzer tsayt (Our time) in New York; Lebnsfragn (Life issues) and Heymish (Familiar) in Tel Aviv; Foroys (Onward) in Mexico City; and Ilustrirte literarishe bleter (Illustrated literary leaves) in Buenos Aires; among others.  In book form he published: Geshikhte fun a falsher iluzye, zikhroynes (History of a false illusion, memoirs),[1] concerning Communism in Poland between the two world wars (Buenos Aires, 1954), 382 pp.; In di yorn fun yidishn umkum un ṿidershtand in frankraykh, perzenlekhe zikhroynes (In the years of the Jewish destruction and resistance in France, personal memoires), concerning the underground struggle against the Nazis and Jewish rescue (Buenos Aires, 1956), 267 pp.; Lodzh in mayn zikorn, fragment fun mayn kindhayt un yugnt (Lodz in my memory, fragments from my childhood and youth),[2] part 1 (Buenos Aires, 1958), 261 pp.  He died in Buenos Aires on the very day of his planned departure for the state of Israel.

Sources: Y. Leshtshinski, in Forverts (New York) (February 27, 1955); H. Bakhrakh, in Unzer gedank (Buenos Aires) (July 1, 1955); Kh. L. Fuks, in Fun noentn over (New York) 3 (1957), see index; B. Pik, in Unzer gedank (July 1, 1957); Sh. Gros, in Ilustrirte literarishe bleter (Buenos Aires) (September-October 1957); Avrom Shulman, in Unzer shtime (Paris) (November 29-30, 1958); Y. Harts, in Di idishe dikhtung (Buenos Aires) (March 6, 1962); Y. Yonasovitsh, in Di prese (Buenos Aires) (March 7, 1962); P. Shrager, in Unzer shtime (March 9, 1962); Perets, in Unzer shtime (March 10, 1962; March 16, 1962); Y. Dar, in Letste nayes (Tel Aviv) (May 1962); Dar, in Lebnsfragn (Tel Aviv) (May-June 1962); M. V. Bernshteyn, in Unzer tsayt (New York) (March-April 1962); Bernshteyn, in Folk un velt (New York) (June 1962); Biblyografye fun yidishe bikher vegn khurbn un gvure (Bibliography of Yiddish books concerning the Holocaust and heroism) (New York, 1962), see index; obituary notices in Di prese and Idishe tsaytung—in Buenos Aires—(March 3-5, 1962).
Khayim Leyb Fuks

[1] Translator’s note: This work was translated into English by Roberts Michaels as The History of a False Illusion: Memoirs on the Communist Movement in Poland (1918-1938) (Lewiston, N.Y.: E. Mellen Press, 2002), 322 pp. (JAF)
[2] Translator’s note: Translated into English by Robert Moses Shapiro and Rena Rabinowitz Shapiro as Lodz in My Memory, Fragments from my Childhood and Youth (n.p., 1993), 244 pp. (JAF

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