Friday 15 December 2017


EMANUEL NOVOGRUDSKI (May 5, 1891-August 9, 1967)
            He was born in Warsaw, Poland.  His father Motl Novogrudski was a bookkeeper and a shoe salesman; his mother Itke, a housewife, helped the socialist movement to the extent that she could.  From 1906 he was studying in the Gurski high school in Warsaw and graduated in 1912.  He spent 1913-1914 studying at a university in Geneva (Switzerland).  In 1914 he joined the Bund.  He was active in the Warsaw organization of the party and later its secretary.  In 1917-1918, during WWI, the Germans twice arrested him and on one occasion sent him to camps in Havelberg and Lauban, and the second time he was imprisoned in the Modliner Fortress.  He was also arrested once by the Tsrarist police.  In 1920 after the Cracow Conference of the Bund, which adopted the resolution on joining the Third International, Novogrudski traveled through Kovno, Lithuania, to Moscow, and there he conducted negotiations with the representatives of the Third International.  He returned to Warsaw in early 1921, and from then until 1939 he served as secretary general of the Bund in Poland.  He was twice elected councilman to the Warsaw city council.  In 1939 he arrived in New York to conduct work for the Bund in Poland and, with the outbreak of WWII, remained there.  There he served as secretary to the “representative of the Polish Bund” from this post’s creation in 1941 until 1947.  From 1947 until he became severely ill (May 1961), which required a full interruption of all his activities, he was head secretary of the Bund’s world coordinating committee in New York.  He traveled around a great deal on assignments for the party, in prewar Poland and other countries of Europe, as well as in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil, and Australia.  After the war, in the midst of his writing, he published numerous articles in Yiddish and non-Yiddish (mainly party) publications, such as: Folkstsaytung (People’s newspaper), Vokhnshrift far literatur (Weekly writing for literature), Yugnt-veker (Youth alarm), Foroys (Onward), and Walka (Fight), among others, in Warsaw; Unzer shtime (Our voice) in Paris; Letste nayes (Latest news) and Lebns-fragn (Life issues) in Tel Aviv; Foroys (Mexico City); Unzer gedank (Our idea) in Buenos Aires; Unzer tsayt (Out time), Der veker (Our alarm), Fraye arbeter-shtime (Free voice of labor), Di tsukunft (The future), and Socialist Call—in New York; among others.  He published longer works in: the anthology Henrik erlikh un viktor alter (Henryk Erlich and Viktor Alter) (New York, 1951), pp. 13-52; “Der ‘bund’ tsvishn beyde velt-milhomes” (The Bund between the two world wars), in Entsiklopediya shel galiyut (Encyclopedia of the Diaspora) (Jerusalem-Tel Aviv, 1959); and Leyvik-hodes-bukh (Leyvik Hodes book) (New York, 1962), pp. 371-77; among others.  He was co-editor of The Ghetto Fights (New York, 1962); and of the two volumes Geshikhte fun bund (History of the Bund) (New York, 1960, 1962).  In book form, he published (mostly under the pen name “E. Mus”): Kamf far rekht af arbet (Fight for the rights of labor) (New York: Bureau for the rights of labor, 1926), 38 pp., also available in Polish; Di kunst fun redn (The art of speaking) (Warsaw: Kultur-lige, 1929), 102 pp.; Sovet-rusland, unzer tragedye (Soviet Russia, our tragedy), with a preface by Louis de Bruiker (Brussels: Bundist group in Belgium, 1939), 63 pp., also (New York, 1939); Yokhed, mase un firer (Individual, mass, and leader) (Warsaw: Kultur-lige, 1934), 159 pp.; Heshbn hanefesh oder fartseyflung (Introspection or despair) (New York: Bundist Club, 1934), 32 pp.; A naye tsugang tsu alte emesn (A new approach to old truths) (Montevideo: Bundist group, 1955), 45 pp.  He also penned an introduction to Leon Bernshteyn’s book, Ershte shprotsungen (First sprouts) (Buenos Aires, 1956).  He died in New York.  Novogrudski’s wife SONYE NOVOGRUDSKI (née Tshemelinski), who he married in 1919, was a member of the underground central committee of the Bund in Warsaw during the years of Nazi occupation and was murdered by the Nazis in Treblinka.
            As Y. Y. Trunk put it, Emanuel Novogrudski “displayed in private conversations the greatest liberalism for all forms and differences of human thought….  Comrade Emanuel knew—and I say this to his greatest praise—that the broadest horizons of thought must be narrowed, when it comes to historical actions.”

Sources: Y. Yezhor, in Foroys (Mexico City) (December 1944); Y. Y. Trunk, in Poyln (Poland), vol. 7 (New York, 1953), pp. 175-80; M. Astur, in Afn shvel (New York) (March-April 1960); Kh. Sh. Kazdan, in Unzer tsayt (New York) (September 1960); Arbeter-ring boyer un tuer (Builders and leaders of the Workmen’s Circle) (New York, 1962); Biblyografye fun yidishe bikher vegn khurbn un gvure (Bibliography of Yiddish books concerning the Holocaust and heroism) (New York, 1962).
Leyb Vaserman

No comments:

Post a Comment