LEON SAVIDZH (b. March 23, 1888)
The Americanized name of L. Shabashevitsh, he was born in Kovno, Lithuania, to a father who worked as an attorney. He studied in a Kovno high school. He was a member of the Kovno committee of the Bund. He was thrown in prison in 1907 for revolutionary activities. His journalistic work began with correspondence pieces in the Bundist Folks-tsaytung (People’s newspaper) in Vilna. He was later assistant editor of Severo-zapadnii telegraf (Northwestern telegraph) in Russian for the northwestern region of Russia. On the eve of the elections to the third Duma, he accompanied the Kadet [Constitutional Democratic Party] leader Andrei Shingarev on his campaign trip through the cities and towns of western Russia. In 1912 he left for Paris, studied law and economics at university there, and witnessed the assassination of Jean Jaurès at the Café du Croissant on the eve of the outbreak of WWI. He took part in the Battle of the Marne. In 1915 he came to the United States and became a regular contributor to the Philadelphia daily newspaper, Di idishe velt (The Jewish world). After the Russian Revolution he published articles on Russian affairs in the Anglophone press, served as assistant to Sergeevsky, representative of the Russian press in America, and contributed to the International News Agency. In 1918 he was a regular contributor to Tog (Day) in New York, where for a time he served as news editor and in which he published articles on issues of international, American, and Russian politics (in a sharply anti-Bolshevik vein). He also wrote under such pen names as: A. Nitsuts, L. S., and Yoysef Levin. In 1918 he published a series of sketches entitled “Vos ikh hob ibergelebt afn shlakhfeld” (How I survived the field of battle). Using the name Leon Lifshits, he published such newspaper novels as: Der meshumeds kinder (The convert’s children), Dos eygene blut (One’s own blood), and Afn gefehrlikhn veg (On the perilous road), among others. He also placed work in B. Vladek’s anthology, Fun di tifenishn fun hartsn (From the depths of the heart). He contributed as well to industrial and commercial publications in New York. He was cofounder of the Association of Baltic and Latvian Jews in America. He completed his law and economics education at Columbia University. He was involved in the Zionist movement, in Jewish community work, and in the Democratic Party. He was last living in New York, where he practiced law.
Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 2; Who’s Who in World Jewry (New York, 1955), p. 664.