LEON SURASKI (b. August 23, 1889)
He was born in Bialystok, Russian Poland. He moved to Mexico in 1917, where he worked in his first years there as a peddler. He was one of the first pioneers of immigration there, who organized in Mexico City the first Jewish community. He was a cofounder of various Jewish institutions in Mexico, in particular the Philanthropic Society, for which he was honorary president from 1930. Over the years 1937-1942, he contributed to the Committee for Jewish History in Mexico City. From 1953 he was president of the Vayts-Suraski Foundation. He published articles (concerning the problem of irrigation in the land of Israel) in Haarets (The land) in Tel Aviv (1937) and in Haboker (The morning) in Tel Aviv (July 1949 and May 1959). He also wrote on occasion on agrarian issues in the Mexican Spanish-language Ecselsior. In book form: Materyaln tsu der geshikhte fun yidishn yishev in meksike (1917-1942) (Materials on the history of the Jewish community in Mexico, 1917-1942), with an appendix “Yidn in meksike (demografishe materyaln fun tuvye mayzel)” (Jews in Mexico, demographic materials of Tuvye Mayzel) (Mexico City, 1959), 314 pp. He was last living in Mexico City.
Sources: S. Kahan, in Di shtime (Mexico City) (January 16, 1960); Y. Shmulevitsh, in Foirverts (New York) (October 2, 1960).