Monday 10 December 2018


SONYE FRAY (1903-1979)

            She was a journalist, born in Zhytomyr, Ukraine. She was one of the first members of the Communist Youth in the city, and she took part in the civil war. At eighteen years of age, she joined the Communist Party. In the early 1920s she began her journalistic work, initially with the Kharkov journal Arbeter-yugnt (Workers’ youth), and she was later one of the organizers of the Moscow journal Yungvald (Young forest). In Minsk she founded the newspaper Der yunger arbeter (The young worker). She was also the first editor of the Minsk-based Byelorussian youth newspaper Chervona zmena (Red team). From 1925 until 1932, she was involved with leading party work in Minsk, Tashkent, and Moscow. After graduating from the Institute of Red Professors, she became a lecturer in political economy at a series of Moscow’s senior high schools, defended a dissertation on “the economic crisis in Russia over the years 1900-1903,” and received the title of candidate in economic science. The mass campaign to “unmask the enemies of the people” did not avoid her, and she was purged in 1937; she spent eighteen years in prisons and the gulag. After being rehabilitated in 1956, she returned to Moscow. Over the course of the following decades, she worked in the Moscow Institute for Foreign Languages, where she taught political economy. Beginning in 1961, she was a member of the editorial collective of Sovetish heymland (Soviet homeland).

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), p. 300.

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