Monday, 11 February 2019


            He was a journalist and economist.  We have no precise information about his biography.  We know only that he lived in the United States, one of the group of Yiddish writers there who made their way to the Soviet Union in the latter half of the 1920s.  In 1929 he settled in Kiev, took up a position with ORT (Association for the Promotion of Skilled Trades), and when the mass migrations to Birobidzhan began, he moved there as an economist and served as one of directors of the planning division.  A fervent Birobidzhan patriot, in the late 1920s and first half of the 1930s, he wrote dozens of articles on the economic state of the new district and its great prospects.  In 1937 he was removed from his position—this was the start of the purge of “destructive elements” among the enthusiasts who had been coming to Birobidzhan from abroad, and Kantorovitsh’s fate at that point was sealed.  His books include: Di geshikhte fun der amerikaner arbeter-bavegung (The history of the American labor movement) (Moscow: Central Publ., 1926), 32 pp.; Tsveyter 5-yor plan far biro-bidzhan (The second five-year plan for Birobidzhan), second printing (New York: IKOR, 1932), 15 pp.; Birobidzhan in itstikn moment (Birobidzhan at the present moment) (Moscow: Emes, 1933), 37 pp.; Di produktiv-kreftn fun der yidisher avtonomer gegnt fun vaytmizrekhdikn kant (The productive forces of the Jewish Autonomous District in the Far Eastern region) (Moscow: Emes, 1937), 24 pp.

Sources: Chone Shmeruk, comp., Pirsumim yehudiim babrit-hamoatsot, 1917-1961 (Jewish publications in the Soviet Union, 1917-1961) (Jerusalem, 1961); Y. M. Budish, in Almanakh fun yidishn folks ordn (Almanac of the Jewish people’s order) (New York, 1947), p. 382; Yeshurin archive, YIBO (New York).
Yekhezkl Lifshits

[Additional information from: 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. 319.]

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