AVROM-DOVID (DAVID) SHUB (September 13, 1887-May 27, 1973)
He was born in Potov, Vilna district. He attended a local religious elementary school, graduated in 1901 from a district Russian school in Vileyke (Naujoji Vilnia), and later studied as an external student in Vilna. There he became involved with the revolutionary youth organization Shkola Borby (Fight school). In 1903 he came to the United States, spent the first two years in Philadelphia, and later lived in New York. He performed various forms of physical labor. He became acquainted with radical Jewish intellectuals and audited a series of lectures by Dr. Chaim Zhitlovsky on “Materyalizm un sintetisher monism” (Materialism and synthetic monism). He became a member of the Russian Social-Democratic Society. In mid-1905 he returned to Russia. On the way, he stopped off for a short time in Geneva, where he got to know Lenin, Plekhanov, Lev Deutsch, and other revolutionary leaders. He took part in the Revolution of 1905. In 1906 he surrendered to a soldier and was arrested and deported to Irkutsk, Siberia. In late 1907 he fled to London, and in 1908 he permanently settled in America.
His first articles were published in 1906 in a Menshevik newspaper in St. Petersburg. He debuted in print in Yiddish in the Bundist Folks-tsaytung (People’s newspaper) in Vilna (1906). In New York in 1908, he became a contributor to the weekly newspaper Tsayt-gayst (Spirit of the times), and at the end of the same year he was a contributor and later assistant editor of Der arbeter (The worker), edited by Dovid Pinski and Yoysef Shlosberg. Over the years 1911-1918, he was assistant editor and later editor of Naye post (New mail). At that time, he was also writing articles for Der fraynd (The friend) in New York and in Russian for Novy Mir (New world) and Narodnaia gazeta (People’s gazette), both also in New York, and he co-edited (1919-1920) the English-language anti-Bolshevik weekly Struggling Russia. He placed articles (1921-1922) in Morgn-zhurnal (Morning journal) under the pen name A. D. Natanson, in Tog (Day) under the pen name P. A. Stavski, in Veker (Alarm) under the pseudonym A. Rozental (editor, 1923-1927), and in Gerekhtigkeyt (Justice). In 1924 he was also a contributor to Forverts (Forward). He wrote on labor issues, matters involving trade unions, and international social democracy for which he had a distinctive sympathy. His principal interest was in Russia, Bolshevism, and Russian culture. In innumerable articles he vigorously combatted Bolshevism, just as he led a fight against an effort by Jewish Communists in America to encroach upon Jewish labor organizations and trade unions. He wrote a long series of articles on the Russian Revolution and socialist thinkers. In dealing with socialist issues, he also touched upon Jewish social questions and evinced a special interest in the Bund; in writing about Marx, Lassalle, Bernstein, and others, he always shed light on their approach to Jewish issues. Shub’s writing career lasted about sixty-seven years, as he contributed his share to the development of Yiddish journalism in America. He died in Miami, Florida.
He edited Der idisher velt-almanakh (The Jewish world almanac) (New York, 1926, 1927). He translated into English with Joseph Shaplen: Socialism, Fascism, Communism (New York: American League for Democratic Socialism, 1934), 239 pp.; and Karl Kautsky, Social Democracy versus Communism (Westport, Conn.: Hyperion Press, 1946), 142 pp. He authored: Lenin: A Biography (New York: Doubleday, 1948), 438 pp., second abridged edition (New York, 1952), third edition for Europe (London, 1966). This last work was translated into many languages and was used as a textbook in American universities. Other work by him include: Lenin, der mentsh, der revolutsyoner un diḳtaṭor, a politishe byografye fun dem komunizm (Lenin, the man, the revolutionary, and dictator, a political biography of Communism) (New York: Veker, 1928), 234 pp.; Heldn un martirer, di geshikhte fun di amolike groyse rusishe revolutsyonern un fun zeyer heroishn kamf far frayhayt (Heroes and martyrs, the history of the great Russian revolutionaries of the past and of their heroic struggle for freedom) (Warsaw: Kh. Bzshoza, 1939), 580 pp., in Hebrew translation by M. Benayahu as Haloḥamim leḥerut (The fighters for freedom) (Tel Aviv: M. Nyuman, 1945/1946), 216 pp.; Fashizm un komunizm, vi azoy moskve hot geholfn brengen fashizm un natsizm af der velt (Fascism and Communism, how Moscow helped bring fascism and Nazism to the world) (New York: Veker, 1939), 48 pp.; Fun di amolike yorn, bletlekh zikhroynes (From years past, pages of memoirs) (New York, 1967), 2 vols., awarded a prize from the Khanin Foundation in 1970; Sotsyale denker un kemfer (Social thinkers and fighters) (Mexico City: Shloyme Mendelson Fund, 1968), 2 vols.
Sources: Mendl Osherovitsh, in Forverts (New York) (September 14, 1957); Grigori Aronson, in Fraye arbeter shtime (New York) (January 1, 1968); Yisroel Emyot, in Forverts (October 27, 1968); Elye (Elias) Shulman, in Tsukunft (New York) (April 1969); Lazar Fogelman, in Forverts (August 3, 1969); Ezriel Naks, in Forverts (September 13, 1970); Vladimir Grosman, Velt-yidntum in der velt-politik (World Jewry in world politics) (Paris, 1973), pp. 55-66; M. Epshteyn, in Unzer tsayt (New York) (July-August 1973).
Elye (Elias) Shulman