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February 7: Victor Alter and the Jewish Bund

lawrencebush
February 7, 2014
Wiktor_AlterVictor Alter, a leader within the Jewish Labor Bund in Poland who evaded the Nazis only to be executed by Stalin's secret police sometime between 1941 and '43, was born in Poland on this date in 1890. It was Alter and his Bundist comrade Henryk Ehrlich who proposed the formation of the Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee, meant to help draw the U.S. into war in an alliance with the USSR. The JAC was indeed organized in 1942 and was the only official Jewish organization left in the USSR before its prominent members were liquidated between 1948 and 1952. Alter was a mechanical engineer and a Bundist activist in Warsaw, a political prisoner in Siberia under the tsar, a member of the Central Committee of the Bund, and a member of the Central Committee of the Second International. For more information about the Bund, read Philip Mendes' recent essay for Jewish Currents, "The Rise and Fall of the Jewish Labor Bund." "The Polish Bund functioned as a legal, independent political party from the outset, unlike the Russian parent body. It maintained a youth organization, Zukunft, which numbered 15,000 members on the eve of World War II. —Jewish Virtual Library