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December 29: A Socialist in Congress

Meyer London, one of only two Socialist Party members elected to Congress (the other was Victor Berger), was born in Lithuania on this date in 1871. He came to New York at age 20 and worked as a tutor and printer while acquiring a law degree. London was a fundraising activist for the Jewish Bund […]

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Marek Edelman, the Heroic Anti-Hero

“I am the Guardian of the Jewish Graves” by Itzhak Luden Translated from the Yiddish by Barnett Zumoff; published in the Yiddish Forverts, 10/5/2009 In principle, the most important thing is — life. And when there is life, the most important thing is freedom. And after that, one gives his life for freedom. Then one […]

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September 10: Simon Dubnow

Simon Dubnow, one of the founders of modern Jewish historical scholarship and a prolific memoirist and essayist about secular Jewish life and politics in Eastern Europe, was murdered at age 81 by the Nazis during the liquidation of the Riga Ghetto on this date in 1941. Dubnow was an advocate the Haskalah, or Jewish Enlightenment, […]

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From Yiddishland to America

The Creation & Preservation of YIVO by Bennett Muraskin From the Spring, 2015 issue of Jewish Currents Reviewed in this Essay: YIVO and the Making of Modern Jewish Culture: Scholarship for the Yiddish Nation, by Cecile Esther Kuznitz, Cambridge University Press, 2014, 307 pages, indexed.   IN 1940, TO ESCAPE THE RAVAGES of World War […]

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May 29: Radziwillow

Fifteen hundred Jews were rounded up and slaughtered by the Nazis and Ukrainian paramilitaries in Radziwillow, Ukraine on this date in 1942. A group of five hundred young men led by Asher Czerkaski then broke out of the ghetto and reached the surrounding woods, but the great majority were soon hunted down and murdered. Fifty […]

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Remembering the Jewish Resistance

Why Has It Been Downplayed? by Hershl Hartman THIS WILL NOT BE a dispassionate academic paper. For one thing, I am not an academic. And, too, you may detect some passion. If my points are made clearly, they may shake up some previously held concepts. At least, they may provoke thought about things we thought […]

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April 17: A Few Words in the Mother Tongue

Poet, writer, and activist scholar Irena Klepfisz, a child survivor of the Warsaw Ghetto, was born there on this date in 1941. Her father Michal, a leader of the Jewish Bund, was killed on the second day of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, when Irena was 2; she and her mother escaped to the countryside and […]

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March 24: Moissaye Olgin and the Frayhayt

Image: Photo restored and retouched by Yiddishkayt in Los Angeles. Moissaye Olgin, editor of the communist Yiddish daily Morgn Frayhayt (“Morning Freedom”) from its founding in 1922 until his death in 1939, was born in a Ukrainian shtetl on this date in 1878. An admired revolutionary agitator and writer in the Russian underground, he wrote […]

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October 26: While Messiah Tarried

An historian of the Holocaust and of the Jewish Left, Nora Levin died at 73 on this date in 1989. Her books were The Holocaust: The Destruction of European Jewry, 1933-1945 (1968); While Messiah Tarried: Jewish Socialist Movements, 1871-1917  (1977); and The Jews in the Soviet Union since 1917: Paradox of Survival (two volumes, 1989). […]

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October 7: The Bund

The Jewish Labor Bund was founded in Vilna by thirteen delegates on this date in 1897. Within seven years, the organization had 35,000 members, close to 5,000 of whom were arrested during those years by the Tsarist police. The Bund was dedicated to Yiddish, secular Jewish identity and local Jewish autonomy within the framework of […]

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