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July 10: Sidney Hillman

Labor leader Sidney Hillman, head of the Amalgamated Clothing Workers Union and a key organizer of the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO), died of a heart attack at 59 on this date in 1946. Hillman was born in Lithuania and groomed to be a rabbi, but became a Jewish Bundist by age 16 and, after coming […]

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June 4: Es Brent

Poet and songwriter Mordechai Gebirtig, whose 1938 song, “Es Brent” (It’s Burning) became the anthem of the Krakow Ghetto resistance movement, was murdered at age 65 in Krakow by Nazi gunfire en route to the cattle cars for deportation on this date in 1942. A Bundist who spent his entire life in the working-class neighborhoods […]

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December 23: H. Leyvik and the Golem

Poet and playwright H. Leyvik (Leyvik Halpern), author of The Golem, one of Yiddish literature’s most famous plays, died shortly before his seventy-fourth birthday on this date in 1962. Leivick was a yeshiva bokher (a religious student) before joining the Jewish Labor Bund and participating in the 1905 revolution in Russia, which landed him in […]

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The Rise and Fall of the Jewish Labor Bund

Nazism and Stalinism Delivered Blows; Ideology Did the Rest by Philip Mendes From the Autumn, 2013 issue of Jewish Currents The Jewish Labor Bund was one of the most important leftwing Jewish political organizations of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It played a key role in the formation of the Russian Social Democratic […]

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March 19: The Father of Canadian Abortion Rights

Henry Morgentaler, a Canadian physician who has challenged and changed anti-abortion laws throughout Canada, was born on this date in 1923. The son of Jewish Bundists in Poland who died in the Holocaust, Morgentaler survived living in the Lodz ghetto and then Dachau. He received his medical education in Montreal. When contraception became legal in […]

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April 6: Kishinev Pogrom

The Kishinev pogrom was launched on this day in 1903 (Easter Sunday) when rumors spread that a Christian child, found dead, had been murdered by Jews to use his blood in the preparation of matse. Kishinev was the capital of Bessarabia (today’s Moldova), a city that then had 125,000 residents, half of them Jewish. Over […]

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Resistance: Camp Hemshekh and a Survivor's Daughter

by Margie Newman My childhood home was filled with a sense of loss and heaviness. It was as though we lived with a phantom, more an absence than a presence, never named, tiptoed around but never explored. My mother spoke of it only as “What Daddy Went Through,” “What Happened to Daddy,” or “The War.” […]

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In Memoriam

Abie Nathan April 29, 1927 – August 27, 2008 Abraham Jacob Nathan was a free spirit and a visionary. In 1966, as tensions mounted between Israel and Egypt, he flew a small plane named “Shalom One” to Egypt to discuss peace with Egyptian President Gamel Abdul Nasser. Nathan attempted to repeat the deed in early […]

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