Judaic Socialism, Zionism and Marxism: A Bibliography of Yiddish Language Texts
INTRODUCTION: Many Judaic persons worldwide welcomed the Communist revolution of 1917, celebrating the violent overthrow of an "antisemitic" regime and believing, rightly, that the new order in what was to become the Soviet Union would empower Judaics in those lands. Many Judaics constituted large proportions of the membership of Communist parties in several advanced countries, including Great Britain and the U.S.A. There were specifically Judaic sections of leading Communist parties, such as the Yevsektsiya in the Soviet Union. In the twentieth century, especially after the Second Aliyah, socialist Zionism created “Israel," as planned in the Soviet Union by the Marxist Ber Borochov and the non-Marxists Nachman Syrkin and A. D. Gordon -- who became a powerful force in the Yishuv, the Judaic settlement in Palestine. Poale Zion, the Histadrut socialist labor union, together with the Communist Mapai party, played a major part in the campaign for an Israeli state, with socialist politicians such as David Ben-Gurion and Golda Meir among the founders of the “state of Israel." At the same time, the kibbutz movement was initated as an experiment in practical socialism. Yiddish was the international language of Judaic persons in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and the extent to which socialist, Marxist and socialist-Zionist publications were circulated in Yiddish has been a neglected subject. For decades the Morgn-Frayheyt, the "Yiddish Worker’s Newspaper," published by the Jewish bureau of the Communist Party, was one of the most influential publications among Judaic Americans. It had the largest circulation of any Communist daily newspaper in the U.S. It was co-founded by "Moshe J. Olgin" (Moses Novomisky), New York correspondent for Moscow’s main newspaper for Communist propaganda in Russia, Pravda. Here below is a representative selection of this Yiddish genre; by no means exhaustive.
Hoffman, Benzion. KARL MARKS; ZAYN LEBEN, ZAYN VIRKEN UN ZAYNE LEHREN [YUBILEUM OYSG.] 1818-1918. Nyu York, Feraynigte Idishe Arbayter Organizatsyonen, 1918. Original Cloth. 8vo. 192 pages. 23 cm. First Yiddish Edition. ‘Karl Marx, His Life, Works, and Teaching; Jubilee Edition, 1818-1918’. With frontispiece illustration of Karl Marx. A biography and exposition of the work of Karl Marx on the centenary of his birth; edited by Tsivyon, pseudonym of Dr. Ben-Zion Hoffman (1874-1954), Yiddish essayist and longtime columnist of the Forverts, Hebrew writer for Ha-Yom, and president of the Y. L. Peretz Writer's Guild in New York. Includes bookstamp of the Arbeter-Ring Bibliotek. Subjects: Marx, Karl, 1818-1883. Communism. Communists - Biography. Yiddish – Socialism.
Kautsky, Karl. GESHIKHTE FUN SOTSYALISTISHEN GEDANK [Vol. 2]. Nyu York; Kultur, 1921. Original Cloth. 8vo. 277 pages. 21 cm. First Yiddish Edition. Volume two of Karl Kautsky’s History of Socialist Thought, translated by Hayim Kantorovits (1890-1936), a Yiddish left wing socialist. Karl Kautsky (1854- 1938), was one of the best-known theoreticians of the Second International and until 1914 he was considered to be the veritable ‘Pope of Marxism. ’ Subjects: Socialism - History - 20th century. Yiddish – Socialism.
Debs, Eugene V. ; Jacob Benjamin Salutsky Hardman.YUDZSHIN VIKTOR DEBS: ZAYN LEBEN, SHRIFTEN UN REDES. Nuyork; Aroysgegeben Far'n Debs Fertaydigung Fond In Ferlag "naye Velt", 1919. Original Cloth. 8vo. VIII, 308 pages. 21 cm. First Yiddish Edition. ‘Eugene Victor Debs: His Life, Writings and Speeches’. Biography and collection of speeches and writings of Eugene Debs, arguably the best-known and most revered of American Socialists. Edited and translated into Yiddish by J. B. S. (Jacob Benjamin Salutsky) Hardman (1882-1968), a “Russian-born author, social philosopher, and editor and leader who served the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America as director of education and cultural activities and as editor of its organ, The Advance (1920-44). He also edited Naye Welt, a Yiddish-language socialist weekly, and American Labor Monthly. He organized the American Labor Press Association, and was chairman of the Inter-Union Institute for Labor and Democracy (publisher of Labor and Nation, which he founded and edited from 1944-1953). ” (Tamiment Library; Guide to the J. B. S. (Jacob Benjamin Salutsky) Hardman Papers). J. B. S. Hardman was also a mentor to the radical sociologist C. Wright Mills. Subjects: Socialism - United States. Socialists - United States - Biography. Debs, Eugene V. (Eugene Victor), 1855-1926. Labor and laboring classes - United States. Yiddish books.
Kampf, Leopold. FARN SHTURM: DRAMA FUN DER RUSISHER REVOLUTSYON IN 3 AKTEN. Nyu York; Di Internatsyonale Bibliothek, 1907. Original Wraps. 12mo. 110 pages. 19 cm. First Yiddish edition. Translation of: Am Vorabend. English title page: On the Eve; a Drama in 3 acts. Despite the ban by the Kaiser in 1907, this play was still performed in Germany, and ostensibly was performed in New York as well, as an article from the New York Times of December 1, 1907 indicates. The play concerns a few revolutionists in a Russian town, operating an illegal printing shop, evading police with false passports, and eventually assassinating a Tsarist Governor-General. The benefits of the performances, and possibly of the sales of the play itself were sent as relief funds for Russian Revolutionists imprisoned or in exile. Subjects: Russia – 1905 Revolution – Drama. Yiddish translation.
Banin, N. DI REPREZENTANTS FUN “BUND” IN DI TSIONISTEN. New York; Idishen Sotsialistishen Farband, Original Wraps. 8vo.  pages. 23 cm. Only edition. ‘Representatives of the Bund in Zionism’, a four page pamphlet of the Jewish Socialist Federation arguing for the continuation of the class struggle of the Jewish labor movement in Palestine; contrasts positions and divergences of socialist theory among Jewish parties. Subjects: Yiddish Socialist Farband. Socialism – Yiddish. Zionism. Bund.
Jewish Socialist Federation Of America. IDISHER YOHRBUKH; Nyu York; Idisher Sotsyalistisher Federatsye In Amerika. Original Wraps. 8vo. 151,  pages. 23 cm. Annual periodical, established 1914, and published until at least 1918, of the Yiddish Yearbook for the Jewish Socialist Federation in America; the Yiddish branch of the American socialist party. Other titles of the periodical include: Idisher yohr bukh; Yohr bukh dos naye land. The lead article is a non-sectarian biography with photographs of leading socialist thinkers of the past two centuries, including Robert Owen, Gracchus Babeuf, Herzin, Louis Blanc, Blanqui, August Bebel, Joseph Dietzgin, Eugene Debs, Daniel DeLeon, Moses Hess, Jean Jaures, Emile Vandervelde, Nikolai Chernyshevsky, Peter Lavrov, Friedrich Lasalle, Paul Lafargue, Liebknecht, Karl Marx, Saint-Simon, Engels, Plekhanov, Fourier, Proudhon, Kautsky, and Kropotkin. The following lead article is by Morris Winchevsky commemorating 25 years of socialist Yiddish organizations, Salutski on the Jewish workers movement in 1914, a Robert Ingersoll article on atheism, and other historical, political, and theoretical articles detailing Jewish American Socialism by Morris Hillquit, Moishe Katz, and others. With a detailed ‘freedom (freiheit) calender’, listing important dates and events past and present, and nine pages of back page advertisements for the Forverts, Amalgamated Clothing Workers, and pro-socialist bookstores and publishers. Subjects: Socialism - Periodicals. Jews - New York (N. Y. ) - Periodicals. Jewish Socialist Federation of America –Yiddish –Yearbook.
Jewish Socialist Federation Of America. IDISHER YOHR BUKH. VOL I. 1914. Nyu york [New York]: Idisher sotsyalistisher federatsye in Amerika, 1914. CLoth, 8vo, 110 pages. Annual. Includes illustrations. 23 cm. In Yiddish. Periodical lasted until 1918 issue; Vols II (1915) and later are titled Idishe yohrbukh. "In 1908 a Jewish Agitation Bureau was established [by the Socialist Party of America] in order to spread socialism among Yiddish-speaking Jews. Stimulated by immigrants with experience in the East European Bund, the Bureau developed into the Jewish Socialist Federation (J. S. F. ) from 1912. Its membership was drawn mainly from immigrants of Bundist background" (Schneier Levenberg in EJ). SUBJECT(S): Socialism - Periodicals. Jews - New York (State) - New York - Periodicals.
Lang, H. (Harry) ; & Feinstone, Morris C. [ Moris Faynstoun]. GEVERKSHAFTEN: YUBILEUM-ZSHURNAL: AROYSGEGEBEN FUN DE FERAYNIGTE IDISHE GEVERKSHAFTN TSU IHRE 40 YOHR EKZISTENTS, 1888-1928. New York, (United Hebrew Trades), 1928. Paper Wrappers, Large 4to, 160 pages. 30 cm. In Yiddish. Feinstone (1878-1945),was born in Warsaw. After completing school he emigrated to England. In 1910 Feinstone emigrated to the U.S. where he found employment in various skilled trades. He soon became an important figure in the United Hebrew Trades, an organization which sheltered the smaller and weaker American Jewish trade unions. Feinstone was a close associate of the organization's leader, Max Pine, whom he succeeded in 1928. Feinstone continued Pine's policy of supporting the socialist labor sector in Jewish Palestine through the Histadrut. He also represented the United Hebrew Trades on the executive board of the Central Trades and Labor Council of Greater New York, wrote articles in the New York Call and the Yiddish Jewish Daily Forward endorsing socialism and labor Zionism.
International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union (Ilgwu). DER LEYDIES GARMENT VORKER /THE LADIES GARMENT WORKER. Vol. IV, NRS. 1-12 . New York, International Ladies Garment Workers Union. 1913. Cloth, 8vo, Aprox 70 pages each. 2/3 in Yiddish, 1/3 in English. Periodical ran 9 volumes, 1910-1918. The ILGWU was "A major center of Jewish immigrant radicalism and socialistic sentiments...The early Socialism of ILGWU leaders was shaped by their experiences in the Jewish Bund, along with a scattering of other Eastern European revolutionary organizations. The sweatshop, together with popular traditions of Jewish messianism, created the context for garment workers' response to socialistic ideals" (Buehl et al, 1992) SUBJECT(S): Clothing workers -- United States -- Labor unions -- Periodicals New Deal, Feinstone's socialist teachings were incorporated by the American Labor Party, which satisfied his desire for a working class political organization. Thereafter, until his death he concentrated on obtaining support for Jewish labor in Palestine" (Melvyn Dubofsky in EJ). SUBJECT(S): Jewish labor unions - United States. Jewish socialists - United States.
Zaks, A. S. POLITISHE EKONOMYE: DI GRUND-PRINTSIPEN [Vol. 1]. New York; Aroysgegeben Fun Der Edyukeyshonal Komite Fun Arb. Ring, 1918. Original Cloth. 12mo. 107 pages. 19 cm. First edition. Workmen's Circle; Arbeiter-Ring bibliotek; 6. ‘Political Economy: Foundational Principles. ’ Volume one of a three part primer in Marxist political economy, written for socialist workers, by the Yiddish journalist Abraham Sacks. This primer was reprinted in significant numbers by the Bund in interwar Poland for their constituency. Subjects: Economics. Socialism. Workmen's Circle/Arbeter Ring.
Reed, John; Moissaye J Olgin. TSEHN TEG VOS HOBEN OYFGERUDERT DI VELT: VI AZOY DI SOVYETEN HOBEN FARHAPT DI MAKHT IN RUSLAND. Nyu York; Forverts Poblishing Asosieyshon, 1919. Original Cloth. 8vo. 370 pages. 21 cm. First Yiddish edition. Translation of ‘Ten Days that Shook the World’, the first-person chronicle of a legendary journalist at the flashpoint of the Russian Revolution, whence he delivers one of the great stories of the twentieth century, by John Reed (1887-1920). The translator, Moissaye Joseph Olgin (1878 – 1939) came to the United States in 1915, was a major contributor to the Forverts, and then was one of the founders of the Workers (Communist) Party in 1922. When the Jewish Socialist Federation split in 1921, Olgin severed his connections with the Forward. Later when the Federation united with the Communists, he was made one of the organizers of the Jewish section of the Party. He was a member of the National Committee of the Communist Party for many years. Olgin was one of the founders of the Yiddish Daily Freiheit (later Morning Freiheit) and served as its editor up to the time of his death. Subjects: Soviet Union - History - Revolution, 1917-1921. October Revolution – John Reed – Yiddish translation.
Olgin, Moissaye J.KENT IR DI MORGN-FRAYHEYT?: DOS IZ DI IDISHE ARBETER-TSAYTUNG FUN AMERIKE: ZI IZ ITST ALT GEVORN 10 YOR... [New York]; Idisher Byuro Bam Ts. K. Fun Der Komunistisher Partey, . Original Wraps. 32 pages. 19 cm. A short work of agit-prop by Moissaye Olgin, entitled: ‘Do You know the Morgn-Frayheyt? This is the Yiddish Worker’s Newspaper in America: it is already 10 years old…’. Published by the Jewish bureau of the Communist Party. Moissaye Olgin (1878 – 1939) was one of the founders of the Yiddish Daily Freiheit (now Morning Freiheit) and served as its editor up to the time of his death. The Freiheit became the largest circulating communist daily in America. Subjects: Jewish communists - United States. Morgn frayhayt.
Olgin, Moissaye J. FOLK UN KULTUR: ARTIKLEN UN REDES. [New York]; Alveltlekher Yidisher Kultur-Farband, 1939. Original Wraps. 8vo. 96 pages. 20 cm. First edition. People and Culture: Articles and Essays. Various short essays on secular Yiddish culture, many delivered before the Yiddish culture congress, penned by the American Yiddish communist publicist Moissaye Olgin, with his portrait on the front wrap. Published under the IKUF imprint, founded in 1937 in Paris; Moissaye Olgin was a delegate to the Paris meeting of the International Yiddish Culture Congress which founded the World Alliance for Jewish Culture (Y. C. U. F. ). Subjects: Jews - Intellectual life. Congress for Jewish Culture (1st: 1937: Paris, France). Ikuf (Association).
Foster, William Z. ; Sh Almazov. DER BANKROT FUN DER AMERIKANER ARBETER BAVEGUNG. Nyu York; Farlag Idishe Federatsye Vorkers Partey, 1924. Original Wraps. 16mo. 108 pages. 15 cm. First Yiddish edition. Velt-bibliotek No. 3-4. ‘The Bankruptcy of the American Labor Movement’, published by the Jewish Federation of the Workers Party, originally published in English in 1922 by the Trade Union Educational League (TUEL; the American affiliate of the Profintern), written by William Foster, later the chairman of the US Communist Party. Translated by Sol Almazov (1888? -1979) (Sol Pearl), born in the Ukraine, he came to the United States in 1922, was an active member of the Workers (Communist) Party, the general secretary of ICOR, and a longtime contributor to the Morgen Freiheit. Subjects: Labor unions - United States. Jewish Federation Workers (Communist) Party – Yiddish imprints.
Clifford, Eth; Julius Rosenberg; Ethel Rosenberg. BRIV FUN TOYTN-HOYZ. Varshe; Yidish Bukh, 1953. Original Wraps. 8vo. 208 pages. 21 cm. First Yiddish edition, first publication in a Jewish language. “Letters From the Death-House”, translated from the French (Lettres de la maison de la mort; Gallimard, 1953) by L. Berger and M. Litvin. The Death-House Letters of Julius (1918–1953) and Ethel Rosenberg (1920–1953), comprising the prison correspondence of the famous Jewish couple controversially executed for delivering on Atomic secrets to Soviet agents. These letters were translated and published throughout the world in 1953, the year the Rosenbergs were executed at Sing-Sing. Subjects: Communism - United States. Rosenberg, Ethel, 1915-1953 - Death. Rosenberg, Julius, 1918-1953 - Death. Rosenberg Letters – Yiddish translation.
Kurtz, Aaron, 1891-1964. MOSHE ALGIN. 1917. New York, Shtot-komitet fun Yidisher sektsie I. A. O. Fun Klivland, 1940. Stapled paper covers, 8vo. 14 pages. In Yiddish. Poetry about Moshe J. Olgin (Moses Joseph Novomisky), 1878-1939, a "writer, editor, and translator. Born near Kiev, Olgin studied there...In 1913 Olgin moved to Vienna and became the coeditor of the Bundist weekly Di Tsayt which was published in St. Petersburg. In 1914 he went to New York, and became a staff member of the Jewish Daily Forward. He was one of the founders of the Communist Yiddish Daily Freiheit (later Morning Freiheit) and remained its editor until his death. He was also the editor of the monthly Der Hamer (1926) and from 1932, New York correspondent of the Moscow Pravda. His books include: Mayn Shtetl in der Ukrain (1921) ; Fun Mayn Togbukh (1926) ; and a posthumous collection of essays Kultur un Folk (1949). His books in English include: The Soul of the Russian Revolution (1917) ; A Guide to Russian Literature (1920) ; and Gorki, Writer and Revolutionist (1933). Olgin translated Lenin into Yiddish (Schulman, EJ, 2007).
Zaltsman, R. (Re’uven) TSU DER GESHIKHTE FUN DER FRATERNALER BAVEGUNG Nyu York; Internatsyonaler Arbeter Ordn, 1936. Original Cloth. 8vo. 287 pages. 23 cm. First edition. ‘On the History of the Fraternal Movement’; an early organizational history of the International Workers Order, with biographies of prominent personalities, including photographs, as well as charts detailing the growth and work of the organization. Written and inscribed by the first General Secretary of the IWO Rubin Saltzman. “The International Workers Order (IWO), a Communist-affiliated, ethnically organized fraternal order, was founded in 1930 following a split from the Workmen's Circle, the Jewish labor fraternal order. Max Bedacht, the IWO general secretary from 1932-1946, also served on the Communist Party's Political Bureau. At its peak, shortly after World War II, the IWO had almost 200, 000 members, including 50, 000 in the Jewish Peoples Fraternal Order. The IWO provided low-cost health and life insurance, medical and dental clinics, and the individual sections supported foreign-language newspapers, and a range of cultural and educational activities and institutions, including children's camps and cultural schools. The placement of the IWO on the Attorney General's list of subversive organizations in 1947 was the first of a series of events that led to the liquidation of the IWO in 1954, after it had lost its tax exempt status and insurance charter. ” [Guide to the International Workers Order Records TAM.001] Subjects: Fraternal organizations - United States. International Workers Order. Yiddish- Jewish People’s Fraternal Order.
Der Hamer. [VOL. 9, NO. 9; SEPTEMBER, 1936]. Nyu York; Der Frayhayt, 1936. Original Wraps. 4to. 63 pages. 29 cm. “The Hammer”, a “Workers’ Monthly”. "Komunistisher hodesh-zshurnal." ‘Der Hamer was a communist literary monthly published in Yiddish from 1926 until 1939. Front wrap illustration depicting Communists fighting against Catholics in Spain. With 12 page report describing the situation in Spain; lead article by Bitelman, articles by Sultan, by Hartsman on Gorki, Kats on the Brenendik Shtetl, Moishe Nadir on ‘Jews and communism’, and others. Back page advertisements for both Camp Unity and Camp Nitgedaiget. Subjects: Communism - Periodicals. Hamer (New York, N. Y. ) ; Hammer. Yiddish literature - Periodicals.
Der Hamer. [VOL. 7, NO. 9; SEPTEMBER, 1934]. Nyu York; Der Frayhayt, 1934. Original Wraps. 4to. 62 pages. 29 cm. “The Hammer”, a “Workers’ Monthly”. "Komunistisher hodesh-zshurnal. " Front wrap illustration by William Gropper celebrating the fifteenth anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party (U. S. ). Lead editorial by Communist Party General Secretary Earl Browder. Subjects: Communism - Periodicals. Hamer (New York, N. Y. ) ; Hammer. Yiddish literature - Periodicals.
American Committee Of Jewish Writers, Artists and Scientists. EYNIKAYT /AYNIKAYT / AINIKAYT [NEW SERIES] 1944, 1945, 1946, 1947 (New York, Der Komitet, 1944-47. Paper Wrappers. Folio. 35cm, approximately 32 pages each issue. "Unity." Yiddish Communist bimonthly (from May 1944-Jan 15 1945), then monthly (Jan 15, 1945 on); New York outlet for the Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee (a Soviet front group); similar articles but different publication from the Moscow edition of Eynikayt. "Aroysgegebn fun Komitet fun Yidishe shrayber, kinstler un visnshaftler in Amerike. " SUBJECT(S): Jewish communists -- United States -- Periodicals.
Artef Jubilee Committee. TSEN YOR ARTEF: AROYSGEGEBN TSUM TSEN-YORIKN YUBILEY FUN ARTEF. New York; Posy-Shoulson Press, 1937. Suede wraps. 4to. , 171, , 23 pages. 28 cm. First edition. In Yiddish and English. Added title-page: Ten years Artef; published for the tenth anniversary of the Artef, March, 1937. Extensively illustrated publication for the tenth year anniversary of the radical Yiddish theatre company: “Artef, the radical Yiddish dramatic troupe based in New York during the heyday of the Yiddish theater in America. Begun in the mid-1920s, in the 1930s the troupe went professional, putting on at least two and often three new plays per season. With such plays as Jacob Mostel's Strike, Shmuel Godiner's Jim Kooperkop, Avrum Vevioka's Diamonds, and Maxim Gorky's Egor Bulychev and Dostigaev and Others, Artef spread propaganda to the masses. Ideologically Artef's hope was for a Communist society in America. As a theatre troupe, its role was ‘agit-prop -- to agitate and propagandize. Its first large-scale production was "Mass Play and Ballet of the Russian Revolution," which was performed at the Lenin memorial celebration in Madison Square Garden on January 21, 1928. Artef's artistic and commercial successes were connected with the productions of director Benno Schneider. Schneider, who had been active in the Zionist Habima troupe in Moscow, wed aesthetic excellence to revolutionary ideology with his interpretation of ‘Aristocrats,' an adaptation of Sholem Aleichem's Mentshn. Schneider earned such a positive reputation with Artef that he received offers to direct on Broadway. (Review by Dr. Brian Horowitz, Yiddish Proletarian Theatre: The Art and Politics of the Artef, 1925–1940 written by Edna Nahshon). Many of the actors and directors in Artef went on to establishcareers on Broadway and in Hollywood. Subjects: Communism in America. Arbeiter theatre verband, New York. Jewish theater.
For further research:
Judaic Communists: The Documentary Record by Michael Hoffman