UNITED JEWISH SOCIALIST WORKERS' PARTY


UNITED JEWISH SOCIALIST WORKERS' PARTY (SS and JS; abbr.: Fareynigte, i.e., "United"), short-lived group in revolutionary Russia and interwar Poland. It was formed in June 1917 through the union of the *Zionist Socialist Workers' Party (SS, who were *territorialists), and the *Jewish Socialist Workers' Party (JS, who were *autonomists), which revived after the February revolution. The program of the Fareynigte was based on the "unity of the Jewish working class as an organic part of the 'ex-territorial' Jewish nation and the international proletariat." The former divergences of opinion on the realization of territorialism were declared to be lacking in actual significance, and the central element of the party program became "national personal autonomy."

Several leaders of the two parties did not join the Fareynigte: J.W. *Latzky-Bertholdy, N. *Shtif, I. *Yefroykin, and J. Tschernikhov. They became *Folkists. For a brief period, the party became influential, particularly in the Ukraine, where it played an important role in the experiment of national autonomy. Its spokesmen included M. Rashkes, Moses *Katz, the brothers Joseph and Jacob *Lestschinsky, Y. Churgin, M. Gutman, M. *Litvakov, M. *Schatz-Anin, and *Ben-Adir. In September 1917, the party called on the Provisional Government of Russia to declare the equality of languages and to set up a council for national affairs which would represent all nationalities and cover the financial requirements of Jewish schools and social institutions. At the third All-Russian Conference of the Trade Unions (June), the Fareynigte proposed the establishment of "national sections," but only the eventual formation of national "committees" was decided upon. In the *Ukraine, the party joined the Central Rada (national council) and the party leader, M. *Silberfarb, held the position of vice secretary (minister) for Jewish affairs in the government (called General Secretariat) from July 1917 to January 1918. After the manifesto ("third universal") of the Rada, which proclaimed a free Ukraine federally allied to Russia, Silberfarb drafted the law on "national personal autonomy" for the minorities in the Ukraine – the Jews, the Poles, and the Russians – and simultaneously pursued his activities in organizing a system of Jewish institutions. The Fareynigte abstained from voting on the "fourth universal" (January 1918), which proclaimed the complete separation of the Ukraine from Russia, but, in practice, the party complied with it. Silberfarb resigned from the government for general reasons as well as because of the anti-Jewish pogroms in the Ukraine. In the elections to the Jewish community councils in the Ukraine, the Fareynigte obtained 8.2% of the votes, as compared with the *Bund (14.4%) and Po'alei Zion (6.3%). In the elections to the Jewish National Assembly of the Ukraine, they obtained 19,689 out of the 209,128 votes. In 1918 the Fareynigte also supported Belorussian statehood federally allied with Russia. The party, on the whole, opposed the seizure of power by the Bolsheviks, and its delegates left the second All-Russian Congress of the Soviets. One of the leaders of the Fareynigte, D. *Lvovich, was elected to the Constituent Assembly on the list of the Socialist Revolutionaries with which the Fareynigte had allied themselves in their political activity.

In independent Ukraine, the Fareynigte at first enthusiastically supported the government (called Directory, in 1918–19) but its tolerant attitude toward the pogroms changed their stand. At the second conference of the party in the Ukraine, a pro-Soviet program was adopted, although it opposed joining the Communists. The pogroms and the stimulus of the revolution in Germany prompted the majority of the party, headed by the leaders (Novakovsky, Levkovsky, and M. Levitan) to establish the United Jewish Communist Party in March 1919. In May 1919, together with the Ukrainian Kombund, it established the Yidisher Komunistisher Farband. In August the Komfarband was included within the Ukrainian Communist Party which began to form branches of the *Yevsektsiya. At the third conference of the branches of the Yevsektsiya (July 1920), the former Fareynigte led the faction which sought a greater measure of autonomy for these "Jewish sections." The first national conference of the Fareynigte decided to adopt a stance of loyalty to the Soviet regime (July 1919). The second national conference of the Fareynigte (Gomel, April–May 1920) adopted a Communist program and, together with the Communist faction of the Bund, they formed the Kombund (June 1920), which in turn decided to join the Communist Party of Russia (March 1921).

In Poland there was no JS movement, but the SS, at their conference in November 1918, changed their name to "United Jewish Socialist Workers' Party (Fareynigte)." The party was short-lived. Some of its members joined the Bund and others the Communists. In summer 1922, the party, led by J. Kruk (d. 1972), joined the Independent Socialist Party (from 1924, "Independent Socialist Labor Party") as a Jewish section. Its program called for "national personal autonomy" for the Jews. Among its proposed activities, the "section" also included "regulation of the emigration of the Jewish working masses." Kruk represented the party on the executive council of the Socialist International. In 1937 it was dissolved by the government. To a limited extent the Fareynigte subsisted within the territorialist movement Freyland (Freeland League). The organs of the Fareynigte included the weekly, Der Yidisher Proletaryer (Kiev, 1917); a daily, Naye Tsayt (Kiev, 1917–19); the collections Der Yidisher Proletaryer, 1–2 (Warsaw, 1918); and Unzer Vort (Warsaw, 1920).

BIBLIOGRAPHY:

S. Agurski, Der Yidisher Arbeter in der Kommunistisher Bavegung 19171921 (1925); Ch. Shmeruk (ed.), Pirsumim Yehudiyyim bi-Verit ha-Mo'aẓot 19171960 (1961), index; I. Shayn, Bibliografye fun Oysgabes Aroysgegeben durkh di Arbeter Parteyen in Poylen in di Yorn 19181939 (1963), 133–43; I. Gordin, Yorn Fargangene, Yorn Umfargeslekhe (1960), 206–35; I. Rubin, Fundanen Ahin (1952), 187–208; E. Rosental-Schneiderman, Naftulei Derakhim (1970), 124–242; O. Janowsky, The Jews and Minority Rights (1933), index; E. Tcherikower, Yehudim be-Ittot Mahpekhah (1957), 459–546; M. Astor, Geshikhte fun der Frayland-Lige un funem teritorialistishn Gedank, 1–2 (1967).

[Moshe Mishkinsky]


Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.