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Jewish Social Democratic Party

JEWISH SOCIAL DEMOCRATIC PARTY (or ŻPS, the initials of the party's name in Polish), party existing in Galicia from 1905 to 1920, the equivalent there of the *Bund. In the early 1890s attempts were made in Galicia to establish a Jewish workers' party to be federatively joined to Polish and Ukrainian workers' parties. The reorganization of the Austrian Social Democratic Party on a federative basis in 1897, as well as the stress on the Polish character of the Social Democratic Party of Galicia (from 1897 the Polish Social Democratic Party of Galicia and of Cieszyn (Teschen) Silesia, the PPSD), gave rise to a movement among Jews for an autonomous Jewish workers' organization within the PPSD. The party leadership, and particularly its Jewish assimilationist members like H. *Diamand and Emil Haecker, opposed this project. However, the chauvinist Polish note of this opposition, the practical needs of organization and propaganda among Jewish workers, and the example of the Bund in Russia (which refused to extend direct help) led to the establishment of an initiating committee in Lvov in 1902, and of an organizing committee (August 1904) for the establishment of an independent Jewish Social Democratic Party. In October 1904 the PPSD convention, 40% of whose delegates were Jewish, rejected the idea. Subsequently, in a manifesto issued on May 1, 1905, the establishment of a Jewish Social Democratic Party (JSDP) was announced. The manifesto rejected the discriminatory Polonization tendency and pointed out that Jews, like the other nationalities, needed their own workers' organization. The leaders of the party included H. Grossman, its principal theoretician (after World War I an economist and communist in Germany), K. *Einaeugler, R. Birnbaum, L. Landau, S. Blum, A. Mosler, L. Feiner, H. Schreiber, and J. *Bross, and later also J. Kissman. Membership in the party was collective through the trade unions, while intellectuals joined individually. There were 2,500 organized workers in the party in 1905, 3,500 in 1908, and 4,200 in 1910. The PPSD opposed the JSDP as "separationist" and "Zionist," although the JSDP contended against the *Po'alei Zion. All the same, in 1906 the PPSD had to establish its own Jewish section. The leaders of the Austrian Social Democrats also denigrated the JSDP. Nathan *Birnbaum supported the party in Jewish circles. The second JSDP convention, held in Lemberg in May 1906, put forward the claim for "national-cultural autonomy," rejecting the slogan of "national curiae" in the electoral system. The establishment of the party and its national program prompted O. *Bauer to formulate his assimilationist conception in his Die Nationalitaetenfrage und die Sozialdemokratie ("The Problem of Nationalities and Social Democracy," 1907). The fourth party convention in Lemberg, October 1910, demanded the establishment of state schools providing instruction in Yiddish, as well as recognition of Yiddish as a spoken language in the population census. It was supported in this matter by the Po'alei Zion. The Jewish section of the PPSD subsequently altered its policy and approved the principle of recognition of the Jewish nation (1907). In May 1911 an amalgamation agreement was signed between the JSDP and the section, represented by N. Korkes, M. Zeterbaum, D. Salamander, and R. Buber. In view of the elections to the Austrian parliament, the PPSD agreed to amalgamation, but carried through omission of the article regarding national autonomy from the platform of the united party. The capitulation of the JSDP on this point aroused strong opposition from within. The demand was raised again only in 1917. Meanwhile the struggle of the PPSD for hegemony provoked new dissensions and a rift (1913). The Jewish Social Democrats in Bukovina, headed by J. Pistiner, joined the JSDP. At the end of World War I the party cooperated with other Jewish parties in the "national councils." In 1920 the JSDP joined the Polish Bund.


J. Kissman, in: Di Geshikhte fun Bund, 3 (1966), 337–480; I.M. Horn, Meḥkarim (1951), 143–86; J. Bross, in: YIVO Historishe Shriftn, 5 (1950), 50–84; 3 (1939), 484–511; K. Einaeugler, ibid., 512–9; S. Blum, ibid., 520–6; N. Buxbaum, Yidisher Arbeter Pinkes (1927), 500–8. ADD. BIBLIOGRAPHY: H. Piasecki, Sekcja zydowska PPSD i Żydowska partia socjalno demokratyczna (1983).

Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2007 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.