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Vladimir Jochelson

JOCHELSON, VLADIMIR (Waldemar; 1855–1937), Russian anthropologist. Born and educated in the Rabbinical Institute in Vilna, together with Zundelevich and Liberman he organized there in 1872 a group to study revolutionary literature. In 1879 Jochelson became involved in the revolutionary movement of "Narodnia Volia," working in the underground laboratory which prepared dynamite and false passports. In 1880 he immigrated to Switzerland, where he headed the movement's printing shop in Geneva. In 1885 he tried to cross the border back to Russia, but he was arrested and sentenced to three years imprisonment and then ten years of exile in Siberia. Here Jochelson became interested in the study of the native peoples of the region and in scientific ethnography, as did his fellow prisoners Vladimir *Bogoraz and Lev *Sternberg with whom he was to be associated in a lifetime of work in this discipline. Their articles on the nomadic tribes in the area began to attract attention. By special permission Jochelson and Bogoraz were attached to the Yakut expedition organized by the Russian Geographic Society (1894–97) and studied the ethnology of the northern districts of the Yakut provinces of Verkhoyansky and Kolyma. After the Bolshevik revolution Jochelson became professor of ethnology at the University of Leningrad.

Jochelson participated in the Jesup North Pacific expedition under the auspices of the American Museum of Natural History and engaged in an investigation of the Koryak of the Sea of Okhotsk and Yukaghir of the Kolyma district. Jochelson prepared studies on the Yukaghir, the natives of the Kolymsk and Virkhoian regions, which were published in Izvestia on his return to St. Petersburg. Subsequently he participated in expeditions to Kamtchatka and later to other sites in East Asia and Alaska. Later he left Russia and spent his last years in the United States working for the American Museum of Natural History, endeavoring to complete his work on the Yukaghir ethnology. His stance in ethnology, like that of his associate Bogoraz, was that of a positivist and naturalist.


Krader, in: L-ESS, 2 (1968), 116–9.

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