KAGANOVICH, LAZAR MOISEYEVICH (1893–1991), Soviet politician. Born in Kiev province, Kaganovich joined the Communist Party in 1911 and became a member of the Kiev committee of the party in 1914. In 1915 he was arrested and
Kaganovich organized the industrialization of the Moscow region. He was subsequently appointed commissar for communications and commissar for heavy industry. From 1938 he served also as vice chairmen of the Council of Commissars of the Union. During World War II he was a member of the State Defense Committee. In 1947 he was again secretary of the party in Ukraine, and from March 1953 first vice chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Union. Kaganovich's subservience to Stalin was made abundantly clear in his pamphlet Stalin vedyot nas k pobede komunizma ("Stalin leads us to the victory of Communism") printed in 1950 in half a million copies. For a number of years he was the only Jew to occupy a top position in the Soviet leadership. In 1957, as a member of the "anti-Party group" of Molotov, Malenkov, and Shepilov, he was expelled from the Central Committee and dismissed from all government posts. In the years 1957–61 he was director of a metallurgical factory in the Ural area. And in 1961 he was expelled from the party and pensioned. Regarding Jewish matters, he was not only estranged from Zionism and the Bund, but he was also against the Yevsektsiya. While visiting the Jewish State Theater in the 1930s, he called to show real Jewish heroes like the Maccabeans and Bar-Kokhba. It is not clear what his role was in the Crimean Affair, and rumors say that he was in favor of a Jewish republic there.
Bolshaya Sovetskaya Entsiklopediya, 19 (19532), 282–3; Current Biography Yearbook 1955 (1956), 315–7.
Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.