Jewish Politics in Eastern Europe: The Bund at 100

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The Bund was the first modern Jewish political party in Eastern Europe and, arguably, the strongest Jewish party in Poland on the eve of the Second World War. Though 100 years have passed since its inception, the Bund and its legacy continue to be of abiding interest.

Founded illegally and operated under the most adverse conditions, the Bund grew dramatically in the years immediately after its 1897 creation in Czarist Russia. It helped to organize the Russian Social Democratic Workers Party, it organized armed self-defense groups to fight against pogroms, and it played a significant role in the Russian Revolution of 1905. The Bundist became for many the symbol of the new Jew—enlightened, willing to fight for Jewish rights and needs, and unwilling to accept the status quo of Jewish communities dominated by the orthodox and the wealthy, and of a Russia oppressed by the Czar. Later, Bundist members were among those who contributed substantially to armed resistance in Nazi occupied Poland.

Jewish Politics in Eastern Europe makes use of previously unexamined source materials to offer a range of new perspectives on the significance of the Bund and its ideas. Its fresh and insightful approaches will be of interest to all those concerned with Eastern European Jewry, Russian, Polish, and Ukranian history, and the history of socialist and labor movements.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This book is basic for any attempt to understand interwar Polish Jewry as well as the holocaust period and offers many new points of view."

-Religious Studies Review

The Jewish political organization, the Bund, was the focus of a conference held in Warsaw in November of 1997; from which this collection of essays by an international group of contributors is the ultimate result. The topics include: the Bundist press in Russia, Russian Bundists in exile from 1898-1925, the Bund organization in Lodz from 1898-1939, its contribution to Yiddish culture in Poland, the Jewish Social Democratic Party in Galicia, Austro-Marxism and the Jews in Galicia, the national ideology of the Bund in the test of the Holocaust, and the Bund after the Holocaust. Jacobs teaches government at the City University of New York. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814742587
  • Publisher: New York University Press
  • Publication date: 1/1/2001
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 5.68 (w) x 8.76 (h) x 0.98 (d)

Meet the Author

Jack Jacobs is Professor of Government at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, the City University of New York. He is the author of On Socialists and "The Jewish Question" After Marx.

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Table of Contents

Frontispiece: Bundist meeting in Warsaw, 1930s
List of Abbreviations
Notes on the Contributors
Pt. I In the Years of the Russian Empire
1 Khevres and Akhdes: the Change in Jewish Self-organization in the Kingdom of Poland before 1900 and the Bund 3
2 The Bundist Press: a Study of Political Change and the Persistence of Anachronistic Language during the Russian Period 13
3 The Influence of the 'Polish Question' on the Bund's National Program, 1897-1905 28
4 Russian Bundists Abroad and the Exile, 1898-1925 46
Pt. II The Bund in Poland Between the Two World Wars
5 Creating a Bundist Counter-Culture: Morgnshtern and the Significance of Cultural Hegemony 59
6 Kossovsky, Portnoy, and Others: the Role of Members of the Bund's Founding Generation in the Interwar Polish Bund 69
7 The Bund: History of a Schism 81
8 The Bund Organization in Lodz, 1898-1939 90
9 The Bund's Contribution to Yiddish Culture in Poland between the Two World Wars 112
Pt. III Other Socialists and the Bund
10 The Jewish Social Democratic Party of Galicia and the Bund 133
11 From Conflict to Cooperation: the Bund and the Polish Socialist Party, 1897-1939 155
12 Austro-Marxism and the Jews in Galicia 172
13 German Social Democrats and Polish Bundists in Exile in London, 1939-45: Memories 179
14 The Bund and the Labour and Socialist International 183
Pt. IV The Holocaust and Post-Holocaust Years
15 The National Ideology of the Bund in the Test of Anti-Semitism and the Holocaust, 1933-47 197
16 The Bund after the Holocaust: Between Renewal and Self-Liquidation 213
17 Where was there a Future for Polish Jewry? Bundist and Zionist Polemics in Post-World War II Poland 227
18 Between New York and Moscow: the Fate of the Bund Archives 243
19 The Concept of National Cultural Autonomy: the First One Hundred Years 255
Index 271
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