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[Page 66]



The “Bund”

by A.A.

Translated by Aaron Housman

The revolutionary ideologies that permeated the atmosphere in our Jewish world in the early days, struck roots in Pinsk and its surrounding areas. The “Bund” attracted to itself hundreds and thousands of Jewish youth from the working class, factory employees, entrepreneurs, laborers, downtrodden and simple young boys and girls. From Pinsk the Bund penetrated in to Stolin. The fast changing times and the fact that it was so organized toward raising the quality of socio–economic lives of the common folk and working class, was a magical ideal for the young generation, and the effect of public announcements and whispered ideas (lest it be known to the Czarist authorities; who were suspicious of any Jewish youth, alleging that they harbored revolutionary ideas), the Bund organized strongly in Stolin and began acquiring a membership base. This was the first revolutionary organization in Stolin, and it's leaders were: Alter Shayna's, Eliyahu Duboisky (a barber), Zalmen the son of Henoch (the coachman), Todrus the coachman and others.

Within a short amount of time, the Bind in Stolin amassed more than 100 members, from the local maids in private houses, the downtrodden, laborers, and some coachmen and smiths. Among them were carpenters, tailors, some free thinkers, who were known locally as “Brothers and Sisters”, owing to the term used in their announcements and public appeals etc. An organization was also formed for the younger members, 12–15 years of age, called the “Small [or young] Bund”. These adolescents served as adjutants for the older members. The main purpose of the Bund served to propagate the revolution, to draft more members to it's ranks of change and of bettering the quality of life. During one summer day in 1905 the Bund organized a strike for all workers, with the intent to raise wages and mainly to enforce an 8–hour workday.

When the pogroms started throughout Jewish villages in Russia in 1905 and the various Jewish factions prepared to stand guard against the murderous mobs, the Stoliner Bund reorganized itself as a militia group. To this end they collected funds from some local donors. All of them gave, some willingly and some under pressure. When the local Zionist organization saw that the Bund's activities strayed from being political to representing the safekeeping of the Jewish population, they demanded that there be a joint effort between both groups and it should perform as on Jewish–interest group. But the Bund leaders, who by that time had collected a sizeable sum of money from most of the town, did not agree, and when no agreement was found, the Zionists organized their own militia to protect the Jewish population.

Many details of that era were forgotten, but one will never be erased from memory: the Bund did not succeed in getting money from some townsfolk, and they wanted to scare them into pledging. What did they do? They sent one of the burly members, Todrus the coachman, to the Bais Medrash and during the prayers he shot at the ceiling with his pistol… Pandemonium broke out and the event became known to the authorities. This event left its mark amongst the various classes in town outside of the Bund, and it angered the other faction.

Meanwhile, an order arrived from the local governor in Pinsk to the “Paristov” in Stolin, to keep a close watch on the youth who are persuaded by the revolutionaries [read: the Jews], and he started searching for the suspects. According to reports he obtained, he carried out searches in a few Jewish households. As it is, any Jewish youth was already a suspect in his eyes, and although he was naturally easygoing, even with the Jews, here he felt it his duty to spy on the town's youth. In the end he succeeded in tracing the party affiliation of a few men and he arrested the brothers Yitzchak and Shimon Rosenberg (sons of Mendel and Zlatke Rosenberg) and after that another two young, local workers. The arrestees were held in Pinsk and after two months they were exiled to Siberia for two years, according to the administrative verdict. Due to the panic that the arrests caused, some Bund members left Stolin, some even travled as far as America, and from then on the Bund in Stolin began to wither.

Among the ant–Bund factions in Stolin were listed not only the Zionists, but also “Poalei Tzion”, who's numbers were not large, and also the Socialist Zionists, who didn't either have a very large group, but the main rift with the Bund was with the Zionists.

It is worth mentioning that the Zionists succeeded in turning a few Bundists into Zionists. One of them, Zelig Stoliar, a carpenter by trade, was even from the three first Zionists who emigrated to Israel in 1906.

At the end of 8–9 years, when the Russian Revolution broke out, the remains of the Bundists awoke, came out of hiding and joined ranks with the carriers of the Red flag, singing the “International”. All the young people who had joined various revolutionary factions joined flag bearers of those groups and celebrated their liberation from Czarist Russia. They were represented in Stolin as the “Leftists” and “Yiddishists”. But within a short amount of time, the Communist ideology spread among the youth, and it wiped away all traces of the Bund ever since.

With the arrival of hard times, civil war and regime change, there was once again no time for politics, for life itself was in danger. Only once the Polish government and the parties and factions reared their heads anew, did the last of the Bundists arrive in Stolin and brought with them some of the young generation, to name a few: Dovid Yoshfeh, Hershel Millman, Gedalya Millman, Moshe Nudelman, Banda Pilyasnyuk, Avraham Asher Krugman, Dovid Chaim Frankel and others. They re–instated the Bund and marched under its flag; they even succeeded in electing a few members in the local magistrate, who represented the working class.

When the Soviet government took over in 1939, they disbanded the Bund and exiled some of its leaders to Siberia.


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