Józef Unszlicht

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Józef Unszlicht
(June 1930)

Józef Unszlicht or Iosif Stanislavovich Unshlikht (Russian: Ио́сиф Станисла́вович У́ншлихт; nicknames "Jurowski", "Leon") (December 31 [O.S. 19 December] 1879 - July 28, 1938) was a Bolshevik revolutionary activist, one of the founders of the Cheka, and Soviet government official of Polish extraction from the Masovian region. Unszlicht participated in and in fact initiated some of the worst excesses of the Bolshevik revolution including mass murders of political opponents. In 1924, he was replaced by Genrikh Yagoda who continued and amplified Unszlicht's previous policies.

A member of Social Democracy of the Kingdom of Poland and Lithuania from 1900 and the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party from 1906 (following their merger), Unszlicht took part in Vladimir Lenin's October Revolution and in 1918 joined the Red Army.


Unszlicht was born in a Polish family in Mława, Płock Governorate. In 1919 he served briefly as an authority in Lithuania and Belarus, and in 1920 joined the Politburo of the Communist Party. During the Polish-Soviet War in August 1920 he became a member of Provisional Polish Revolutionary Committee, the Bolshevist puppet government of Poland in Białystok.

His brother, Julian, was a journalist who "fought against the socialist movement in general and especially against Jewish involvement in it."[1] In later years, Julian converted to Catholicism and joined the priesthood.[1]

Józef Unszlicht was arrested in 1937, during the Great Purge, and executed in 1938 on a shooting range in Moscow Oblast. He was rehabilitated in 1956.


  1. ^ a b Hoffman, Stefani, and Ezra Mendelsohn. The Revolution of 1905 and Russia's Jews. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2008. ISBN 0-8122-4064-2, ISBN 978-0-8122-4064-1 P. 283.

External links[edit]