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A Yevsektsiya[1] (Russian: евсекция[2], IPA: [jɪfˈsʲektsɨjə]; Yiddish: יעווסעקציע) was a Jewish section of the Soviet Communist Party. These sections were established in fall of 1918 with consent of Vladimir Lenin to carry communist revolution to the Jewish masses.[3] The Yevsektsiya published a Yiddish periodical, der Emes.[4]


The Yevsektsiya sought to draw Jewish workers into the revolutionary organisations; chairman Semyon Dimanstein, at the first conference in October 1918, pointed out that, "when the October revolution came, the Jewish workers had remained totally passive ... and a large part of them were even against the revolution. The revolution did not reach the Jewish street. Everything remained as before".[5]


The Yevsektsiya remained fairly isolated from both the Jewish intelligentsia and working class.[4] The sections were staffed mostly by Jewish ex-members of the Bund, which eventually joined the Soviet Communist Party as the Kombund in 1921,[3] and the United Jewish Socialist Workers Party.[6]

Former elements of the Bund and Faraynigte were historically hostile to Zionism. As they later joined Yevsektsiya, they deemed Russian Zionist organisations to be counter-revolutionary, and critiqued them. Delegates to a Zionist congress in March 1919 complained about administrative harassment of their activities - not from government agencies, but from Jewish communists.[6] At the Yevsektsiya's second conference in July 1919, it demanded that the Zionist organizations be dissolved.[6] After an appeal from the Zionists, the All-Russian Central Executive Committee issued a decree in that the Zionist organisation was not counter-revolutionary and its activities should not be disrupted.[4] The campaign continued, however. In 1920, the first All-Russian Zionist Congress was disrupted by members of the Cheka and a female representative of the Yevsektsiya.[7] At its third conference in July 1921, the Yevsektsiya demanded the "total liquidation" of Zionism.[6]

According to Richard Pipes, "in time, every Jewish cultural and social organization came under assault".[3] The section in Rostov-on-Don persecuted local Jewish leaders, both Zionist and religious, and especially the sixth Chabad rebbe Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn[8]

The Yevsektsiya attempted to use its influence to cut off state funds to Habima Theatre, branding it counter-revolutionary.[4] The theatre left Russia to go on tour in 1926, before settling in Mandatory Palestine in 1928 to become Israel's national theatre.[9]


The Yevsektsia were disbanded as no longer needed in 1929. Many leading members were murdered during the Great Purge of the late 1930s, including Chairman Dimanstein.[3] Executed in 1938, he was posthumously rehabilitated in 1955, two years after the death of Joseph Stalin.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Also romanized Evsektsiya.
  2. ^ A syllabic abbreviation for Jewish section (Russian: Еврейская секция).
  3. ^ a b c d Pipes, Richard, Russia Under the Bolshevik Regime, New York: Vintage Books, Random House Inc., 1995, ISBN 0-394-50242-6, page 363
  4. ^ a b c d Shindler, Colin (2012). Israel and the European Left. New York: Continuum. p. 30.
  5. ^ Gilboa, Jehoshua A. A Language Silenced: The Suppression of Hebrew Literature and Culture in the Soviet Union. Rutherford [N.J.]: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 1982. p. 282
  6. ^ a b c d Nora Levin (1 January 1991). Jews in the Soviet Union Since 1917: Paradox of Survival. NYU Press. p. 89. ISBN 978-0-8147-5051-3.
  7. ^ Rafaeli (Tsentsiper), Aryeh (1956). במאבק לגאולה Ba-ma'ava·k li-ge'ulah: sefer ha-Tsiyonut ha-Rusit mi-mahpekhat 1917 ad yamenu, In the Struggle for Redemption: Book of Russian Zionism from. 1917 until our times ]. Hotsaat Dvir ve-Iyonot, Tel Aviv. p. 211.
  8. ^ "With the establishment of Soviet authority, the local Yevsektsiia in the 1920s promoted the closure of Jewish institutions; it also persecuted Zionist and religious leaders, above all, Yosef Yitsḥak Shneerson."
  9. ^ Politzer, Heinz (August 1948). "Habimah in New York: A Great Theater Enters a New Period". Commentary Magazine. Retrieved 2017-03-06.
  10. ^ Leon, A., "The Jewish Question" 1970, Pathfinder Press, New York, p. 1 - 26
  11. ^ Trotsky, L., "The Russian Revolution," 1959, Doubleday, New York

Further reading[edit]

  • Gitelman, Zvi. Jewish Nationality and Soviet Politics: The Jewish Sections of the CPSU, Princeton, 1972.
  • Dubnow, Simon. History of the Jews in Russia and Poland from the earliest times until the present day in three volumes, updated by author in 1938.
  • Дубнов, Семён Маркович. Новейшая история еврейского народа (1789—1914) в 3х томах. (С эпилогом 1938 г.). Иерусалим-Москва, Мосты культуры, 2002. (in Russian)
  • Костырченко, Геннадий. Тайная политика Сталина. Власть и антисемитизм. Москва, 2001.
  • Евреи в Советской России (1917—1967). Иерусалим, Библиотека-Алия, 1975. (in Russian)

External links[edit]