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Jewish Labour Bund
Ac.manif1917.jpgאַלגעמײַנער ײדישער אַרבעטער בּונד אין ליטע פוילין און רוסלאַנד

1890s to World War I
Russia · Austria-Hungary

Interwar years and World War II
Belarus · Latvia · Lithuania · Poland · Romania · Soviet Union

After 1945
International Jewish Labor Bund
Branches: Australia · France · Israel · United Kingdom

Viktor Alter · Henryk Ehrlich · Esther Frumkin · Vladimir Medem · Noah Meisel · Anna Rozental · Szmul Zygielbojm

Arbeiter Fragen · Arbeiterstimme · Der yidisher arbeyter · Folkstsaytung · Lodzer veker

Associated organisations
Klain Bund · Kultur Lige · Morgnshtern · S.K.I.F. · Tsukunft · Tsukunft shturem

Splinter groups
Communist Bund (Poland) · Communist Bund (Russia) · Communist Bund (Ukraine) · Komtsukunft

Bundism · Jewish history · Socialist parties

Bundism is a Jewish socialist and secular movement, which originates from the General Jewish Labour Bund founded in the Russian empire in 1897. Bundism was an important component of the social democratic movement in the Russian empire until it was violently suppressed by the Communist party after the Russian revolution of 1917. The Bundist movement continued to exist as a political party in independent Poland prior to the holocaust (the Polish Bund) when many of its members were killed. After the Second World War, the International Jewish Labor Bund was founded.





The Bund was a trade union as well as a political party, it had for initial purpose the organisation of the Russian Jewish proletariate.


Though a staunchly secularist party, the Bund took part in the kehillot elections.


The Bund also promoted the use of Yiddish as a Jewish national language[1] and to some extent opposed the Zionist project of reviving Hebrew.[2]


The doykayt (litt. "hereness", Yiddish doy = German da, Yiddish -kayt = German -keit) concept is central to the Bundist ideology.

National-cultural autonomism

The Bund did not advocate separatism, focusing on culture, not a state or a place, as the glue of Jewish "nationalism." In this they borrowed extensively from the Austro-Marxist concept of National personal autonomy, further alienating the Bolsheviks and Lenin.

In a 1904 text, Social democracy and the national question, Vladimir Medem exposed his version of this concept:[3][4]

"Let us consider the case of a country composed of several national groups, e.g. Poles, Lithuanians and Jews. Each national group would create a separate movement. All citizens belonging to a given national group would join a special organisation that would hold cultural assemblies in each region and a general cultural assembly for the whole country. The assemblies would be given financial powers of their own: either each national group would be entitled to raise taxes on its members, or the state would allocate a proportion of its overall budget to each of them. Every citizen of the state would belong to one of the national groups, but the question of which national movement to join would be a matter of personal choice and no authority would have any control over his decision. The national movements would be subject to the general legislation of the state, but in their own areas of responsibility they would be autonomous and none of them would have the right to interfere in the affairs of the others".[5]

Opposition to Zionism

Before the creation of the State of Israel

The Bund eventually came to strongly oppose Zionism,[6] arguing that emigration to Palestine was a form of escapism. After the 1936 Warsaw kehilla elections, Henryk Ehrlich created an incident by accusing the Zionist leaders Yitzhak Gruenbaum and Ze'ev Jabotinsky as responsible for recent antisemitic agitation in Poland by their campaign urging Jewish emigration from Poland.[7]

After 1947

A Bundist chapter was created in Israel in 1951, the Arbeter-ring in Yisroel - Brith Haavoda, it even took part to the 1959 Knesset elections, with a very low electoral result.

The 1955 Montreal Third world conference of the International Jewish Labor Bund decided that the creation of the Jewish state was an important event in the Jewish history. The state might play a positive role in the Jewish life but a few necessary changes were needed. The participants of the conference demanded:

  • a) the authorities of Israel should treat the state as a property of the Jews of all the world
  • b) but it would mean that the affairs of Jewish community in Israel should be subordinate to the affairs of the world Jewry.
  • c) the policy of the state of Israel would be the same towards all citizens regardless their nationality.
  • d) Israel should tend to peace relationships with Arabs. It required to stop a territorial expansion of Israel and bring a solution of the problem of Palestinian refugees.
  • e) the Yiddish should be taught at all education institutions and would get all rights in the public life.[8]

Bundist members of parliaments or governments


  1. ^ David E. Fishman, The rise of modern Yiddish culture, Univ of Pittsburgh Press, 2005, pg. 49
  2. ^ Mordecai Schreiber, Alvin I. Schiff, Leon Klenicki, The Shengold Jewish Encyclopedia, Schreiber Pub., 2003, pg. 56
  3. ^ Yiddish: Medem, V. 1943. “Di sotsial-demokratie un di natsionale frage” (1904). Vladimir Medem: Tsum tsvantsikstn yortsayt. New York: New York: Der Amerikaner Reprezentants fun Algemeynem Yidishn Arbeter-Bund (‘Bund’) in Poyln, pp. 173-219.
  4. ^ Gechtman, Roni (December 2008). "National-Cultural Autonomy and ‘Neutralism’: Vladimir Medem’s Marxist Analysis of the National Question, 1903-1920". Socialist Studies (Thompson, Manitoba: Society for Socialist Studies) III (1). ISSN 19182821. Retrieved 2009-12-02.  
  5. ^ Plassereaud, Yves (May 2000). "Choose Your Own Nationality or The Forgotten History of Cultural Autonomy" (in English, transl. from French). Le Monde diplomatique (Paris).  
  6. ^ Walter Laqueur, A history of Zionism, Tauris Parke Paperbacks, 2003, pg. 273
  7. ^ Bacon, Gershon C. (1996). The politics of tradition. Agudat Yisrael in Poland 1916-1939. Studies on Polish Jewry. Jerusalem: The Magnes Press, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. pp. 331. ISBN 9652239623.  , pp.200, 220-222
  8. ^ Grabsky, August (August 10, 2005). "The Anti-Zionism of the Bund (1947-1972)". Workers' Liberty. Retrieved 2009-11-10.  
  9. ^ Bunyan, James; Fisher, Harold Henry (1934). The Bolshevik revolution, 1917-1918: documents and materials. Stanford University Press. pp. 735. ISBN 9780804703444.  
  10. ^ General Secretariat of the Central Rada



In English

  • Yosef Gorni, Converging alternatives: the Bund and the Zionist Labor Movement, 1897-1985, SUNY Press, 2006, ISBN 9780791466599
  • Jonathan Frankel, Jewish politics and the Russian Revolution of 1905, Tel-Aviv, Tel Aviv University, 1982 (21 pages)
  • Jonathan Frankel, Prophecy and politics: socialism, nationalism, and the Russian Jews, 1862-1917, Cambridge University Press, 1984, ISBN 9780521269193
  • Jack Lester Jacobs (ed.), Jewish Politics in Eastern Europe : The Bund at 100, Zydowski Instytut Historyczny—Instytut Naukowo-Badawczy, New York, New York University Press, may 2001, ISBN 0-8147-4258-0
  • Jack Lester Jacobs, Bundist Counterculture in Interwar Poland, Syracuse University Press, 2009, ISBN 0815632266
  • Bernard K. Johnpoll, The politics of futility. The General Jewish Workers Bund of Poland, 1917-1943, Ithaca, New York, Cornell University Press, 1967
  • N. Levin, While Messiah tarried : Jewish socialist movements, 1871-1917, New York, Schocken Books, 1977, ISBN 9780805206166
  • N. Levin, Jewish socialist movements, 1871-1917 : while Messiah tarried, London, Routledge & K. Paul (Distributed by Oxford University Press), 1978, ISBN 9780710089137
  • Y. Peled, Class and ethnicity in the pale: the political economy of Jewish workers' nationalism in late Imperial Russia, New York, St. Martin's Press, 1989, ISBN 9780333412558
  • Antony Polonsky, "The Bund in Polish Political Life, 1935-1939", in: Ezra Mendelsohn (ed.), Essential Papers on Jews and the Left, New York, New York University Press, 1997
  • C. Belazel Sherman, Bund, Galuth nationalism, Yiddishism, Herzl Institute Pamphlet no.6, New York, 1958, ASIN B0006AVR6U
  • Henry Tobias, The origins and evolution of the Jewish Bund until 1901, Ann Arbor (Michigan), University Microfilms, 1958
  • Henry Tobias, The Jewish Bund in Russia from Its Origins to 1905, Stanford, Stanford University Press, 1972
  • Enzo Traverso, From Moses to Marx - The Marxists and the Jewish question: History of a debate 1843-1943, New Jersey, Humanities Press, 1996 (review)
  • A.K. Wildman, Russian and Jewish social democracy, Bloomington, Indiana University Press, 1973

In French

  • Daniel Blatman, Notre liberté et La Vôtre - Le Mouvement ouvrier juif Bund en Pologne, 1939-1949, 2002, ISBN 2-204-06981-7 (French review)
  • Alain Brossat, Le Yiddishland révolutionnaire, Paris, Balland, 1983 ISBN 2-7158-0433-4
  • Élie Eberlin, Juifs russes : le Bund et le sionisme. Un voyage d'étude., Paris, Cahiers de la quinzaine (6e cahier de la 6e série), 1904, 155 pages ASIN B001C9XEME
  • Vladimir Medem, Ma vie, Paris, Champion, 1969 (Memories of a Bund leader)
  • Henri Minczeles, "La résistance du Bund en France pendant l'occupation", Le Monde juif 51:154 (1995) : 138-53
  • Henri Minczeles, Histoire générale du Bund, Un mouvement révolutionnaire juif, Éditions Denoël, Paris, 1999, ISBN 2-207-24820-8
  • Claudie Weill, Les cosmopolites - Socialisme et judéité en Russie (1897-1917), Paris, Éditions Syllpse, Collection "Utopie critique", févr. 2004, ISBN 2-84797-080-0 (presentation)
  • Enzo Traverso, De Moïse à Marx - Les marxistes et la question juive, Paris, Kimé, 1997
  • Union progressiste des Juifs de Belgique, 100ème anniversaire du Bund. Actes du Colloque, Minorités, Démocratie, Diasporas, Bruxelles, UPJB, 1997, ISSN 0770-5476
  • Nathan Weinstock, Le Pain de misère, Histoire du mouvement ouvrier juif en Europe - L'empire russe jusqu'en 1914, Paris, La Découverte, 2002, (Vol. I) ISBN 2-7071-3810-X
  • Nathan Weinstock, Le Pain de misère, Histoire du mouvement ouvrier juif en Europe - L'Europe centrale et occidentale jusqu'en 1945, Paris, La Découverte, (Vol. II) ISBN 2-7071-3811-8
  • movie: Nat Lilenstein (Dir.), Les Révolutionnaires du Yiddishland, 1983, Kuiv productions & A2 (French review)

In German

  • Arye Gelbard, Der judische Arbeiter-Bund Russlands im Revolutionsjahr 1917, Wien : Europaverlag, 1982 (Materialien zur Arbeiterbewegung ; Nr. 26), ISBN 9783203508245
  • Gertrud Pickhan, "Gegen den Strom". Der Allgemeine Jüdische Arbeiterbund, "Bund" in Polen, 1918-1939, Stuttgart/Munich, DVA, 2001, 445 p. (Schriftenreihe des Simon-Dubnow-Instituts, Leipzig), ISBN 3421054770 (French review)


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