Serhiy Hirik. The Split within the Poale Zion’s Left Wing: Two Versions of Jewish National Communism

The Split within the Poale Zion’s Left Wing: Two Versions of Jewish National Communism

By Serhiy Hirik

[“Encyclopedia Press”; National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy]

Source: Judaica Ukrainica 6 (2017)

Publication date: December 1, 2017

Publication type: article

Language: English

Full text:



The organizations of the Jewish Social Democratic Workers’ Party (Poale Zion) in Ukraine and Belarus have experienced two major splits during the revolutionary events of the 1917–1920. The first of them was a classical form of the division into a left and a right wings. In 1917, the left one was formed although it did not become a separate party then. In 1919, the leaders of the Poale Zion’s right wing, who were sympathetic to the authority of the Ukrainian People’s Republic, had moved to Kamianets-Podilskyi and later to Tarnow in Poland together with the leaders of the Directorate of Ukraine. Unlike them, the representatives of the party’s left wing remained on the territory controlled by the Red Army. These groups received the status of a Soviet party. Thereby their activity in Soviet Ukraine and Belarus became legal. In 1919, the second split took place. The left wing of the JSDWP(PZ) was divided into two groups both considering themselves as leftist. The first one was the Jewish Communist Party (Poale Zion). In 1922, it has merged with the Bolsheviks. The other group has changed its name to the Jewish Communist Workers’ Party (Poale Zion) in 1923 and operated until 1928. These two parties had major ideological distinctions. We trace them in our paper basing on archival sources and the press published by these groups, as well as the documents of the Bolsheviks and some of Ukrainian national communist parties.

Keywords: Ukrainian–Jewish discourses, Poale Zion, Jewish national communism, Jewish Social Democratic Workers’ Party, Jews in Ukraine, Jews in Belarus



Adibekov, Grant M., Zhanna G. Adibekova, Larisa A. Rogovaia, Kirill K. Shirinia, eds. Politbiuro TsK RKP(b)–VKP(b) i Komintern: 1919–1943 gg. Dokumenty. Moscow: ROSSPEN, 2004.

“Dokumenty k istorii ‘raskola.’ ” Ievreiskaia proletarskaia mysl’ 1, 1919.

Fridliand, Tsvi. Kommunisticheskii Internatsional i kommunisticheskii poalei-tsionism. Minsk: Gosudarstvennoie izdatel’stvo Belorussii, 1921.

Gurevitz, Baruch. National Communism in the Soviet Union, 1918–1928. Pittsburg: University of Pittsburg, 1980.

Hirik, Serhiy. “Tsentralizatsiia bez tsentru? Borot’bysts’kyi proekt ‘Federatsii Radians’kykh Respublik.’ ” Kyivs’ka starovyna 4 (2012): 138–148.

“O palestinskoi rabote. Tezisy tob. Abramovicha.” Ievreiskaia proletarskaia mysl’ 6–7, 1919.

Rafes, Moisei. “Ievreiskoie kommunisticheskoie dvizheniie.” Kommunisticheskii Internatsional 9, 1919.

“Rezoliutsiia o nashei palestinskoi deiatel’nosti (t. M. Gerra).” Nakanune 1, 1919.

“Rezoliutsiia o natsional’noi politike (tovarishcha Sholoma).” Nakanune 1, 1919.

“Rezoliutsiia o politicheskom momente (t. t. M. Barngol’tsa i M. Gerra).” Nakanune 1, 1919.

Rubshtein, Bentsion. “K voprosu ob agrarizatsii ievreiskikh mass.” Nakanune 1, 1919.



DOI 10.14653/ju.2017.04