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Alexander Rosenblum

Alexander Rosenblum

Alexander Rosenblum

Alexander Rosenblum

Alexander Rosenblum


Taken a hundred years ago, this old picture shows the Eisenstadt brothers: Shmuel, Yitzhak, Borukh, Eliyagu and Abraham (right to left by age, beginning with the eldest). They are my fellow countrymen since they were born in my native Borisov, into the family of one of the pioneers of the Russian Zionism, Josef Eisenstadt. He worked as a regular insurance agent, but his social activity was notable for its scale far beyond the city. But for his wide charitable activity and reports on burning issues in the Jewish press, Josef-Meer was also an activist of the Zionist movement. In 1884, he was elected delegate to the Zionist Congress in Silesia where the “Hibbat Zion” foundation was created. Another well-known episode from his life is worthy of attention: after marriage he spent quite a substantial dowry for the organization and support of a crafts training school for children from poor families.

Josef’s sons also became distinguished.

His great granddaughter, Maria Arbatova, the famous Moscow-based writer, helped me to trace the life paths of the five brothers.

Shmuel studied Law at the University of Bern, took Doctor’s degree, then Professor’s. He worked in different countries. Shmuel took an active part in the revolution of 1905. He wrote poems in support of the revolution which were distributed illegally. In 1916, he created a Jewish library department with over 50 thousand books in the Rumyantsev museum in Moscow (now the National Library of Russia). He headed the department for eight years. In 1925, he went to Palestine and worked at a university. He was an advocate of the left wing. After the formation of the State of Israel he joined the Arab Minority Rights Protection Committee. His numerous writings are devoted to rights and working movement. He’s the author of the notes about his native city “My Belarusian Home in the 1990s” published in Warsaw in 1956. He died in Tel-Aviv in 1970. The Lavon Institute for the Study of the Labor Movement in Tel-Aviv keeps his memorial study with a large portrait

The second brother, Yitzhak, was a man of wide outlook and deep knowledge. He was educated in philosophy in Switzerland. Having moved to France, Yitzhak got education in electrical engineering and mathematics. For some tome he worked at power stations. He was acquainted with Maxim Gorky and visited him on the Isle of Capri. In 1920, he was employed in printing department at Comintern, and further became a sci-tech literature editor. He worked for the editorial staff of a number of journals. He is the author of many articles written under pseudonym Igor Gorsky.

The third bother Borukh’s life was short. He was a doctor, a research worker in children and teenager health care. But simple occupation didn’t save him from GULAG. The authorities remembered that during World War I he was in captivity. That was enough to accuse him of espionage and shoot in 1937. He was only 47.

Interesting is the life of the fourth brother, Eliyagu. In 1914, he left for Palestine, graduated from the School of Oriental Languages where he studied Turkish and Arabic. He was so much absorbed by language studies that he became a polyglot: he knew more than ten languages. After his return to the USSR, he graduated from the Timiryazev Agricultural Academy with the purpose to use his knowledge in his historic homeland. But he was not allowed to go there.

The youngest Abraham, who went to Palestine in 1914 together with Eliyagu, didn’t wish to return home. He started up an orange growing farm, made a fortune and lived to be 80.

There was time when the Eisenstadts were known to everyone in Borisov. Today, the family is forgotten, but it does deserve to be told about in a long book. However, such a book was written in 1999, titled “Man of Vision and Action”. No one will read it in Borisov, since no one speaks Yiddish, but Maria Arbatova intends to publish a narrative about her relatives in Russian.

Jewish settlements in Minsk region

MinskBerezinoBobrBorisov DolginovoDukoraDzerzhinsk Ivenets Myadel NesvizhObchuga Pogost Rakov Seliba Slutsk Svir Uhvaly Vileika

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