SIMON DUBNOWNovember 6, 2006 at 3:34 am | Posted in Books, Globalization, History, Israel, Judaica, Literary, Philosophy, Zionism | Leave a comment
Shimon Meyerovich Dubnow to a large poor family in the Belarusian town of Mstislavl (Mahilyow region), after receiving a traditional Jewish education in a heder and a yeshiva, he entered into a kazyonnoe yevreyskoe uchilishche (state Jewish school) where he learned the Russian language. Simon was unable to graduate because these institutions were soon eliminated by a Tsarist ukase (see May Laws), and he had to pursue his interests in history, philosophy, and linguistics by educating himself. He was particularly fascinated by Heinrich Graetz and the Wissenschaft des Judentums movement.
In 1880 he used forged documents to move to St Petersburg, which was officially out of reach: a rare exception to the obligation to settle in large cities was made only to “useful Jews“, such as registered prostitutes, former cantonists, or very wealthy merchants (see Pale of Settlement).
Soon Dubnow’s publications appeared in the press, including the leading Russian–Jewish magazine Voskhod. In 1890, during the expulsion of Jews from the capital city, Dubnow was forced to leave. He settled in Odessa and continued to publish studies of Jewish life and history, coming to be regarded an authority in these areas.
Dubnow actively participated in contemporary social and political life in the Russian Empire. He called for modernizing Jewish education, organizing Jewish self-defense (see Pogrom), and for equal rights, including the right to vote.
In 1906 he was allowed back to St Petersburg, where he founded and directed Jewish Literature and Historical-Etnographic society and edited the Jewish Encyclopedia. In the same year, he founded the Folkspartei (Jewish People’s Party), which successfully worked for the election of MPs and municipal councillors in interwar Lithuania and Poland. After 1917 Dubnow became Professor of Jewish history in Petrograd University.
In August 1933, after Adolf Hitler came to power, Dubnow moved to Riga, Latvia. Nazi troops occupied Riga in July 1941, and Dubnow, with thousands of other Jews, was transferred to the Riga ghetto.
According to the few survivors, Dubnow repeated to ghetto inhabitants: “Yidn, shreibt un fershreibt” (Yiddish: “Jews, write and record”).
Dubnow was ambivalent toward Zionism, and completely rejected assimilation. He believed that the future survival of the Jews as a nation depended on their spiritual and cultural strength, and self-rule in the diaspora. This ideology became known as Jewish Autonomism, and was adopted in various versions in the platforms of some Jewish parties such as the Bund, but after the Holocaust has lost its popularity and practically disappeared from Jewish philosophy.
Life and writings of Simon Dubnow book by Sophia Dubnow-Erlich
- History of the Jewish people
(original in German: Weltgeschichte des Jüdischen Volkes, in 10 volumes, 1929)
- The newest history of the Jewish people, 1789–1914
(Die neueste Geschichte des Jüdischen Volkes, in three volumes, updated in 1938.)
- A History of Hassidism
(Geschichte des Chassidismus), 1888.
- Jewish history textbook
in 3 volumes, 1901
- My life, Berlin, 1937
- Works by Simon Dubnow at Project Gutenberg
- The Doctrine of Jewish Nationalism, By Simon Dubnow
- The Jews As A Spiritual Nationality in the Midst of Political Nations, By Simon Dubnow
- The Ethics of Nationalism, By Simon Dubnow
- Autonomism, The Basis of The National Program, By Simon Dubnow
- On National Education, By Simon Dubnow
- Reality and Fantasy In Zionism, By Simon Dubnow
- The Jewish Nationality Now and in The Future, By Simon Dubnow
- The Affirmation of The Diaspora, By Simon Dubnow
- A Historic Moment, By Simon Dubnow
- The Moral of Stormy Days, By Simon Dubnow
- THe Moral of Stormy Days continued
- On The Supremacy of National Politics In The Life of An Oppressed Nationality, By Simon Dubnow
- On The Tasks of The Folspartay, By Simon Dubnow
- The Emancipation Movement and The Emigration Movement, By Simon Dubnow
- Negation and Affirmation of The Diaspora in Ahad Haam’s Thought, By Simon Dubnow