[Yiddish, Algemeyner Yidisher Arbeter Bund in Lite, Poyln un Rusland, General Jewish Workers' Union of Lithuania, Poland, and Russia] - A party founded in 1897 in Wilno (Vilna, Vilnius). At first, it took part in underground activities in the Russian partition. In 1906, it became an autonomous section of the Social Democratic Workers' Party of Russia, from which it split off during the First World War. In 1919, it was banned in Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia.

In 1930, it joined the Socialist Workers' International. The Bund's program supported a Jewish form of social democracy. The Bund saw the Jews as a diaspora-deprived of their own territory, but having their own culture. It opposed the domination of both the Orthodox Jews and the Zionist program of emigration and the creation of a national homeland outside of Europe. It proposed the introduction of cultural autonomy in areas inhabited by Jews, advocated secular schools and saw Yiddish as the Jews' national language.
In Poland, there was mass support for the Bund, particularly in the areas of the former Russian partition (during the 1930's, its membership was estimated at 50,000). During the entire interwar period, the party had strong representation in municipal governments, and, during the 1930's, in the Jewish religious Communities as well, although it never sent any representatives to parliament. The trade unions associated with the Bund belonged to the Class Trade Unions. The Bund had its own press: Folkstsaytung [Yiddish, People's Gazette], Yugnt-Veker [Yiddish, Awakener of Youth], Walka [Polish, Struggle] and Biuletyn Informacyjny [Polish, Information Bulletin].

The Bund devoted a great deal of attention to working with youth, and sponsored the following organizations: "Tsukunft" (Yiddish, "Future"), for working-class youth, and "Skif" (Yiddish, Sotsyalistisher Kinder Farband, Socialist Children's Union, founded in 1926) - for school-age children. In addition, there was also a Bund woman's organization, YAF [Yiddish, "Yidishe Arbeter-Froy", "The Jewish Working Woman"] and the "Morgenshtern" sports club [Yiddish, "Morning Star"]. Leading Bund members included W. Alter, A. Blum, H. Erlich, J. Leszczynski and S. Zygelbojm.

During the German occupation, the party operated underground, organizing civil and armed resistance in the ghettos, as well as self-help and charity programs. It helped establish the Jewish Coordinating Commission, and participated in the preparations for the Warsaw ghetto uprising. M. Edelman, who was involved with the Bund, assumed leadership of the uprising after the death of M. Anielewicz. Zygelbojm was a member of the National Council with the Polish government-in-exile in London.
After the war, the party's headquarters moved to the United States; in Europe, it remained strong in Paris and Switzerland. In Poland, the Bund backed the policies of the Polish Committee for National Liberation and the Polish National Council. It was a member of the Central Committee of Jews in Poland, and cooperated with the Polish Socialist Party (PPS), from whose list it sent one representative to the Sejm in 1947; the Bund also had several representatives in city councils. In 1949, despite the protests of many of the party's members, the Bund dissolved itself during its congress on January 16, 1949. Most Bundists emigrated.

Although the party's political activities had come to an end, its members continued to engage in cultural undertakings in its centers abroad, creating Yiddish cultural centers, such as the Medem Library in Paris, still in existence today, and the Bund Archives in New York.
(A.C., G.Z./CM)

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