Wiktor Alter

(1890-1943), pseud. Lorman Publicist, Bund party leader and theoretician.

Born in Mlawa to a Chasidic family. Educated in Belgium, where in 1910 he graduated with a degree in mechanical engineering. Associated with the Bund since 1905, it was only after his return from Belgium to Poland in 1912 that he began to be more seriously engaged in politics. As a result, he was arrested by the Russians and exiled to Siberia (1913-14), from where he escaped to Belgium. During the First World War, he was in England.

Alter opposed Bund's joining the Communist International, and in 1930 helped bring about its membership in the Socialist Workers' International. Together with H. Erlich, he became one of its leaders. He often represented the party as a member of the Warsaw City Council, and from 1936 was a member of the board of the Warsaw Jewish Religious Community. During the years 1921-1939, he represented Jewish trade unions in the Central Commission of Trade Unions, and also on the international scene, such as in the International Federation of Trade Unions in Amsterdam.

He was in Russia during the 1917 revolution, where in December of that year he was elected to the Bund's Central Committee at its congress in Petrograd. In late 1918, he returned to Poland, where he represented the Bund in the Warsaw Council of Workers' Representatives. He was already accused of collaborating with the socialist revolutionaries in 1921 at the Third International in Moscow. He was arrested, and subsequently expelled.

After the Second World War broke out, he left for the east along with some of the Bund's Central Committee. There, he was arrested by the NKVD in Kovel in 1939. A year later, he was sentenced to death; his sentence was then commuted to ten years in a camp. After an agreement concluded between W. Sikorski and the Soviet government in 1941, he was released as the result of an amnesty. As an envoy of the Polish Embassy, he went to Sverdlovsk (now known as Ekaterinburg). In December 1941, he was arrested again along with H. Erlich. He refused to collaborate with the Soviet authorities, for which he was shot on February 17, 1943.

He was associated with several newspapers: Gazeta Ludowa (People's Newspaper), Pismo Codzienne (Daily Newspaper) and Mysl Socjalistyczna (Socialist Thought). He published many articles and other writings, of which the most important are: O problemie zydowskim w Polsce (On the Jewish Problem in Poland, 1927), Antysemityzm gospodarczy w swietle cyfr (Economic Anti-Semitism in Numbers, 1937), Czlowiek w spoleczenstwie (Man in Society, 1938).

Artists and Writers
Between Zionism and Assimilation
Industrialists, Pioneers in Business
Rabbis and Tzaddikim
Tragedy of the Twentieth Century
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