Alter, Victor

views updated


ALTER, VICTOR (1890–1941), leader of the *Bund in Poland. Alter was born in Mlawa, Poland, into a wealthy ḥasidic family. He graduated as an engineer in 1910, in Liège, Belgium. In 1912 he became active in the Bund in Warsaw. Exiled to Siberia for his political activities, he later escaped. During World War i, Alter found employment in England, as a laborer and then as an engineer. He returned to Poland after the February Revolution in 1917 and became a member of the central committee of the Bund. Between 1919 and 1939 Alter was one of the prominent leaders of the Bund and Jewish trade unions in Poland. He was a Warsaw city councilor for almost 20 years, and after 1936 a member of the board of the Jewish community. After the Germans invaded Poland in September 1939, Alter escaped to the Russian-occupied zone. However, he was soon arrested with his associate, Henryk Erlich. They were both executed on December 4, 1941, in Kuibyshev. Alter wrote Tsu der Yidnfrage in Poiln ("The Jewish Problem in Poland," 1927) and Anti-semitizm w Swietle Cyfr ("Anti-Semitism in the Light of Statistics," 1937).


lnyl, 1 (1956), 95 ff.; American Representation of General Jewish Workers Union of Poland, The Case of Henryk Erlich and Victor Alter (1943).

[Ezekiel Lifschutz]