Friedman, Naphtali

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FRIEDMAN, NAPHTALI (1863–1921), Jewish deputy to the Russian *Duma (parliament). Born in Shaulai (Shavli), Lithuania, after graduating in law at the University of St. Petersburg Friedman practiced in Ponevezh, Lithuania. In 1907 he was elected to the Third Duma for the district of Kovno. He joined the Kadets (Russian Constitutional Democratic Party), taking an active part in the committees of the Duma, and with the other Jewish delegate L. *Nisselovich several times defended the Jews from attacks by the antisemitic deputies. Many Jews and non-Jews were impressed by his defense of the Jewish victims of the pogroms at the end of the 1880s. Friedman was also elected to the Fourth Duma (1912) where he continued to represent the interests of Russian Jewry with the two other Jewish delegates, M. Bomash and E. Gurewich. After the outbreak of World War i, Friedman joined with the representatives of the other national minorities in declaring that the Jews were ready to fight alongside the rest of the Russian peoples for victory. Friedman combated the allegations of Jewish treason trumped up by military circles in an attempt to cover up their defeats at the front. After the February Revolution of 1917 he cooperated for a while with the provisional government, but after the October Revolution he returned to Lithuania and practiced law in Panevezys. He was elected to the founding Parliament of independent Lithuania. He died in a health resort in Germany.


M. Sudarski et al. (eds.), Lite (Yid., 1951), 1411–18.

[Yehuda Slutsky /

Shmuel Spector (2nd ed.)]