Ginsburg, Saul

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GINSBURG, SAUL (1866–1940), author and historian of Russian Jewry. Born in Minsk, he received a traditional Jewish as well as secular education. He graduated in 1891 from the law faculty of Peterburg University. He was active in the Hovevei Zion movement. Ginsburg became a contributor to Voskhod in 1892, and in 1896 published a historical study in that journal, "Zabytaya epokha" ("A Forgotten Era"), concerning the first Russian-Jewish periodical Razsvet. The following year he began contributing a regular review of the Hebrew press (under the pseudonym of "Ha-Kore") to Voskhod, as well as a literary column, and in 1899 was appointed to the editorial board. Together with P. *Marek he published Yevreyskiye narodnye pesny ("Jewish Folk Songs," 1901), which became a landmark in the study of Jewish folklore. In 1903 Ginsburg established Der Fraynd, the first Yiddish daily in Russia, which played an important role in the development of Yiddish journalism and was noted for its high literary standards. In 1908 Ginsburg left Der Fraynd to devote himself completely to the study of the cultural history of the Jews in Russia. He took part in the historical periodical Perezhitoye (4 vols., 1908–13). In 1913 he published Yevrei i otechestvennaya voyna 1812 goda ("Jews and the War of 1812"), a study of the history of Russian Jews during the Napoleonic Wars, and was a cofounder of the Jewish Literary and Scientific Society (which was closed down by the authorities in 1910). He graduated in 1891 from the law faculty of Peterburg University. When the Bolshevist Revolution broke out, Ginsburg was one of a small group who strove to carry on independent Jewish scientific work under the Soviet regime. From 1922 to 1928 he edited Yevreyskaya mysl ("Jewish Thought") and Yevreyski vestnik ("Jewish Herald"). In this period several of his studies on the history of Russian Jews also appeared in Zukunft, the New York Yiddish monthly. In 1930 Ginsburg left the Soviet Union and was able to take his voluminous archive with him. He first settled in Paris, but moved to New York in 1933. Here the Yiddish daily Forward regularly published his popular historical essays. A collection of his studies, Historishe Verk, appeared in three volumes in 1937-38 with a bibliography by I. Rivkind. Two posthumous volumes were Amolike Peterburg ("Petersburg as It Was," 1944), and Meshumodim in Tsarishn Rusland ("Jewish Apostates in Czarist Russia," 1946). Some of his articles and studies are devoted to personal memoirs.


Rejzen, Leksikon, 1 (1926) 567–72; lnyl, 2 (1958), 227–9.

[Yehuda Slutsky]