KULTUR-LIGE ("Culture League"), a Yiddish organization, created in Kiev in January 1918, when the Ukraine enjoyed its short-lived independence, with national-personal autonomy declared for the country's Russian, Jewish, and Polish population. The league was conceived as a supraparty body whose aim was to construct and promote a new Jewish culture, based on Yiddish and secular democratic values. Among its founders were the Kiev Yiddish activists Dovid *Bergelson, Yekhezkel *Dobrushin, Moshe *Litvakov, and Nakhman *Mayzel. The league epitomized the idea of Jewish national-cum-cultural survival as an extraterritorial, autonomous Yiddish-speaking nation. The league was headed by its Central Committee and realized its trend-setting projects through the following sections: educational, publishing, library, musical, theatrical, literary, artistic, archival, and statistical. Thanks to scores of its local branches, it monopolized virtually all Yiddish cultural activities in the Ukraine and continued opening its chapters in other countries. In December 1920, the league's Central Committee was liquidated by a decree of the Kiev Province Revolutionary Committee. In its place there was appointed an Executive Committee dominated by communists. In the Soviet environment, the league's numerous successful programs were gradually reduced to activities of a publishing house, which existed until 1931. In December 1921 an attempt was made to reregister the league as an organization with headquarters in Moscow and "chief committees" in Kiev and Minsk. The (aborted) application was signed by Litvakov, Maria *Frumkin (alias Esther), Mikhl Levitan, Aleksei Granovskii, and Josef Bregman. Outside the Soviet Union, culture leagues were opened in such towns as Warsaw, Vilna, Bialystok, Grodno, Paris, Amsterdam, and Berlin, some of which survived as significant Yiddish cultural and educational institutions until the beginning of World War ii.
H. Kazovsky, The Artists of the Kultur-Lige (2003); G. Estraikh, In Harness (2005), index.
[Gennady Estraikh (2nd ed.)]