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Liber, Marc


LIBER, MARC (pseudonym of Michael Goldman ; 1880–1937), leader of the *Bund, born in Vilna. Liber's father, Isaac, a Hebrew poet and a Ḥovev Zion, did not provide his children with a Jewish education. All became active in the revolutionary movement. The eldest son, Boris (Gorev), was active in the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party, and Leon (Akim) was a founder of the Bund and later one of its opponents and an active Menshevik; of the sisters, Olga joined the Social Democrats and Julia became a Bundist. At secondary school Liber made contact with Lithuanian Social Democratic circles and became friendly with Feliks Dzerzhinski, the future head of the "Cheka." From 1900 he was active in the Bund, appearing as an extremist representative of its national wing in the fourth congress of the Bund (1901), and its chief spokesman at the second congress of the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party (1903). He was later attacked by Lenin. An excellent speaker, Liber became one of the most popular leaders of the Bund. He was among the less doctrinaire members of the Bund who supported its return to the Social Democratic Labor Party (1906), and was elected to its central committee. In the revolution of 1905 he represented the Bund in the Workers' Soviet in St. Petersburg. In 1906 he went on behalf of the Bund to the United States. Belonging to the wing of the party which regarded legal activities within the framework of the law as its most important task during the period of reaction in Russia, he took part in legal and open activities in Vilna. In 1910 he was imprisoned for political activities and escaped abroad, returning in 1914 to St. Petersburg. He was among those in favor of defending Russia during the war ("Oborontsy"). In 1915 he was again arrested and not freed until after the February Revolution of 1917. During the period of the Kerensky government Liber became prominent as leader of the rightist Mensheviks and the Bund, which he represented at the executive of the Petrograd Soviet. Even after the October 1917 Revolution he actively opposed the Bolsheviks. He was imprisoned in 1923 and spent the rest of his life in exile. Seriously ill and crippled, he was executed during the purges of November 1937.


J.S. Hertz (ed.), Doyres Bundistn, 1 (1956), 196–225; idem et al. (eds.), Geshikhte fun Bund, 3 (1966), index; I. Getzler, Martov; a Political Biography of a Russian Social Democrat (1967), index.

[Moshe Mishkinsky]

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