Olgin, Moshe J.

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OLGIN, MOSHE J. (adopted name of Moses Joseph Novomisky ; 1878–1939), writer, editor, and translator. Born near Kiev, Olgin studied there. He joined a student revolutionary group which developed in the Kiev branch of the Jewish Labor Bund. After leaving Kiev University in 1904, he lived in Vilna where he joined the editorial board of the Bundist Arbeter Shtime and the legal publication Der Veker. At the end of 1906, Olgin left Russia and settled in Germany, where he studied at the University of Heidelberg. He returned to Russia in 1909 and became active as a teacher and lecturer. In 1913 Olgin moved to Vienna and became the coeditor of the Bundist weekly Di Tsayt which was published in St. Petersburg. In 1914 he went to New York, and became a staff member of the Jewish Daily Forward. After the split in the Jewish Socialist Federation in 1921, he joined the Workers' Party. He was one of the founders of the Communist Yiddish Daily Freiheit (later Morning Freiheit) and remained its editor until his death. He was also the editor of the monthly Der Hamer (1926) and from 1932, New York correspondent of the Moscow Pravda. A prolific writer, he followed the Communist party line and justified Arab riots and pogroms in Palestine. Olgin wrote about political affairs, literature, and the theater.

His books include: Mayn Shtetl in der Ukrain (1921); Fun Mayn Togbukh (1926); and a posthumous collection of essays Kultur un Folk (1949). His books in English include: The Soul of the Russian Revolution (1917); A Guide to Russian Literature (1920); and Gorki, Writer and Revolutionist (1933). Olgin translated Lenin into Yiddish as well as Jack London's The Call of the Wild (1919) and John Reid's Ten Days that Shook the World (1920).


Rejzen, Leksikon, 1 (1926), 92–97; Tsum Ondenk fun M. Olgin (1939); lnyl, 1 (1956), 88–91.

[Elias Schulman]