Schneersohn, Isaac

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SCHNEERSOHN, ISAAC (1879–1969), communal leader in Russia; founder of the *Centre de Documentation Juive Contemporaine (cdjc) in France. Born in Kamenets-Podolski, Russia, of the *Schneersohn ḥasidic family of Lubavitch rabbis, he completed his studies in 1905, and became *kazyonny ravvin, first in Gorodnya and then in Chernigov. He was instrumental in the founding of several mutual aid organizations, cooperatives for Jewish artisans, and old-age homes. He also contributed to the improvement of the Jewish school system. In Russia, Schneersohn was a member of the moderate liberal Russian party, the Constitutional Democrats ("Cadets"). From 1916 to 1918 he was a member of the town council, later deputy mayor, of Ryazan. Schneersohn arrived in France in 1920 where he became an industrialist but pursued his Jewish social work as well. During World War ii, as a refugee in southern France, he founded the Centre de Documentation Juive Contemporaine (cdjc) within the underground movement in Grenoble (1943). He became its founding chairman and presided over it until his death. After the liberation of France, the cdjc became a vital institute for the research of

the Holocaust. By 1969, it had published 42 historical volumes, all of which are prefaced by Schneersohn. In 1952, Schneersohn launched the idea of a memorial to the unknown Jewish martyr. Despite many obstacles, this memorial was inaugurated in Paris on Oct. 30, 1956. Schneersohn's memoirs on the Russian period of his life were published in 1967 in Yiddish, under the title Lebn un Kamf fun Yidn in Tsarishn Rusland 19051917, Zikhroynes.


Le Monde Juif, 25 no. 54 (1969), 1–11.

[Leon Czertok]