Schwarzbard, Sholem

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SCHWARZBARD, SHOLEM (Samuel ; 1886–1938), Yiddish poet who assassinated *Petlyura. Born in Izmail (Bessarabia), Schwarzbard, who was active in the revolutionary movement of 1905 and organized Jewish *self-defense during the pogroms, had to escape from Russia in 1906. Ultimately he settled in Paris as a watchmaker. In World War i, he joined the Foreign Legion and was awarded the Croix de Guerre. In 1917 he returned to Russia. In Odessa he joined the Red Guard and fought against the Cossack followers of Simon Petlyura and his henchman Smessenko, who carried out pogroms of unprecedented ferocity in the Ukraine in the winter of 1919. Fifteen of Schwarzbard's own relatives were among the thousands of Jews massacred. In 1920 he published a book of poems in Yiddish (Troymen un Virklikhkayt, "Dreams and Reality") and returned to Paris. Petlyura himself settled there in 1921. Schwarzbard shot him dead in May 1926. In the trial which followed, Schwarzbard was acquitted after a moving address by his counsel, Henri Torrès (October 1927). His experiences are recorded in his autobiography Inem Loyf fun Yoren ("In the Course of Years," 1934). He died in Cape Town, South Africa.


H. Torrès, Le procès des pogromes (1928); E. Tcherikover, Di Ukrayner Pogromen in Yor 1919 (1965), passim. add. bibliography: M. Reyzn, Groyse Yidn Vos Ikh Hob Gekent, (1950), 213–20; lnyl, 8 (1981), 575–76.

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Schwarzbard, Sholem

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