Syrkin, Moses Nahum Solomonovich

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SYRKIN, MOSES NAHUM SOLOMONOVICH (1878– 1918), writer, orator, and Jewish national leader. Born in Bielsk, Russia, Syrkin completed his studies as a technological engineer at the Polytechnic of Warsaw, where he was among the founders of the first Jewish organization of academic youth, *Kadimah. He became acquainted with the Jewish authors in Warsaw (among them I.L. *Peretz and N. *Sokolow), and wrote political essays, popular scientific articles, and literary criticism for Ha-Ẓefirah and the Sefer ha-Shanah of Sokolow. He also contributed to *Voskhod and Budushchnost. He joined the Zionist movement and was from its beginnings one of the spokesmen for the Russian-Jewish intelligentsia, attending several Zionist Congresses as delegate and correspondent for Ha-Ẓefirah. Under the influence of I.L. Peretz, he became a supporter of the Yiddish language and wrote extensively for the Yiddish press. He was among those within the Zionist movement who fought for the preservation of the Yiddish language in Jewish schools and in 1905–06 he edited the daily Der Telegraf which was founded by N. Sokolow in Warsaw. In 1907 he moved to Kiev where he held a respected position in the public life of the community, making connections with the Ukrainian nationalist movement and contributing articles (mostly of a technical and scientific nature) to the general Russian press. During World War i he was among the organizers of relief activities for Jewish refugees from the battle areas. He was also one of the few Russian Zionists to support the policies of the Allies. During the 1917 Revolution he was chosen as delegate to the Russian Constituent Assembly on the Jewish National List and to the National Council of Ukrainian Jews. He was elected president of the Kiev community, and a member of the Rada (Ukrainian Parliament); he also edited the Zionist newspaper Der Telegraf, which was published in Kiev (1917–18). When head of the delegation of the Jewish community which went to receive *Petlyura in 1918, he caught pneumonia and died.


S.L. Zitron, Leksikon Ẓiyyoni (1924), 463–5; Rejzen, Leksikon, 2 (1927), 647–50.

[Yehuda Slutsky]