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Weinstein, Aaron

WEINSTEIN, AARON

WEINSTEIN, AARON (known as Yerahmiel or Rahmiel ; 1877–1938), *Bund leader in Russia. He was born in Vilna, and, while a student at the teachers' training college, he joined a secret socialist circle. In the late 1890s he headed the Bund organization in Warsaw. He was a delegate at the third (1899) and fourth (1901) conventions of the Bund and was a member of its executive committee from 1901 to 1920. Weinstein was among the Bund delegates at the Russian Social-Democratic congress held in London in 1907. He directed the authorized publishing house of the Bund "Di Velt," contributed to the Bundist press, and, during the period of reaction after the abortive revolution in 1905–06, supported the "legalist" trend in the Bund. He was among the four Bundists who took part in the meeting of Jewish communal leaders held in Kovno in 1909, and a delegate at the All-Russian Convention of Craftsmen in 1911. Weinstein was jailed for political activities on several occasions, and during World War i was exiled to Siberia, from where he was released after the February Revolution in 1917. At the tenth conference of the Bund (April 1917), he was elected chairman of its central committee, and moved to Minsk. There he was also elected to head the town council. Up to 1918 Weinstein had identified himself with the right wing of the Bund, but at its 11th conference (March 1919) he veered to the left. With his sister-in-law, Esther (Malkah) Frumkin, he headed the pro-Communist majority at the 12th conference of the Bund (April 1920), but opposed hostile government action against the socialists. He played a decisive role in the incorporation of the Kombund (Communist Bund) within the Communist Party (1921). After this, he held important state functions: chairman of the Popular Economic Council in Belorussia; vice chairman of the Council of Popular Commissars in Kirghizia (1922–23); member of the Collegiate of the Commissariat of Finances, and other positions in the government and economic administration. His Jewish activities were essentially connected with the agricultural settlement schemes; he was vice chairman of Komerd and chairman of Gezerd in Moscow. At the time of Stalin's purges in the 1930s, he was accused of "Bundist nationalism" and arrested. He committed suicide in prison.

bibliography:

lnyl, 3 (1960), 385–8; J.S. Hertz et al. (eds.), Geshikhte fun Bund, 3 vols. (1960–66), index; Ch. Shmeruk (ed.), Pirsumim Yehudiyyim bi-Verit ha-Mo'aẓot (1961), index; R. Abramovich, In Tsvey Revolutsyes, 1 (1944), 196–7, 328–33; 2 (1944), 310–19.

[Moshe Mishkinsky]

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