Semen Dubnov

Picture of Semen Dubnov

Date of Birth: 09/10/1860

Age: 81

Place of birth: Mstislavl

Citizenship: Russia


Among their ancestors were famous Talmudic Dubnov Yehuda Judel from Kovno and Josko Joseph, author of "Yesod Yosef" - one of the most popular religious works of the XVIII century. Great-grandfather Dubnov Benzion Khatskelevich in the beginning of the XVIII-XIX century. actually he led the Jewish community Mstislavl. The first carrier Dubnov names became grandfather Simon Dubnov - Zeev-Wolf, a former prominent expert in rabbinical literature. The first teacher of the future scientist was his grandfather Benzion, who taught for 45 years Talmud

(The most complete genealogy Dubnov published in Historishe Shriftn fun YIVO. B. II. Wilno, 1937 (Yiddish)).

According to family legend, Dubnov had family ties with the noble native Peretz, whose members at the turn of XVIII-XIX centuries. We entered the history of Russia, first as active members of the Jewish population, and then, after the adoption of Orthodox Christianity, as the Russian political and public figures.

In 1844, SM Dubnov grandfather Benzion was a witness and participant in the events which have become history under the name "Mstislav riot", studied and described later Dubnov. Dubnov`s family did not escape the ideological storms of the time. Grandfather Benzion - strict misnaged (follower of Lithuanian Judaism) - was opposed to both Hasidism and Haskalah. Simon Dubnov received a traditional education in cheder and yeshiva.

Within just three or four years Dubnov, to thirteen years to speak and write only in Hebrew and Yiddish, mastering the Russian language. By his own admission, he "received a key to the rich Russian literature", and with it a "European literature, which is in abundance was presented to the public in Russian translation."

Soon Dubnov entered the circle formed by the Jewish youth, entered the Russian school. The Talmud and the book changed Lebensona "Daniel Deronda" J. Eliot, poetry Ludwig Bern, the volume of the journal "Business". Dubnov gradually starts to live as if in two worlds - the Hebrew and Russian.

In the 80-ies. the pursuit of science, the first literary experiments brought Dubnov with some Russian scientists and writers interested in Jewish issues - Sergey Bershad, Nikolai Leskov. His memories are virtually the only source of information about the early years of life and work of such later famous writers as A. Volyn, Semen Frugsm., Semyon Vengerov, Nikolai Minsky.

Dubnov took an active part in the public life of Russia late XIX - early XX centuries. As a member of the Society for the Promotion of Enlightenment among the Jews in Russia [http://www.eleven.co.il/article/13032 see.], He and his Zionists fought for the creation of national Jewish schools. After the 1903 pogrom in Kishinev Dubnov was one of those who called for the creation of an active Jewish self-defense. Dubnov vigorously advocated the participation of Jews in the elections to the State Duma (1905) and founded the Jewish section of the Party of Constitutional Democrats (Cadets). Dubnov was a member of the Union to achieve the full rights of the Jewish people in Russia (1905) [1], but later moved away from him. In 1906, together with colleagues (M. Kreynin, Zalkind A., B. Mandel, A. Perelman) he founded the Jewish People`s Party ( "Folkspartey"), which existed in Russia until 1918

The years between the two revolutions in Russia, from 1905 to 1917-th, began the heyday of Jewish historiography. The new generation of Russian-Jewish intellectuals established the Jewish Historical and Ethnographic Society and other scientific organizations. Dubnow actively participated in the founding of the Jewish University in St. Petersburg, in the creation of the "Jewish Encyclopedia", was the author and editor of the annual "Jewish Antiquity". At the same time he continued to research, bringing his "History of the Jews in Russia" before the beginning of the XX century.

SM Dubnov immediately and unequivocally accepted the power of the Bolsheviks. He was one of the few politicians have a negative attitude to power the red and white. The whole experience of the scientist, knowledge of history and truly a rare insight allowed him to already in 1918-1920. to express the belief that a society based on the denial of common democratic principles, inevitably sooner or later to a revival of extreme forms of nationalism, anti-Semitism to state that the national Jewish life in Russia will be destroyed, he knew one of the first.

In 1922 he emigrated to Germany. Here, in his declining years, he decided to complete his life`s work - ten-volume history of the Jewish people. From 1922 to 1933. Dubnov lived in Berlin. Over the years, in different publishing houses and in different languages ??have been published in the new edition of the three volumes of his "World History of the Jews", "The recent history of the Jewish people", "Letters on Old and New Judaism" and several other works. From the early days in Germany Dubnov completely gone in his scientific work, trying to pull away from the worry and anxiety that surrounded him from all sides. But every day the reality more and more insistently reminded him of himself.

In April 1923 Dubnov noted in his diary: "A year ago on this day I left St. Petersburg and Russia after years of torment of imprisonment in the realm of the new despotism, I knew that I was going to" the ruins of Europe ", but the moment of his release from prison was. bright and promised more to come. A year has passed. I`m free, I`m in Berlin, from the printing press ... and that is, I`m happy? No, you can not be calm, breathing atmosphere of anxiety. " In Russia, he was son and daughter, another daughter with the children living in Poland.

The coming to power of Hitler forced SM Dubnov leave Germany. He was invited to Palestine and the United States, but took the fateful decision and in August 1933 he moved to Latvia, because he wanted to be closer to children and grandchildren, and the main thing - to its readers, the Russian-speaking Jewry. In Riga Dubnov he completed and published three volumes of memoirs (the last - in 1940).

The annexation of Latvia by the Soviet troops in 1940, has created a real danger to Dubnov. The rejection of the theory of scientists and Bolshevism practices was well known. In 1920-ies. he published in the European and American press several articles sharply criticized the Soviet national policy. In turn, at the end of the 1920s. the USSR had withdrawn his works, and he subjected himself ostracized. However, an elderly scholar was arrested.

In Riga found SM Dubnov German occupation in 1941. There are a number of legends about the last days of his life. It is said that when he was being led away the Latvian police, an elderly historian shouted in Yiddish: ". IDN, shraybt farshraybt und ... (! Record all Jews burn) is for certain is known only that he was killed in December 1941 in one of the first acts of destruction Jewish ghetto.

In its capital works Dubnov defined the Jewish people as "people whose home is the entire world", and believed that the Jewish people emerged in the process of adaptation to the conditions in which he lived. After the destruction of the Second Temple Jewish people moved to the higher, that is, cultural and spiritual stage of historical development. According to Dubnov, the Jewish people in the Diaspora has developed a special system of social and communal ideology.

In all periods of the history of the Jewish community stood alone, more than others have succeeded in maintaining the self in the work of the national and spiritual independence. It became the center of the Jewish people and hegemony over other communities.

Having made the subject of his research life of the people in all its manifestations, the scientist analyzed the development of internal and social life, the history of religious thought and cultural history; with proper Jewish history is seen in close connection with the history of the host countries. For Dubnov scientist equal all the currents of Jewish culture, their achievements both in Hebrew and in Yiddish. I do not leave it outside the scope of his attention and cultural heritage created in the diaspora languages: in Spain, France, Holland, Germany, Poland, in the East.

Dubnov Jewish religion considered as a means of national self-defense of the people deprived of the ordinary means of self-preservation, which have other nations. It naturally follows that in the period of the emancipation of religion loses its protective function, and the Jewish people, have entered the era of cooperation with the peoples of the world, is to develop a secular culture, language expression which is Yiddish.

On this basis, Dubnov rejected Zionism, regarding it as an expression of false messianism and assimilation. He contrasted them to the concept of autonomy as set out in the "Letters on Old and New Judaism", which were published in the journal "Dawn" in 1897-1902 (special edition - St. Petersburg, 1907.). Simultaneously with the work on the historical works Dubnov acted as a literary critic, teacher and journalist. He wrote an article "Spoken language", dedicated to Yiddish (1909), a study of the poet IL Gordon et al.

Dubnov was one of the ideologists of the emerging rossiykogo Jewry. He defended the position of national-territorial autonomy t. N. autonomism, advocated for the transfer of the Russian language as a means of entering the Jews in the modern world. For the Jews of the Pale, closed in its national habitat, the language of the empire was, in fact, not necessary. In the 70-ies. XIX century. economic and cultural transformations have led to the fact that young people start to master the Russian language.

In the history of Russian Jewry 60-70-ies. XIX century. It became a turning point in many respects. The reforms of Alexander II softened anti-Jewish legislation (http://www.eleven.co.il/article/15440 cm.), The requirements of economic development have led to the strengthening of the integration process of the Jewish people in the life of the empire. Gradually, the Polish-Lithuanian Jews became Russian Jewry. Jewish youth sought to escape from the Pale of Settlement. She began to receive education in Russian secondary schools and universities, he joined the national culture, science, economy and politics. All this led to the creation and rapid growth of a new group - the Russian-Jewish intelligentsia.

Millions of Jews remained in Pale, but those several hundred thousand, which escaped from it, settled on the Russian cities have become entrepreneurs, doctors, engineers, journalists, writers, lawyers. These were people with a whole new mentality. Shaul Ginzburg, a pupil and follower of Dubnov, describing Russian-Jewish intellectuals, stressed that it is "in itself combined the best features of the Russian intelligentsia and the loyalty and devotion of the Jewish cultural tradition" (2) "Children and grandchildren Haskala" Russian Jews made their third, and then the mother tongue Russian, they saw themselves - and sought to inspire it to others - not just Jews, and the Jews is Russian. Gradually, the Russian-Jewish intelligentsia became the representative power of the Jewish people.

In the 70-ies. XIX century. a significant portion of the educated Jewish youth as it has entered into one channel with Russian, mostly students, the youth, are in opposition to the existing in the country`s political, economic and ideological system.

The pogroms of 1881-1882 gg. in the south of Russia and the rise of anti-Semitism, including the public, have led to the collapse of illusions about the possibility of seamless integration of Jews into Russian society, the result of which was the ideological crisis and the confrontation between the generation of the 60s. and a new generation of Russian Jewry. The main arguments were on the pages of periodicals, "Sunrise", "Russian Jew", "Breaking Dawn."

Its ideological credo Dubnov substantiated in the works of "What is the Jewish history" and "Letters on Old and New Judaism". It was produced in the sharp discussions with thinkers such as Ahad Ha`am, [[2] Bialik, Ben-Ami. The essence of SM Dubnov concept was the fact that he, unlike most of his predecessors, considered Judaism only as a spiritual nation. Having lost its state-territorial existence of Judaism survived only because he left a spiritual people, by definition, "a nation of cultural and historical among nations political." Before Dubnov Jewish historiography dominated theological concept, according to which the Jews were considered exclusively as a religious community.

Dubnov also sees its people as a nation endowed with a great instinct for self-preservation. It is this instinct and allowed the Jews to not only survive, but also to create autonomous forms of national governments in the different countries and in different centuries. This community of Babylon, and Spain, and the Vaad kagals in Poland and Lithuania.

With regard to the history of Russian Jewry concept Dubnov was the fact that he took it as a progressive process, in which the Polish-Lithuanian Jewry gradually, over a century after joining Russia, started to realize itself Jewry is Russian, with their specific cultural, social and political objectives. At the same time the history of Jews in Russia to Dubnov - and this is part of the World and Russian history. By studying it, he sought to cover all Jewish territorial and cultural groups; while the scientist proceeded from the fact that they lived on the same laws of the empire.

The first historical writings Dubnov were devoted to the evaluation of IB Levinson, Sabbatai Zvi and Adolf (Ya`akova) Frank, as well as the study of Hasidism.

In 1893 Dubnov published historico-philosophical essay, "What is Jewish history," in which, after Heinrich Graetz, was the story of the Jewish people as a history of the development of the Jewish national spirit.

In 1898 Dubnov began working on large works on Jewish history, the first of which was a "textbook of Jewish history" (1-3 vols., Odessa, 1898-1901).

In 1900-ies. began to come out, "General History of the Jews" (ie, 1, Odessa, 1901. in 1903-1905 as a supplement to the "Sunrise" magazine;.. separate edition in 3 vols, St. Petersburg, 1904-1906). The fourth volume was published under the title "The recent history of the Jewish people, 1789-1881" (PG, 1914). Some parts of the book Dubnov published in the Soviet period (1922-1923) in Moscow and Petrograd.

The monumental work Dubnov "World History of the Jewish people" was published for the first time in a German translation (1-10 vols, Berlin, 1925-1929.), And then in Hebrew (1923-1938) and Yiddish (1948-1958); complete edition of the book in the original in Russian was published in Riga in 1934-1938 gg.

In 1930-1931 gg. in Tel Aviv was published in Hebrew labor Dubnov "Toldos ha hasidut" ( "History of Hasidism"), the result of long study podvedshy Dubnov Hasidic movement. Dubnov collaborated on "The Jewish Encyclopedia" (1901-1905) and the "Jewish Encyclopedia" (1908-1913, was co-editor of the first volume).

Recent Articles Dubnov came on the eve of the 2nd World War, "the Russian-Jewish intelligentsia in the historical aspect" ( "Jewish World", Paris, 1939) and "The Awakening of the world`s conscience and the fate of the Jews" ( "Russian notes", book 4, Paris, 1939).

Rich material about the life and work of Dubnov and his age is contained in his memoirs.. "The Book of My Life" (vols 1-2, Riga, 1934-1935; 3rd t published in 1940 in Riga, the publishing house of the author and destroyed by the Nazis in 1941; re the Union of Russian Jews (New York, 1957) and Russia (St. Petersburg .: "Petersburg Oriental Studies", 1998)) and in the book of S. Dubnov-Ehrlich "Life and work of SM Dubnov" (New York , 1950).