RUVN ZALTSMAN (1890-March 15, 1950)
He was born in Brisk (Brest), Lithuania, into the family of a poor shoemaker. At age six he was orphaned on his father’s side. He studied in religious primary school and on his own acquired secular knowledge. In his youth he became a tailor, and he was active in the trade union movement and in the Bund. He was arrested by the Tsarist authorities and exiled to Siberia for three years. In 1911 he came to New York and until 1919 worked in a sweatshop, while at the same time remaining active in the trade union and socialist movement. In the Workmen’s Circle he was a member of the education committee and a fighter on behalf of secular Jewish schools. After 1920 he was one of the most active leaders in the Jewish section of the Communist Party in America. He was cofounder and general secretary of the International Workers’ Order (IWO), of the newspaper Frayhayt (Freedom), and of a series of Yiddish periodical publications of the leftist movement. He was one of the initiators of the Jewish Culture Congress in Paris (1937). On several occasions he visited European countries, including the Soviet Union. He published articles (some under the pseudonym “Zara”) in: Frayhayt, Morgn-frayhayt (Morning freedom), Hamer (Hammer), Di naye velt (The new world), Proletarishe dertsiung (Proletarian education), Shul-almanakh (School almanac), Yidishe kultur (Jewish culture), and Eynikeyt (Unity)—in New York; Kultur (Culture) in Chicago; and in other Jewish Communist publications in various lands. He was the author of the book: Tsu der geshikhte fun der fraternaler bavegung (Toward the history of the fraternal movement) (New York, 1936), 287 pp. He also published a significant number of pamphlets of a political polemical character with Communist leanings, such as: Barikht tsu der ershter konvents fun internatsyonaln arbeter ordn (Report to the first convention of the International Workers’ Order) (New York, 1931), 28 pp.; Di shul far ayer kind (The school for your child) (New York, 1935), 40 pp.; Ordn fun proletarishn fraternalism (Order of proletarian fraternalism) (New York, 1938), 23 pp.; Der ordn in yidishn lebn (The Order in Jewish life) (New York, 1938), 63 pp.; Der ordn in der itstiker epokhe (The Order in the contemporary epoch) (New York, 1941), 31 pp.; Farrat in arbeter ring (Treason in Workmen’s Circle) (New York, 1942), 23 pp.; A shand un a veytog (A shame and a pain) (New York, 1942), 23 pp.; 17 yor in dinst fun folks-ordn (Seventeen years in service to the people’s order) (New York, 1947), 63 pp.; Unter dem zeydenem farhang fun amerikaner yidishn kongres (Under the silk curtain of the American Jewish Congress) (New York, 1949), 32 pp. He died in St. Louis, Missouri.
Sources: R. Yuklson, in Morgn-frayhayt (New York) (March 18, 1959); Moyshe Kats, in Morgn-frayhayt (March 24, 1959); Z. H. in Yidishe kultur (New York) (April 1959).