Jewish colonists, residents of a collective farm in Stalindorf, a Jewish autonomous subdistrict of the Kherson region (now in Ukraine) reading Der emes, 1937. (YIVO)

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Emes, Der

Yiddish social and political newspaper published from 8 March 1918 until 14 September 1938, first in Petrograd and then in Moscow. Known as Di varhayt (The Truth) until 7 August 1918, Der emes (The Truth) was the leading Yiddish newspaper in the Soviet Union in its day. It was at first the organ of the Jewish SDs (Social Democrats), Bolsheviks, and Leftist SRs (Socialist Revolutionaries); from 2 June 1918 of the Bolsheviks only. From 7 November 1920 to 9 March 1930 it was the organ of the Evsektsiia (the Jewish Section of the Russian Communist Party).

From May 1918 it was a weekly; from August 1918 it appeared five times a week, but on 13 February 1919 its publication was suspended. From November 1920 it came out daily, but on 23 December 1920 it was once again suspended. Its resumption of publication in 1921 (with the first issue on 1 May and the next issue on 2 September, and daily thereafter) coincided with the merger of part of the Bund with the Russian Communist Party. It had a circulation of 5,000 in 1920, 5,500 in 1921, and 10,000 in 1928.

The editors of Der emes were Semen Dimanshtein, Grigorii Torchinski, and Nokhem Bukhbinder. For almost the entire period from 1921 until his arrest in 1937, the editor was Moyshe Litvakov, who became closely associated with the paper.

With its official character as the Yiddish equivalent of Pravda and its sharply anti-Zionist and antireligious rhetoric, Der emes also managed to reflect the activities of officially recognized Yiddish-language cultural and social institutions, although the articles on cultural topics tended to conceal the gradual decline of Jewish culture in the USSR.

Among the Soviet Yiddish writers, poets, and critics who contributed were Dovid Bergelson, Itsik Fefer, Shmuel Halkin, David Hofshtein, Leyb Kvitko, Arn Kushnirov, Nokhem Oyslender, Yekhezkl Dobrushin, and Perets Markish. After the autumn of 1937, Der emes declined as a consequence of the arrest of Litvakov.

Der emes had several supplements: Literatur un kunst (Literature and Art; 1922), Yedies fun der idopteylung fun folkomnats (News of the Jewish Section of the People’s Commissariat of Nationalities; 1922), Ilustrirte vekhentlekhe baylage (Illustrated Weekly Supplement; 1926–1927), and Emes-zhurnal (Truth-Journal; 1928).

Suggested Reading

Yitsḥak Yosef Cohen, Pirsumim yehudiyim bi-Verit ha-Mo‘atsot, 1917–1960, ed. Chone Shmeruk (Jerusalem, 1961); Abram Kirzhnits, Di yidishe prese in Ratnfarband, 1917–1928 (Minsk, 1928); David Shneer, Yiddish and the Creation of Soviet Jewish Culture, 1918–1930 (Cambridge and New York, 2004).



Translated from Russian by I. Michael Aronson