Digest of Public Opinion on Jewish Matters

[The purpose of the Digest is informative. Preference is given to papers not generally accessible to our readers. Quotation does not indicate approval.-Editor.]

The passing in Paris of Maxim Vinaver, one of the outstanding figures produced by Russian Jewry, is commented on by the Jewish press, which dwells on his dual role as a great leader in Russian political life and a leader in the Jewish field.

Vinaver’s great personality and his brilliant abilities, declares the “Jewish Morning Journal,” would have made him an outstanding statesman of the age, had he not been born and lived in Russia. Relating Vinaver’s role in the establishment and leadership of the liberal “cadet” party in Russia, the paper says it was due to Vinaver’s position as its guiding influence that the Russian reactionaries termed the “cadets” a “Jewish party,” despite the fact that at its head stood a number of representatives of Russia’s cultured class, such typical Russians as Miliukov, Maklakov, Raditchev and Prince Lvov. As for his position in Jewish life the paper writes:

“In the Jewish life of pre-revolution Russia Vinaver represented the tendency which does not become inspired for ideals and programs, but which takes into consideration only the present and attempts to bring about such immediate improvements as it thinks possible. In this respect, he was always under fire from the Zionists as well as from the Socialists. The Zionists accused him of being an assimilationist, in adjusting the interests of the Jews to the tactical interests of the Cadet pary. The Socialists accused him of compromising with Czarism, of avoiding a conflict in principle for general Jewish interests.

“Nevertheless, despite his isolated position, Vinaver occupied the leading place among all the Jewish politicans in Czaristic Russia, and there was not one among them who could be compared to him in power and influence. Everybody respected his vast knowledge, his forceful speech, his brilliant logic and his strong inherent integrity.”

The “Jewish Daily News” observes: “The death of Vinaver has removed one of the outstanding personalities in the Jewish life of pre-Bolshevist Russia … His Jewish activities were not limited to the political field, he was also the founder of the Jewish Historical-Ethnographic Society, and he wrote on various phases of the Jewish problem. Vinaver was a man of many parts and he was great in the legal field. He had an inexhaustible supply of energy. Among the Jewish communal leaders and politicians of our time he held a place in the very forefront. . . . Despite the difficulties he encountered he succeeded in doing much good for the Jews of Russia.”

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