Search JTA's historical archive dating back to 1923

News Brief

May 13, 1929
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Dr. Leo Bramson. President of the Ort organization for promoting agriculture and handicraft among the Jews, celebrated his sixtieth birthday today.

During the Czarist regime, Dr. Bramson, who was born in Kovno in 1869, was one of the leaders of the fight for Jewish rights in Russia. After completing his legal studies at Moscow University, he practiced as a lawyer in Petrograd. He was with Vinaver, Sliosberg. Dubnov, Ratner and Shmarya Levin, a member of the Central Bureau of the League for the Attainment of Equal Rights for the Jewish People in Russia. In 1906 he was elected a Deputy to the first Duma. He was one of the signatories of the Vyberg Manifesto, signed by the entire Parliamentary Opposition, protesting against the dissolution by force of the first Parliamentary representation of the Russian people. He was arrested for this and imprisoned.

In the following Dumas, he continued in close touch with his political party, acting as Vice-Chairman of the Trudoviki or Laborites. He acted as Counsel for the Defense in many political trials, over which he frequently clashed with the authorities. When, together with other Russian lawyers, he protested against the attitude of the Czarist Government in the Beilis ritual murder trial, he was prosecuted with the other signatories to the protest and imprisoned. He was in close political contact with the organizers of the anti-Czarist Revolution of March, 1917.

He was a member of the Commission which drafted the electoral law for the Constitutional Assembly and he was elected to the All-Russian Committee. Kerensky entrusted him with the drafting of a bill providing for full rights for the nationalities in Russia, which was proclaimed by the Provisional Government on March 22, 1917, opening up a new era for the national minorities of Russia, including the millions of the Jewish population. He was several times offered the post of Under-Secretary of State for Justice and membership of the Senate, but he refused them to continue his educational activity in the Peasants’, and Workers’ Council.

He was also very active in the field of Jewish social work in Russia. Since 1892 he has belonged to the Society for Promoting Culture among the Jews of Russia. On behaf of the Ica, he organized a statistical investigation into the economic structure of the Jews in Russia, the results of which have been published by the Ica in two volumes in Russian and French. He moved the Ica to engage in promoting artisanship and agriculture among the Russian Jews, and in this connection a network of technical schools and credit cooperatives was established in the Jewish zone between 1898-1906.

Dr. Bramson has also written a number of works, including “The History of the Labor Group,” “Laws Affecting the Jews,” “Jewish Agriculture in South Russia,” etc. During the Civil War in Russia, Dr. Bramson, then Vice-President of the Ort, travelled through the Ukraine and was an eyewitness of the pogroms. In 1920 he proceeded on behalf of the Ort to Western Europe and America to gain support for the reconstruction work of the Ort. The following year he was appointed by the Joint Distribution Committee as a member of the Joint-Ica Foundation. He is also a member of the Council of the United Jewish Emigration Societies and of the Council of the Ort-Oze-Emigdirekt.

Recommended from JTA