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How They Died

In response to:

From Rebel to Bureaucrat from the October 24, 1991 issue

To the Editors:

An entirely reliable source informs me that in my review of Steven Fraser’s biography of Sidney Hillman [NYR, October 24] there is a garbled account of the deaths of Henrik Ehrlich and Victor Alter, the leaders of the Jewish (Socialist) Bund in Poland. Here is the correct version:

After Poland fell to the Nazis, Ehrlich and Alter fled to eastern Poland, which was soon afterward occupied by the Soviet army. Ehrlich and Alter were first arrested in eastern Poland in 1939; then, after the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union, were released in 1941. They were rearrested in December 1941 and apparently executed shortly afterward. The Soviet authorities acknowledged the executions only in 1943, offering the preposterous reason that the Jewish leaders were spreading “defeatist propaganda.”

Irving Howe
New York City

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