Abstract

Historian, author, Professor of Russian and Soviet Jewish History at Rutgers University, who helped arrange the escape of Jews from Europe during World War II and was active in several organizations concerned with the emigration of Soviet and Eastern European Jews to Palestine. Papers include biographical materials, correspondence, legal documents, writings, lecture and research materials, statistical data in the world Jewish population before and after World War II, oral history transcripts, pamphlets, newspaper clippings, and four photographs.

Access

The collection is open for research.

Languages:

English, French
Special Collections & University Archives
UMass Amherst Libraries
154 Hicks Way
Amherst, Mass. 01003-9275
413-545-2780
Leon Shapiro Papers
1939-1984
15 boxes (8.75 linear ft.)
Call no.: MS 127

Background on Leon Shapiro

Leon Shapiro (1905-1984) was a historian and Professor of Russian and Soviet Jewish History at Rutgers University; author of The History of ORT: A Jewish Movement for Social Change ; a 35-year contributor of articles to "The American Jewish Yearbook"; fluent speaker of Yiddish, Hebrew, English, Russian, German, French, and Ukrainian; helped arrange the escape of Jews from Europe during World War II; and an active member in several organizations concerned with the emigration of Soviet and Eastern European Jews to Palestine and other issues related to Judaism.

1905
Born July 14, in Hersun (Korsun, Korsoun, Hersein), Kiev, Russia, to Mark and Freida Scheinblum Shapiro.
1923
Candidate for degree in Social Sciences and Law, University of Kiev.
Imprisoned for anti-Bolshevik activities.
1925
Exiled to Palestine.
1928
Diplome de Licencie en Droit, Social Sciences and Law, University of Toulouse.
1935
Married in Paris to Leorfore Rita Willdorff; divorced in 1940.
1940
Secretary General, Federation des Societes Juives de France, Paris
1941-1949
Research Associate, American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, New York.
1941
Immigrated to U.S.
1946
Married Luba.
1954-1956
Assistant Director, Cultural Department, Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany
1964-1967
Research Associate, Columbia University Seminar in International Research Methods.
1964-1972
Assistant Executive Director, Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture.
1968-1978
Professor, Russian and Soviet Jewish History, Department of Hebraic Studies and Soviet/Eastern European Studies Program, Rutgers University.
1972-1973
Adjunct Professor, Queens College, School of General Studies, City College of New York.
1973
Adjunct Associate Professor, Judaic Studies, Brooklyn College, City College of New York.
1974-1975
Adjunct Associate Professor, Academy Without Walls, Haifa University.
1978-1979
Professor, Empire State College.
1984
Died, December 25, New York City.
Contents of Collection

The Leon Shapiro papers (1939-1984) pertain primarily to Soviet and Eastern European Jewry before and after World War II and to the formation of the nation of Israel in personal, research, and published materials.

The collection comprises biographical materials, correspondence, legal documents, audio-tapes, four photographs, writings, newspaper clippings, research materials, oral history transcripts, printed materials, and statistical data.

Organization of the Collection
Series descriptions

Shapiro's legal papers and official documents, biographical information, two audio-tape interviews of Mr. Shapiro, newspaper obituaries, and publication lists are in Series 1.

Incoming letters and typescript copies of outgoing letters, mostly professional, some personal, are in Series 2, alphabetically arranged. Notable are the letters from Romanian Jews seeking immigration to Israel (1970s). Series 2 also contains a photograph of a painting titled "On Both Sides of the Warsaw Ghetto Wall 1943" sent by the artist, Israel Beinbauer, and three other unidentified photographs, ca. 1931 Vienna.

Subject files in Series 3 are divided into two sections, arranged alphabetically. The first contains materials related to Shapiro's professional and personal interests, and includes pamphlets and minutes of meetings from the program for Jewish Studies Without Walls, his two audio-tape lectures on the History of Soviet Jewry, a certificate and badge of Honor from the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee along with Russian newspaper articles, various committee materials, and independent research projects. The second section is primarily comprised of Rutgers University student papers, correspondence, and lectures.

1939-1984

Handwritten, typescript, and photocopies of various articles about the Soviet Union submitted to the American Jewish Yearbook for publication, along with their printed versions, are arranged chronologically in Series 4. Also present are statistics on the World Jewish Population, correspondence relating to publishing, ORT papers, book reviews, and an audio-tape of the 1980 ORT Rabbinic Scholar Conference.

Census and other statistical data on the world Jewish population before and after World War II, together with descriptions of French concentration camps and Jewish life in occupied France, are in Series 5 in chronological order. Notable are the materials regarding Irgun, Haganah, and Palestine. This series contains a message to British soldiers dated 1947, other Hebrew documents, newspaper articles, and transcripts of political broadcasts relating to the foundation of Israel. Also in Series 5 there are reference materials on Jewish resistance during the holocaust and in Palestine.

Series 6 contains transcripts and seven audio-tapes from the Lautenberg Oral History Collection of Surviving Eastern European Communities, listed alphabetically. These describe Jewish life before Hitler and Stalin assumed power.

Pamphlets, booklets, articles, and miscellaneous ephemera relating to Soviet and European Jewry and holocaust survivors are in this series.

Collection inventory
Series 1. Biographical and Bibliographical
1940-1984

Vita and Biographical articles


Box 1: 1
Lists of Publications


Box 1: 2
Official Documents: Birth, Marriage
1940-1945

Box 1: 3
Official Documents: Citizenship, Travel
1929-1946

Box 1: 4
Official Documents: Education, Work
1940-1946

Box 1: 5
Obituaries
1984

Box 1: 6
Interview: LS interviewed by Rabbi Seligson on "Message of Israel", audiotape
1980

Box 1: 7
Interview: LS interviewed by Sheila Zucker, WEVD-FM, audiotape
1980

Box 1: 8
Series 2. Correspondence
1945-1984

A - American Committee


Box 1: 9
American Jewish Committee - American Jewish Yearbook


Box 1: 10
American ORT Federation


Box 1: 11
B - C


Box 1: 12
D - G


Box 1: 13
H - K


Box 1: 14
L - Ma


Box 1: 15
Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture


Box 1: 16
Mon - N


Box 1: 17
O - Wol


Box 1: 18
Women's American ORT


Box 1: 19
World ORT Union


Box 1: 20
Wos - Z, unidentified


Box 1: 21
75th birthday greetings


Box 1: 22
Series 3. Subject files
1955-1984

Academy for Jewish Studies Without Walls
1973-1977

Box 2: 23
American Council for Emigres in the Professions
1979

Box 2: 24
American Jewish Committee talk, Irving
n.d.

Box 2: 25
American Joint Distribution Committee--Certificate of Honor
1984

Box 2: 26
Association for Jewish Studies
1976

Box 2: 27
Brooklyn College
1973

Box 2: 28
Columbia University
1965

Box 2: 29
Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture
c1982

Box 2: 30
National Endowment for the Humanities
1979

Box 2: 31
New York Association for New Americans
1975-1978

Box 2: 32
ORT Jewish Book Fair, Detroit, packet
1980

Box 2: 33
ORT: National Rabbinic Scholar Conference
1980

Box 2: 34
Pasternak, Boris, clippings
1958

Box 2: 34a
Project on 100 Years of Jewish Life in Russia and USSR
1919-1984

Box 2: 35
Queens College
1972-1978

Box 2: 36
Rutgers: class handouts


Box 2: 37
Rutgers: course materials


Box 2: 38
Rutgers: Hebraic Studies Department
1973-1977

Box 2: 39
Rutgers: Jews in Eastern Europe, Lecture Notes and background materials


Box 3: 40
Rutgers: Lectures-Eastern European Jews
1955-1967

Box 3: 41
Rutgers (and Queens): Modern Anti-Semitism--Lecture notes and suppl.


Box 3: 42
Rutgers: University position--correspondence and documents
1968-1978

Box 3: 43-46
Rutgers: Soviet and East European Program--memos and correspondence
1970-1981

Box 4: 47
Rutgers: Soviet and East European Program--reports, lists, etc.
1971-1977

Box 4: 48
Schwartz (?), Part I, edited ts draft
n.d.

Box 4: 49
Society for Research on Jewish Communities
1981

Box 4: 50
Solidarity
1981-1982

Box 4: 51
Stalin-Alliluyeva, Svetlana
1967

Box 4: 52
Students' papers


Box 4: 53
Students' papers


Box 4: 54
Students' papers


Box 4: 55
Students' papers


Box 4: 56
Students' papers


Box 5: 57
Students' papers


Box 5: 58
Students' papers


Box 5: 59
Students' papers


Box 5: 60
Students' papers


Box 5: 61
Students' papers


Box 5: 62
Synagogue Council of America
1973-1981

Box 5: 63
Union of Russian Jews
1975-1976

Box 5: 64
World Union of Jewish Studies
1963-1980

Box 5: 65
Zipperstein, Steven: "First Years of Jewish Odessa" 1978


Box 5: 66
Unidentified items


Box 5: 67
Series 4. Writings
1939-1984

American Jewish Yearbook --ms, typescript, and printed versions of LS contributions
1939-1984

Box 6: 68-80
"L'Influence Juive Chez Marcel Proust" --ms; also ms or notes on Charles Plisnier
c.1942

Box 7: 81
"Foyer de la Bibliotheque de la Sorbonne" --dialogue
1962

Box 7: 82
Encyclopedia Judaica articles: correspondence about and typescript
1964-1966

Box 7: 83
"Russian Jewry after Stalin", in Russian Jewry 1917-1967
1969

Box 7: 84
"Passover Restrictions in the Soviet Union", Jewish Telegraphic Agency Passover Release No. 9
1970

Box 7: 85
History of the Jews in Russia and Polandby Simon Dubnow, reissued--biog., intro., and outline history by LS: correspondence., reviews, publicity
1975

Box 7: 86
"Soviet Jewry since the Death of Stalin" --typescript draft and reprint from American Jewish Yearbook, 1979
1978

Box 7: 87
History of ORT
1976-1980

Box 7: 88-91
Guide to the Material on ORT's History
1981

Box 7: 92
"Mid-passage--50 Years of ORT: Short Comments"


Box 7: 93
Speech: ORT Rabbinic/Scholar Conference, audiotape
1980

Box 7: 94
Speech: "ORT in Jewish Life"


Box 7: 95
Speech: "ORT's Origins"


Box 7: 96
Speech: "Jews and Jewish Communities in Eastern and Central Europe--An Overview"
1980

Box 7: 97
Jews Under Tyranny: The Soviet Union -outline
1980s

Box 7: 98
Additional notes re: USSR


Box 7: 99
Jewish Life in Russia and the USSR --outline, chapter, ms, corresp.
1983

Box 8: 100
One Hundred Years of Jewish Life in the Russian Empire and Under Soviet Rule -outline
n.d.

Box 8: 101
Soviet Russia/Russian Jewry in the 20th Century--lecture notes (?),writing preparation (?)


Box 8: 102
Book reviews
1964-1984

Box 8: 103
Series 5. Research Materials
1940s-1980s

World Jewish Population
1940s-1980s

Box 9: 105-114
Soviet, Russian, and East European Jewry


Box 10: 115-126
ORT, Gide


Box 11: 127-135
Irgun, Haganah, Palestine


Box 12: 136
Series 6. Oral Histories
1974-1979

Project documents, Transcripts A-Z, tapes
1974-1979

Box 13-14: 137-140
Series 7. Printed Materials
1949-1985

Printed versions of writings by others
1949-1985

Box 15: 141
Administrative information
Provenance

Acquired from Luba Shapiro, Leon's wife, via Michael Wolff and Stanley Radosh, 1986.

Processing Information

Processed by Linda Seidman, December 1986.

Acknowledgments

Encoding funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Copyright and Use (More informationConnect to publication information)

Cite as: Leon Shapiro Papers (MS 127). Special Collections and University Archives, University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries.

Search terms
Subjects
  • Europe, Eastern--Ethnic relations--History--20th century--Sources.
  • Israel--Emigration and immigration--History--Sources.
  • Israel--History--1948-1967--Sources.
  • Jews, Soviet--History--Sources.
  • Jews--Europe, Eastern--History--Sources.
  • Jews--Migrations--History--Sources.
  • Jews--Population--History--Sources.
  • Jews--Soviet Union--History--Sources.
  • Occupational training for Jews--History--Sources.
  • Palestine--History--1929-1948--Sources.
  • Romania--Emigration and immigration--History--Sources.
  • Soviet Union--Ethnic relations--History--Sources.
Names
  • Rutgers University--Curricula.
  • Rutgers University--Faculty--History--Sources.
  • Rutgers University--Students--History--Sources.
  • Shapiro, Leon--Archives.
  • World ORT Union--History--Sources.
Genre terms
  • Oral histories.
  • Photographs.