Jewish Workers Club MB Ratner Kharkiv

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Where: Kharkivs´ka Oblast´, Ukraine

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When: Unknown

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This book stamp belongs to a Jewish Workers Club named for the socialist leader and lawyer Marc Borisovich Ratner. Ratner was involved in socialist politics from an early age – and though his political involvement often disrupted his studies he eventually became a lawyer. In practicing law, Ratner developed a reputation for defending those involved in political struggle as well as acting as a prosecutor in trials related to pogroms. Ratner was a prominent member and leader of the Jewish Socialist Workers’ Party – in which he represented the populist socialist-revolutionary trend; at the 1907 Congress of the Socialist International (1910) Ratner was involved in the campaign for the recognition of a Jewish section of the International. Prominent as an activist, legal advocate, and writer – Ratner’s memory was carried on by many after he died in 1917. Jewish Workers Clubs were a common feature of cities with sizable Jewish populations in the years following the Russian Revolution. As there were many different tendencies within Jewish political ideology – from socialism to Zionism to labor Zionism – it was common for Jewish Workers Clubs to take on the name of a figure associated with a particular set of ideas.

This book stamp is from a book looted by the Nazis and sorted by Colonel Seymour Pomrenze, one of “the Monuments Men,” at the Offenbach Archival Depot.

There are two scrapbooks of archival markings from the books sorted at the Offenbach Depot in the Seymour Pomrenze Collection held by the American Jewish Historical Society (Call number P-933) There is a finding aid for the collection here The digitized scrapbooks are available here and here.

For more information on this project check the Center’s blog:

Dr. Mitch Fraas, Acting Director of the Digital Humanities Forum at the University of Pennsylvania Libraries' Special Collections Center is working on a similar project for the German book stamps based on NARA microfilm of the volumes the American Jewish Historical Society currently holds. See

The Center for Jewish History would like to acknowledge the following: The American Jewish Historical Society, who graciously allowed the use of their archival materials and digital content; Mitch Fraas, Acting Director of the Digital Humanities Forum at the University of Pennsylvania Libraries' Special Collections Center, for his data and technical assistance in this project; David Rosenberg, Senior Manager for Communications, and Melanie Meyers, Senior Reference Services Librarian for Special Collections, for managing and creating the digital map; as well as Reference Services Librarian Zachary Loeb and Reference Services Assistant Ilya Slavutskiy for their work on translating and mapping.

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Owner: Center for Jewish History, NYC
Source: Flickr Commons
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