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Sophia Dubnow-Erlich

Sophia Dubnow-Erlich’s socialist views were reflected both in her acclaimed poetry and in her passionate activism. Raised in a political and literary family, Dubnow-Erlich studied at Bestuzhev in St. Petersburg, where her first published poem, “Haman and His Demise,” caused a scandal in 1904 for its satiric portrayal of the czar’s minister of the interior. Censors confiscated all copies, and her delighted father wrote to the Zionist Ahad Ha-Am, “Our daughter is the hero of the day.” She was expelled later that year for participating in a student protest, but continued her studies first at St. Petersburg University and later at the Sorbonne. She became an active member of both the Social Democratic Labor Party and the Jewish Labor Party, married Bund leader Henryk Erlich in 1911, and wrote for Bund journals throughout World War I and the Russian Revolution before fleeing Vilna for Warsaw in 1918. Dubnow-Erlich lost both her father and husband in the Holocaust, immigrating to America in 1939 when the Germans took Warsaw. She remained politically active in the US, fighting for civil rights and protesting the Vietnam War, and wrote poetry, essays, translations, political histories, a biography of her father, and an autobiography, Bread and Matzo.

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Poet, Writer, Translator, Activist

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Sophia Dubnow-Erlich." (Viewed on July 3, 2020) <>.


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