Papers of Marc Ratner
Scope and Content Note
The Marc Ratner Papers consist of materials pertaining to Marc Ratner's political activities as one of the leaders of the SERP (Sotsialisticheskaya Yevreyskaya Rabochaya Partiia, Jewish Socialist Workers' Party, Rus: Социалистическая еврейская рабочая партия) which was a left leaning Zionist revolutionary party.
The collection consists of correspondence, circular letters, clippings, minutes of meetings, essays, manuscripts, political resolutions and statements.
The bulk of the collection consists of correspondence between party members, including the Kiev Section of the party regarding various party matters as well as correspondence with other socialist parties, both Jewish and non-Jewish, regarding unification. Correspondents include Joseph Bergman, M. Borisov, Joseph Fabrikant, Misha Fabrikant and Vladimir Fabrikant, A. Krawitz, Marc Ratner, Shimon Dobin, Nahum Shtiff, Ber Borochov, and Chaim Zhitlovsky.
There are minutes of meetings of the Central Committee, minutes from party Conferences, and minutes of an interparty trial of Alexander Rosenberg, who was a provocateur responsible for the capture of Grigory Gershuni, the first leader of the terrorist Combat Organization.
There is an abundance of materials pertaining to SERP that include lists of party members, drafts of party documents, such as resolutions, statements, and circular letters.
Additionally, there are materials dealing with other political parties such as the Estonian Social-Democratic Labour Party and the Union of Latvian Socialists that include printed materials, clippings, posters, statements, brochures, and by-laws.
Furthermore, the collection includes a number of manuscripts, essays, drafts, and extensive notes on books on social and economic issues, most likely authored by Marc Ratner.
Language of Materials
The collection is in Russian and Yiddish with some German.
The collection has been digitized and is available online without restrictions. The physical collection is closed.
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Marc Borisovich Ratner, lawyer and a political leader was born in 1871 in Kiev, Russian Empire (now Ukraine) and grew up in an assimilated environment. His father, Boris Ratner was also a lawyer and a well known figure within progressive democratic circles.
Marc Ratner began his studies in a Heder and later attended a gymnasium. He entered Kiev University in 1892 but was later expelled from the University and exiled from Kiev for 2 years due to his clandestine socialist activities. He was eventually allowed to return to Kiev and resume his studies. Upon pasasing his state examinations he became an assistant to a barrister. During his exile from Kiev, Marc Ratner began his affiliation with The Russian Wealth (Russkoe bogatstvo, Rus: Русское богатство), a journal in which he published essays on Russian Marxism, the agrarian question, and labor legislation.
Beginning in 1905, he published a number of essays on jurisprudence and civil law. During the same period, Marc Ratner served as a council for the defense in a number of political trials. He also participated as a civil prosecutor in the pogrom trials including Kishinev, Gomel, Zhitomir, Bialystok, and other places.
In 1906, Marc Ratner, along with Chaim Zhitlowsky founded SERP, Sotsialisticheskaya Yevreyskaya Rabochaya Partiia (Jewish Socialist Workers' Party Rus: Социалистическая еврейская рабочая партия) which was a left leaning Zionist revolutionary party.
Marc Ratner advocated for the inclusion of Yiddish in the curriculum of the Hevrah Mefitsei Haskalah (Society for the Promotion of Culture Among the Jews of Russia, Rus. Обшество для Распространения Просвещения Между Евреями в России) and the creation of the Jewish section of the International, and also run as a candidate for the Second Duma (Russian Parliament).
In the aftermath of the Revolution of 1905, Marc Ratner was heavily persecuted and was forced to leave Russia. After leaving Russia, he first settled in Switzerland and then moved to Vienna, Austria in 1907.
He wrote extensively on topics such as Jewish territorialism, theory and practice of social democracy, agrarian and national questions and was a frequent contributor to such publications as Das Neue Leben, Die Alte Stimme, Socialistische Monatshefte, Die Volksstimme, and others. In 1908, Marc Ratner published a book Agrarian Question and Social Democracy.
While living abroad, Marc Ratner remained active in political life of Russian political émigré groups, taking part in conferences and giving lectures. He died in Jassy, Romania shortly before the Revolution of 1917.
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The Marc Ratner Papers consist of materials pertaining to Marc Ratner's political activities as one of the leaders of the SERP (Sotsialisticheskaya Yevreyskaya Rabochaya Partiia, Jewish Socialist Workers' Party, Rus: Социалистическая еврейская рабочая партия) which was a left leaning Zionist revolutionary party. The collection consists of correspondence, circular letters, clippings, minutes of meetings, essays, manuscripts, political resolutions and statements. The bulk of the collection consists of correspondence between party members, minutes of meetings and manuscripts.
This collection is arranged as a portion of the Tcherikower Archive, which includes RG 80 through RG 89. Collection consists of a single series:
The Collection was received by Elias Tcherikower who was the head of the Historical Section of YIVO.
- Bergman, Joseph
- Borisov, M.
- Clippings (information artifacts)
- Fabrikant, Joseph
- Fabrikant, Misha
- Fabrikant, Vladimir
- Jews -- Territorialism
- Krawitz, A.
- Labor Zionism
- Manuscripts (documents)
- Minutes (administrative records)
- Official documents
- Poalei Zion, Russia
- Political prisoners
- Resolutions (administrative records)
- Socialist parties
- Sotsialisticheskaya Yevreyskaya Rabochaya Partiya (Russia)
- Zhitlowsky, Chaim, 1865-1943
- Guide to the Papers of Marc Ratner 1902-1922 RG 83
- Originally processed by YIVO Archives staff and by Marek Web in the 1960's and 1970's. Materials further processed, described, prepared for digitization and finding aid encoded by Yakov Il'ich Sklar in 2017.
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Language of description note
- Description is in English.
- Processed, conserved and digitized as part of the Edward Blank YIVO Vilna Online Collections project (2015-2022). Additional work funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.