Skip to main content

David Trotsky (1904-1945) Collection

Identifier: RG 235

Scope and Content Note

The collection consists of printed matter, such as newsletters, posters, programs, playbills, reports, notices, circulars, questionnaires, notes, by-laws, membership cards, flyers, invitations, election materials, and clippings. These relate to the political, social, cultural, economic and religious institutions of Belgian Jewry between the two World Wars, mainly in Brussels and Antwerp. It includes political materials on Zionist, Bundist and Communist organizations: Hashomer Hatsair, Keren Kayemet, Poale Tsion, Royte Hilf (Red Aid Society for Political Prisoners), and Gezerd (Association to Aid Jewish Colonization in the Soviet Union). Documents related to labor unions include the Union of Handbag Makers, Union of Women Cutters, unions for bankers, leather workers and diamond workers, Federation of Unions in Brussels, and the Merchants’ Association. Cultural and educational organizations are represented through Yiddish schools, copies of diplomas from the Peretz School in Brussels, Jewish sports clubs, performances from Jewish theaters, concerts, films, art exhibitions, and the Jewish People’s Club, the Gezelshaft-Kinder Fraynd (Society for Friends of Children), posters for a children’s camp, a children’s journal Grininke Beymelekhh (Green Trees), university circles, the Jewish Student Union, Jewish Press Club, and Jewish libraries. Religious and charitable institutions include the rabbinate, religious schools, synagogues, Khesed shel Emes (Burial Society), Hakhnosas Kalah (Aid Society for Poor Brides), Beys Lekhem (Charity for the Poor), G’milas Khasodim (Benevolent Society), women’s aid societies, Union of Polish Jews, Union of German-Jewish Refugees, Council of Jewish Organizations, Der Natsionaler Komitet fun Arbaytloze (National Unemployment Committee), Comite de Secours pour les Chomeurs Juifs (Relief Committee for Unemployed Jews), and landsmanshaftn. There are also materials on antisemitism, including leagues against antisemitism, boycotting the Nazi regime and extracts from antisemitic propaganda, pamphlets and invitations from missionary societies, business cards of commercial establishments, and newspaper clippings on the Jewish problem in Belgium. The documents are dated 1907-1940, the bulk of which are from 1920-1938.


  • 1907-1940
  • Majority of material found within 1920-1938


Language of Materials

The collection is in French, Dutch, Yiddish, Czech, German, Hungarian, Russian, and Polish.

Access Restrictions

The collection has been digitized and is available online without restrictions.

Use Restrictions

The images, documents, film footage, audio materials, and texts displayed in any portion of this web site may be copyrighted. Permission to use this web site is given on condition that the user agrees to follow U.S. copyright laws. The user agrees that she or he assumes liability for any copyright violations resulting from unauthorized use of items appearing on this web site and to hold YIVO harmless from any action involving copyright infringement. It is the responsibility of the user to carry out a due diligence search under U.S. copyright laws to determine the copyright status of items displayed on this web site.

Biographical / Historical

David (Dud'eh) Trotsky was born in Vilna on 23 October 1904 and died on 21 March 1945 in Camp Ebensee, a sub-camp of Mauthausen in Austria. He graduated from the Jewish Real-Gymnasium in Vilna and later became a teacher. In 1924 he immigrated to Belgium, where he was engaged in collecting documents and materials covering Jewish social life in Belgium through the beginning of World War II. He collected specifically for YIVO in Belgium from 1928 to 1939.


3.4 Linear Feet (7 manuscript boxes, 35 map folders)


This collection contains materials collected by David Trotsky relating to the Jewish community of Belgium in the inter-war period. Materials include printed documents, posters, reports, meeting minutes, and newspaper clippings, mainly pertaining to the Jews of Brussels and Antwerp.


The collection is arranged in one series by the name of the organization or by subject. Folder descriptions often reflect the transliterated spelling of the organizations as found on official letterhead, rather than conventional spellings. When organization names were not transliterated, YIVO standards were used. Many folders originally contained a number of oversized posters, which have been removed to flat file storage. These posters were kept together by original folder number, so that, for example, the theater posters that were originally in folder 31 are in an oversized folder numbered 31. During the microfilming process, the oversized posters were removed from the folders and microfilmed as a separate series at the end of the collection, in either two or four parts depending on the size of the poster.

Acquisition Information

The collection was given to the YIVO Archives by David Trotsky’s widow, Paulina Trotsky, in 1948.


The collection is on 4 reels of microfilm (MK 474.1-474.4).

Digitization Note

The collection was digitized and made accessible in its entirety with the exception of oversized materials.

Related Material

The YIVO Library and Archives have other materials about Belgium, including some materials about the local YIVO office in Belgium. There are also several other collections that contain materials relating to Jewish political, social, cultural, economic and religious institutions in the interwar period.

Separated Material

Books from the Trotsky collection have been removed to the YIVO Library. Materials about YIVO in Belgium and photos of YIVO in Vilna have been removed to the History of YIVO collection, RG 1.

Processing information

Ezekiel Lifschutz created the original Yiddish finding aid, which was later translated. Additional processing completed in January 2012.

Guide to the David Trotsky (1904-1945) Collection 1907-1940 (bulk 1920-1938) RG 235
Processed by Ezekiel Lifschutz. Additional processing by Rachel S. Harrison as part of the Leon Levy Archival Processing Initiative, made possible by the Leon Levy Foundation.
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Description is in English.
Digitization made possible by the Conference for Jewish Material Claims Against Germany.

Repository Details

Part of the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research Repository

15 West 16th Street
New York NY 10011 United States