Adam Rayski, a modest hero
Born August 14, 1914 in Bialystok, an industrial city on the border of Belarus, in a family of merchants, some of which participated in the 1905 revolution. Adam grew up in the atmosphere of the discussions through the Jewish left, the Bund to communist, to the left of Zionist Poale Zion ... It soon became responsible for the "left school", then secretary of the Komsomol in the city. Commitments that earned him his exclusion from school for subversive activities and having to emigrate to France in late 1932 to resume a university education. In parallel with the journalism course at the Sorbonne and the Free School of Political Science, Rayski integrated the Jewish communist youth organizations of the MOI (migrant labor) ... In January 1934 the "Jewish section" launched a daily Yiddish language, Naïe Presse
(New Press), and Rayski was hired as a journalist ... Rayski who saw the war coming behind the rise of anti-Semitism, accompanied the entrance of underground Unzer Wort (Our Word) In 1940 he enlisted in a regiment of the Polish army (allied with France) based in Coetquidan (Morbihan), he was taken prisoner at the time of the collapse, but he escaped and returned to Paris on July 14. Having no illusions about Vichy regime, seeked to construct underground networks of solidarity and support to families affected by the anti-Jewish status and other measures of persecution. It was already organizing passive resistance. He was in 1941 delegate of the Party in the southern zone, where many Jews had fallen since the exodus. He sets up an escape network from internment camps and organized the return of some migrants to their countries of origin to join the resistance in Marseille and Lyon and also an information networks through clandestine printing. After the invasion of the Soviet Union by Hitler, he was recalled to Paris to take national responsibility for the Jewish section while persecution and execution of hostages are increasing... After the great roundup of July 1942, where several thousand people escaped through the alert launched by the Jewish section, he helped to create the second Jewish detachment, which will become the spearhead of the FTP-MOI. Led by Missak Manouchian, the network and its fighters will be decimated in the late 1943 through termination... Rayski oversees the structures of Jewish resistance adapted to the diversity of the population: women union, youth movement, a group of resistance by district, radio listening service, information dissemination, rescue groups of children. Identified by the police, he managed to get through the cracks. In October 1943, the Jewish organizations of the MOI, which increased in the southern zone were experiencing an exceptional rise and were recognized by all other streams of Jewish life as part of the Jewish resistance. This unified its forces by creating the General Committee of the Jewish Defense to serve as an embryo to the foundation, in January 1944,of the Representative Council of Jews in France (CRIF), which embodied the community after the war. In 1945 Rayski participated to the international conference in New York on the situation of European Jewry ... He played a role establishing international constant relations between the French communists and the Israeli left. These talks committed the PCF in a favorable recognition of the State of Israel. In September 1949, Rayski went back to Poland, where he held the post of Under Secretary of State to the press ... In the "Polish Spring" of 1956, he promoted the liberalization of the press, but he get detached from the policy of Gomulka who managed to avoid the intervention of the Soviet army at the cost of the political alignment of the USSR, that he condemns. The break is consumed and Rayski returned to France in 1957. In the Cold War, he shook accused of spying for Poland (Warsaw revenge?) and sentenced in 1962 to seven years in prison, but he was released in March 1963 and then pardoned. When leaving prison, Rayski retired from political life, devoting himself to write the history of the Holocaust and Jewish resistance, witnessing simply to schoolchildren and students.
Adam Rayski was awarded the Medal of the Resistance and the Croix de Guerre for his acts of resistance, he was part of the National Jury of the Contest of the Resistance and Deportation, he was Chairman of the Union of Jewish Resistance and Deportation of France.
Extract from the newspaper article of Humanity March 14, 2008,
on the occasion of the death of Adam Rayski occurred on March 11, 2008
Adam Rayski secret mission
Marseille, May 1941.
photo taken without his knowledge on the Canebière a street photographer