The Bund

The Bund

A Graphic History of Jewish Labour Resistance

By Sharon Rudahl and Paul Buhle, Illustrated by Michael Kluckner, Foreword by David Rosenberg


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Told in an engaging graphic novel format, The Bund explains the oppressive origins of Jewish resistance in Ukraine, Poland, and the "Pale of Settlement" in Tsarist Russia. Jewish people adapted to industrialization and organized against exploitation. As they became more divided along the linguistic borders of Yiddish and Hebrew, Jewish people split between those who sought a distant ancestral homeland, others who emigrated and adapted to the "new world," and many more who fought against murderous Soviet and Nazi regimes. Charismatic resistance figures including Pati Kremer and Bernard Goldstein kept secular and progressive ideas alive against impossible odds in this graphic account of a little-known story. The first of its kind, this graphic history of Jewish labour resistance lays bare evidence of a radical past that can have massive implications for leftist Jewish struggles today.

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“What can you say about an organization that was a union, a social movement, a political party, a culture-producing machine and a loving, contentious community all at the same time? Perhaps only that it’s a model for the politics we need right now. It’s no surprise that interest in the Bund is surging in young leftist circles these days, and this excellent populist primer fills an urgent need. This book also embodies the Bund’s own deep commitment to inclusive, radical popular education: buy it, inhale it, pass it on!”

– Avi Lewis, filmmaker, teacher, activist, politician, 4th generation Bundist

“Deeply relevant to today’s political debates, The Bund reminds us that throughout history many groups of Jews were themselves anti-Zionist. The Bund thus challenges the false and dangerous narrative that anti-Zionism equates to anti-Semitism.”

– Zelda Abramson, professor emerita, Department of Sociology, Acadia University; co-author of The Montreal Shtetl: Making Home After the Holocaust

“This is a book that lefty Jews need right now. We need to remember how sophisticated, committed, caring, and effectively organized we have been. With its dramatic illustrations and compelling, clear storytelling, it’s an exciting, accessible tool for conjuring the beautiful, powerful spirit of the Yiddish Bund into our lives today.”

– Geoff Berner, musician and author of The Fiddler Is a Good Woman

“This book tells the often forgotten story of the incredible Jewish socialist movement’s struggle for a better world. The beautiful graphic illustrations convey the brave commitment of socialist Jews to universal values of equality and justice while fighting dictatorship and fascism. Through such an original way of telling a story, the Bund appears as a genuine alternative to the Zionist colonization of Palestine. This is a crucial and relevant contribution for anyone who wishes to contemplate what the role of the Left is today and as importantly why anti-Zionism is not anti-Semitism.”

– Ilan Pappe, author of The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine

“While the Bund was once a forceful and popular movement, its history has largely been forgotten. This graphic history presents the Bund’s rich history in a new way, introducing learned and young readers alike to its cornerstones and decisive moments. With select words and powerful images, it tells the story of how the Bund emerged as the leading alternative in modern Jewish life. Particularly in our day and age, a rediscovery of the Bund can teach us that resistance and humanness is possible, however dark the present may seem.”

– Dr. Frank Wolff, Osnabrück University, Germany

“Don’t miss this memorable book with lovely graphics of an important Jewish socialist labour organization in Lithuania, Belarus, Poland, and Russia. Members—like my mother in Piotrkow, Poland—joined the Bund in promoting Yiddish/Jewish culture and traditions in the quest for a better world. I’m pleased that this book pays homage to lives lost by the Bund’s many heroes and martyrs in the resistance against the Nazis. Among them was my uncle Yacob Berliner, in Piotrkow!”

– Suzanne Berliner Weiss, Jewish Holocaust survivor, author of Holocaust to Resistance, My Journey

The Bund provides an engaging and accessible introduction to the often overlooked but undoubtedly influential social democratic organization that unified Jews from across the diaspora in a struggle for equality, justice, and a classless society. It exposes the significant contributions made by Jewish socialists to politics, culture, and resistance movements, demonstrating that, despite the Bund’s practical erasure from the historical record, it had a significant and lasting legacy around the world. For those seeking alternatives to mainstream Zionist and conservative Judaism, for left-wing responses to anti-Semitism, economic inequality, and racial injustice, this graphic novel offers a perfect place to start.”

– Roberta Lexier, Departments of General Education and Humanities, Mount Royal University