Jacob Pat Papers
Language of Materials
Jacob Pat was a journalist, writer and activist born in Bialystok, Russian Empire, in 1890. He served as the General Secretary of the Jewish Labor Bund's Central Association of Yiddish Schools in Warsaw, Poland in the years preceding World War II. A fund-raising trip in the fall of 1938 brought Jacob Pat to the United States where he was compelled to remain due to the war. He then devoted his efforts to anti-Nazi activity and rescue work and became the Executive Secretary of the Jewish Labor Comittee, a position he held until his retirement in 1963. He also served as a member of the Delegation of the Jewish Labor Bund to the U.S., and as a chairman of the Congress of Jewish Culture. These papers include correspondence, essays, writings, and photographs, in particular material pertaining to Pat's work with the Jewish Labor Committee.
Jacob Pat was born in Bialystok, Russian Empire, in 1890. He attended yeshivas in Slobodka and Slutek and later graduated from a teachers' seminary in Vilna. Active in the Zionist-Socialist Workers Party from 1905, he dropped his Zionist sympathies and became a member of the social-democratic Jewish Labor Bund after World War I. While working as a teacher, he also served as secretary of the Jewish Community Board of Bialystok, 1917-1920. He lived in Warsaw from 1921 to 1938, and worked there as General Secretary of the Bund's Central Association of Yiddish Schools (CISHO), which enrolled an estimated 60,000 children throughout Poland during the interwar years. He was a prolific journalist, editing and writing for Bundist children's magazines, and serving as co-editor for the Polish Bund's newspaper, the Folkstseitung.
In the 1930s he traveled to the United States on fund-raising trips, representing the Bund schools. One such trip took him to New York City in the fall of 1938. Worsening conditions in Europe forced him to remain in the United States to devote himself to anti-Nazi activity and rescue work. He had left behind in Warsaw his wife, Rivke Pat, and two children, Emanuel and Naomi. The family fled to Vilna after the German invasion of Poland, and there Rivke Pat died. Emanuel and Naomi Patt (this spelling of the surname was adopted by them in the U.S.) were brought to the U.S. on special visas in 1940. Jacob Pat remarried, to Frieda Wider, in 1942.
In 1941 Pat became Executive Secretary of the Jewish Labor Committee, a position he held until his retirement in 1963. He also served as a member of the Delegation of the Jewish Labor Bund to the U.S., 1938-1947, as chairman of the Congress for Jewish Culture, and as co-editor of Zukunft. In 1946 he toured displaced persons camps and visited with communities of Jewish survivors in France and Eastern Europe; he wrote about his experiences in Poland in Ashes and Fire(1947). In later years he traveled extensively to Europe, South America and Israel. He was a frequent contributor to the Jewish press both in Yiddish and English, and published a number of books, including Conversations with Jewish Writers (1959). He died in New York City on April 26, 1966.
Organized into 3 series:
Series I: Biographical and Correspondence, 1937-1971
Series II: Subject files, 1935-1978
Series III: Photographs, circa 1930-1969.
Series I is arranged chronologically and series II and III are arranged alphabetically by subject, and thereunder chronologically.
Scope and Content Note
This collection consists of correspondence, including both incoming and outgoing letters which reflect Pat's involvement with a wide range of Jewish political and cultural organizations, and personal correspondence with friends from many countries. Of special note is a file of correspondence related to the publication of his Conversations with Jewish Writers, 1959-1960. Also included in the correspondence files are a small number of letters addressed to or written by other Jewish Labor Committee and Jewish Labor Bund officers and staff, which came into Pat's possession in the course of his work. The collection also includes a substantial amount of material illustrating Pat's work with the Jewish Labor Committee, manuscript and printed reports and essays on a variety of topics related to the Holocaust and Jewish survival, and records of his travels. A small number of documents dating from the years after Jacob Pat's death in 1966 were preserved by his widow, Frieda. Approximately three hundred and fifty black and white photographs document Pat's travels throughout Europe, Israel and South America on behalf of the Jewish Labor Committee and the Joint Distribution Committee. Also represented in the photographs are meetings, events and family members and friends. Notable individuals included in the photographs include Baruch Charney Vladeck, Szmul Zygielbojm and Golda Meir.
Conditions Governing Access
Materials are open without restrictions.
Conditions Governing Use
Copyright (or related rights to publicity and privacy) for materials in this collection, created by Jacob Pat was not transferred to New York University. Permission to use materials must be secured from the copyright holder.
Published citations should take the following form:
Identification of item, date; Jacob Pat Papers; WAG 127; box number; folder number;
Tamiment Library/Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives
Elmer Holmes Bobst Library
70 Washington Square South
New York, NY 10012, New York University Libraries.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Donated by Rebecca Patt, the granddaughter of Jacob Pat, in 1996. The accession number associated with this gift is 1998.005 and 1998.008.
A negative and some accompanying correspondence found in the repository was added to the collection in 2014. The accession number associated with this material is 2014.112.
Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements
Series I and II of the Jacob Pat Papers were microfilmed in 2005 by the OCLC Digital Collection and Preservation Services, with funding provided by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Researchers must use microfilm for Series I and II of this collection; microfilm call number is Film R-7200, Reels 1-5.
About this Guide
Photographs separated from this collection during processing were established as a separate collection, the Jacob Pat Photographs (PHOTOS 143). In 2013, the photograph collection was reincorporated into the Jacob Pat Papers (WAG 127).
Materials in Box 3, Folder 14 were discovered in the repository and added to WAG 127 in 2014.