Arke (Aaron) Surazski

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Arke (Aaron) Surazski

Birthplace: Bialystok, Grodno Gubernia, Russia
Death: Died in Bilaystok, Lithuania
Immediate Family:

Son of Wolfe Velvel Sourasky and Esther Shoshi Sourasky (Arabash)
Husband of Pesza Sourasky
Father of Rosie "Miriam Reizel" Surazski; Leah Mowszowski; Chava Rachel Fayans; Louis Leib Surazski Zuro; Shmuel Surazski and 4 others
Brother of <private> Sourasky; <private> Sourasky; Miriam Grower ; Yehudit (Judith) Sourasky; Sorelibe Mostoff and 6 others

Managed by: Michael Daniels
Last Updated:

About Arke (Aaron) Surazski

On page 12 of ‘Die Bialystoker’ MORDECHAJ POGORELSKI describes the following in relation to THE JEWISH LABOR MOVEMENT :

"As early as 1882, 70 Jewish weavers went out on strike against the factory owner, Aron Suraski demanding higher wages.

Most of the strikers were Chasidic Jews as was their employer.This stoppage set a precedent for other job actions over wage disputes.

A massive shutdown which spread throughout the entire textile industry in 1894, involving mainly non-Jews - came about after the Czarist regime demanded inspections and productivity quotas, issuing each worker a booklet to jot down his quota for the day. In protest all the silkworkers left the factories.

The walkout lasted for more than three weeks. Only after the Police Commissioner and the Factory Inspector promised the strikers they could not be laid off without cause

and would receive pay on a weekly basis did the employees return to work.This had an effect on other industries as well.

Some ten thousand workers had participated in that strike. Also in 1894, Jewish weavers lead a demonstration around their factory daring to even enter the building and eject the strikebreakers.

The workers in the textile industry had won a 12-hour work day. The weavers' average weekly earnings ranged between six and seven and seven roubles.

In 1900, with the advent of the great economic crisis in Bialystok, the number of employed weavers dropped sharply because three quarters of the factories closed down.

The unemployment rate was high, the situation critical. To call attention to their

predicament, the jobless weavers and their wives, did not permit the Torah to be read at Sabbath services in the synagogue, a spectacular event.

The community was forced to open two kitchens for those out of work, charging a small sum for soup with bread. Some people were so poor they didn't have the four kopeks to pay for this meagre meal. The organisers of these kitchens had no choice but to offer

these destitute individuals with free meals.

This crisis greatly strengthened the Labour Bundist movement in Bialystok. While in 1898, only two hundred enrolled Bundists could be counted, by 1901, there were already seven hundred.

The Bundusts agitated in the streets urging the Jewish masses to throw away their banal novels and replace them with Bundist literature provided by two libraries in Bialystok, one run by Szmuel Mohilewer, the Zionist-oriented Rabbi. These books were in Hebrew and dealt mainly with the need to settle in Israel. The other library under the management of Avrom Kutik, contained Russian, German and Yiddish books. Many radical and socialist volumes were to be found in Kutik's library.

The two libraries played a major role in evolving Jewish socialist and nationalist consciousness and served as sources of general knowledge.

The two main currents, Zionism and Socialism merged as one ideology in the minds off the masses under the influence of the Bundist literature.

Bialystok was one of the main centres of the Bund. From 1900 to 1905, the Bund Central Committee was located there. Three party leaders, Nojach Portnoi, Dr Pawal Rozenthal and his wife Ana, lived in Bialystok. Moreover, the third and fourth conferences were held there.

The Bundist movement grew stronger from year to year. Beside the official organ of the Central Committee, the Bundist Voice, several other Bundist tabloids appeared from time to time as well as a newspaper Bialystoker Stimme (unrelated to the magazine published

by the Bialystoker Centre in New York) which reflected the interests of the local workers.

Not only did unjust working conditions in Bialystok generate a labour movement prepared to strike and bargain collectively with management but the workers were encouraged to support a strong labour counterforce to the formerly dominant factory owners.


from Pinkos Bialystok

Ahron SURAZSKI[2*] Ahron SURAZSKI opened a spinning mill in 1870. He later had large weaving mills with his sons Nusan and Leib SURAZSKI and their sons-in-laws, L. MOWSZOWSKI, M.B.SLOMIANKSI and M. FAJANS. (During the 1840's Ahron SURAZSKI was a weaver of printed calico.) He later learned cloth weaving and became a manufacturer. The first weaving mill was in the house of his father, Wolfke SURAZSKI, or Wolfke POLJAK), on Surazer Street. In 1870 he moved the weaving mill to Nowi [Street], where he completed it with a spinning mill and cloth finishing and employed approximately 100 workers. In

[Page 38]

the later years, he and his sons and sons-in-law occupied a respected place in the Bialystok textile industry.In 1873 Ahron SURAZSKI built a brick Beis Medrash, Hasidi Kotsk [Kotsk or Kock Hasidim]. The SURAZSKI family suffered greatly during the great crisis of 1900-1901. Their factory was sold.The activity of the SURAZSKIs had its continuation 10 years later, through Leo SURAZSKI, his brother Yakob's son, who in 1914 founded a factory in London and in 1917, with his brothers Chaim and Elihu, transferred it to Mexico, where they are industrial entrepreneurs of great stature.

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Arke (Aaron) Surazski's Timeline

Bialystok, Grodno Gubernia, Russia
Age 19
Bialystok, Grodno Gubernia, Russia
Age 23
Bialystok, Grodno Gubernia, Russia
August 2, 1861
Age 24
Bialystok, Grodno Gubernia, Russia
Age 26
Bialystok, Grodno Gubernia, Russia
Age 29
Bialystok, Grodno Gubernia, Russia
Age 29
Age 37
Bialystok, Grodno Gubernia, Russia