Scope and Content
Organization and Arrangement
Title: Si Frumkin papers
Date (inclusive): 1969-2010
Collection number: 1888
56 boxes (28 linear ft.)
Abstract: Si Frumkin was born in Kaunas/Kovno, Lithuania on November 5, 1930. He survived the Dachau concentration camp and emigrated
to the U.S. in 1949. In 1968 he founded the Southern California Council for Soviet Jews (SCCSJ.) He frequently spoke on Holocaust
issues at the Wiesenthal Center's Museum of Tolerance and founded the Association of Holocaust Survivors from the former Soviet
Union. The collection consists mostly of newsletters, press releases and photographs highlighting the activities of the SCCSJ
and the Union of Councils for Soviet Jews for more than 40 years.
Language: Finding aid is written in
University of California, Los Angeles. Library Special Collections.
Los Angeles, California 90095-1575
Physical location: Stored off-site at SRLF. Advance notice is required for access to the collection. Please contact UCLA Library Special Collections
for paging information.
Restrictions on Access
Open for research. STORED OFF-SITE AT SRLF. Advance notice is required for access to the collection. Please contact UCLA Library
Special Collections for paging information.
Restrictions on Use and Reproduction
Property rights to the physical object belong to the UC Regents. Literary rights, including copyright, are retained by the
creators and their heirs. It is the responsibility of the researcher to determine who holds the copyright and pursue the copyright
owner or his or her heir for permission to publish where The UC Regents do not hold the copyright.
Provenance/Source of Acquisition
Gift of Ella Frumkin, 2011.
Processed by William M. Katin in the Center for Primary Research and Training (CFPRT), with assistance from Megan Hahn Fraser,
Summer 2011. The processing of this collection was supported by the generous donation of Zev Yaroslavsky.
[Identification of item], Si Frumkin papers (Collection Number 1888). UCLA Library Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research
Si Frumkin (born Simas Frumkinas on November 5, 1930), businessman and political activist, was born in Kaunas/Kovno, Lithuania,
the son of Mykolas and Zila (nee Waisapel) Frumkinas, who owned a Willys Overland automobile and NSU motorcycle dealership.
Frumkin was ten years old when the Kaunas Ghetto was established on July 10, 1941. He and his parents lived there until the
Nazis closed the camp on 8 July 1944, and Frumkin and his father were deported to Dachau. His mother was separated from the
family and sent to Poland. Frumkin and his father became slave laborers constructing the subterranean factories to manufacture
the Messerschmitt 262 for the Phillip Holzmann's plant called "Diana II." On April 7, 1945, twenty days before the liberation
of Dachau, Frumkin's father died.
The Jewish Brigade (a unit of Jewish men in the British Army) transported Frumkin to an Italian Displaced Persons camp in
Modena, Italy. He received a scholarship in order to attend schools in Italy, Switzerland, and England after the war. He was
later reunited with his mother who had survived the war and relocated to Venezuela.
He immigrated to the United States in 1949 to study at New York University, earning a Bachelor's Degree in 1953. He moved
to Los Angeles, where his mother and stepfather (a survivor from the Warsaw Ghetto) had since moved. They built Universal
Drapery Fabrics at 560 San Julian Street in Los Angeles into a successful business.
Frumkin earned a Master's Degree in history from California State University, Northridge in 1964 and founded the Southern
California Council for Soviet Jews (SCCSJ) in 1968. With Zev Yaroslavsky (later Los Angeles City Councilman and a member of
the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors), Frumkin demonstrated against Soviet cultural events held in Los Angeles, including
the Moiseyev Ballet, Lynus Pauling receiving the Lenin Peace Prize, the Osipov Balalaika performance, and Leonid Brezhnev's
visit with President Nixon in San Clemente, in order to expose the plight of Jews not allowed to emigrate from the USSR. In
1973 he was accompanied by Yaroslavsky on a visit to Moscow, where they met with Soviet dissidents.
Frumkin began weekly speaking engagements for the Wiesenthal Center's Museum of Tolerance, and he provided expert court testimony
for Soviet Jews facing possible deportation. In 1991 he went to China on behalf of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, participated
in a 1996 American Gathering of Jewish Holocaust Survivors meeting in Washington, D.C., and in 2007 he interviewed nearly
one hundred Holocaust survivors for Steven Spielberg's Shoah Foundation. He was one of the leading figures in the Russian
speaking community in California and the United States.
Frumkin died May 15, 2009. Further information about his life and work can be found at
Scope and Content
The collection consists of two large series and four small series.
Series 1. Political Commentary
About 40 per cent of this collection is found in the first series consisting of essays written to encourage the American Government
to pressure the Soviets to allow more Soviet Jews to emigrate to Israel or the U.S. The emphasis is on political commentary
on current events with a Jewish theme. These writings, originally entitled "Si's Scribbles," were on occasion published in
newspapers, and beginning in December 1992 they were published in a newsletter format entitled
Graffiti for Intellectuals. The
Graffiti newsletter also included reprinted articles from the
Los Angeles Times,
Jerusalem Post, and other media. Themes include the Jackson-Vanik amendment, Soviet limitation of Jewish emigration, the status of Jewish
refusniks in the USSR, and the slowness of the Claims Conference in disbursing restitutions for deprivations caused by the
An important feature of this series is Frumkin's translation of Soviet dissident literature from the 1970s and 1980s, often
Graffiti. Authors include: Mihajlo Mihajlov, Lev Navrozov, Lev Alburt, Valery Soyfer, Michail Makarenko, Genrikh Shakhnovich, Vladimir
Matlin, and Vadim Belotserkovsky. It is unknown whether Frumkin's translations are the only edition of the essays that are
extant for those unable to read Cyrillic. Other Russian literary activity referred to in
Graffiti includes the translation of Leon Uris's Exodus from English to Russian by inmates in the Dubrovlag Camp in Soviet Mordovia
One example of Frumkin's abiding concern for the Russian émigré population of greater L.A. is demonstrated by his deep friendship
with Alexander Polovets. Polovets was the editor of the Russian-American newspaper Panorama, the largest independent Russian-language
weekly newspaper outside of Russia, a publication which originated in July 1980. Thus there are numerous articles shared by
A second important theme of this first series is Frumkin's involvement in Holocaust memorial activities. This theme is seen
in the essays Frumkin wrote, and in newspaper articles covering events such as his service as the master of ceremonies for
the dedication of the Babi Yar memorial in Plummer Park, his weekly talks on his Dachau experiences presented at the Museum
of Tolerance, and his interviewing Russian speaking survivors for Steven Spielberg's Shoah Foundation. In addition, a conference
folder indicates that Frumkin participated in Phil Blazer's "Addressing the Cycle of Pain" Conference of Holocaust survivors
in Berlin during November 1991.
Series 2. Press Releases
This series contains press releases about the efforts of the Southern California Council for Soviet Jews (SCCSJ), such as
candlelight walks, encouraging Soviet Jews by mailing them Passover and Rosh Hashanah cards, and their protests of Russian
cultural exchanges in order to draw attention to the Soviet restrictions on emigration.
Frumkin developed a "prisoner of the month" campaign, thus the press releases may now serve as an index to Soviet refuseniks
during the 1970s and 1980s, including such notables as Anatoly Sharansky, Ida Nudel, Vladimir Slepak and Alexander Voronel.
In addition, Frumkin compiled reports of his trips to the USSR in which he met with Soviet Jews, excerpts of which are contained
in this series.
Frumkin enlisted the aid of politicians in enabling Soviet Jews to emigrate. The working relationships that he developed with
California politicians can be seen in letters from those who acknowledged receipt of his material, including Senators Barbara
Boxer and Pete Wilson, Congressmen Henry Waxman and Howard Berman, Los Angeles Mayors Sam Yorty and Tom Bradley, and Los Angeles
City Councilman Joel Wachs. Zev Yaroslavsky's work is also represented in the collection, which contains items such as his
press releases as the leader of the UCLA student movement promoting Jewish emigration from the USSR.
Series 3. Research Files
About 45 per cent of the collection consists of research materials, mostly clippings from U.S. daily newspapers and American
Jewish publications on topics such as anti-Semitism, emigration and the conviction of Jonathan Pollard, the American Jewish
analyst convicted of giving U.S. military secrets to the Israelis. Frumkin's translation into English of Soviet refusenik
literature is not solely confined to series one, but also appears in this series as the entire run of the publication
THEM and also
Witness, publications of short duration in which Frumkin collaborated with Alexander Polovets as the editor-in-chief. Also included
are lists of names and addresses of Soviet Jews seeking to emigrate as well as material from the Union of Councils for Soviet
Series 4. Photographs
Photographs from events such as the annual candlelight walks and the picketing of Soviet cultural events outside the Shrine
Auditorium are present in this series. Many of the politicians lending support to Soviet Jewish emigration mentioned in Series
2 are also depicted, including Secretary of Interior James Watt, Senator Henry "Scoop" Jackson, Congressmen Alphonso Bell
and Bob Dornan, and L.A. City Councilmen Joel Wachs, Tom Bradley, and Zev Yaroslavsky.
Series 5. Soviet Holocaust Interview Translations
In 2008, Frumkin translated 21 of the Holocaust narratives from the 2004 Russian book,
Victims of the Holocaust Tell Their Stories. Some of the personal memories included are those from Vilya Ira, Ida Anapolskaya, and Alexander Anapolski. In 2010, Frumkin's
widow Ella Frumkin edited the recollections along with additional translations for the publication of the book
The Holocaust DID Happen.
Series 6. Pocket Calendars
The final series contains pocket calendars, an address book and a DVD recording on the occasion of Frumkin's 70th birthday,
in which many people he assisted or worked with express their gratitude to him.
Organization and Arrangement
The original order of Frumkin's filing system in Series 1 through 3 has been maintained.
- Series 1. Political Commentary 1984-2009
- Series 2. Press Releases 1969-1998
- Series 3. Research Files 1989-1996
- Series 4. Photographs 1969-1989
- Series 5. Soviet Holocaust Interview Translations 2008-2010
- Series 6. Pocket Calendars 1971-1988
The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.