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The Libraries of Boris Sapir and David Batser

In the course of 2001, two private libraries were added to the Russian collections at the Institute. The original owners were Boris M. Sapir (who worked at the IISH for many years) and David M. Batser.

Boris Moisevič Sapir (1902-1989) was born in Lódz and moved to Moscow in 1914. In 1919 he joined the RSDRP (Mensheviki) and the Russian Social Democratic Workers Party (Mensheviks) and co-founded the Moscow social-democratic youth movement. Between 1921 and 1925 he was repeatedly arrested, imprisoned and exiled. He spent over two years in Solovki, the infamous GULAG camp on the Solovetskiye islands in the White Sea. In 1925 he fled abroad. He studied law and obtained a PhD in Heidelberg, Germany, and joined the Menshevik movement in exile. Following Hitler's seizure of power he settled in the Netherlands.

Boris Sapir was involved with the IISH from the moment of its establishment and became the head of its Eastern Europe Department in 1936. When World War II broke out, Sapir was forced to leave the country. After living in the United States for many years, he returned to the Netherlands in 1967. He resumed his duties at the IISH, where he remained until shortly before his death in 1989. He was the author of many publications about Russian social democracy, including source publications about the journal Vpered!, Petr Lavrov and Fedor and Lidia Dan. He edited the Sotsialisticheskii Vestnik for many years. His library was donated by his daughter Anna Sapir Abulafia and his son L.A.M. Sapir, "in memory of Boris and Berti Sapir."

David Mironovič Batser (1905-1986) became involved in politics during the same period and within the same party. Even though he was involved in the youth movement and spent the same years in Solovki, he and Sapir did not know each other. After his detention in Solovki, Batser was arrested several times and spent years in exile and in GULAG camps. In exile in Ashkhabad and Tashkent, he published about Turkmenian economics. He spent the last three decades of his life in Moscow and published about many different fields, including Russian social democracy, collectivization in Central Asia in the 1930s and library science (e.g. bibliographies and cataloguing music works). His vast library featured works about history, politics and general social sciences. Works on socialism from the first quarter of the twentieth century were his main focus.