Kohn, Felix Iakovlevich
Born May 18 (30), 1864, in Warsaw; died July 28, 1941, in Moscow. Active in the Polish, Russian, and international revolutionary movement. Of bourgeois origin; his mother took part in the Polish Uprising of 1863–64.
Kohn jointed socialist circles in 1882 while a student at Warsaw University and that same year became a member of the Proletariat I party. He was arrested in 1884 and served eight years in the Kara hard labor camp on the Kara River in Transbaikalia; from 1891 to 1904 he was in exile in Eastern Siberia. Returning to Warsaw in 1904, he joined the left wing of the Polish Socialist Party (PSP). He was a delegate to the Seventh, Eighth, and Ninth Congresses of the PSP, becoming a member of the party’s Central Workers’ Committee in 1905–06. A participant in the Revolution of 1905–07, he worked in the St. Petersburg Soviet of Workers’ Deputies in November 1905. After the split within the PSP in 1906 he became a member of the PSP-Left, serving as a member of its Central Workers’ Committee in 1906–08.
In 1907, Kohn emigrated. He attended the Stuttgart Congress of the Second International in 1907 and the Eleventh Congress of the PSP-Left in 1912. During World War I he took an internationalist position. From 1914 to 1917 he was active in the left wing of the Social Democratic Party of Switzerland. Arriving in Petrograd in May 1917, he became a member of the Central Executive Committee of the PSP-Left in Russia and a member of the secretariat of the Menshevik internationalists in June. In 1917–18 he was commissar for Polish affairs in Kharkov Province. In 1918 he joined the Russian Communist Party (Bolshevik), and his party membership was declared retroactive to 1906. He was a member of the Communist Party of Poland from its formation in December 1918. In 1919 he edited Polish Communist publications in Kiev. In 1919 he was a member of the collegium of the People’s Commissariat for Foreign Affairs of the Ukrainian SSR.
From 1919 to 1930, Kohn was a member of the Polish Bureau of the RCP(B) Central Committee. He was a member of the Orgburo (organizational bureau) For Convoking the First Congress of the Communist Party (Bolshevik) of the Ukraine (CP [Bolshevik]), a member of the Kiev party provincial committee, and chairman of the Galician Organizational Committee of the CP(B) of the Ukraine. In July and August 1920, he was a member of the Polish Provisional Revolutionary Committee in Bialystok. He served as secretary of the Central Committee of the CP(B) of the Ukraine in 1921. In 1921–22 he was chief of the Political Administration of the Ukrainian Red Army. He was one of the organizers (1922) and active figures of the International Organization for Assitance to Fighters for the Revolution.
Kohn attended the Second through Seventh Congresses of the Comintern. In 1922–23 he was secretary of the Comintern’s Executive Committee, and from 1924 to 1935 he was a member of the International Control Commission, serving as its deputy chairman between 1927 and 1935. He was editor of several newspapers, including Krasnaia zvezda (1925–28) and Rabochaia gazeta (1928–30). In 1930–31 he was a member of the collegium of the People’s Commissariat of Education of the RSFSR. In 1931–33 he was chairman of the All-Union Committee on Broadcasting and a member of the collegium of the People’s Commissariat for Post and Telegraph. From 1933 to 1937 he headed the museum department of the People’s Commissariat of Education of the RSFSR, and he edited the journal Nasha strana between 1937 and 1941. Kohn was a delegate to the Ninth, Eleventh, and Thirteenth through Seventeenth Congresses of the ACP (Bolshevik). He was a member of the All-Russian Central Executive Committee and of the Central Executive Committee. He wrote a number of works on the history of the Russian and Polish revolutionary movement, including During Fifty Years (vols. 1–3, 1932–34) and Feliks Edmundovich Dzerzhinskii (1939).