At the age of 12, Lev Schwarzmann (Shvartsman) was kidnapped by anarchists in order to get a ransom from his father, one of the wealthiest Kyiv residents of the late 19th century. After returning to the family, Lev joined the Narodnaya Volya, but he did not stay long with them. None of the theories of the development of society that existed then, and even more so of a person, suited him, and he developed his own philosophy.
Yehuda Leib Schwartzmann, who became known to the world of philosophic thought as Lev Shestov, grew up in the Podil neighborhood of Kyiv in the family of a merchant of the first guild Isaac Schwarzmann. Although he was an Orthodox Jew, the manufacturer and owner the largest store of the best English fabrics with a fortune of 3 million rubles adhered to free views, and instilled the same attitude towards the world around him in his children.
The foundations of Shestov’s philosophy – the denial of any dogmas, norms and rules – were laid down precisely by his multimillionaire father. In addition to the free interpretation of any norms, Lev also inherited business sense from his father. Until the events of 1917, he remained the only Schwarzmann’s child who took part in successful and multiple family businesses.
Calling the October Revolution despotic, Lev Shestov left for Europe forever, where he developed his philosophy of existentialism, preaching freedom in everything.