Tuesday, 22 August 2017


            He was one of the pioneers of the Yiddish press in the United States.  When the follower of the Jewish Enlightenment and publisher Nakhmen-Ber Etelzon recognized in the 1870s that a Yiddish newspaper in Chicago could have success, he invited Markus to be its editor and began to publish the weekly Izraelitishe prese (Israelite press).  The newspaper appeared in eight pages with three columns to a page.  It also carried a Hebrew supplement entitled “Hekhal haivriya” (Palace of Hebrew).  The contributors were rabbis and Orthodox Enlighteners, and the weekly was distributed over all Jewish communities in North America.  The Yiddish section of the newspaper was mainly filled with information, while in the Hebrew section scholars in Chicago published their treatments on matters of Torah and research.  It appeared in Chicago 1877-1879, later moving to New York where it came out until April 9, 1884.  Markus later worked with Sorezohn in Yudishe gazetten (Jewish gazette) and Yidishes tageblat (Jewish daily newspaper)—in New York.  We now have only two photographic copies of Izraelitishe prese, one from the third year of publication (Chicago, dated April 4, 1879) and a second from the eighth year (New York, April 9, 1884), the very day that the newspaper ceased publication.  The former is reproduced in Pinkes fun amopteyl fun yivo (Records of the American division of YIVO), vol. 1 (New York, 1928), p. 139.  In that issue Etelzon is listed as the publisher and Sh. L. Markus as the editor.  Markus’s memoirs were published in the jubilee issue of Yidishes tageblat in New York (March 20, 1910), and republished in the anthology Tsu der geshikhte fun der yidisher prese in amerike (Toward a history of the Yiddish press in America) (New York, 1934), pp. 46-48.

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 2 (in the biography of N. B. Etelzon); Kalmen Marmor, in Yudisher rekord (Chicago) (September 1916); Marmor, in Pinkes fun amopteyl fun yivo (Records of the American division of YIVO), vol. 1 (New York, 1928), pp. 49-52, 130; Marmor, Der onheyb fun der yidisher literatur in amerike (The beginning of Yiddish literature in America) (New York, 1944), pp. 11, 19, 129; A. R. Malachi, in Hadoar (New York) (November 27, 1936); Moyshe Shtarkman, in Zamlbukh lekoved dem tsveyhundert un fuftsikstn yoyvl fun der yidisher prese, 1686-1936 (Anthology in honor of the 250th jubilee of the Yiddish press, 1686-1936), ed. Dr. Y. Shatski (New York, 1937), pp. 116-20; Shtarkman, in Pinkas shikago (Records of Chicago) (1952), p. 71; Shtarkman, in Metsuda (London) 7 (1954), p. 516; Shmuel Niger, in Tsukunft (New York) (January 1940); Niger, in Algemeyne entsiklopedye (General encyclopedia), “Yidn 5,” p. 98.
Zaynvl Diamant


PEYSEKH MARKUS (May 20, 1896-March 1973)
            He was born in Vizhan (Wizajny), Suvalk district, Lithuania.  He studied in religious elementary school and in Rabbi Reynes’s yeshiva in Lide (Lida).  During WWI he lived in Olkenik (Valkininkai), later in Kovno, and from there in 1923 he made his way to the United States.  For a time he lived in Terre Haute, Indiana, and from 1927 he was in New York where he took up business.  His literary activities began with the writing of stories for Di idishe shtime (The Jewish voice) in Kovno (1918), where he later became a regular contributor.  He also contributed to: Vispe (Islet) (1921-1923), Lite (Lithuania) (1922), and Folksblat (People’s newspaper), among others—in Kovno.  In New York, he was (until 1948) a contributor to Frayhayt (Freedom), in which (among other items) he published serially the novels: A folk vert geboyrn (A people will be born) (1928-1929); Misnagdim (Opponents of Hassidism) (1930-1931); Koyenim (Priests) (1933); and Der amerikaner goylem (The American golem) (1935).  From 1948 he was tied to Tog (Day) and later to Tog-morgn-zhurnal (Day-morning journal), in which (aside from stories and sketches) he published the novels: Der vilner goen, farborgene veltn (The Gaon of Vilna, hidden worlds) (1949-1950), in book form (New York, 1952), 489 pp., and in Hebrew translation by Y. Parush as Olamot tmirim, sipur ḥaye hagaon mivilna (Hidden worlds, the story of the life of the Gaon of Vilna) (Jerusalem, 1954), 436 pp.; Di eybike yerushe (The eternal heritage), part two of Der vilner goen (1954); Der mekubl fun lite (The mystic from Lithuania), part three of Der vilner goen (1957); Di shtot fun mekubolim (The city of mystics), about Jews in Frankfurt-am-Main (1962-1963).  In the monthly journal Yidishe kultur (Jewish culture), he published, among other things, the novel Tsvishn yidn (Among Jews), about Jews in the West.  He also wrote pieces that appeared in: Di tsukunft (The future), Di feder (The pen), Signal (Signal), Getseltn (Tents), and Mosn (Criteria), also its editor—in New York; Lodzer tageblat (Lodz daily newspaper); Dos naye leben (The new life) in Bialystok; Dos folk (The people) and Frimorgn (Morning) in Riga; Di idishe tsaytung (The Jewish newspaper) in Buenos Aires; and Haynt (Today) and Folksblat (People’s newspaper) in Uruguay; among others.  In book form, he published: Arum shtal, a roman (Around the stable, a novel), a novel about horse dealers, two parts (Kovno, 1921), 182 pp.; A brik ibern atlantik, dertseylungen (A bridge over the Atlantic, stories), with drawings by Koyenovitsh (brother of Der Nister) (New York, 1932), 264 pp.  In the anthology Lite (New York, 1951), vol. 1, pp. 663-86, he published a portion of a long work, Midresh kovne (A tale about Kovno).  “His novel Der vilner goen,” wrote Shmuel Niger, “is a contribution to the love of Israel, for which he took the trouble to acquaint himself with historical, folkloristic, and other sources.”  “This was the first positive, scholarly novel,” noted Dr. A. Mukdoni, “in our Yiddish literature.”  He died in New York.

Sources: Avrom Reyzen, in Nay-yidish (New York) (October-November 1922); Biblyografishe yorbikher fun yivo (Bibliographic yearbooks from YIVO), vol. 1 (Warsaw, 1928), see index; B. Fenster, in Morgn-frayhayt (New York) (July 11, 1932; August 10, 1952); Z. Vaynper, Yidishe shriftshteler (Yiddish writers), vol. 1 (New York, 1933), pp. 105-8; Yudel Mark, in Zamlbukh lekoved dem tsveyhundert un fuftsikstn yoyvl fun der yidisher prese, 1686-1936 (Anthology in honor of the 250th jubilee of the Yiddish press, 1686-1936), ed. Dr. Y. Shatski (New York, 1937), pp. 290-91; N. Y. Gotlib and Y. Dan, in Lite (Lithuania), anthology, vol. 1 (New York, 1951), see index; Y. Varshavski, in Forverts (New York) (July 6, 1952); Dr. A. Mukdoni, in Morgn-zhurnal (New York) (August 3, 1952); Khayim Liberman, in Forverts (September 5, 1952); Y. Botoshanski, in Di prese (Buenos Aires) (September 12, 1952); Y. Rabinovitsh, in Keneder odler (Montreal) (September 19, 1952); Dr. Y. Shatski, in Der veker (New York) (September 25, 1952); E. Almi, in Fraye arbeter-shtime (New York) (August 9, 1957); Y. A. Rontsh, Geklibene shriftn (Selected works) (New York, 1960).
Khayim Leyb Fuks


YISROEL V. MARKUS (1884-May 7, 1946)
            He hailed from Lithuania, the son of the rabbi of Riteve (Rietavas), Rabbi Meyer Falk, and the younger brother of Barukh Markus who served as rabbi in Yafo and Haifa.  He was for many years a contributor, and for a time editor, of the daily newspaper Idisher kuryer (Jewish courier) in Chicago.  Aside from other items, he published in it essays on the weekly portion from the Pentateuch and the prophets.  He also placed work in Shikagoer vokhnblat (Chicago weekly newspaper), Zuntog kuryer (Sunday courier) in Chicago, and Der idisher kempfer (The Jewish fighter) in Philadelphia (1906-1907).  Together with N. Kravyets, Markus was co-editor of the weekly Kuryer (Courier) in Chicago in 1940.  In book form: Geklibene perl fun unzer kultur-oytser (Selected pearls from our cultural treasury), vol. 1: Breyshes, shmoys, vayikro (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus) (Chicago: M. Tseshinski, 1942), 257 pp., with a foreword by Dr. Shloyme Goldman.  Markus died suddenly in Chicago.  After his death, there appeared: Geklibene perl fun unzer kultur-oytser, vol. 2: Bamidbor, dvorim, yon-toyvim, megiles (Numbers, Deuteronomy, holidays, scrolls) (New York: Oym, 1947), 240 pp.  He usually signed his name: Dr. Yisroel Markus.

Sources: D. Tidhar, in Entsiklopedyah leḥalutse hayishuv uvonav (Encyclopedia of the pioneers and builders of the yishuv), vol. 4 (Tel Aviv, 1950), p. 1770 (under the biography of his brother, Rabbi Barukh Markus); D. B. Tirkel, in Pinkes fun amopteyl fun yivo (Records of the American division of YIVO), vol. 1 (New York, 1927-1928), p. 261; M. Ḥizkuni (Moyshe Shtarkman), in Pinkas shikago (Records of Chicago) (1951/1952), p. 76; L. Mishkin, in Pinkas shikago, p. 103; A. Reyzen, in Di feder (New York, 1942), p. 88; obituary notices in the Yiddish press.
Zaynvl Diamant

Monday, 21 August 2017


DOVID MARKUS (b. March 3, 1916)
            He was born in Brok, near Warsaw, Poland.  He attended religious elementary school and the yeshiva in Ostrów-Mazowiecka (Ostrov-Mazovyetsk), later graduating from a Polish high school in Warsaw.  For a time he studied humanities at Vilna University.  When the Germans invaded Poland, he was confined in the Warsaw Ghetto, before making his way to Vilna and from there to Moscow en route to Japan.  Until late 1941 he lived in Kobe and until 1946 in Shanghai.  Over the years 1947-1951, he lived in Uruguay, later settling in Rio de Janeiro.  He contributed to Vilner togblat (Vilna daily newspaper) in 1940 and to Folksblat (People’s newspaper) in Montevideo (also its co-editor), in which, aside from a daily column on Jewish and general topics, he also wrote feature pieces.  He wrote as well for: Di tsukunft (The future) and Idisher kemfer (Jewish fighter) in New York; the weekly Unzer vort (Our word) in Montevideo (1948-1951), also its editor; and Der nayer moment (The new moment) in Rio de Janeiro.  He was editor of Di idishe prese (The Jewish press).  He was last living in Rio.

Sources: Forverts and Tog-morgn-zhurnal (both, New York) (March 11, 1954); Keneder odler (Montreal) (March 29, 1954); Y. Vaynshenker, Boyers un mitboyers fun yidishn yishev in urugvay (Founders and builders of the Jewish community in Uruguay) (Montevideo, 1957), p. 144.
Khayim Leyb Fuks


            He was, most likely, born in Germany.  He studied medicine in Königsberg.  In 1774 he moved to Poland, initially practicing as a doctor in Kopust (Kopyś), four miles from Shklov (Szkłów), Byelorussia, and later in Turisk, Volhynia, where for many years he was crown doctor close to the king and his lord’s commission.  With help from a Polish magnate, Michal Babrowcki, “in 1790…he published Sefer refuot, hanikra ezer yisrael (The book of remedies that is called Ezer Yisrael), for those who dwell in the land of Poland, written in Polish-Taytsh [= Yiddish], which Rabbi Moses, [also] known as Dr. Marcuze and well known to many people, wrote, and he was a government-employed doctor, appointed by the king and the commission, a crown doctor; and he wishes to benefit the people with his book, so that each person might be able to help himself [in places] where there is no learned doctor; and whoever holds to the course of conduct prescribed by him can avoid becoming ill.  Printed here in the holy community of Poritsk [Poryck] in the year 5550.”  (Roughly twenty printers’ sheets), with approbations from the Turisk rabbi, Yankev Kahane, who highly praised the author as a learned man and expert in his line of work.  Irrespective of the special character of Markuze’s work, the essence of which was to give the people the rudiments of hygiene and medicine, it is of extraordinary cultural historical and philological interest.  At this time, when the first followers of the Jewish Enlightenment were working hard to corrupt their Yiddish mother-tongue and vernacular so as to cripple Germanized Yiddish or pure German, Markuze, the “Taytsh” (as he called it himself), was about to write his book in Yiddish, and only then—when he gained a good handle on the Yiddish language as it was spoken in Poland.  This specialized medical text contained sufficient notes and digressions which had no connection to medicine or hygiene and were there to clarify to the people in their ignorance, in their wild fanaticism, and in their superstitions, and in this sense Markuze was a direct predecessor of that group of Jewish Enlighteners, for whom the ideals of the Enlightenment were not abstractions, but an impulse to true explanatory work among the people, to reconstruct Jewish life on healthy foundations.  Markuze presented himself through his book as a devoted friend of the people and humanist with a positive program of productive work of properly secured social assistance, of spreading agriculture and handicrafts among the Jewish masses.  His book was written in an authentic vernacular, though somewhat Germanized, Volhynian Yiddish, and in style as well Markuze was a pioneer in Yiddish literature and one of the few authors who gives us the thread of the developmental history of the Yiddish language, binding our contemporary living language with the Yiddish of the eighteenth century.  “A Yiddishist in the eighteenth century,” as dubbed by Noyekh Prilucki, whom, incidentally, we have to thank for bringing Markuze’s back into the public light.

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 2 (with a bibliography); Dr. Yisroel Tsinberg, Di geshikhte fun der yidisher literatur bay yidn (The history of Jewish literature) vol. 7 (Vilna, 1936), pp. 185, 203; Sh. Lastik, Di yidishe literatur biz di klasiker (Jewish literature until the classics) (Warsaw: Yidish bukh, 1950); Sh. Kazdan, Fun kheyder un shkoles biz tsisho (From religious and secular primary schools to Tsisho) (Mexico City, 1956), p. 110.


YITSKHOK-DOV-BER MARKON (January 27, 1875-April 29, 1949)
            He was born in Rybinsk, Yaroslavl district, “Great Russia,” into a rabbinical family which descended from the Gaon of Vilna.  He received a thorough Jewish and a secular education.  In 1901 he graduated from the departments of Oriental Studies and law at St. Petersburg University.  He was later a bibliographer in the Hebrew division of the Imperial Public Library in St. Petersburg.  Over the years 1920-1922, he was a lecturer at Leningrad University, later a professor of Oriental Studies and ancient history at Minsk University.  He was well-known as an authority on the history of Karaism in Russia.  In 1926 he left Russia, lived for a short time in Riga, and then settled in Berlin where he lectured on ancient Jewish history at the Hildesheimer Rabbinical Seminary.  Over the years 1929-1933, he was head librarian of the Jewish community library in Hamburg.  In late 1938 he was expelled from the country and made his way to Holland.  He lived in Amsterdam until 1940, later in London.  From 1942 he was living in Ramsgate, England, where he lectured at the Montefiore Institute and served as editor of Yehudit (Judith).  He wrote for the Hebrew-language periodicals: Hamelits (The spectator), Hagan (The garden), Hazman (The times), Hatsfira (The times), Haivri (The Jew), and Hakedem (The vineyard), among others; as well as in such Russian Jewish serials as: Voskhod (Arise), Budushchnost’ (Future), Razsvet (Dawn), Evreiskaia zhizn’ (Jewish life), and Evreiskaia starina (Jewish past).  In Yiddish he published articles on Jews in Crimea, portions of his history of Jews in Slavic lands, and on Jewish poetry of the Middle Ages in: Der yud (The Jew) in Cracow-Warsaw; Der fraynd (The friend) in St. Petersburg-Warsaw; Haynt (Today) in Warsaw; Petrograder togblat (Petrograd daily newspaper); and elsewhere; and in the years 1926-1928, in such serials as: Dos folk (The people) and Frimorgn (Morning) in Riga; and Parizer bleter (Parisian pages).  He was the author of books in Russian, Hebrew, German, and French.  He was co-editor of the Evreiskaia entsiklopediya (Jewish encyclopedia) (St. Petersburg), and he was a contributor to: Jüdisches Lexicon (Jewish Lexicon) (Berlin), Monatsschrift für Geschichte und Wissenschaft des Judenthums (Jewish history and scholarship monthly) (Breslau), Encyclopedia Judaica, and Eshkol entsiklopedye (Eshkol’s encyclopedia) (Berlin).  He was a contributor to Metsuda (Citadel) in London (1940-1949), in which, among other items, he published a historical series entitled “Midor ledor” (From generation to generation), as well as chapters from his work on the history of blood libels in Russia.  He wrote as well for: Di tsayt (The times) and Di idishe post (The Jewish mail) in London, among other serials.  He died in Ramsgate, near London.

Sources: Dr. Y. Helman, in Dos folk (Riga) (February 15, 1926); Jüdisches Lexicon (Berlin, 1930); Biblyografishe yorbikher fun yivo (Bibliographic yearbooks from YIVO) (Warsaw, 1928), see index; R. Brainin, in Tog (New York) (April 6, 1935); Y. Tiger, in Di tsayt (London) (March 31, 1949); Sh. A. Tiktin, in Hadoar (New York) (June 17, 1949); Y. H. Lev, in Frayland (Paris) 9 (1954); Entsiklopediya kelalit masada (Masada general encyclopedia) (Jerusalem, 1958/1959).
Khayim Leyl Fuks


ARN MARKON (b. 1896)
            He was born in Dvinsk (Daugavpils), Latvia.  He was the nephew of Professor Y. D. Markovitsh.  He received a Jewish and a general education.  For a time he studied in Vilna, later in Riga.  He wrote articles on economic issues for the Riga-based, Russian-language daily newspaper Sevodnya (Today).  In 1922 he switched to Yiddish and served as a member of the editorial board of Frimorgn (Morning) in Riga.  He contributed to Idishe shtime (Jewish voice) in Kovno.  He also used such pen names as Sanin and Ben-Mortkhe.  He was killed under Nazi rule.

Sources: M. Gerts, 25 yor yidishe prese in letland (25 years of the Yiddish press in Latvia) (Riga, 1933), p. 40; Yahadut latviya (Judaism in Latvia) (Tel Aviv, 1953), see index; information from his relatives in New York and Pittsburgh.
Khayim Leyb Fuks