Sunday, 27 May 2018


SHMUEL-YOYSEF AGNON (July 17, 1888-February 17, 1970)
            He was born in (Buczacz), Galicia.  Was a recipient of the Nobel Prize for Literature.  In his youth he also wrote in Yiddish: a poem in Yudishes vokhenblat (Jewish weekly newspaper) in Stanislav (July 17, 1903), a story in Der yudisher veker (The Jewish alarm) in Buczacz (August 12, 1906), as well as in Dos yudishe togblat (The Jewish daily newspaper) in Lemberg and G. Bader’s Der yudisher folkskalender (The Jewish people’s calendar) in Lemberg.  A longer story by Agnon from this period in his life was Der toyten-tants (The dance of death).  In 1907 he made aliya to the land of Israel and wrote nothing further in Yiddish.  In book form: Yidish verk (Yiddish works) (Jerusalem: Hebrew University, 1977), 56 pp. + 152 pp.  Translated from Hebrew: Shriftn, in dray teyln (Writings, in three parts), trans. Eliezer Rubinshteyn (Tel Aviv: Hamenorah, 1969), 605 pp.; Tsvishn alt un nay, oysderveylte dertseylungen (Between old and new, selected stories), trans. aim Gurt (Tel Aviv: Yisroel-bukh, 1978), 246 pp.  He died in Reovot.

Source: Getzel Kressel, Leksikon hasifrut haivrit (Handbook of Hebrew literature) (Meravya, 1967), vol. 2.

Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 413.


YITSAK OGEN (YITSKHOK NITSBERG) (June 29, 1909-May 26, 1991)
            He was born in Vilna and studied in religious elementary schools and the Vilna Hebrew high school.  In 1929 he made aliya to the land of Israel.  He was employed in construction and agriculture.  He attended a teachers’ seminary in Jerusalem.  In 1932 he left for Vienna where he studied at university, participated in self-defense of Jewish students in fighting against anti-Semitism, was arrested, spent several weeks in jail, and was then deported from Austria.  He then returned to Israel and took up teaching and literary work.  He began writing at an early age, and he published his first Hebrew poem in Hamishtala (The [plant] nursery), a weekly brought out by the youth movement “Hakokhav” (The star) and edited by A. Luboshitski.  At age seventeen he received an award from the Warsaw Yiddish illustrated journal Velt-shpigel (World mirror) for his story “Mayn ershte libe” (My first love).  He also published articles in other newspapers.  He contributed as well to such Hebrew periodicals as: Gilyonot (Tablets), Moznaim (Balance), Doar hayom (Today’s mail), Hadoar (The mail), Niv (Expression), Musaf ledavar (Additional words), Hamashkif (The spectator), Bitsaron (Fortress), and Baderekh (On the road).  In 1940, he and Y. Arikha were editing Hadifdefet (The pad of paper), a literature book for pupils in Hebrew schools.  Among his works of poetry: Behizdakekhut, shirim (Purifying, poems) (Tel Aviv: Gilyonot, 1934/1935), 169 pp.; Beshaar hakelaya vehapele, shirim (At the gateway of the destruction and the wonder, poetry) (Tel Aviv: Gilyonot, 1938/1939), 53 pp.; Yesh moledet leish, shirim (There is a homeland for man, poetry) (Tel Aviv: Ts. Linman, 1939/1940), 61 pp.; Bezaaf lel, shirim (Angry at the night, poetry) (Jerusalem, 1942), 56 pp.; Al gesher halel, shirim (On the bridge of the night, poetry) (Tel Aviv: N. Tverski, 1946/1947), 217 pp.; in the anthology Shira ivrit (The Hebrew poem) (Tel Aviv, 1948).  He died in Tel Aviv.

Source: D. Tidhar, in Entsiklopedyah lealutse hayishuv uvonav (Encyclopedia of the pioneers and builders of the yishuv), vol. 4 (Tel Aviv, 1950), p. 1633.
Yankev Kahan


YANKEV (JAKUB) EGIT (September 27, 1908-1996)
            He was born in Borislav (Boryslaw), eastern Galicia, to poor parents.  At a young age he became a laborer and was active in the Jewish labor movement.  Over the years 1930-1933, he was co-editor of the Lemberg weekly newspaper Unzer veg (Our way), central organ of Labor Zionism in eastern Galicia.  He spent the years WWII in the Soviet Union.  In 1945 he was a member of the central committee of liberated Jews in Poland, later chairman of the district Jewish committee of Wrocław.  He was a cofounder of various economic institutes, children’s homes, and Jewish public schools in Lower Silesia.  Over the years 1946-1948, he was the publisher and co-editor of the newspaper Niderslezye (Lower Silesia) and Nowe życie (New life).  He was director (1950-1953) of the publishing house “Yidish bukh” (Yiddish book) in Warsaw.  He took part in the production of Y. l. perets zamlbukh (Y. L. Perets anthology), published by Yidish bukh in 1952.  He spent the years 1954-1956 as director of a Polish publishing house in Warsaw.  He also contributed work to Nay lebn (New life) and Yidishe shriftn (Yiddish writings) in Warsaw.  In book form: Tsu a nay lebn, tsvey yor yidishe yishev in niderslezye (Toward a new life, two years of a Jewish settlement in Lower Silesia), with a foreword by Kh. Stolyar (Wrocław: Niderslezye, 1947), 84 pp.  In 1947 he left Poland and settled in Toronto, Canada.  For a short time he contributed to: Der idisher zhurnal (The Jewish journal), Canadian Jewish News, and Jewish Standard—in Toronto; and Keneder odler (Canadian eagle) in Montreal.  He organized the committee to publish Who’s Who in Canadian Jewry.  He was a member of the Council of the Canadian Jewish Congress and director of the United Organizations in the Histadruth campaign in Toronto.  Among his pen names: Y. Barski.  In 1991 he published a memoir entitled Grand Illusion (Toronto: Lugus), 175 pp.  He died in Florida.

Sources: A, Tsintsinatus, in Bafraytung (Lodz) 5 (October 5, 1947); Sh. L. Shnayderman, Tsṿishn shrek un hofenung, a rayze iber dem nayem poyln (Between fear and hope, a voyage through the new Poland) (Buenos Aires, 1947), pp. 272-74; Joseph Tenenbaum, In Search of a Lost People (New York, 1948); L. Arye,, in Keneder odler (Montreal) (February 5, 1950); Yanos Turkov, Nokh der bafrayung, zikhroynes (After liberation, memoirs) (Buenos Aires, 1962); Who’s Who in Canadian Jewry (Ottawa, 1964), pp. 256-58.
Benyomen Elis


YITSKHOK IVRI (November 12, 1908-July 31, 1987)
            The Hebraized surname of Yitskhok Mishkinski, he was born in Bialystok, Russian Poland.  He studied in the Bialystok and Grodno yeshivas, later graduating from the Tachkemoni seminary in Warsaw.  Over the years 1928-1933, he attended the Universities of Berlin and Basel, and the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.  He studied philosophy, history, and literature.  From 1935 he was contributing to the press in the land of Israel.  In 1936 he became a member of the editorial board of Davar (Word), as well as a regular contributor to Hapoel hatsayir (The young worker), Davar hashavua (Word of the week), and Kol yisrael (Voice of Israel—formerly, Kol yerusholayim [Voice of Jerusalem]).  He left Davar in 1954 and became a member of the education department of the Jewish Agency in New York.  He published essays on modern Hebrew literature and cultural life in the state of Israel (in English).  He placed writings in Hadoar (The mail) and had a monthly report in the journal Bitsaron (Fortress) in New York.  From time to time he also contributed to Byalistoker shtime (Voice of Bialystok), Tog-morgn-zhurnal (Day-morning journal), Di tsukunft (The future), and Folk un velt (People and world)—in New York; and Keneder odler (Canadian eagle) in Montreal.  He also published articles in Congress Weekly and translated into Hebrew novels, stories, and plays from English, Yiddish, German, and Polish, such as: William Saroyan, Hakomedya haenoshit (Human Comedy) (Tel Aviv: Am oved, 1945/1946), 285 pp.; Saroyan, Mivar sipurim (Selected stories) (Tel Aviv: Am over, 1946/1947), 274 pp.; Nancy Wilson Ross, Yad smol hi haolemet (The Left Hand Is the Dreamer) (Meravya, 1949), 390 pp.; Meazit leazit (From front to front) from English; Howard Smith, Barakevet haaarona miberlin (Last Train from Berlin) (Tel Aviv: Ts. Lainman, 1943), 243 pp.; Quentin Reynolds, Hapetsuim lo zaaku (The Wounded Don’t Cry) (Tel Aviv: Ts. Lainman, 1941/1942), 226 pp.; and stories by Stefan Zweig, Arthur Schnitzler, Dorothy Parker, Damon Runyon, and Mark Twain, among others.  He also contributed to anthologies for Hadoar, Davar, and Adut avoda (The unity of labor), among others. Using the pen name Y. Mishal, he published in English a pamphlet entitled Zionist (New York: Hadassah).  He was a member of the Agudat Hasofrim (Association of [Hebrew] writers) in the state of Israel, of the Tel Aviv journalists’ association, and of the Y. L. Perets writers’ association.  Among his pseudonyms: Y. Ben-Taakov, Tsvi, Tsofe, Y. uker, Avi-Yaakov, Avi-Benyamin, and Politikum.
            In early December 1964 he was severely injured in an automobile in New Brunswick, New Jersey.  He was among the most important Hebrew journalists for issues of the day, both Jewish and general, and after settling in the United States he carved out an honored place in Yiddish journalism as well.  His translations from other languages enriched Hebrew literature not only with works from world literature, but they also contributed to the enrichment of modern Hebrew stylistics.  He translated into Hebrew Sh. Berlinski’s A lebn geyt oyf (A life arises) (Warsaw, 1937) under the title Beshaḥar ḥayim (Life at dawn) (Tel Aviv: Am oved, 1950), 191 pp.  He edited the collection Yalkut lehumor velesatira, misifrut haolam umisifrut idish (Collection of humor and satire, from world literature and from Yiddish literature) (Tel Aviv: Sh. Shreberk, 1950), 310 pp., in which the translations were mostly his own.  He also translated for Habima [the Hebrew theater company] Arthur Miller’s drama Moto shel sokhen (Death of a Salesman) (Tel Aviv, 1951) and R. C. Sherriff’s Mis meibl (Miss Mabel) (Tel Aviv, 1950).  He also contributed to Sefer hashana shel haitonim (Newspaper yearbook) in Tel Aviv.  He was a press official for the United Jewish Appeal.

Sources: D. Tidhar, in Entsiklopedyah lealutse hayishuv uvonav (Encyclopedia of the pioneers and builders of the yishuv), vol. 4 (Tel Aviv, 1950), p. 2017; Dov Sadan, Kearat egozim o elef bediha ubediha, asufat homor be-yisrael (A bowl of nuts or one thousand and one jokes, an anthology of humor in Israel) (Tel Aviv, 1953).
Yankev Kahan


YITSKHOK IVRI (b. December 29, 1900)
            He was born in Ostrolenke (Ostrołęka), Lomzhe district, Russian Poland.  He studied with his father (a scholar who had rabbinical ordination), in religious primary school, and in the Lomzhe yeshiva.  At age six he was already demonstrating acting talent, and at sixteen he ran away from home to be able to act in the theater.  During WWI (1915), he made his way with his parents to Lomzhe and began writing poetry there.  His first poem, “Dos fidele veynt” (The fiddle cries), written when he was fourteen, later appeared in one of his volumes of poetry.  In 1928 his poetry was published in Velt-shpigl (Mirror of the world) in Warsaw.  From 1926 he appeared on stages in a variety of provincial theaters in plays by Perets Hirshbeyn, Avrom Goldfaden, Yankev Gordin, and others.  In 1932 he made his way to the United States and became a contributor to Davar (Word).  A portion of his poems that were translated into Hebrew were published in Davar, Ketuvim (Writings), and Bemaale (On the way up) in Israel.  His original Yiddish poems were published in the Warsaw Yiddish-language newspapers: Moment (moment), Dos vort (The word), and Letste nayes (Latest news), among others.  His published books include: A bikhl lider (A little book of poems) (Vilna, 1931), 48 pp.; Ben dam ledam, shire shekia vetoḥelet (Between blood and blood, songs of sunset and feast) (Tel Aviv: Yavne, 1939), 53 pp., poems about the war; Beterem yom, shirim beivrit uveidish (Before the day, poems in Hebrew and in Yiddish) (Tel Aviv, 1952), 107 pp., in the preface to which, the author writes: “This time I am providing both Hebrew and Yiddish poems, as a symbol of the wonderful bridges on which the survivor walks and as a remembrance of the destroyed diaspora.”  He also edited the remembrance volume Sefer kehilat ostrolenka (Volume for the community of Ostrołęka), in both Hebrew and Yiddish (Tel Aviv, 1963), 580 pp., in which he included several pieces of his own work.  He was a member of ACUM (The Society of Authors, Composers and Music Publishers in Israel) and of the association of writers and artists.  He was last living in the state of Israel.

Sources: “Naye bikher” (New books), Literarishe bleter (Warsaw) (October 2, 1931); Mr., “Poetn-poetn” (Poets-poets), Vokhnshrift far literatur (Warsaw) (November 11, 1932); D. Tidhar, in Entsiklopedyah lealutse hayishuv uvonav (Encyclopedia of the pioneers and builders of the yishuv), vol. 6 (Tel Aviv, 1955), pp. 2540-41; Sh. Margoles, in Bukh fun ostrolenker kehile (Book of the Jewish community of Ostrołęka) (Tel Aviv, 1963), pp. 100-1; Y. Shmulevitsh, in Forverts (New York) (March 15, 1964).
Yankev Birnboym


HESHL IVRI (May 1, 1892-August 2, 1983)
            He was born in Vilkovishk (Vilkaviškis), Lithuania.  He studied in religious elementary school and yeshiva.  He graduated from a Russian high school.  In 1923 he immigrated to Canada.  He studied music and worked as a music teacher.  He was the author of Zing mayn lid, lider un poemen (Sing my song, songs and poems) (Montreal, 1984), 178 pp.  He died in Montreal.

Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 413.


ELYE-ZEV (ÉLIE) EBERLIN (b. December 3, 1875)
            He was born in Mohilev (Mogilev), Byelorussia.  He studied in religious elementary school and with private tutors.  In 1897 he graduated from the Mogilev high school, and in 1902 from the University of Paris as a doctor of law.  In Paris he turned to practicing as an attorney as well as to writing.  At the sixth Zionist congress, he was opposed to the Uganda project and represented Labor Zionism.  In 1903 he founded the first Labor Zionist organization in Paris.  In 1920 he represented the Parisian “snif” (branch) of the Labor Zionists at the world Labor Zionist conference in Vienna.  He also served as secretary of the Russian Jewish Zionist student association in Paris.  When the Germans occupied France in 1940, he went into hiding and later left for Switzerland (his wife and daughter, in 1944, were sent by the Germans to Auschwitz and murdered there).  In 1945 he made his way to Israel and published in Davar (Word) articles about France.  In 1948 the publishing house of Alexander Mozes in Tel Aviv published his book in Hebrew: Et asher raiti (What I saw), 126 pp., the author’s diary from the years 1944-1946, with a preface by Y. Zerubavel.  He contributed to: Evreiskaia zhizn’ (Jewish life) and Razsvet (Dawn); Écho sioniste (Zionist echo) and other French Jewish publications; in Hebrew to Davar, Al hamishmar (On guard), and Laadut haavoda (For the union of labor); and in Yiddish to Nay-velt (New world) and other serials in Israel.  He translated books and pamphlets from Hebrew into French.  His books would include: Nakanune vozrozhdeniia, vpechatleniia poezdki po okkupirovannoi Palestine (On the eve of revival, impressions of a journey to occupied Palestine) (Berlin, 1920), 148 pp.; Juifs russes, le Bund et le Sionisme (Russian Jews, the Bund and Zionism) (Paris: Cahiers de la quinzaine Univ.-Bibliothek 1904), 154 pp.; and Les Juifs d’aujourd’hui (Jews today) (Paris: Rieder, 1927), 216 pp.; among others.  He was last living in the state of Israel.

Sources: M. Anyutin [Marc Jarblum], in Parizer haynt (Paris) 569 (1927); D. Tidhar, in Entsiklopedyah lealutse hayishuv uvonav (Encyclopedia of the pioneers and builders of the yishuv), vol. 4 (Tel Aviv, 1950), pp. 2002-3; Noyekh Grim, in Nay-velt (Tel Aviv) 51 (1948).
Yankev Kahan