Tuesday, 20 November 2018


BOREKH FENSTER (March 22, 1902-March 11, 1974)
            He was born in Zatory, a village near Pułtusk, Poland.  In 1920 he emigrated to the United States.  He worked as a weaver.  He debuted in print with poetry in Frayhayt (Freedom) in New York (1921), and until 1950 he remained an internal contributor to it.  He published poems, stories, fables, reviews, articles, and translations, among them (in 1942) the historical novel by William Blake, Copperhead.  He also contributed work to: Hamer (Hammer), the Yiddish-English-Russian monthly journal Spartak (Spartacus), Yugnt (Youth), Yung-kuznye (Young smithy), Signal (Signal) of which he was also co-editor, and Yidishe kultur (Jewish culture) in New York; Naylebn (New life), Haynt (Today), and Landsmanshaftn (Native-place associations) in Buenos Aires; and Oysnay (Afresh), among others, in Paris; and Kamf (Struggle) in Toronto; among others.  Fenster wrote a great deal for the children’s stage for leftwing summer camps.  At the Artef and Folksbiene Theaters, his theatrical works—“A bunt mit a tatshke” (A bundle with a wheelbarrow), cowritten with N. Bukhvald, and “A goldfaden kholem” (A dream of Goldfaden), co-authored with Khaver-Paver, among others—were performed.  In book form: Royte vintn, lider, 1924-1928 (Red winds, poetry, 1924-1928) (Denver: Fraynt, 1929), 93 pp.; Di mayse fun purim, loyt der megile (The story of Purim, according to the Scroll [of Esther]) (New York, 1943), 16 pp.; Di mayse fun khanike (The story of Hanukkah) (New York, 1943), 16 pp.  In 1950 he and a group of writers broke with Morgn-frayhayt (Morning freedom) on political grounds.  Until 1956 he worked in sweatshops.  From 1957 he wrote for Forverts (Forward) in New York, and he replaced at times the news editor of the newspaper.  He published political articles in Der fraynd (The friend) and elsewhere in New York.  He also wrote under the pen names: A Prolet-Yat, A. Ben, A. Benedikt, and B. Khaloni.  He died in New York.

Sources: Kalmen marmor arkhiv (Kalmen Marmor archive), YIVO (New York); Biblyografishe yorbikher fun yivo (Bibliographic yearbooks from YIVO) (Warsaw, 1928), see index; Kh. Dunets, in Oktyabr (Minsk) (Nove,mber 1930); M. Olgin, in Hamer (new York) (December 1930); B. Ts. Goldberg, in Tog (New York) (May 26, 1932); A. Pomerants, in Proletpen (Minsk) (1935); Sh. Slutski, Avrom reyzen-biblyografye (Avrom Reyzen’s bibliography) (New York, 1956), no. 4706; Korot (Jerusalem) 9 (1965/1966).
Khayim Leyb Fuks


            He was born in Zlotshev (Złoczów), Galicia.  In 1935 he came to Warsaw and became a laborer.  He published poetry in: Folkstsaytung (People’s newspaper), Arbeter tsaytung (Workers’ newspaper), Vokhnshrift far literatur (Weekly writing for literature), Foroys (Onward), and Literarishe bleter (Literary leaves), in Warsaw, among others.  In book form: Di levone geyt unter, lider (The moon sets, poems), with assistance from Mendl Rayf (Warsaw: Literarishe bleter, 1938), 62 pp.  At the time of the Nazi invasion of Poland, he returned to Złoczów, and under the Soviet authorities, he worked in an artisans’ cooperative.  He was subsequently confined in the ghetto, and from there the Nazis deported him to the Bełżec concentration camp where he was murdered.

Sources: Yedies fun yivo (Vilna) 9-10 (1938); Khayim Leyb Fuks, in Nayer folksblat (Lodz) (October 25, 1938); Fuks, in Yidishe shriftn anthology (Lodz, 1946); M. Mayer, Der untergang fun zlotshev (The fall of Złoczów) (Munish, 1947).
Khayim Leyb Fuks


AVROM FELER (b. ca. 1893)
            He was born in Botoșani, Romania.  He was a prominent Zionist leader in Romania, a Revisionist and later in Grosman’s Yidnshtot (Jewish city) Party.  After WWI he founded the publishing house “Slovo” (The word).  He wrote important articles for Di vokh (The week) in Bucharest and published correspondence pieces in Tog (Day) in New York.  He was one of the principal internal contributors to Abraham Leib Zissu’s Romanian Zionist newspaper Mântuirea (Redemption) and editor of the Zionist biweekly newspaper Drumur (Pathways).  He was last living in Israel.

Source: Shloyme Bikl, in Tog-morgn-zhurnal (New York) (June 14, 1958).
Leyb Vaserman


SORE FEL-YELIN (SARAH FELL-YELIN) (April 1, 1895-June 22, 1968)
            She was born in Krinki (Krynki), Grodno region, Poland, into a laboring family.  She studied in Grodno high school and at age fifteen became active in the revolutionary movement.  During WWI she organized relief for homeless children.  In 1918 she established self-defense for women.  At that time she was a teacher in the Y. L. Perets school in Krynki.  In 1920 she emigrated to the United States, and there she became a teacher in a Workmen’s Circle school in Roxbury, Massachusetts.  In her middle years, she worked in a workshop in Los Angeles.  She was a co-editor of Kalifornyer shriftn (California writings) in 1955 and chair of the writers’ association IKUF (Jewish Cultural Association) in Los Angeles.  She was a regular contributor to: Morgn-frayhayt (Morning freedom) from the founding of the newspaper in 1922.  She published poems, stories, and articles in: Morgn-frayhayt, Yidishe kultur (Jewish culture), and Zamlungen (Collections) in New York; Kalifornyer shriftn in Los Angeles; Shriftn (Writings) and Folks-shtime (Voice of the people) in Warsaw; Naye prese (New press) in Paris; and Sovetish heymland (Soviet homeland) in Moscow.  She also placed work in the anthology Amerike in yidishn vort (America in the Yiddish word) (New York, 1955); and her worked appeared as well in In shotn fun tlies, almanakh fun der yidisher proletarisher literatur in di kapitalistishe lender (In the shadow of the gallows, an almanac of Yiddish proletarian literature in the capitalist countries) (Kharkov-Kiev, 1932).  In book form: Trit nokh trit (Step after step), illustrated by Note Kozlovski (Boston, 1937), 222 pp.; Likhtike vayzers (Bright visors) (Boston: Fraynt, 1946), 143 pp.; Af di fligl fun kholem (On the wings of a dream) (Warsaw: Yidish bukh, 1950s; 1961 reprint), 172 pp.; Mentsh un tsayt (Man and time), poetry (New York: IKUF, 1965), 194 pp.  She died in Los Angeles.

Sources: S. D. Levin, in Morgn-frayhayt (New York) (May 3, 1955); A. Bik, in Morgn-frayhayt (October 15, 1961); Sh. Shtern, in Morgn-frayhayt (February 7, 1965; November 28, 1965); Y. Ashpiz, in Morgn-frayhayt (August 22, 1965).
Benyomen Elis

[Additional information from: Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 448.]


            A poet, prose writer, and dramatist, he was born in the town of Vasilkov (Vasylkiv), Kiev district, Ukraine.  He studied in a Russian school and at an art studio.  He mastered Yiddish on his own.  Until 1968 he was living in Floresht (Florești), Bessarabia.  He graduated from the department of theatrical direction at the state institute for culture in Leningrad.  Until 1986 he worked as a painter, porter, stonemason, and musician at Jewish weddings.  He was the artistic director of the local Jewish theater studio “Menoyre” (Menorah) in Belz.  From 1986 he was a lecturer at the Belz pedagogical institute.  In 1991 he made aliya to the state of Israel.  He debuted in print with poems and stories in Sovetish heymland (Soviet homeland), and in 1992 he published his first book in Tel Aviv.  He worked successfully in the field of playwriting.  His work has been translated into Hebrew, Russian, Spanish, and German.  He was the 1989 winner of the Kubi Vohl Prize, given by the association of Yiddish writers and journalists in Israel, the 1995 Hershl Segal Prize, and the 1999 Dovid Hofshteyn Prize.  His books include: Es kumt der tog (Day arrives) (Jerusalem, 1992), 80 pp.; A libe-regn (Rain of love) (Tel Aviv, 1994), 31 pp.; Der nakht malekh (The night angel) (Tel Aviv, 1996), 227 pp.; Un itst ikh bin dayn nign (And now you mock me) (Tel Aviv, 1998), 55 pp.; Shabesdike shvebelekh, roman (Sabbath matches, a novel) (Tel Aviv, 2004), 237 pp.; A shotn baym fenster (A shadow by the winder) (Tel Aviv, 2015), 174 pp.

Chaim Beider, Leksikon fun yidishe shrayber in ratn-farband (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers in the Soviet Union), ed. Boris Sandler and Gennady Estraikh (New York: Congress for Jewish Culture, Inc., 2011), pp. 294-95.


            He was born in Pshevorsk (Przeworsk), Galicia.  His earliest years were spent in Central Asia and Russia.  In 1948 he made aliya to Israel, and there he studied in high school along with supplementary religious subjects.  He worked in various trades and in the evenings studied literature at Tel Aviv University.  In 1962 he became a sailor and traveled through Europe aboard ship.  More recently he was working in a bank in Lod and was one of the editors of the local Hebrew-language, weekly newspaper, Hazman (The times).  He published a series of poems in Yiddish in Di yidishe tsaytung (The Jewish newspaper) and Letste nayes (Latest news) in Tel Aviv.  He was last living in Lod, Israel.
Yankev Kahan


            He was born in Naystot-Shaki (Kudirkos Naumiestis), Lithuania.  He was a Hebrew-Yiddish poet and a doctor of philosophy.  Over the years 1922-1940, he served as director of the Hebrew senior high school in Kovno.  Together with Dr. A. Elyashev (Bal-Makhshoves) and engineer I. Y. Aynhorn, he edited Folks-universitet (People’s university), “systematic courses of education” (Warsaw: Levin-Epshteyn, 1920).  In the years of the Nazi occupation, he was confined in the Vilna ghetto, edited Geto yedies (Ghetto news), and gave talks about Perets, Mendele, and others.  He wrote essays about H. Leivick and Avrom Sutzkever.  He was deported by the Germans to Estonia.  He died in the Dautmergen concentration camp.

Source: Shmerke Katsherginski, Khurbn vilne (The Holocaust in Vilna) (New York, 1947).
Leyb Vaserman

[Additional information from: Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 449.]