Thursday, 12 July 2018


            He was the author of Zhargonishes fremd verter-bukh, erklert di algemeyn-eyropeishe daytshe un hebreishe verter velkhe kumen for in der zhargonisher literatur (Book of strange Yiddish words, explained in general-European German and Hebrew words which exist in Yiddish literature) (dated 1907 and 1910, Vilna for both).  It is possible that the name A. N. Pinski is a pseudonym.
Benyomen Elis


KOPL SH. (KOPPEL) PINSON (February 11, 1904-February 5, 1961)
            He was born in Pustave (Pastavy), Vilna district, Lithuania [now, in Belarus].  In 1907 he came with his father to the United States.  He studied in yeshiva, Gratz College in Philadelphia, and the University of Pennsylvania.  He received his doctorate from Columbia University in New York in 1934.  From 1937 until his death, he was connected to Queens College, initially as an instructor and from 1949 as a full professor of history.  He penned a number of English-language works on history generally and specifically in the field of Jewish history, among them: Essays on Anti-Semitism (New York, 1946), 269 pp.; Shimon Dubnow, Nationalism and History: Essays on Old and New Judaism (Philadelphia, 1958), ed. Pinson. 385 pp.; and A Bibliographical Introduction to Nationalism (New York: Columbia University Press, 1935), 70 pp.  He served as UNRRA’s cultural director (1945-1946) for Jewish affairs in the displaced persons’ camps for Holocaust survivors and helped rescue valuable Yiddish books for YIVO in New York.  From 1946 until his death, he was a member of the director’s council of YIVO.  He published in Yivo-bleter (Pages from YIVO) in New York a number of important articles in the field of Jewish history, among them on Sh. Dubnow’s theories in light of our times: Yivo-bleter 34 (1950), pp. 9-20.  His Yiddish works were translated from English.  For several years he edited Yivo Annual and the Encyclopedia for the Social Sciences, among other works.  He died in New York.

Sources: S. Regensberg, in Forverts (New York) (May 20, 1956); Yivo-biblyografye (YIVO bibliography), part 2, 1942-1950 (New York, 1950), see index; Yedies fun yivo (New York) 78 (April 1961); D. Shub, in Forverts (November 5, 1966); obituary notices in the press.
Khayim Leyb Fuks


            He was born in Telenești, Bessarabia.  Until age sixteen he received a fervently religious education, and thereafter he studied in the yeshiva of Khayim Tshernovitser (Chaim Czernowitzer) in Odessa.  In 1912 he left Russia and traveled on a vessel (on which he worked in the steam room) carrying merchants to Hamburg.  From Hamburg he made his way to Argentina.  He lived there until 1920.  He worked initially as an unskilled laborer in Buenos Aires, for a short time as a teacher in a Jewish colony, and later (until mid-1921) he wandered around the Argentinian pampas, the Brazilian wasteland, and the uninhabited domains of South America with his friend Abe Kliger, also a poet.  He later returned to Europe, lived for a time in Germany, Belgium, Romania, and Bessarabia, and from there in late 1922 he arrived in the Soviet Union, where he initially settled down in Moscow but soon moved to Kharkov and from there to Kiev.  His first published writings (under the pen name Ben-Sara) were Hebrew-language children’s poems in Sh. Levner’s Haperaim (The fruits) in Lugansk (1911) and in Sh. Ben-Tsiyon’s Moledet (Homeland) in Odessa (1912).  In Argentina he switched to Yiddish.  He debuted in print in Yiddish with a poem in the collection Shtrahln (Beams [of light]) in Buenos Aires (1913), and he went on to publish articles, stories, feature pieces (also using the pseudonym Telenester Avezhera) in such serials, among others, as: Unzer vort (Our word) (1913), Tog (Day) (1914), Idishe tsaytung (Jewish newspaper), and Di prese (The press) in Buenos Aires; Di feder (The pen) and Tsukunft (Future) in New York; Folkstsaytung (People’s newspaper), Literarishe bleter (Literary leaves), and Varshe (Warsaw), in a poetry competition of 1922 he received first prize for his “Lid fun soykher” (Song of the businessman)—in Warsaw; in the Soviet Union his first poems and children’s stories appeared in Pyoner (Pioneer) in Moscow and Yunge gvardye (Young guard) in Kharkov, and he later contributed to numerous Yiddish publications there.  His true métier was as a playwright.  In book form: Tsvit, lider (Blossom, poetry) (Buenos Aires, 1918), 131 pp.; Farfalen (Doomed), stories (Buenos Aires, 1919); Fir poemes (Four poems) (Kharkov, 1930), 213 pp.; Far kinder (For children), poems and stories (Kharkov, 1930), 97 pp.; Far der bine (For the stage), one-act plays (Moscow, 1930), 112 pp.; Gedekte kortn (Covered cards), three-act review (Kharkov, 1930), 96 pp., which played for two years in the Kharkov State Yiddish Theater; Git dem forhang, komedye in eyn akt (Get the curtain, a comedy in one act) (Berdichev, 1931), 30 pp.; Lider fun tog (Poems of the day) (Kharkov, 1932), 131 pp.; Undzere kinder, lider (Our children, poems) (Minsk, 1933), 97 pp.; Dos lebn un der toyt fun vilyam sven, poeme (The life and death of William Sven, a poem) (Kiev, 1935), 270 pp.; Der botshan (The stork), a play-story for very young children (Kharkov, 1935), 43 pp., from which the Bolshoi Theater created a children’s ballet which became part of its repertoire for over two decades; Eldorado, a pyese-maysele far kinder vegn (El Dorado, a play-story for children), six scenes (Kiev, 1936), 51 pp.; Kolya (Kolya), a play (Kiev, 1937), 80 pp., which played in the Kiev State Yiddish Theater; Fun friling biz friling (From spring to spring), poetry (Kharkov, 1938), 174 pp.; Di gliklekhe, vos hobn derlebt (The happy ones who survived), stories (Kiev, 1938), 130 pp.; Geklibene lider, poemes un mayselekh (Selected poems and stories) (Kiev, 1940), 300 pp.; Di legende vegn di sokoln (The legend of the falcons), poetry (Kiev, 1941), 158 pp.; Dos lenin-bliml, mayselekh far kleyn un far groys (The Lenin flower, stories for young and old) (Kiev, 1941), 103 pp.; Ikh leb (I am alive), a drama in three acts (Moscow, 1947), 96 pp., performed in the war years at the Kiev State Yiddish Theater, in Kokand (1946-1948), and in the survivors’ camps in Germany; Der lets (The clown), a play; and the tragi-comedy Traybt aroys der sheyd (Expel the devil), which played in Yiddish theaters.  He was also the author of Kinder-balet (Children’s ballet), performed first in the Moscow academy theater in 1933, and until the war in Yiddish children’s theaters in the Soviet Union.  When the mass arrests began in 1937 he too was arrested, but a year later he was allowed to return home.  Following the Nazi invasion of the USSR, he was evacuated to Alma-Ata in Soviet Central Asia, where he lived until 1944.  He then returned to Ukraine.  He lived in Romania and Bessarabia (1945-1946)—among other items, he wrote at this time the Holocaust poems: “Klog-lid af telenetsh” (Dirge for Telenești) and “Der besaraber yid” (The Bessarabian Jew).  He then returned and settled in Kharkov again and, during the murderous Stalinist actions against Yiddish writers and the liquidation of Jewish culture, in 1948 he was arrested and exiled to a forced labor camp in the Far East, where he suffered terribly.  He was released from the Gulag in 1955, spent physically and spiritually, and returned to Kiev where he died that year.

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 2; Zalmen Zilbertsvayg, Leksikon fun yidishn teater (Handbook of the Yiddish theater), vol. 3 (New York, 1959); Shmuel Niger, in Tsukunft (New York) (February 1930); Y. Botoshanski, in Tsukunft (August 1931); Botoshanski, in Algemeyne entsiklopedye (General encyclopedia), vol. 5 (New York, 1957), p. 379; M. Khashtshevatski, in Royte velt (Kharkov) (August 1931); Yashe Bronshteyn, Sheferishe problemen fun der yidisher sovetisher poezye (Creative problems in Soviet Yiddish poetry) (Minsk, 1936); Sh. Rozhanski, Dos yidishe gedrukte vort in argentina (The published Yiddish word in Argentina), vol. 1 (Buenos Aires, 1941), see index; A. Kushnirov, in Naye prese (Paris) (July 27, 1945), pp. 39-42; Nakhmen Mayzil, Dos yidishe shafn un der yidisher shrayber in sovetnfarband (Jewish creation and the Jewish worker in the Soviet Union) (New York, 1959), see index; Chone Shmeruk, comp., Pirsumim yehudiim babrit-hamoatsot, 1917-1961 (Jewish publications in the Soviet Union, 1917-1961) (Jerusalem, 1961), see index; Y. Gar and F. Fridman, Biblyografye fun yidishe bikher vegn khurbn un gvure (Bibliography of Yiddish books concerning the Holocaust and heroism) (New York, 1962); Sovetish heymland (Moscow) (March 1964).
Khayim Leyb Fuks

[Additional information from: Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 430; and 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. 280-82.]

Wednesday, 11 July 2018


            He came from Poland.  Until WWII he was living in Warsaw.  He published poetry and stories for children and school youngsters in Grininke beymelekh (Little green trees) in Vilna and Kleyne folkstsaytung (Little people’s newspaper) in Warsaw, among other serials.  He was the author of the children’s booklet: Feygele un rakele (Feygele and Rakele)—the other story in this little book was entitled: Vi vevik un beylke hobn ongehoybn leyenen dem kinder fraynd (How Vevik and Beylke began reading Kinder fraynd [Children’s friend]) (Warsaw, 1935), 16 pp.  Further details remain unknown.
Khayim Leyb Fuks


MIMI PINZON (PINZÓN) (April 25, 1910-December 1975)
            The pen name of Adela Vaynshteyn-Shlyapotshnik, she was born in Belaya Tserkov (Bila Tserkva), Kiev district, Ukraine.  As a four-year-old child in 1914, she moved with her parents to Argentina.  She studied with a private tutor and in evening courses; one of her teachers was the poet Moyshe Pintshevski.  Subsequent education she acquired in Spanish-language institutions of higher learning.  Although she grew up in Argentina, like every authentic writer, she preserved and cared for her first childhood impressions of the old, beloved country, that traditional Jewish home in Bila Tserkva whose Yiddish name was “Shvarts-tume” (Black impurity).[1]  In Buenos Aires, the Argentine Paris, her family settled into one of the hugely overcrowded conventillos, a courtyard with numerous neighbors, where the city’s poor lived.  “Shvarts-tume” and the conventillos formed in her a writer’s figure for this young woman from Bila Tserkva.  She later put this down in writing in her book Der hoyf on fenster (The courtyard without windows).  The main protagonist Etl—socially and environmentally—is a blood relation of Sholem Aleichem’s Motl, the cantor Peysi’s son, and of Dovid Bergelson’s Penek.  Even the sound Motl-Etl (and one might also add in this instance Adela’s own name) ring back and forth between them both ethnic children’s figures.  Pinzon was the first in Yiddish literature to introduce the character of a Jewish girl at the center of a broad artistic canvas.  Using the name Mimi Pinzon, she published in the newspaper Di prese (The press) a fictional reportage piece concerning salesgirls in the Buenos Aires fashion shops.  The sharp social illumination of her theme, her vigorous descriptions in Yiddish, and her pseudonym Mimi Pinzon (“Mimi Pinson” being the name of the French protagonist and title character in Alfred de Musset’s novel of a Parisian seamstress who is seduced) aroused a sensation in Yiddish writing circles.  Her second story—more artistic than the first—“Di legende fun baranka-belgrano” (The legend of Baranca Belgrano), was held up in the editorial board for over a year.  The editor could not believe that a sixteen-year-old girl, raised in Spanish-speaking Buenos Aires, would be able to write such an artistic work in idiomatic Yiddish.  She was “interrogated” and after several conversations they were persuaded that she was the actual author.  In her subsequent creative years, she turned her attention to essay writing, but she also wrote fictional work.  Being an essayist, it would appear, was the continuation of her reading.  For many years she worked as a teacher in the Zhitlovsky School and in the dramatic studio of the theater “IFT” (Idisher folks teater [Yiddish people’s theater]); she was in charge of the Perets Middle School and gave public lectures on literary topics.  She contributed to many Yiddish and Spanish periodicals, such as: Di prese, Folks-shtime (Voice of the people), Haynt (Today), Der veg (The way), Ikuf (IKUF [= Jewish Cultural Association]), Oyfsnay (Afresh), Nayvelt (New world), Nay-lebn (New life), Kinder tribune (Children’s tribune), Unzer fraynt (Our friend), In gang (In progress), and Di yidishe froy (The Jewish woman); in Spanish, Judaica (Judaica) and Renovación (Renovation).  She had charge of regular columns—such as “Fun do un dort” (From here and there) and “Di nol fun zak” (The awl in the bag).  She co-edited the journals Ikuf and Di yidishe froy and the newspapers Tribune, Undzer lebn (Our life), and Renovación.  In book form: Der hoyf on fenster (Buenos Aires, 1965), 317 pp.  She translated into Spanish works by Der Nister, Grosman, Marshak, and others; Dovid Bergelson’s Baym dnyeper (By the Dnieper); and Yoysef Rabinovitsh’s three volumes of stories.  Into Yiddish she translated works by Jorge Luis Borges, Alfonsina Storni, and Horacio Quiroga, among others.  Other pseudonyms she used include: Ad-Sum and Yidl Kotoynti.  She died in Miami Beach, Florida.

Sources: V. Bresler, Antologye fun der yidisher literatur in argentine (Anthology of Jewish literature in Argentina) (Buenos Aires, 1944), p. 561; Pinye Kats, Geklibene shriftn (Selected writings) (Buenos Aires, 1947), pp. 103-5; Kats, foreword to Mimi Pinzon’s book, Der hoyf on fenster (Buenos Aires, 1965), pp. 7-10.
Yankev Birnboym

[1] Translator’s note.  “Bila Tserkva” literally means “white church”; in Yiddish the idea of a pristine or pure church is anathema, hence the euphemism “Shvarts-tume” or “black impurity” (or stain). (JAF)


            He came from Poland and worked as a home tutor in Yiddish and Hebrew in Warsaw and Lublin.  He author storybooks and novels, among them: Di elende familye, oder di feryogte kats fun milkh (The wretched family, or the cat driven away from milk), a novel with an introductory poem to each chapter (Warsaw, 1884), 57 pp.; and Getrey biz dem toyt (Faithful until death) (Vilna, 1895), 2 parts, 96 pp., with a foreword by the author.

Source: The Weiner materials at Harvard University.
Khayim Leyb Fuks


            He authored the novels: Tikn leybele oder di rebetsn shrayt, a zehr interesanter roman (Kudos to Leybele or the rabbi’s wife screams, a very interesting novel) (Lemberg, 1894), 94 pp.; and Di tsavoe oder a malekh mit tsvey shlikhesn (The will or an angel with two assignments) (Lemberg, 1894), part 1, 92 pp., part 2, 72 pp.  Both novels with prefaces were published by Yisroel Dovid Zisgal.

Source: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 2.
Yankev Kahan