Monday, 18 September 2017


            He was born in Dvinsk (Daugavpils), Latvia, the son of Shiye Mezakh.  In 1891 he made his way to England and in 1893 from there to the United States.  He settled in Philadelphia.  He wrote pieces for: Yudisher folksblat (Jewish people’s newspaper) in St. Petersburg; Shulames (Shulamit) in London (1894); and Folks-advokat (People advocate) in New York.  In Philadelphia he edited the newspaper Di folksshtime (The voice of the people) (1905-1907).  In book form, among others, he published a translation of a work by Herzberg Fränkel: Der nayer bal-tshuve (The new penitent), “(A scene from Jewish life / In place of a novel),” with a preface by Shiye Mezakh (Lublin: Avrom Feder, 1897), 16 pp.

Source: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 2.


ELYE-MORTKHE MAZA (1896-November 10, 1954)
            He was born in Smolovitsh (Smalyavichy), Minsk district, Byelorussia, into a rabbinical family.  He studied with his father, in religious elementary schools, and in the Slobodka and Slutsk yeshivas, from which he received ordination into the rabbinate.  In 1926 he moved to the United States and served as rabbi in various cities across the country, the last being at the Slutsk School in New York.  He wrote articles for: Tog (Day), Morgn-zhurnal (Morning journal), Der amerikaner (The American), Der id (The Jew), Dos idishe likht (The Jewish light), Idishe shtime (Jewish voice), Di ortodoksishe tribune (The Orthodox tribune), and in Hebrew for Hapardas (The orchard) and Hamesila (The roadway)—in New York.  He was the author of a series of religious texts on actual and religious topics, such as: Seyfer mesiekh ilmim (A book causing others to be struck dumb), “a storyline that was found recorded in a register” (New York, 1936), 16 pp.; Seyfer shmires hanefashes (A book on guarding of souls), “how to care for the soul (nefesh), which means the soul (neshome)” (New York, 1937), 80 pp.; Hatsoles nefashes (Rescuing souls) (New York, 1938), 66 pp.; Meshiekh geyt, meshiekh kumt! (The Messiah goes, the Messiah comes!) (New York, 1938), 16 pp.; Brokhes nefashes (Prayers for the soul) (New York, 1939), 57 pp.; Nide, khale, hadlakes haner (Ritual purity, challah, kindling the candle), explained in Yiddish (New York, 1940), 24 pp.; Seyfer ahaves hatoyre (Love of Torah) (New York, 1941), 48 pp.; Kol mevaser (Herald) (New York, 1943), 24 pp.; Marpe lenefesh (Curing the soul), “healing for the soul” (New York, 1949), 24 pp.; Di shul un di der president (The synagogue and the president) (New York, 1950), 24 pp.; Khemdes-ram (New York, 1952), 24 pp.—all in Yiddish—as well as a long series of texts in Hebrew.  He died in New York.

Sources: Tog-morgn-zhurnal (New York) (November 16 and 17, 1954); Bet eked sefarim.
Khayim Leyb Fuks


MAKS-MARIAN (MAX) MUSHKAT (MUSZKAT) (November 5, 1909-September 30, 1995)
            He was born in Suvalk (Suwałki), Russian Poland.  He graduated from a Polish state high school and studied law and political science at the Universities of Warsaw, Paris, and Nancy, from when he received his doctoral degree.  He was active in the student organizations of Hashomer Hatsair (The young guard), the left Labor Zionists, as well as ORT (Association for the Promotion of Skilled Trades), YIVO, and others.  From 1938 he was an assistant in the Department of Criminology in the Wszechnica Polska University in Warsaw.  When the Germans occupied Warsaw in 1939, he left for Vilna, worked for a time for the aid committee for Jewish refugees from Poland, and later served as director of the Department of European Government Systems in Vilna People’s University, while adapting and writing for YIVO the research projects: “Di yidishe farbrekherishkeyt in poyln in di yorn erev der tsveyte velt-milkhome” (Jewish criminality in Poland in the year prior to WWII), “a continuation of Professor Libman Hersh’s works”; and “Arn liberman als mitgrinder fun yidishn sotsyalizm” (Arn Liberman as the cofounder of Jewish socialism).  Following the Nazi invasion of Russia in 1941, he fled from Vilna.  For a time he worked as a teacher of foreign languages, later as a scientific contributor at the pedagogical institute in Kyzylorda, Irkutsk region, Soviet Russia.  He was later mobilized into the Polish army, graduated from officers’ school, was a colonel’s replacement from the first tank division, and survived the battles at the front as far as the areas of Warsaw and eastern Germany.  Right after the war, he was vice-president of the highest Polish military court, author of the new Polish military penal code, and at the same time cofounder of the first Yiddish literary association in Lublin in 1945.  In 1946 he was director of the Polish Mission to the International War Court in Nuremburg.  He was nominated in 1947 for the Polish Legation in the Commission on War Crimes of the United Nations in London, and as a prosecutor he prepared the Polish trials against Nazi war criminals: Arthur Greiser, Ammon Goeth, Ludwig Fischer, Rudolf Hess, Albert Forster, Josef Bühler, and against the staff at Auschwitz and other death camps.  For his successes in the battles against the Nazis and the work of building Jewish life in Poland, he was decorated with high Polish and Soviet awards.  He was the revivor and until 1951 the first president of Polish ORT, a member of the ORT world center, and professor of international law at Warsaw University, in the Academy of Polish Sciences, and in the senior school for law named for Teodor Duracz.  He was simultaneously active in the Jewish community and cultural movement in Poland.  From 1957 he was living in Israel.  He was professor of international law at the higher school for law and political economy in Tel Aviv.  During the Eichmann trial, he helped prepare the accusation materials for Yad Vashem.  He began his writing activities with sketches and stories in: Der fraynd (The friend) in Warsaw (1934-1935); Literarishe bleter (Literary leaves), Zibn teg (Seven days), and in leftist, semi-legal and illegal publications in Poland.  He was a contributor, 1940-1941, to Vilner emes (Vilna truth) and Kovner emes (Kovno truth), in which he launch his story in May 1941.  From 1944 to 1951, he wrote a great number of works, mostly about war crimes in Polish, French, and English, later published essays in: Di goldene keyt (The golden chain), Molad (Birth), Davar (Word), Had haḥinukh (Echo of education), Hayom (Today), Hatoran (The duty officer), Hagesher (The bridge), Al hamishmar (On guard), and the publications of Yad Vashem and other serials in Israel.  He published over twenty important works in Hebrew, Polish, French, English, and German.  In Yiddish: Der farfolgter (The persecuted), a dramatic study in three acts (Warsaw, 1932), 72 pp.  He died in Haifa.

Sources: Dos naye lebn (Lodz) (1946-1948), during the era of the trials of Nazi war criminals; Yonas Turkel, Nokh der bafrayung (After liberation) (Buenos Aires, 1959), see index; Khane Altshuler, in Yizker-bukh suvalk (Remembrance volume for Suwałki) (New York, 1961), see index.
Khayim Leyb Fuks


            They were born in Prage (Praga), near Warsaw, nephews of the Praga rabbi, Shaye Mushkat.  In the 1860s both brothers Mushkat were teachers in the Jewish community schools in Praga and Warsaw.  Together they translated into Judeo-German the Hebrew textbook of Shalom Cohen, Kitsur torat lashon ivrit (Shortened rules of the Hebrew language), “or an abridged Hebrew language textbook,” a shortened version of the Vienna edition (1816), which to be used in the community schools as a Hebrew grammar in Yiddish (Warsaw, 1843), 128 pp.
            Yankev Mushkat would also have been the author of the reader Lehr bukh af yidish-daytsh (Textbook for Judeo-German), “to study the German language” (Warsaw, 1853), 73 pp.,[1] for which Mushkat wrote “moralistic tales, fables, poems, and songs, letters, compliments, and mathematical instruction.”

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 2; dedication (in Polish) to the banker Matisyohu Rozen, in Lehr bukh af yidish-daytsh.
Khayim Leyb Fuks

[1] Translator’s note.  This may be the same work as Yidish daytshes leze bukh (Judeo-German reader) (Warsaw, 1853), 77 pp., listed on WorldCat. (JAF)


KHAYIM-LEYZER MUSHKAT (January 17, 1851-March 19, 1916)
            He was born in Lukov (Maciejów), Shedlets (Siedlce) region, Poland.  He attended religious primary school and synagogue study hall, acquiring a name as a prodigy and expert in Hassidism, but then devoted himself to the Jewish Enlightenment and philosophical and ethical tracts.  At age eighteen he married and moved to Brisk (Brest) to live in the home of his father-in-law.  He corresponded on Torah novellae with the greatest Talmudic scholars of the era, but on his own he began to have doubts about his faith, left his father-in-law’s home, and departed to wander through Poland and Russia.  He lived in Odessa, St. Petersburg, Kovno, Bendin (Będzin), Pyetrikov, and Lodz, where he supported himself by giving lessons in Hebrew.  In 1880 he was a delegate to the first conference of the Odessa Palestine committee.  In 1890, together with a group of “Lovers of Zions” from Kovno, he traveled to the land of Israel and returned to Poland a year later.  He debuted in print (using the pen name “Eḥad mibaale haasufot” [a collector of wise sayings]) in Hatsofe-lehamagid (The spectator-the preacher) in 1874, later publishing in: Hamagid (The preacher), Hamelits (The spectator), Hakarmel (The Carmel), and Hatsfira (The times) in which he published several of his impressions from Israel which were included in his work Hare yehuda (Behold, a Jew) (Warsaw, 1890), 160 pp.  He authored Hebrew and Yiddish pamphlets and books (some of them signed with the intials “MR״T” or “M״AḤ”), among them: Tikvat ḥanef (Hope of the hypocrite) (Warsaw, 1878), 32 pp., second edition (1888), third edition (1891); Ahava nikhzava (Disappointed in love) (Warsaw, 1880), 44 pp. (a play in one act, in verse, following Pushkin); Veyehi biyeshurun melekh (And there was a king in Jerusalem) (St. Petersburg, 1884), 27 pp., concerning Jewish customs at the time of the Jewish state, selected from Talmud and homiletic interpretation, dedicated to the 100th birthday of Moses Montefiore (published in an abridged form in Yiddish [Pyetrikov, 1892], 14 pp.; Adam hamaala (A man of high qualities) (Pyetrikov, 1894), 45 pp. (a philosophical study of the obligations of a wise man to God, to himself, and to his people, and of the duties of the people to him); Avne nezer (Stones of the crown) (Warsaw, 1890), 34 pp., second edition (1910); Maskil al dal (He who considers the poor), a story drawn from the Talmud (Warsaw, 1904), 14 pp.; Haholekh al shetayim (He who walks on two [legs]), a study of cultural history (Będzin, 1910), 48 pp., second edition (Warsaw, 1913).  Among his writings in Yiddish, we know of the following, among others: Talmide khakhomim un ameratsim (Wise men and fools), “truly a wonderful and beautiful story from which the reader will gain a lesson; there is no difference among the educated and the ordinary and foolish men when it comes to supporting this need; drawn from the holy Talmud and beautifully written” (Vilna, 1894), 24 pp., appearing in several editions, the final one in Warsaw, 1914; Rabi meyer (Rabbi Meir), “this description taken from the holy and wise Tanna” [R. Meir, an interpreter of the Mishna] (Vilna, 1895), 20 pp.; Di tolodo fun r’ shimen ben yokhay (The biography of R. Shimon ben Yochai) (Vilna, 1896), 23 pp.; Hilel hazakn, di tsayt, dos leben un virken fun dizen frumen, geduldigen un klugen tane (Hillel the Elder, the times, the life and impact of the devout, patient, and wise Tanna) (Berdichev, 1899), 20 pp.; Mayse fun kozhenitser magid (Story of the Kozienice Preacher) (Vilna, 1900), 16 pp.; Mayse fun besht un zayne talmidim (Story of the Bal Shem Tov and his students) (Vilna, 1901), 24 pp.; Der ferblondzeter general (The lost general) (Vilna, 1901), 16 pp.—the last three written under the pen name M״A״Kh.  From his numerous dramatic works along biblical themes, only one was published: Yankev bay lobn in khoron (Jacob and Lavan in Ḥaran), a biblical drama in five acts (Warsaw, 1907), 22 pp.  He died alone and forgotten during the German occupation of Praga, near Warsaw, where he had lived since 1910.

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 2, with a bibliography; Zalmen Zilbertsvayg, Leksikon fun yidishn teater (Handbook of the Yiddish theater), vol. 2 (New York, 1934); Varshever tageblat (Warsaw) (March 20, 1916); Bet eked sefarim; Sholem-aleykhem-bukh (Volume for Sholem-Aleykhem) (New York, 1926), p. 39.
Khayim Leyb Fuks

Sunday, 17 September 2017


VOLF MUSHEL (1909-1942)
            He was born in Sheradzh (Sieradz), Poland.  He studied in religious elementary school and a Polish public school.  At age fourteen he became a worker in a tailor shop.  In 1925 he moved to Lodz, was active in the left trade union movement, and due to police repression he was forced to flee from the country, eventually settling in Paris.  He published poetry in: Literarishe horizontn (Literary horizons) in 1928; Tsvishn moyern (Between walls) in 1931; Afn shteynernem bruk (On cobblestone pavement) in 1932; Literarishe tribune (Literary tribune) until 1932; Inzl (Island) and Nayer folksblat (New people’s newspaper)—in Lodz.  He also contributed to: Naye prese (New press) in Paris; and Belgishe bleter (Belgian leaves) in Antwerp; among others.  Under Nazi occupation he was deported from France to Auschwitz and murdered there.

Sources: Y. Pat, in Vokhnshrift far literatur (Warsaw) (January 7, 1932); Khayim Leyb Fuks, in Fun noentn over (New York) 3 (1957), p. 263.
Khayim Leyb Fuks


MOYSHE MUSHKIN (1858-1917)
            He was born in a town near Kherson, Ukraine.  He attended religious elementary school and yeshivas.  After the pogroms of 1881, he immigrated to the United States, lived for a time in New York, and from 1886 was resident in Philadelphia.  He composed Hebrew poetry for Hatsfira (The times) in Warsaw and from 1892 was a regular contributor to Yiddish and Hebrew periodicals in America.  His work appeared in: Haivri (The Jew) in 1892, Hatoran (The duty officer), Hapisga (The summit), and Yudishe gazetten (Jewish gazette)—in New York; and he was a member of the editorial board of Di idishe prese (The Jewish press) in 1905 and Filadelfyer morgen-tsaytung (Philadelphia morning newspaper) in 1907—in Philadelphia; among others.  In his last years from time to time he published essays and features in Di idishe velt (The Jewish world) in Philadelphia and Yidishes tageblat (Jewish daily newspaper) in New York.  He died in Philadelphia.

Sources: D. B. Tirkel, in Pinkes fun amopteyl fun yivo (Records of the American division of YIVO), vol. 1 (New York, 1927-1928), pp. 260, 261; M. Frihman, Geshikhte fun iden in filadelfye (History of Jewish in Philadelphia) (Philadelphia, 1935); Y. Tsuzmer, Beikve hador (In the footprints of a generation) (New York, 1957), p. 210.
Khayim Leyb Fuks