Monday, 21 January 2019


MOYSHE TSESHINSKI (October 17,1889-December 20, 1967)
            He was born in Tshenstokhov (Częstochowa), Poland.  He attended religious elementary school and graduated from a Russian-Polish public school.  He went on to become a laborer.  He was active in the Labor Zionist party in Częstochowa, in the Literary Society, and in the cultural society “Lira” there.  He spent some time in 1913 in the Częstochowa prison.  In 1914 he came to the United States.  He worked as a traveling agent for Yiddish newspapers and Yiddish book publishers.  In 1922 he settled in Chicago.  There he was cofounder of Jewish schools, of the Society for Jewish Culture, of YIVO, and of other institutions.  He owned a bookshop and publishing house well-known as the “Moyshe Tseshinski Book Publisher in Chicago,” which over the years became a meeting point for Yiddish writers, poets, Jewish intellectuals, and Jewish community leaders.  He began writing in 1905 with correspondence pieces in Der veg (The way), later in Unzer lebn (Our life) and Moment (Moment) in Warsaw, and he was a cofounder of and contributor (1912) to Reklame blat (Advertising newspaper) in Częstochowa.  He published articles on political, social, and literary matters in: Idishe velt (Jewish world) in Philadelphia; Idisher zhurnal (Jewish journal) in Toronto; Keneder older (Canadian eagle) in Montreal; Di idishe tsaytung (The Jewish newspaper) in Buenos Aires; Kultur-zhurnal (Culture magazine), Idisher kuryer (Jewish courier), Unzer lebn, and Ineynem (Altogether) in Chicago; and he contributed to the remembrance volume Tshenstokhover yidn (Częstochowa Jews) (New York, 1947).  In book form: Turme erinerungen (Prison experiences) (New York, 1915), 38 pp.

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 3; E. Khrablovski, in Tshenstokhover yidn (Częstochowa Jews) (New York, 1947); Unzer veg (Chicago) (April 1960).
Benyomen Elis


AVROM-BER TSERATA (1900-March 4, 1963)
            He was born in Nowo Radomsko (Radomsk), Poland.  He studied in religious elementary school and later became a Yiddish typesetter.  He spent the years 1916-1918 at work in an ammunition factory in Hungary, and later until 1934 he lived in Vienna; later still, until WWII, he was in Paris.  He was an active member of the left Labor Zionists.  Although he lived in poverty, he often helped Yiddish writers and painters to publish their works.  In November 1939, at the start of WWII, he was among the first Jewish cultural leaders deported to concentration camps in Germany and Poland.  In 1945 he returned to Paris and, until he set off for Israel in 1961, he worked as a typesetter for a Yiddish newspaper.  From 1937 he published reportage pieces, articles on painting and books, as well as descriptions of the Nazi camps in: Unzer vort (Our voice), Naye prese (New press), and Arbeter vort (Workers’ word) in Paris; and Yisroel-shtime (Voice of Israel), Heymish (Familiar), and Folks-blat (People’s newspaper) in Tel Aviv; among others.  After the emergence of the state of Israel, he collected, and purchased with his own money, artworks for a Jewish publishing museum in Tsfat (Sefad).  He was the museum director until his death.  He died in Tsfat, Israel.

Sources: N. Kenig, in Yizker-bukh tsum ondenk fun 14 umgekumene parizer yidishe shrayber (Remembrance volume to the memory of fourteen murdered Parisian Yiddish writers), ed. T. Spero (Paris: Oyfsnay, 1946), p. 41; Folks-blat (Tel Aviv) (March 6, 1963); L. D., in Unzer vort (Paris) (March 8, 1963); Meylekh Ravitsh, in Keneder older (Montreal) (March 23, 1963); Biblyografye fun artiklen vegn khurbn un gvure in yidisher peryodike (Bibliography of articles on the catastrophe and heroism in Yiddish periodicals) (New York: Yad Vashem and YIVO, 1966), see index; obituary notices in the Yiddish press (March 1963).
Khayim Leyb Fuks


            He was born in Vilna, where his father was a teacher of Jewish vocal music and specialized in preparing boys for their bar mitzvahs.  He went through the Vilna pedagogical courses of study in 1920-1921 and was a teacher in the Vilna Hebrew high school.  He began writing in Yiddish for Kursiste vort (Student word) in 1920 on pedagogical topics.  Over the years 1935-1939, he contributed to the Zionist daily newspaper Di tsayt (The times), in which he published articles on Hebrew school curricula and overviews of Yiddish and Hebrew writers (Mortkhe ben Hillel Hacohen, Ruvn Brainin, Hillel Tsaytlin, Sholem Asch, Dr. L. Borekh, H. D. Nomberg, and Sh. Y. Agnon, among others).  He wrote a number of plays and dramatizations for school productions in Hebrew, such as: Hazkena vehadov (The old woman and the bear) of 1925; and “ashmonaim ketanim” (Little Maccabees) and “Nes purim” (The miracle of Purim), an opera for children, in 1930.  And, they were staged with students from the Hebrew high school, as well as other dramatizations.  Together with his father, he was murdered in a concentration camp in Estonia.  His mother, wife, and children were murdered by the Nazis in Majdanek.

Sources: Eliezer Ran, in Haḥinukh vehatarbut haivrit beeropa ben shete milḥamot haolam (Hebrew education and culture in Europe between the two world wars), ed. Zevi Scharfstein (New York, 1957), pp. 547-62; Shmerke Katsherginski, Khurbn vilne (The Holocaust in Vilna) (New York, 1947), p. 244.
Leyzer Ran


            He was born in Luga, near St. Petersburg.  In 1919 he moved with his family to Rezhitse (Rēzekne), Latvia.  He graduated from high school and studied philosophy in Riga, where he settled in 1933.  He served in the Red Army during WWII.  He later studied theatrical arts in Moscow.  He took up directorial work in Riga and from 1966 in Israel.  He began literary work in 1926 with a children’s operetta entitled Pinkhes kayen (Pinkhes Kohen), performed in Jewish schools.  His plays, Men tor nit fargesn (One mustn’t forget) and Rozn un derner (Roses and thorns), were performed in Israeli theaters.  He wrote features for: Dos folk (The people), Frimorgn (Morning), and Der veg (The way) in Riga; Letste nayes (latest news), Yidishe tsaytung (Yiddish newspaper), and Nasha strana (Our country) in Tel Aviv.  In book form: Oysgetrakhter emes, dertseylungen (Imaginary truth, stories) (Tel Aviv: Hamenorah, 1974), 107 pp.—it also appeared in the author’s own Russian translation: Vydumannaia pravda, izbrannye rasskazy (Tel Aviv, 1976), 124 pp.

Sources: Letishe entsiklopedye (Latvian encyclopedia) (Riga, 1962); A. Baraban, in Yidishe tsaytung (Tel Aviv) (May 3, 1974); Z. Berebitshes, in Der veg (Mexico City) (July 26, 1974); Avrom Lis, In der mekhitse fun shafer (In the partition of creators) (Tel Aviv, 1978), pp. 241-43.
Ruvn Goldberg

Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 466.


            She belonged to the Kovno writers’ group “Mir aleyn” (Us alone).  She wrote popular poetry.  In book form: Tsu zogn un tsu zingen, 1935-1937 (To say and to sing, 1935-1937) (Kovno: S. Yoselevitsh, 1938), 93 pp.; Fun vig tsu vig, tsveyte lider bukh (From cradle to cradle, second poetry book) (Kovno, 1939), 97 pp.).  She was killed in the years of WWII.  Further biographical detail remain unknown

Sources: Avrom Reyzen, in Di feder (New York) (1939); Lite (Lithuania), anthology, vol. 1 (New York, 1951), p. 1006.
Leyb Vaserman


SHMUEL TSESLER (December 5, 1904-1987)
            He was born in Zabludov (Zabłudów), near Bialystok, Poland.  He was a teacher there and an active leader in the Labor Zionist party.  In 1935 he emigrated to Argentina.  He began writing poetry at age ten.  He debuted in print in Dos naye lebn (The new life) in Bialystok in 1924.  He later placed work in: Velt shpigl (World mirror) in Warsaw; Grininke beymelekh (Little green trees) and Khaver (Friend) in Vilna; and Di idishe tsaytung (The Jewish newspaper) in Buenos Aires; among others.  His poems also appeared in: Inzikh (Introspective) and Kinder zhurnal (Children’s magazine) in New York; Der shpigl (The mirror), Penemer un penemlekh (Appearances, big and small), and Argentiner beymelekh (Little Argentinian trees) in Buenos Aires; and Byalistoker almanakh (Bialystok almanac) in Bialystok; among others.  A large number of his poems were published in textbooks, song books, and anthologies.  A number of his songs with notes were published separately.  He translated the comedy Shloyme hameylekh un der shuster (King Solomon and the cobbler [original: König Salomo und der Schuster]) by the German Jewish writer Sammy Gronemann.  In 1964 he began to edit the children’s magazine Sholem (Peace) in Buenos Aires.  In book form: Feygl in der luftn, kinderlider un krayz-shpiln (Bird in the air, children’s songs and circle games), preface by Meylekh Ravitsh (Buenos Aires, 1939), 120 pp.; A lebedike velt, kinderlider un krayz-shpiln (A living world, children’s songs and circle games) (Buenos Aires, 1941), 80 pp.; Himl un erd, kinderlider un krayz-shpiln (Heaven and earth, children’s songs and circle games) (Buenos Aires, 1941), 155 pp.; Tsen krayz-shpiln, far gezang un pyano (Ten circle games, for singing and piano), music by L. Draytsel for the songs and piano (Buenos Aires: A. Boccazzi, 1945), 23 pp.; Fun gantsn hartsn, kinderlider un krayz-shpiln (From all my heart, children’s songs and circle games) (Buenos Aires, 1946), 107 pp.; Undzer hemshekh, khrestomatye far eltere gradn onfang-shul un ershte klasn mitl-shul (Our continuation, reader for the older grades of elementary school and the first classes of middle school), with Avrom Tkatsh (Buenos Aires, 1948), 366 pp., second improved edition (Buenos Aires, 1953); Durkh ṭir un toyer, lider un ḳrayz-shpiln far kinder (Through door and gate, poetry and circle games for children) (Buenos Aires, 1949), 129 pp.; Gut yontef, lider un krayzshpiln far shul un heym (Happy holiday, poems and circle games for school and home), music by L. Draytsel (Buenos Aires: Khane Garber, 1950), 30 pp.; A goldn tsigele, lider un krayz-shpiln far kinder (A golden goat, poems and circle games for children) (Buenos Aires, 1951), 100 pp.; Yerusholaim, far shul un yugnt (Jerusalem, for school and youth), with Tsvi Bronshteyn (Buenos Aires, 1954), 100 pp.  He was last living in Buenos Aires, where he was a teacher in the Hebrew-Yiddish teachers’ seminary of the Jewish community in Buenos Aires.

Sources: Sh. Rozhanski, Dos yidishe gedrukte vort in argentine (The published Yiddish word in Argentina) (Buenos Aires, 1941), pp. 140, 189, 170; V. Bresler, Antologye fun der yidisher literatur in argentine (Anthology of Jewish literature in Argentina) (Buenos Aires, 1944), p. 669; A. Maze, in Keneder older (Montreal) (January 21, 1946); Y. Botoshanski, in Zamlbukh aroysgegebn fun farayn fun di shtriḳer fabrikantn tsum 25 yorikn aniversar fun der institutsye (Anthology published by the union of weavers’ factories on the twenty-fifth anniversary of the institution), ed. Gershon Sapozhnikov (Buenos Aires, 1961), pp. 293-94; M. Shenderay, in Di idishe tsaytung (Buenos Aires) (November 10, 1964); Ts. Bronshteyn, in Di idishe tsaytung (December 2, 1964); Yefim Yeshurin, 100 yor moderne yidishe literatur, bibliografisher tsushteyer (100 years of modern Yiddish literature, bibliographical contribution) (New York, 1966), pp. 521-22.
Leyb Vaserman


YANKEV-SHMUEL TSENDORF (May 19, 1902-1941)
            He was born in Lodz, Poland, into a Hassidic family.  He attended religious elementary school and yeshiva.  At age sixteen became a printer, set in type illegal literature, and engaged in revolutionary work.  At that time he began writing poetry, contributed to Di literarishe tribune (The literary tribune), and was one of foundational figures in the group of leftist progressive writers.  He had to escape from Poland to Danzig.  In 1933 he came to Paris, contributed there to Di naye prese (The new press), and worked for the central cultural council.  On May 14, 1941, he was deported by the Nazis to the Pitivye concentration camp, and that same year he was transported to Auschwitz.  In the Pitivye camp, he composed poems, the titles of five of which follow: “Dos lid fun Pitivye” (The poem of Pitivye), “Hungerike” (Hungry), “Mayn yidishkeyt” (My Jewishness), “Mayn kindele geyn shoyn” (My little child has already gone), and “Guter foygl” (Good bird), which he succeeded in smuggling out to friends living in freedom.  They were published in: Yizker-bukh tsum ondenk fun 14 umgekumene parizer yidishe shrayber (Remembrance volume to the memory of fourteen murdered Parisian Yiddish writers) (Paris: Oyfsnay, 1946), ed. T. Spero.  In book form: Royte bafeln (Red commands) (Danzig, 1931), 47 pp.  He died at Auschwitz.

Source: Y. Yakubyak, in Literarishe tribune (Lodz) 31 (1932); M. R., in Vokhnshrift far literatur (Warsaw) (December 23, 1932); I. Fefer, Di yidishe literatur in di kapitalistishe lender (Yiddish literature in the capitalist countries) (Kharkov-Kiev: State Publ. for National Minorities, USSR, 1933), p. 102; B. Shlevin, in Yizker-bukh tsum ondenk fun 14 umgekumene parizer yidishe shrayber (Remembrance volume to the memory of fourteen murdered Parisian Yiddish writers) (Paris: Oyfsnay, 1946), pp. 183-86; Shmerke Katsherginski, Lider fun di getos un lagern (Songs from the ghettos and camps) (New York: Tsiko, 1948), p. 270; Khayim Leyb Fuks, in Fun noentn over (New York) 3 (1957), p. 257.
Leyb Vaserman