Wednesday, 30 April 2014

MENAKHEM OGULNIK

MENAKHEM OGULNIK (1891-1932)
Born in Pinsk, Poland.  Received a Jewish and general education, and graduated from dentistry school in Warsaw.  He practiced as a dentist in Pinsk.  In 1916 he left Pinsk for Zhelekhov (Zelechow) where he was active among Jewish working youth and the Bund.  He was also one of the founders of the Jewish school system in Zhelekhov.  At the end of 1919, he returned to Pinsk; during the Russo-Polish war when the Bolsheviks occupied Pinsk, Ogulnik left for Russia and he lived in Minsk until 1932.  He was active there for a time in the Byelorussian Science Academy.  He began to write for Sotsialistishe yugnt-shtime (Socialist voice of youth) (Warsaw, 1919-1920) in which he published a series of articles regarding Jewish literature and general cultural issues.  He “was liquidated” by the Soviet authorities in 1932.

Source: Zikher-bukh fun der Zhelekhover yidisher kehile (Memorial book of the Zhelekhov Jewish community) (Chicago, 1954), p. 102.


MAKS (MAKSIMOV) OGUZ

MAKS (MAKSIMOV) OGUZ (b. 1870)
He came from Kovno, Lithuania.  He was a distinguished leader in the Bundist movement in Russia.  Arrested for his political activities in Ekaterinoslav, he came to Paris following his release to join his older brother, Dr. Yoysef Oguz, and he became secretary of the local Bundist group.  He served as a delegate from the Parisian Bund to the convention of foreign Bundist groups in 1901-1902 in Bern, Switzerland.  Following the October amnesty of 1905, he returned to Russia.  Under the pseudonym “Maksimov,” he contributed to the Vilna Folkstsaytung (People’s news).  Together with Z. Katsenshteyn he published the brochure, Vegn der teorye un praktik fun dem anarkhizm (On the theory and practice of anarchism) (Warsaw, 1906), 46 pp.  During WWI, he was an editor of Lodzher arbeter (Lodz worker).  After 1918 he returned to Kovno, where he was a high school teacher.  In 1940 he was still alive and, presumably, died thereafter.

Sources: Frants Kursky, Gezamlte shriftn (Collected works) (New York, 1952); Doyres bundistn (Generations of Bundists) (New York, 1968), pp. 208-9.


ARN-DOVID (AHARON-DAVID) OGUZ

ARN-DOVID (AHARON-DAVID) OGUZ (August 4, 1865-June 10, 1943)
Born in Kartuz-Bereze (Kartuz-Bereza), Grodno district.  He attended religious schools through high school, later becoming a village teacher.  In 1896 he immigrated to the United States and worked as a peddler, a glazier, and a cobbler.  He began publishing humorous stories in 1901 in the Teglekher herald (Daily herald) of D. Hermalin.  Over the course of forty years, he contributed to Varhayt (Truth) and Morgen-zhurnal (Morning journal).  He published stories, feature essays, and humorous pieces from daily life in both the old country and in the United States.  His works in book form include: Khane pesils mayne loshn (The invective of Hannah, Pessel’s daughter) (New York, 1909), 217 pp.; Oyneg yontev: yontev-mayselekh, humoreskes, felyetonen (Holiday eve: Holiday stories, humorous tales, and human-interest stories) (New York, 1921), 282 pp.; Humoristishe ertsehlungen (Humorous tales) (New York: 1911), 221 pp.; A rayze nokh erets-yisroel af der mauretanya (A voyage to the Land of Israel aboard the Mauritania) (New York, 1928), 90 pp.; Mayn rayze in tsen lender, a bukh ful mit humor (My trip to ten countries, a book full of humor) (New York, 1930), 306 pp.; Tevye khaykl shlimazl, a bukh ful mit humor (Tevye Khayl the ne’er-do-well, a book full of humor) (New York, 1920), 274 pp.; Der bal khezhbm un andere ertsehlungen (The accountant and other tales) (New York, 1920), 26 pp.; Dos groyse gevins un andere ertseylungen (The jackpot and other stories) (New York, 1920); Kitser more nevokhim, oder vos der more nevokhim lernt, oystsige fun rambam’s religion-filozofishes verk (A short Guide of the Perplexed, or what the Guide of the Perplexed teaches, excerpts from Rambam’s religio-philosophical work) (New York, 1926), 124 pp.  His translations include: Jules Verne, 20 toyznt fus untern yam (20,000 leagues under the sea) and Der geheymlisfuler inzl (Mysterious island).  He also wrote a novel for Morgen-zhurnal entitled Di fraydenker (The freethinkers).

Sources: Z. Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 1; Dr. A. Mukdoni, in Morgen-zhurnal (April 17, 1935).


Tuesday, 29 April 2014

B. AVREKH

B. AVREKH
He lived in Warsaw after WWI.  Author of a model letter-writer, Khosn-kale-brif (Groom-bride letters) (St. Petersburg: Mitzpeh; Warsaw, 1931), 80 pp.  At the end of the book were placed articles about the wedding canopy, the betrothal, and the marriage contract.  He was also the translator of a volume, Gevehlte ertsehlengen (Selected stories) by Mark Twain (Warsaw: Farlag “Yidish,” 1920), 208 pp.

The possibility has not been precluded that Avrekh was a pseudonym.

G. ABRAMSKI

G. ABRAMSKI
Author of a correspondence in Kol mevaser of 1869 (no. 39) under the name “Simchat torah.”  He portrayed here in a Maskilic manner a town N, on the Dnieper River, on the day of Simchat Torah.  He was also the author of a booklet concerning Goldfaden’s theater, Bamat yishchak, o ge-chizayon: bekoret me’et haroeh avram hagershoni levene kehat (On the theatrical stage: an inquiry from the spectator Avram the Gershonite to the Jewish people) (published in Romania in either 1877 or 1878), 30 pp.  This was the first booklet concerned with the Yiddish theater, written and published at a time when that theater was just founded Romania.  It thus has a historical value.

Z. Zilbertsvayg, Teater-leksikon, vol. 1 (with a bibliography).


YOYSEF ABRAMSON

YOYSEF ABRAMSON (b. 1880)
He came from Russia to Lodz in 1906 and was active in the circle around Iskra (Spark).  From 1908 he wrote short feature pieces and scholarly articles for Lodzer nakhrikhtn (Lodz news, under the editorship of Y. Uger).  After the failed 1905 Revolution, he became more nationalistically disposed and approached the Poalei Tsiyon and Zionist socialist circles.  This was expressed in articles and papers which he published in Drame un muzik (Drama and music), Dramatishe kunst (Dramatic art), and other serials in Lodz.  By virtue of a recommendation from Lazar Kahan, he became the editor of Tshenstokhover tageglat (Tshenstokhov daily news, January 1-June 3, 1914).  He published there: editorials, short features, and works concerned with Jewish themes under such names as Yoysef A-n, A-n, and the like.  Especially worthy of note were his writings on educational issues.  He came out publicly in these with the solution of a school with Yiddish as the language of instruction.  He was also one of the principal lecturers at the “Lira” in Tshenstokhov (Czestochowa).  When the war broke out in 1914, because of his articles against the Germans, he had immediately to leave Tshenstokhov and departed with the Russian military.  He would likely have been executed in 1937 during the purges in Soviet Russia.

Source: A. Khrovolovski, Tshenstokhover yidn (Jews of Tshenstokhov) (New York, 1947), p. 96.

IVAN ABRAMSON

IVAN ABRAMSON (September 3, 1870-September 15, 1934)
Born in Nikolayev, a town near Vilna.  He studied in religious schools and with a teacher.  At age seventeen he came to the United States where he had an assortment of different jobs.  Together with Shomer (Nahum Meyer Schaykevitz), he published the humorous weekly newspaper Der yidisher pok (The Jewish Puck), and later Di yidishe teglekhe prese (The Jewish daily press).  He was the author of a series of plays which in their day were performed.  He was a theatrical entrepreneur in New York and Philadelphia.

Source: Z. Zilbertsvayg, Teater-leksikon, vol. 1.


Sunday, 27 April 2014

P. ABRAMOVITZ

P. ABRAMOVITZ

Born in Shavel (Šiauliai), Lithuania.  In 1912 he published a booklet entitled Religion un filozofye (Religion and philosophy) (Vilna: Sh. P. Garber), 36 pp.  It had a forward and a poem, “To the opening of the library of the Jewish literary society, celebrated in Shavel, Purim in the year 1912.”  The author was trying to demonstrate that everything can be found in Mosaic Law, including Nietzschean philosophy and the teachings of Karl Marx.

KH. E. AVRAMOVITS

KH. E. AVRAMOVITS
Translator of Di Iden, eyn lustshpiel in dray und tsvantsig forshtellungen (The Jews, a joyous play in twenty-three performances) by A. V. Lessing (Vilna, 1879), 68 pp.


ZEV ABRAMOVITS (ZE’EV ABRAMOWICH)

ZEV ABRAMOVITS (ZE’EV ABRAMOWICH) (December 16, 1891-April 2, 1970)
Born in Maryupol [Ukraine], studied in a professional school.  From 1922 he was in the Land of Israel.  He was a specialist in issues of statistical economics concerned with the lives of Jewish laborers in Israel.  He was connected with the left Poalei Tsiyon.  He began writing in 1915 as a contributor to the left Poalei Tsiyon (Labor Zionist) press.  He published articles in Arbeter tsaytung (Workers newspaper, Warsaw), Nay velt (New world, Tel Aviv), and periodicals associated with the left Poalei Tsiyon.  He also contributed to Al hamishmar (On guard), Hashutaf (The partner), and others.  His memoirs of many years of administrative activities with the left Labor Zionists were published in Besherut hatenua (In the service of the movement) (Tel Aviv, 1965), 430 pp.  He was living in Israel until his death in Tel Aviv.



Sources: D. Tidhar, Entsiklopedyah hachalutse hayishuv uvonav (Encyclopedia of the pioneers and builders of the yishuv) (Tel Aviv, 1947-1971), vol. 4, pp. 1840-41; Zeev abramovits umorashato (Ze’ev Abramowich and his heritage) (Tel Aviv, 1971), 505 pp.; Shures poyle-tsien (Ranks of Labor Zionism), Shloyme Shvaytser (Shlomo Schweizer) (Tel Aviv, 1981).

RAPHAEL ABRAMOVITSH (RAFAEL ABRAMOWICZ)

RAPHAEL ABRAMOVITSH (RAFAEL ABRAMOWICZ) (July 21, 1880-April 11, 1963)
Pseudonym (from 1905) of Raphael Rein.  Born in Dvinsk (Daugavpils) into a family of timber merchants of modest means.  He attended religious school, and at age fourteen he was sent off to a secondary school in Ponevezh (Panevezys [Lithuania]), and at grade seven to Libave.  From there he arrived (1899) at the Riga Polytechnic where he studied mechanical engineering.  In Riga he joined the revolutionary student movement, and somewhat later (under the influence of Herts Burgin) he took part in illegal Jewish workers’ circles.  In 1901 he became active in the Bund.  He made his first attempt to write in Yiddish (a leaflet for no. 25 of Arbayter-shtime [Workers’ voice]).  Expelled from the Polytechnic in 1902 for taking part in a student demonstration, he threw himself completely into Bundist work and an illegal life.  He first set off in a conspiratorial manner for St. Petersburg where his parents lived, and from there illegally he fled abroad across the Russian-German border.  He lived for a short time in Berlin and in Liège (Belgium); in 1903 he arrived in Zürich, Switzerland where at the time the Bundists were largely concentrated in Geneva, as well as was the general Russian leadership of the revolutionary movement abroad.  Like many other Jewish revolutionaries, the Kishinev pogrom thrust him into a national search, and in June 1903 he gave the keynote lecture on the national question at the Geneva conference of the Bund.  During that first Zürich period, he was known for a short time by the pseudonym “Dimant” (his earlier pseudonyms were “Abram” and “Malkiel”); later, he was given the pseudonym “Baron” (in addition to the party names of the other two of the leading Bundist threesome of 1903 in Zürich: “Graf” for Medem and “Markiz” for Liber).  In 1904 he returned to Russia, worked for the Warsaw committee of the Bund, was nonetheless soon arrested, thrown in prison (November 1904) in Riga, and soon thereafter freed.  He then moved to St. Petersburg, took part in running the sixth conference of the Bund in Dvinsk (February 1905), was coopted onto the central committee of the Bund, and was sent to guide revolutionary propaganda in various cities.  In August of that year, he returned to Zürich to prepare for the sixth conference of the Bund; in October he went back to Dvinsk and St. Petersburg.  Just after the 1905 Revolution, he became the representative of the Bund to the first St. Petersburg Council of Workers and Deputies and to the negotiations between the Bund and other revolutionary organizations, published and edited the magazine Yevreyskiy rabochiy (Jewish labor) in St. Petersburg, and founded and led (together with Medem, D. Zaslavski, and others) the Bundist magazine Nashe slovo (Our word) in Vilna (staring in 1906).  He then went abroad again to prepare for the seventh conference of the Bund in Bern (Switzerland), as well as serving as an envoy to the united convention of the Russian Social-Democratic Workers’ Party in Stockholm—in order to carry out (together with Liber and Yonah Koyge) the further entrance of the Bund into R. S.-D. W. P.  He was selected to the general central committee of the party.  In September (1906), he participated in the seventh conference of the Bund in Lemberg (Lvov, Lviv).  He was a Bundist candidate for the second Duma and carried out an election campaign in the Jewish residential areas in the Pale of Settlement.  In May and June 1907, he took part in the convention of the R.S.-D. W. P. in London, and at the end of the year and early 1908 he made his first trip across the United States on assignment from the Bund.  He then returned to Russia and, involuntarily detained for a time in Finland due to his wife’s illness, he devoted himself during this period to research on Jewish history.  He lived in Vilna over the years 1908-1909, where he was employed as a teacher of Jewish history, physics, and mathematics in the high school of P. P. Antokolski and S. M. Gurevitch.  Simultaneously, he carried on illegal party work.  In March 1910, he was arrested and administratively sent to the Vologda region (southern Russia); in January 1911 he escaped from exile, remained en route for a time in Heidelberg (Germany) where he wrote a treatise of Bible criticism and Tanakh research (printed under the title “Di antshtaung fun tanakh” [The emergence of Tanakh], Tsukunft [Future, New York], June-July-August 1911); he then moved to Vienna (Austria) where he stayed until 1916, taking part in foreign work for the Bund, playing an active role in the editorship of legal Bundist newspapers (in Yiddish and Russian) which between 1910 to 1914 went by a number of names (Lebenfragn [Vital questions], Di tsayt [The times], and the like) and which were published in Warsaw and St. Petersburg.  During the internal party discussions, he represented the standpoint of the so-called “Liquidators”—meaning those who called for emphasis to be placed more on legal work than on underground activities.  In the years 1913-1915, he published articles in Tsukunft and Forverts (Forward, New York); in 1916 he moved back to Zürich where he stood politically next to the Zimmerwaldists (the socialist anti-war group which held its meetings in Zimmerwald and later in Kienthal).
In May 1917, Abramovitsh together with over 250 other political emigrants returned to Russia in the second “sealed train car” which Germany let pass.  No sooner had he arrived in St. Petersburg than he threw himself into revolutionary work, and in all questions he worked together with L. Martov and his group of “internationalists.”  He was a member of both central committees (the Bund and the Mensheviks), served as editor of the Bundist Arbayter-shtime, was a member of the St. Petersburg Soviet and its national commission as well as a speaker on the Finland question, and a member of the Central Executive Committee of the Soviets and later also of the Provisional Council of the Republic.  In his political activities, during the first period of the 1917 Revolution, he struggled against the pro-war policy of the Menshevik-Social Revolutionary government coalition.  Following the October coup d’état, he was one of the initiators of the “Vikzhel’” (All-Russian Executive Committee of the Railroad Union) negotiations which attempted to reach an agreement between the Bolsheviks and the other socialist parties and to create a socialist coalition government.  In early 1918 he moved to Moscow with the central committee of Mensheviks and joined the editorial board of the Menshevik organ Vperyod (Forward), and he appeared with the Moscow Soviet as well as with the All-Russian Conference of Soviets and of Professional Trade Unions.  In July 1918 he was arrested by the Cheka for calling for an unaffiliated All-Russian Conference of Workers and was thrown in prison for several months.  During the years of the Civil War (1918-1920), he conducted activities with L. Martov and F. Dan for the central committee of the Menshevik party.  He also collaborated with publications of the Moscow district committee of the Bund.  At the twelfth conference of the Bund in Moscow (April 1920), he led the social democratic minority which left the conference during the rift, and thereafter became chairman of the central committee of the social democratic Bund in Russia.
At the end of 1920 he left Russia on a Russian passport and settled in Berlin.  Together with Martov and Dan, he was there one of the founders of Sotsialisticheskii vestnik (Socialist messenger, January 1921) and one of the leaders of the foreign delegation of the party.  He was also sent as a representative of the Russian Social Democratic Party to the International Socialist Conference in Vienna which founded what was called the “Vienna International” (February 1921).  He took an active part in the union of the “Vienna” with the renewed Second International, and he was a speaker at the international socialist congress in Hamburg for Russia.  He served on the executive and in the office of the new Socialist Workers International as a speaker on Russian social democracy.  From that period forward, he was active in the international socialist movement as a speaker and writer and as a participant at international congresses.  He wrote several brochures concerned with Soviet Russia and Bolshevik terror, which appeared in many European languages.  At the famous trial of Mensheviks in Moscow in 1931, Abramovitsh’s “illegal” trip to Russia in the summer of 1928 (although it was demonstrated that this was untrue) was one of the main points in the accusations.  In the years 1924-1926 and 1929-1930, he was again in the United States on lecture tours.  From 1922, he was a regular correspondent for the Forverts (New York).  In 1933 he moved to Paris where he became one of the lead editors of the Algemayne entsiklopedye (General encyclopedia, the first volume of which appeared in Paris in 1934) which the Dubnov Fund had begun to prepare already in 1931 in Berlin.  In addition to his editorial work, Abramovitsh also wrote for various publications from Algemayne entsiklopedye concerning the history of socialism and the workers’ movement, as well as popular scholarly topics; in volume “Yidn-d” of the encyclopedia he published a major work on the “History of the Jews in Lithuania, Poland, and Russia.”
In 1940 Abramovitsh moved to New York where he continued his work on the encyclopedia and became a member of the editorial board of the Forverts in which he published a weekly column entitled “Mentshn un politik” (People and politics) as well as editorials.  He edited the Sotsialisticheskii vestnik and directed the foreign delegation of the Russian Social-Democratic Party.  Between 1947 and 1950, he edited a political magazine in English by the name of Modern Review.  His writings in book form include: Leyenbukh tsu der geshikhte fun yisroel (Reader on the history of Israel) with A. Medem, part 1 (Berlin, 1923), 118 pp.; In tsvey revolutsyes, di geshikhte fun a dor (In two revolutions, the history of a generation), vol. 1-2 (New York, 1944), 752 pp.; Di farshvundene velt, bilder un mapes mit derklerungen in yidish un in english (The vanished world, pictures and maps with explanations in Yiddish and English) (New York, 1947), 575 pp.; Die Zukunft Sowjetrusslands (The future of Soviet Russia) (Berlin, 1923); Teror kegn sotsialistn in rusland (Terror against socialists in Russia) (German, French, and Danish editions as well, 1924-1926).  His work, The Soviet Revolution (London, 1962), 474 pp., was translated into Hebrew: Hamahpekha hasoyetit (The Soviet revolution), trans. Binyamin Eliav (Tel Aviv, 1966), 403 pp.  He died in New York.

   


Sources: Zalmen Reyzin, Leksikon, vol. 1, pp. 5-8; Algemayne entsiklopedye (General encyclopedia), vol. 1 (Paris, 1934), pp. 58-60; V. Medem, Zikhroynes fun mayn lebn (Memoirs of my life) (New York, 1923), p. 132; A. Liessin, Zikhroynes un bilder (Memoirs and images) (New York, 1954), pp. 220-24 (reprinted from Tsukunft, New York, 1930); Grigori Aronson, in Forverts (November 24-25, 1940), in Der Veker (New York, April 1, 1944), in Tsukunft (New York, September 1944); Hillel Rogoff, Der gayst fun forverts (The spirit of the Forward) (New York, 1954), pp. 202-8; M. Rafes, Kapitlen geshikhte fun Bund (Chapters in the history of the Bund) (Kiev, 1929), pp. 139-40, 170; Frantz Kurski, Gezamlte shriftn (Collected writings) (New York, 1952); Bol’shaya Sovietskaya Entsiklopediya, vol. 1 (1934).
Yitskhok Kharlash



Friday, 25 April 2014

ELYE ABRAMOVITSH

ELYE ABRAMOVITSH (1903-1919)
Born in a town in White Russia.  During WWI he turned up in Tambov [Russia].  His first poem was published in Komunistishe velt (Communist world), no. 5 (1919).  He was a promising poet, but he died of typhus in this very year (1919).

Sources: B. Orshanski, in Tsaytshrift, vol. 5 (Minsk, 1931), p. 13; his own works in Di yidishe literatur in vaysrusland nokh der revolitsye (Jewish literature in Byelorussia since the revolution) (Moscow, 1931), pp. 35, 36.


YOYSEF (YOSEF) ABRAMOVITSH

YOYSEF (YOSEF) ABRAMOVITSH (December 27, 1905-July 3, 1969)
     Born in Slonim, Byelorussia.  Graduated from Warsaw University.  From 1933 he was living in the Land of Israel where he was working as a teacher of physical education.  In Israel he changed his name to Aviram.  He is the author in Yiddish several works concerned with sports: Shpilbukh (Book of play); Arbeter-sport (Workers’ sports); Di oyfgabn fun der proletarisher fizisher dertsiung (The tasks of proletarian physical education) (Warsaw, 1930).  He also wrote in Hebrew on sports and physical activity.  He died in Tel Aviv.


Source: Who’s Who in Israel (1952), p. 67; Bibliography of the Hebrew Book.

HIRSH ABRAMOVITSH (HIRSZ ABRAMOWICZ)

HIRSH ABRAMOVITSH (HIRSZ ABRAMOWICZ) (March 1 1881-January 29, 1960)
Born in Tomaszewo, Vilna district.  His father was employed in agriculture.  He studied Hebrew and other languages with a tutor, later in a religious school in Vilna, and then in the Vilna Teachers’ Institute.  He studied in the law faculty at Kharkov University, and he was a teacher in religious schools.  He was arrested in 1902 during a demonstration for May Day, and in 1906 at a Bundist conference in Katerinoslav.  He was removed from his teaching position for political reasons.  He was the director of the Jewish Professional School “Hilf durkh arbet” (Help through work) in Vilna over a period of twenty-four years.  He traveled to Canada and the United States on a communal assignment, and there he remained with the outbreak of WWII.  His wife, Anna, was killed in a Nazi gas chamber following the liquidation of the Vilna ghetto in 1943.  He began writing in Russian in 1902 (among other magazines, he published in Voskhod [Rising]).  He began publishing in Yiddish in Fraynd (Friend) in 1904.  In 1919 he began collaborating with Vilner tog (Vilna daily), and he was a correspondent for Yidisher tsaytung (Jewish newspaper) (Buenos Aires) and Frimorgn (Morning) (Riga).  He published articles, reviews, and translations.  He also published in the daily press, such as Yidishe shtime (Jewish voice) (Kovno) and Tsayt (The times) (Vilna); in such publications as Unzer gedank (Our thoughts), Frayer gedank (Free thoughts), and Pinkes fun der shtot vilne (Register of the city of Vilna); and the record book of Yekopo (Yevreyskiy komitet pomoshchi zhertvam voyny—“Jewish Relief Committee for War Victims”) entitled Af di khurves fun milkhomes un mehumes (The ruins of wars and turmoil), as well as Yivo-bleter (Pages from YIVO), among others.  In 1931 he published A litvishe shtetl in lebn un tsiper (A Lithuanian shtetl in life and numbers).  In the United States, he published articles in Forverts (Forward), Morgn-zhurnal (Morning journal), Der amerikaner (The American), Fraye arbiter shtime (Free voice of labor), and Litvisher yid (Lithuanian Jew); and in such collections as Lite (Lithuania), Afn shvel (At the threshold), and Frayland (Freeland).  He also wrote for Lebns-fragn (Life issues) (Tel Aviv), in which he published a work entitled 70 yor yidishe masn-emigratsye in tsofn-amerike (Seventy years of mass emigration to North America).  In Shvilei hachinukh (Paths of education), he published treatises on Hebrew pedagogy.  He used such pseudonyms as H. Dinin and H. Visokodvorski, and he lived in New York until his death there.  He also authored: Lern-varshtatn farn nodl-fan (Learning workshop for needle-pan [?]) (Vilna, 1922), 15 pp.;  Farshvundene geshtaltn (Disappearing images) (Buenos Aires: Farband fun poylishe yidn [Association of Polish Jews], 1958), 480 pp.



Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 1; Nachmen Mayzel, Y. L. Perets un zayn dor shrayber (Y. L. Perets and his generation of writers) (New York, 1954).



Thursday, 24 April 2014

BERL (BORIS) ABRAMOVITSH

BERL (BORIS) ABRAMOVITSH (b. 1893 or 1894)

Born in Grodno.  His father was a scribe.  He was a teacher and an activist in the Yiddish school movement.  He served as manager of the Grodno orphanage, and later spent many years as business manager of the Grodno “Toz” [Towarzystwo Ochrony Zdrowia (Society for the protection of health)], concerning which he wrote In dinst der ideye fun gezunt-shuts un kinder-farzorgung: 10 yor “Toz” in Grodne (In service of the idea of health protection and children’s welfare: Ten years of “Toz” in Grodno), with a detailed, scientific introduction by Dr. Avrom Lipnik (Grodno: “Toz,” 1935), 198 pp.  His subsequent career is unknown.

ABRAMOV

ABRAMOV
He published poems in the Soviet Yiddish press and in the literary collection Shloglerishe trit (Shock-work steps), under the editorship of Maks Erik and Y. Serebriani with an introduction by the latter (Minsk, 1932), 108 pp.  His biography and fate are unknown.

Sources: N. Kabakov, “Mit shloglerishe trit” (With shock-work steps), in the daily newspaper Oktyaber (October) (Minsk), no. 81 (1932); Kh. Dunyets, “Der arbiter-shlogler hot a vort” (The working shock-troop has something to say), Oktyabr (Minsk), nos. 158, 160; reprinted in Yunger arbiter (Young worker) (Minsk), no. 23 (1932).


LEYB ABRAM

LEYB ABRAM (1896-1966)
Born in Shavel (Šiauliai), Kovne district, Lithuania.  His father was a cobbler.  He studied in religion schools and in the city school.  In 1915 he was working as a bookkeeper in a candy factory.  He was a member of the Bund.  In 1917 he spent some time in a prison in Minsk.  After the October Revolution, he became one of the leaders of the Bundist Communists, and thereafter of the Jewish Communist Party and of the Communist League of Byelorussia and Lithuania.  He later became the leader of the Jewish section in Vitebsk and environs.  From 1920 to 1922, he was editor of the Vitebsk daily newspaper Der royter shtern (The red star), in which in 1922 he published a series of articles concerning the “history of the Communist League of Byelorussia.”  He later served on the editorial board of the newspaper Komunistisher fon (Communist banner) in Kiev, and he helped organize the “proletarian writers.”  In 1928 he was the editor of Odeser arbiter (Odessa worker).  More than anything else, he was eminent as the leader of the largest “Jewish colony,” Kalinindorf, and the editor of Kolvirt-emes (Collective farm truth).  He also published articles in the Moscow Emes (Truth) and in other newspapers and magazines.  In the turmoil of the purges of 1937-1938, he was sent to Tugulim, Sverdlovsky district, Siberia.  In 1948 on the road from Tugulim to Kovne and Shavel, Abram was arrested again and thereafter no one has had any news of him.  He was the brother of the writer William Abrams.  His books include: Zalbatsveyt (?), the history of May First together with a poem by M. Yudovin (Vitebsk, 1921), 18 pp.; Der mishpet ibern kheyder (The judgment over the cheder) (Vitebsk, 1922), 112 pp. (materials assembled, adapted, and edited by Abram together with Y. Khintshin and K. Kaplan).

Sources: A. Kirzhnits, Di yidishe prese in ratnfarband (The Yiddish press in the Soviet Union) (Minsk, 1928), pp. 65, 183, 316; Dos yidishe bukh in fssr, 1917-1921 (The Yiddish book in the USSR, 1917-1921) (Kiev, 1930), p. 126; A. Abtshuk, Etyudn un materyaln (Studies and materials) (Kharkov, 1934), pp. 92, 93, 177, 178; Sh. Agurski, Der yiddisher arbeter in der komunistisher bavegung (The Jewish worker in the Communist movement) (Minsk, 1925), pp. 65, 66, 70, 92, 183.


ZELIK (ZELIG) OBERMAN

ZELIK (ZELIG) OBERMAN (b. December 1873)

Born in Warsaw; raised by his grandparents Naftali and Chava Oberman.  Studied in religious schools and later by himself in a synagogue study hall.  Married at age seventeen in Lublin; in late 1890 he left for Kraków, later for Vienna, and from there to London in 1896.  He worked as a wood-cutter and later a manufacturer.  He served as a religious community leader responsible for Jewish education.  Around 1941 he withdrew from his business and began to write his memoirs.  His book, In mayne teg (In my days) (London, 1947, 224 pp.), was a contribution to research on Jewish life in Poland and especially in Warsaw at the end of the nineteenth century, and on Jewish immigration to London at the beginning of the twentieth century.

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

PAUL ABELSON

PAUL ABELSON (September 27, 1878-November 4, 1953)
Born in Kovne (Kaunus), Lithuania; arrived in the United States in 1892.  Graduated from Columbia University.  By trade, he was a lawyer and teacher.  He was the first person nominated by the New York Board of Education to serve as a lecturer in Yiddish on history and civil rights (1902), so as to help in the Americanization of new immigrants.  From 1991, he was a member of the arbitration commission and arbiter between the unions and the Cloak and Suit industry in New York; chairman of the impartial committee of the furs industry and the furrier union.  From 1915 to 1932, he was arbiter for numerous trades between labor and management in New York and Philadelphia.  He was active as well in other Jewish communal and cultural institutions.  He contributed to various magazines in which he wrote about topics concerning labor.  Editor-in-chief of English-yidishes entsiklopedishes verterbukh (English-Yiddish encyclopedic dictionary) (New York, 1915, 1924), 1749 pp.  He was the author of Seven Liberal Arts (New York: Teachers’ College, Columbia University, 1906).

Source: Universal Jewish Encyclopedia (New York), vol. 2; Who’s Who in World Jewry (1955).


YITSKHOK ABELSON

YITSKHOK ABELSON (b. 1889)

Born in Dolhinov (Daŭhinava), Belarus.  Arrived in the United States in 1910 and lived in New Haven 1912-1913.  He was active in the Jewish branch of the Socialist Party and in his local division of Workman’s Circle.  Contributed to the monthly Der nyu-heyvener veker (The New Haven alarm clock, 1912-1913), and published poems and articles on socialist themes.

YOYSEF ABELSON

YOYSEF (YOSEF) ABELSON (1915-March 1935)
Born in Libave (Liepāja), Kurland (Courland).  At age thirteen, he lost movement in both feet, which affected his life and work thereafter.  He began early to write sketches and short stories.  In Frimorgn (Morning, Riga) he published monographs on Y. Kh. Brener and M. Y. Berditshevski.  One senses in them a deep earnestness and a romantic quality which is noted in the writings of thoughtful people thereafter.  In early March 1935, he took his own life.

Source: M. Gerts, in Literarishe bleter (March 29, 1935).


ABE ABELSON

ABE ABELSON (b. 1887)
     Born in Dolhinov (Daŭhinava), Belarus.  Came to the United States in 1906.  Editor of the New Haven monthly, Veker (Alarm clock), the press organ of the Jewish branch of the Socialist Party (issue #1, August 1912).  Author of two booklets of poetry: Nit haynt un nit amol (Neither now nor formerly), stories and poems (New Haven, 1938), 59 pp.; and Nit keyn sakh (Not much) (1941), 95 pp.  Pseudonyms: Ben-khayim, Aba Ben-khayim, and Ab. Abson, among others.


Tuesday, 22 April 2014

S. ABEL

S. ABEL (1871-March 2, 1925)
Born in Plungian (Plungė), Lithuania.  Coming to the United States in 1892, he initially settled in Baltimore and two years later moved to New York.  He was active as a Zionist, Hebrew writer, and editor of Dos yidishe folk (The Jewish people), the Yiddish organ of the Zionist Organization in America.  Among his books written in New York: Kongres-reden (Congress speeches) of Dr. Theodor Herzl, “translated from German” (New York, 1918), 44 pp.


Source: L. Kusman, in Dos yidishe folk (New York), March 13, 1925); M. Rotnberg, ibid.; Hadoar (obituary), March 6, 1925.

LIPE EVEN-SHAYISH

LIPE EVEN-SHAYISH
Born in Sanik, Galicia.  Translator of stories from Hebrew to Yiddish; published in Tog in Kraków (edited by Y. Krepl, first published in 1909).


Source: Mendel Neugroeschel, Fun noentn over (From the recent past) (New York, 1955), p. 355.

TSVI (DOV) AVNER

TSVI (DOV) AVNER (January 6, 1889-June 12, 1970)
The adopted name of Bernard Oderberg, born in Tshenstokhov (Czestochowa), Poland, to Hassidic parents; he studied in religious school and in the Lomzhe Yeshiva.  After his youth he joined the Labor Zionist Party, was arrested several times by the Tsarist authorities, escaped arrest, and lived illegally in Warsaw.  He fled from Poland and arrived in London where he was active in Labor Zionism in England and in the Jewish Legion.  From 1923 he was in the Land of Israel where he worked in various trades and became a painter.  He was one of the founders of Achdut ha-Avodah (Union of Labor) in Jerusalem and an active member of Haganah.  Most recently, he was a teacher of foreign languages.  He was the author of Di harfe, fun an arbeter (The harp, from a laborer), poems on Zionist and labor motifs (London, 1922), 84 pp.; Erets-yisroel refleksn un antifa[shistishe] lider (Reflections on the Land of Israel anti-fascist songs), images and reportage (Tel Aviv, 1948), 198 pp.; Sipurim niflaim al yehudim degulim (Wonderful tales of prominent Jews) (Jerusalem, 1950).  He also published under the name of Bernard Oderberg.



Source: D. Tidhar, Entsiklopedyah lealutse hayishuv uvonav (Encyclopedia of the pioneers and builders of the yishuv) (Tel Aviv, 1947), vol. 1, pp. 2636-37.

YISROEL AVNIR

YISROEL AVNIR
     Author of Ikh lern hebreish: leyenen, shrayben, redn on der hilf fun a lerer, loyt a nayer metodik (I’m studying Hebrew: reading, writing, and speaking without any help from a teacher, according to a new method) (Jerusalem, 1952), 217 pp.

Monday, 21 April 2014

ARI EVEN-ZAHAV (IBN-ZAHAV)

ARI EVEN-ZAHAV (IBN-ZAHAV) (November 20, 1899-October 21, 1971)
     Pen name of L. Goldshteyn (Goldstein), he was born in Grayeve (Grajewo), Poland, in a merchant family.  He received a traditional Jewish education.  From his earliest years in his parents’ house, he absorbed a love for the Land of Israel to which his entire family later made aliya.  After WWI he went to study in Germany, spent time in a high school in Magdeburg and then university in Leipzig.  In 1922 he cut short his studies, made aliya, and settled in Jerusalem.  He served as the secretary to the Hebrew University from 1924-1926.  Together with Dr. Judah (Yehudah-Leyb) Magnes, he founded the Hebrew University Press.  On behalf of Hebrew University, he made several trips abroad; in the 1940s he spent several years in the United States.  In his youth while still in Grayeve, he began to write Hebrew poems, edit and publish a handwritten journal Hanoar (Youth), and later participated in work on the German-Jewish periodical Jüdischer Almanach (Jewish almanac) and Jüdische Rundschau (Jewish review).  In Israel, he became a well-known Hebrew novelist, poet, and dramatist.  His books include, among others: Betokhekhi yerushalayim (Inside Jerusalem) (Jerusalem, 1927); Besha’ar-ami yerushalayim (Inside the gates of the people of Jerusalem) (Tel Aviv, 1928); At, yerushalayim (Thus, Jerusalem) (1940); a play, Yom Yerushalayim (Jerusalem day) (Tel Aviv, 1937); Meginze yerushalayim (From the archives of Jerusalem) (1925); a historical novel, Yeme david (In the days of David) (Jerusalem, 1929); and the tragedy Hevel (Vanity) (Tel Aviv, 1934), which concerned human violence from biblical times until our own age at present.  He also wrote a great deal about the war and the Holocaust, about the war in the Land of Israel, and a number of works for youth.  He wrote studies of Shakespeare’s “Shylock” as well as a novel entitled Shailok, hayehudi mevenetsyah (Shylock, the Jew from Venice) which was turned into a drama and produced for the stage.  Even-Zahav immortalized the Jews of Grayeve in his folkloristic trilogy Eleh mas’e hazapatim (The pitch workers) (Tel Aviv), which appeared in Yiddish under the title Di pekh-yidn (The pitch workers) (Warsaw, 1939), 187 pp.  In 1939 he published this work serially in Haynt (Today) out of Warsaw, which also published a considerable number of his Jerusalem poems in the style of N. Shternberg.  He also published in the Warsaw Haynt Yoyvl-bukh (Today, jubille volume) (Jerusalem, 1938) chapters from his book Shishim shanah veshanah (Sixty years and years) about wagon drivers in Jerusalem.  Chapters from his Di pekh-yidn were published in Grayever yizker-bukh (Grayeve memory book), edited by Dr. G. Gorin, Hayman Blum, and Sol Fishbayn (New York, 1950), pp. 123-58; Di pekh-yidn also appeared in Polish and in Hungarian.  He died in Tel Aviv.




Sources: D. Tidhar, Entsiklopedyah lealutse hayishuv uvonav (Encyclopedia of the founders and builders of Israel) (Tel Aviv, 1947-1971), vol. 11, A, pp. 383-84; autobiography in Sifrut tse’irah (Literature for the young) (April-May 1939); Gershon Svet and Khayim Antshkovski, in Grayever yizker-bukh (1950).


YITSKHOK EVEN

YITSKHOK EVEN (January 28, 1861-March 12, 1925)
Born in Rozvadov, Galicia; studied in a religious high school in Hungary, later spent time in a rabbinical court in Sadigura (Sadhora); studied Hebrew and the writings of the early thinkers; became a contributor to (later, an editor of) Machzikei hadat (Holder of the faith).  He also wrote for Hamagid (The preacher) and Hamelitz (The advocate), as well as to Yiddish newspapers published by Hirsh-Leyb Gotlib (Gottlieb) in Sighet, Hungary and in a Tismenits (Tysmienica) newspaper published by Shevach Knebl.  He came to the United States in 1908.  He contributed to the encyclopedia, Oytser yisroel (Treasury of Israel), wrote Hassidic tales for Lemberger tageblat (Lemberg [Lvov] daily news), and from 1914 a regular contributor to Tog (New York) and from 1918 to Morgn-zhurnal (Morning journal) and Amerikaner (The American).  He published Hassidic stories and was in charge of the section called “Dertseylt dos eyere kinder” (Tell this to your children).  He collected and adapted Jewish tales and legends.  He died in Vienna.  His books in Hebrew include: a Jewish history in four parts according to the tradition of the Talmud and Midrash (Lemberg [Lvov], 1897); Hanaar benyamin mitryent (The youth of Benjamin of Trent) (Lemberg, 1897); Machaloket sanz ve-sadigura (Feuds in Sanz and Sadigura) (New York, 1915-1916).  In Yiddish: Fun der gut-yidisher velt (From the Hassidic world) (New York, 1917), with a preface about the history of Hassidism by Gotthard Deutsch); Di leyb sores (The body of Sarah), holiday stories for Hassidim; Der lubliner zeer (The seer of Lublin) (published by Tog, New York); Fun’m rebins hoyf, zikhroynes un mayses (From the rabbi’s court, memoirs and stories) as seen, heard, and retold (New York, 1922).  A number of his Hassidic tales were translated into English.

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 1; Sh. Niger, in Tog (August 8, 1923); Dr. A. Koralnik, Viderklangen un vidershprukhn (Echoes and contradictions), part 1 (Warsaw, 1928), p. 28.


YEHUDE AVIDA

YEHUDE AVIDA (ELZET) (January 8, 1887-September 21, 1962)
Yehude Avida is the adopted name of Rabbi Yehude-Leyb Zlotnik (Yehude Elzet).  Born in Plock, Poland.  When he was three years old, his father, Avrom-Yitskhok, passed away, and he was educated by his mother, Khane-Nekhe, who had to support the ten surviving orphans.  He studied until age ten in religious schools, thereafter with his brother, Yoyne-Mortkhe, who was the rabbi in the shtetl of Zakrotshim.  In 1910 he passed the government examination and left to study at the yeshiva in Volozhin.  He was forced by illness to interrupt his studies in Volozhin, and in 1911 he was selected as the rabbi in Gombin, Poland where he lived until the end of 1919.  In 1920 he founded the Mizrachi organization in Poland, becoming its secretary general, and thus he settled in Warsaw.  He served as a delegate to the Zionist congresses in 1920, 1921, 1929, 1931, and 1935.  On assignment for Mizrachi, he traveled to a number of countries.  At the end of 1920 he was selected as president of Mizrachi in Canada, and he settled in Montreal.  In 1925 he visited the Land of Israel and South Africa, 1935 Argentina, 1946 Australia—all in the service of the international Zionist movement.  From 1938 to 1949, he became the head of Jewish education in Johannesburg, South Africa, and from June 1949 in Israel.
He began writing at age seventeen.  He wrote in Hebrew a biography of Jesus of Nazareth, but because of censorship it was not published.  He also wrote poems in Hebrew and Yiddish.  Some of them appeared in Hakol (The voice, Warsaw, 1899).  In 1915 he published articles about the Zionist program as well as about Jewish folklore in Lodzher folksblat (Lodz people’s news) under the pseudonym Yehude Elzet; and he published tracts in Moment against those “faithful Jews” (shlemei emunei yisroel) for their anti-Zionism.  He issued brochures in Hebrew and Yiddish, such as: Religye, natsionlizm un tsienizm (Religion, nationalism, and Zionism) (Warsaw, 1918), 20 pp. which came out several times; Tsu der religyezer yungt (To religious youth) (Warsaw, 1918), 46 pp.  Avida was the author of a large number of brochures and books in various languages—in Yiddish: Undzere flikhtn in yetstikn moment (Our duty at the present time) (Warsaw, 1917), 17 pp.; Der mizrekhi (The Mizrachi) (Warsaw, 1919), 14 pp.; A por verter tsu di yidishe froyen un tekhter (A few words for Jewish wives and daughters) (Warsaw, 1918), 12 pp.; Zu undzere brider—ortodoksn (To our brothers—Orthodox) (Warsaw, 1919), 32 pp. (several editions); Bialiks trern (Bialik’s tears) (Warsaw, 1918), 43 pp.; Der vunder-oytser fun der yiddisher shprakh (Wonderful treasures of the Yiddish language [part one: prayer]) (Warsaw, 1918), 93 pp.; Droshes (Sermons), vol. 1 (Warsaw, 1920), 20 pp.; Der menshlekhe kerper (The human body) (Warsaw, 1920), 118 pp.; Yidishe maykholim (Jewish foods) (Warsaw, 1920), 128 pp.; Khumesh-folklor (Pentateuchal folklore) (Warsaw, 1937).  He translated into Yiddish Y. Ch. Rawnitzki’s Briv tsu a shvester (Letters to a sister) (Warsaw, 1919), 22 pp.  He edited a number of newspapers and periodicals for Mizrachi, was a collector and researcher into Jewish folklore, and worked with Noyekh Prylucki on the latter’s anthologies (1912 and 1917).  He also worked with YIVO bleter and authored articles on Yiddish and Hebrew literature for various other newspapers in Yiddish, Hebrew, English, and Polish.  He published folklorist work in such Hebrew newspapers as: Sinai, Reshumot (official gazette of the Israeli government), Bet Hilel (School of Hillel), Yerushelayim (Jerusalem), Sefer Yosef (The book of Joseph), and Yeda am (Folklore); in Yiddish: Goldene keyt (Golden chain), among others.  He published with introductions and annotations an old Yiddish manual for letter writing: Mit hundert yor tsurik (One hundred years ago) (Montreal, 1927) and “Shloymes lid fun lider” (Solomon’s Song of Songs) (Montreal, 1932). He died in Jerusalem.




Sources: Sefer minchah leyehudah by Shmuel Ashkenazi (Kitvei harav yehudah leyb zlotkin, reshimah bibliografit [Writings of Rabbi Yehudah Leyb Zlotkin, bibliographical listing] (Jerusalem, 1946), 35 pp.; Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 1; D. Tidhar,  Entsiklopediyah lealutse hayishuv (Encyclopedia of pioneers in the yishuv), pp. 1915-16; Edut, riv’on le-folklor ve-antologiah (Testimony, review of folklore and anthology) (Nisan-Tamuz, 1948); Der tog (New York) (May 20, 1929).

YANKEV-SIMKHE AVIDOR

YANKEV-SIMKHE (YAAKOV SIMCHA, YAKOV-SIMHA) AVIDOR (October 16, 1905-April 30, 1979)
     Born in Minsk, Belorussia; earlier surname: Peker.  Studied in religious schools; underwent preparatory agricultural training for emigration to Palestine; studied in an orthodox teachers’ seminary in Vilna, and received ordination from the Tachkemoni Rabbinical Seminary in Warsaw (1933), as well as a diploma for a teacher of psychological pedagogy and Judaism.  He was an activist in the Revisionist movement, a member of the central council of Tarbut [a network of Hebrew schools] in Poland a preacher and rabbi in the Shaarei-Tsiyon School; head rabbi of the Jewish community in Niderbeyern (Niderbayern, Lower Bavaria), Oyberplats (Oberplatz), and Oyber-franken (Oberfranken, Upper Fanconia), with a seat in Regenburg (from September 1949).  He initially published in Hebrew in the journal Hakochav (The star) (Warsaw, 1922), also contributing to various Yiddish newspapers and magazines.  His books include: Chagim ve-moadim (Holidays and festivals) (Warsaw, 1936); Mit ofene oygn (With open eyes), from a trip to Israel in 1953) (Minsk, 1954).  Edited works: Beminchah (In the afternoon) (Tel Aviv. 1942-1943); Der front (The front) (Minsk, 1949); Hamashkif (The spectator) (Minsk, 1949); Haoved haleumi (Servant of the nation), a monthly journal (Tel Aviv, 1947); Chazarat hachayil (Return of the soldier) (Tel Aviv, 1942 and 1944).  Collections: Yeshurun (“Israel”) (Tel Aviv, 1948); Luach brit hechayil (Tel Aviv, 1943); Metsudah (Citadel) (London and Warsaw, 1936).  Co-edited: Pinsker vort (Pinsk news, a newspaper) (1933-1934); Folks-ruf (People’s call, Yiddish-Polish newspaper) (1937); Kadimah (Onward) (Tel Aviv, 1942).





Sources: Tsionistisher leksikon (Zionist handbook) (Warsaw, 1938); Gezelshaftlekher leksikon (Community handbook) (Warsaw, 1939); Undzer velt (Our world) (Munich, 1949); Yeshurun (Munich, 1949).

MOYSHE AVIGAL

MOYSHE AVIGAL (February 21, 1886-October 28, 1969)
Earlier family name: Beigel (Beygl).  Born in Nyetshayev, a Jewish colony in southern Russia; he was a Hebrew teacher, author of the textbook Geometriyah histaklutit (Demonstrative geometry).  In 1908 he published poems in Lebn un visnshaft (Life and science).  For a short time from 1921, he lived in Argentina and collaborated with Di yidishe tsaytung (Jewish news) and with the Zionist weekly Di yidishe velt (Jewish world)—Buenos Aires, from 1924—in the Land of Israel.  He cooperated every year with schools and other pedagogical institutions of the Histadrut, publishing articles on educational matters in the Hebrew press.  The articles were brought out in two volumes (Tel Aviv, 1947).  From the Land of Israel he took part sporadically in Di yidishe tsaytung (Buenos Aires) and Farn folk (For the people) (New York).  He translated into Hebrew Draysik yor kolonizatsye in argentine (Thirty years of colonization in Argentina) by Mordechai Alperson.  He died in Tel Aviv.

Source: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon fun der yidisher literatur, prese un filologye (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish literature, press, and philology), vol. 1 (Vilna, 1928).


AVIGAYIL

AVIGAYIL
Pseudonym for a writer who real name is unknown.  She published in the monthly magazine Literatur un lebn (Literature and life) (New York, 1915).  Two of her poems were published in E. Korman’s anthology.

Source: Ezra Korman, Yidishe dikhterins, antologye (Yiddish women poets, an anthology) (Chicago, 1928), pp. 106-7.


YITSKHOK AVIGDOR

YITSKHOK AVIGDOR

Born in Poland; author of a mimeographed publication, Trern nisht fartriknte (Tears not dried), poems, which came out in Antwerp, Belgium (1947), 48 pp., and Bletlekh fun a tagebukh (Pages from a diary)—experiences from a concentration camp.  He was liberated in May 1945 from Mauthausen-Gunskirchen, Germany.  On the last page of this publication, the author thanks: “My devoted friends and students from Chabad in Belgium.”  Subsequent biographical information is lacking.

Sunday, 20 April 2014

AVROM ABTSHUK

AVROM ABTSHUK (1897-1937)
Born in Lutsk, Volhynia.  Graduated middle school (1919) in Lutsk; left for Kiev (1921), became a teacher of Yiddish language and literature in a Jewish workers school, a researcher for the Yiddish professorship at the Ukrainian Academy of Science, later a scholarly associate in the literature and criticism section of the Kiev Institute.  He performed teaching duties and wrote articles in the field of literary criticism.  In 1926 he began to publish stories in Di royte velt (The red world) about the civil war and about Jewish life in Poland after WWI.  He made quite an impression with his tale Hershl Shamay in which he more or less took an objective, artistic and in places humorous posture to portray the process of industrializing Jewish labor in a Soviet factory.  He worked on the editorial staff of Prolit (Proletarian literature), a journal of proletarian writers in Ukraine.  He was accused in 1936 of “Trotskyist” tendencies, which was said to have been manifested in Hershl Shamay, after which his fate was unknown.  His books include: Hershl Shamay un andere dertseylungen (Hershl Shamay and other stories) (Kiev, 1929), 316 pp.; Zikh ayngeshlosn (Locked in) (Kiev, 1930), 62 pp.; Hershl Shamay (second, revised edition, Kiev, 1931), 157 pp.; Kuzbas (Kiev, 1932), 72 pp.; In kamf kegn soynim (In struggle against enemies) (Minsk, 1932), 28 pp.; Dertseylungen (Stories) (Kiev, 1933), 135 pp.; Hershl Shamay (part 2) (Kiev, 1934), 182 pp.; Etyudn un materialn tsu der geshikhte fun der yidisher literatur bavegung in FSRR (Studies and material for the history of the Yiddish literature movement in the Soviet Union) (Kharkov, 1932), 290 pp.; In der bargiker shorie (In the mountainous island) (Kiev, 1934), 24 pp.; Barishevs brigade (Barishev’s brigade) (Kiev, 1934), 34 pp.; Vegn undzer proze (On our prose) (Odessa, 1934), 47 pp.; Mendele moykher-sforim, zayn lebn un zayne verk (Mendele, the bookseller, his life and work) (Kiev, 1927), 47 pp.; in addition, a series of textbooks for literature and social knowledge, as well as translations from Soviet literature.  Also: Arbetbukh far gezelshaftkentenish (Workbook for social knowledge) (Kiev: Kultur lige, 1929), 334 pp.; In kamf kegn sonim (In struggle against enemies), stories, with M. Khashtshevatski (Minsk: Melukhe farlag, 1932), 28 pp.; Literatur, lernbukh (Literature, textbook), with M. Mizhiritski (Kharkov-Kiev: Melukhe-farlag far di natsyonale minderhaytn, 1932), 124 pp.; Literatur, lernbukh, with A. Holdes and F. Shames (Kharkov-Kiev: Melukhe-farlag far di natsyonale minderhaytn, 1934), 232 pp.  Pieces published in: Ukrayne, literarish-kinstlerisher almanakh (Ukraine, literary-artistic almanac) (Kiev, 1926), Shlakhtn (Battles) (Kharkov-Kiev, 1932)Der arbeter in der yidisher literatur (The worker in Yiddish literature) (Minsk, 1931).  He died in a Soviet camp.

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen in Algemayner entsiklopedye, vol. 1; Shmuel Niger, “Revolutsye un humor” (Revolution and humor), Tog (New York, 1929) and “In der sovetish-yidisher literatur” (In Soviet Yiddish literature), Tsukunft (New York, February 1930); Yoysef Opatoshu, in Di vokh 4 (1929); M. Mizhiritski, “A freydiker onzog” (A joyous announcement), Di royte velt 10 (1929); Kh. Sh. Kazdan, “Di yidishe litsektsye af Ukraine” (The Yiddish literary section in Ukraine), Vokhnshrift far literatur (Warsaw) (June 10, 1932); Y. Pat, “S’iz gut…” (It’s good…), Vokhnshrift far literatur (Warsaw) (December 6, 1934); A. Damesek, “Di soynim unter a literarisher maske” (The enemies beneath a literary mask), Shtern (Minsk, October 1936); N. Y. Gotlib, “Tsvantsik yor yidish-sovetishe literatur” (Twenty years of Soviet Yiddish literature), Yoyvl-bukh 30 yor keneder odler (30-year jubilee volume of the Canadian eagle) (Montreal, 1938); “Di letste shafungen fun de sovetishe yidishe shrayber” (The last creations of the Soviet Yiddish writers), Keneder odler (March 30, 1953).

        


ALEK ABUGOV

ALEK ABUGOV (b. 1913)
Born in Odessa, Ukraine; by trade a locksmith, later a teacher; volunteer in the Red Army.  During WWII he was captured by the Germans.  Author of a major work, Mayn partizaner-veg (My life among the partisans), a portion of which was published in Farn folk (For the people) (Rome, 1948).  Fate—unknown.




Abukov, seated on right


MENDL ABARBANEL

MENDL ABARBANEL (1888-1957)
Soviet Yiddish writer who lived in Belorussia; by trade a carpenter.  He began publishing in Der frayer arbiter (Free worker) and Kultur un bildung (Culture and education), Moscow (1918) and Vitebsk (1918).  Among his books: Af khvalyes fun tsaytn (Over waves of time) (Kharkov, 1930), 135 pp.; Af der vogshol (On the scale), poetry (Kharkov-Kiev, 1934), 133 pp.; In ritem fun lebn (In the rhythm of life) (Kiev, 1937), 94 pp.; Kindheyt (Childhood), poems (Kharkov-Kiev, 1939), 103 pp.; Af undzer erd (On our earth) (Kiev, 1940), 193 pp.  His writings also appeared in: Ruf, lider zamlung (Call, poetry collection) (Minsk, 1935); Almanakh fun yidishe sovetishe shrayber tsum alfarbandishn shrayber-tsuzamenfor (Almanac of Soviet Yiddish writers to the All-Soviet Writers’ Conference) (Kharkov-Kiev, 1934); Mut (Courage), poetry collection (Moscow, 1920); Shlakhtn (Battles) (Kharkov-Kiev, 1932); Zay greyt (Get ready) (Kharkov).  He was a member of the Proletkult (proletarian culture) group (together with Khayim Gildin and Shlomo Yudovin).  The majority of his poems have a propagandistic character.  His fate remains unknown.

Sources: Kh. Dunyets, Far magnitboyen in der literatur (For the great works of literature) (Minsk, 1932); B. Orshanski, in Tsaytshrift 5 (Minsk, 1931).

[Additional information from: Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 1.]

YANKEV OBAZHANEK (OBERZANEK)

YANKEV OBAZHANEK (OBERZANEK) (1891-1943)
     Born in Lodz, studied in religious school, early on became a craftsman; worked until WWI in a textile factory.  In 1918 he began publishing poems in the humor section of Lodzher tageblat (Lodz daily), later becoming an internal contributor.  He also published monologues, tableaux on Lodz themes and written for variety shows: Azazel, Ararat, and Yidishe bande.  After Lodzher tageblat ceased publication, he (1931) became a principal contributor to Nayes folksblat (New people’s news) where he worked until WWII.  Works published in book form: Nadir un veyn nisht (Take this and don’t cry), humorous pieces (Lodz, 1938).  On the twentieth anniversary, January 25, 1938, there was a special issue of Nayer folksblat published with articles about him by Y. Uger, Moyshe Broderzon, Yoysef Okrutni, and Yisroel Rozenberg.  On the first of September 1939, he was arrested together with Y. Uger and other Yiddish writers from Lodz by the Gestapo and thrown into the Radogoszcz concentration camp behind the city of Lodz.  In early 1940 he escaped and made his way to Warsaw, and in early 1943 he died in the Warsaw ghetto.



Sources: Y. Okrutni, Literarisher bleter (Literary leaves) (February 1938); B. Mark, Umgekumene shrayber fun di getos un lagern (Murdered writers from the ghettos and camps) (Warsaw, 1954), p. 54.

NOTE TO READERS

Biographical Dictionary of Yiddish Writers

Welcome to this new blog.  I hope those of you willing and able will join me in this adventure, because this is something that one simply cannot do alone.  My plan is to start posting online translations from the eight-volume Leksikon fun der nayer yidisher literatur (Biographical dictionary of modern Yiddish literature), published by the Congress for Jewish Culture a half century ago.  These translations are neither meant to replace the originals, nor are they authorized, but they are offered as tools for those interested in the many topics they raise.  The eight volumes of this work fill roughly 4,800 columns and thousands of individual author entries—many very famous and subjects of studies in their own right, but many others of much less well known writers, poets, journalists, teachers, and translators.  Where information is available, I have added snippets here and there—such as inserting a date or correcting a typo.  I have not, however, attempted to write fuller biographies of all the entries—that would require another lifetime.
I have started right at “alef” and will post a handful every time that I am able to do so.  Readers interested in participating or correcting should contact me through the comments section of this blog.  I can then serve as a clearing house for translations.  Again, the aim is to make this wonderful source available to more readers.  Where visual material is available, I will add it to the blog posts.
I have as a rule translated all titles, including journal and newspaper titles (except in the source notes), and on occasion added a piece of bibliographical information not in the original Leksikon.
Der redactor
April 2014
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Update (December 10, 2015):

Yossi Galron-Goldschläger, Judaica librarian at Ohio State University, has brought to my attention Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers), compiled by Berl Kagan (New York, 1986).  It includes additional information on many of the writers in the main Leksikon being translated and adds a number of names that did not make it into that earlier work.  I shall, slowly but surely, begin to add that information to entries already translated until I catch up.
 Kagan has a few lines by Ber Borochov as a frontispiece quotation.  I cite it here in English translation: "A lexicon should register and describe, but not evaluate and not praise or criticize.  Everything is short.  Not a single name of someone who has a connection to literature should be missing from a lexicon."


Der redaktor