BENTSIEN-ZUNDL HERSH (1883-July 16, 1935)
He was born in the village of Pomushe (Pamūšis), Shavel (Šiauliai) district, Lithuania. He was the younger brother of Peysekh-Libman Hersh. He moved in 1891 with his parents to South Africa. He began corresponding from South Africa in 1903 for Fraynd (Friend) in St. Petersburg and to write for the Johannesburg Yiddish weekly Hakokhav (The star), edited by Yisroel-Mikhl Troyb. In 1904 he became a contributor to B. Levitski’s Di yudishe fraye prese (The free Jewish press), which appeared over the course of five months; in 1907 it was renewed under the editorship of Bentsien Hersh but only came out for a few weeks. On February 25, 1909, he began to publish Di yudishe fon (The Jewish banner), initially twice weekly and gratis, and from 1910 as “an independent weekly newspaper for all Jewish interests in South Africa”; the newspaper was the official organ of the South African Zionist Federation, and Hersh was its editor (in 1912-1913 the newspaper became a daily, later semi-weekly, and it finally ceased publication on August 22, 1913). He was as well a contributor to Jewish Chronicle in Cape Town, in which he published translations from Sholem-Aleykhem, and at the same time was correspondent and contributor to Yiddish newspapers in other countries. He befriended and attracted contributions to Di yudishe fon from many local writers. His last years, Hersh devoted himself to Zionist activities, and he served as honorary chairman of the editorial council of Zionist Record in Johannesburg, in which he wrote under a standing rubric, “Here, There and Everywhere.” He also placed pieces in Der afrikaner (The African) in Johannesburg, during the years of WWI. He died in Johannesburg.
Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, in Leksikon, vol. 1; Y. M. Sherman, in Dorem afrike (Johannesburg) (September 1948); Y. Sh. Yudelovits, in Dorem afrike (July 1950); L. Feldman, in Dorem afrike (December 1952); Feldman, Yidn in yohanesburg (Jews in Johannesburg) (Johannesburg, 1956), p. 303; Universal Jewish Encyclopedia, vol. 5 (New York, 1941); obituary in American Jewish Yearbook 5697 (Jewish Publication Society, 1936/1937); Gustav Saron and Louis Holtz, The Jews in South Africa (London: Oxford University Press, 1955), see index.