EMANUEL HIRSHBERG (1902-August 1944)
He was born in Aleksander, near Lodz, in Poland, into an observant, business family. He studied in religious primary school, yeshiva, and with private tutors. In 1920 he completed his Hebrew high school in Lodz and until 1923 devoted his attention to pedagogy. He later became a manufacturer, then a businessman and art dealer. Over the years 1926 to 1934, he served as a rabbi in Danzig. With the Nazi rise to power, he returned to Lodz, became a street-corner rabbi of the Reform stripe, and the religious Jews accused him of proselytizing. He published poetry and treatises in Lodzher tageblat (Lodz daily newspaper), Nayer folksblat (New people’s newspaper), and in the publications of young Lodz poets. He also wrote in Hebrew for Baderekh (On the road) in Warsaw, as well as articles on painting and music in the Polish Jewish press in Poland. Among his books: Lider (Poetry) (Lodz, 1926), 64 pp.; Letorat benei-aliya (On the Torah teachings of great men) (Danzig, 1934), 79 pp.; Tsu di lere fun bney-aliya (On the teachings of great men), “on the teachings of great men. Illuminations to acquire the laws of R. Shimen ben Yoḥai and his son R. Eliezer, with comparisons to the teachings of R. Akiva and with historical notations” (Warsaw, 1935), 64 pp. When the Nazis, during WWII, occupied Lodz and confined the Jews to a ghetto, Hirshberg and his daughter remained in the city outside the ghetto until 1942. He was then placed inside the ghetto, and he became the leader of the so-called “Wissenschaftliche abteilung” (Scientific division—“Jewish Museum” in the Lodz ghetto), which produced pictures and figures mostly of Jewish life styles. The work of this group employed several Jewish artists in the ghetto. He also authored ghetto songs which were sung in the death camps, among them the song “Mener-ferd” (Human horses). During the liquidation of the Lodz ghetto, he was deported to Auschwitz and there murdered.
Sources: Y. Y, Poznanski, Sefer hashana lebiblyografiya yehudit polanit (Polish Jewish bibliography annual) (Warsaw, 1934); Yivo-bleter (Vilna) 3 (1935); Sh. Katsherginski Lider fun getos un lagern (Songs from ghettos and camps) (New York, 1948), p. 150; Kh. Fridberg, Bet eked sefer (Library) (Tel Aviv, 1956); Dr. A. R., Yediot bet loḥame hagetaot (Haifa) (April, 1956).