Friday, 25 March 2016

HENI HELFMAN

HENI HELFMAN
           She was a correspondent from Berdichev for Kol mevaser (Herald) from 1864.  In her correspondence pieces, incidentally, she lauded with numerous compliments the community activities of Mendele Moykher-Sforim in Berdichev.  In Kol mevaser (1871), p. 131, there is one such correspondence piece from Kiev which extolled the charitable Jewish women of Kiev; in Yidishes folksblat (Jewish people’s newspaper) of 1882, a correspondence piece from Odessa concerned Mendele’s becoming director of the Odessa Talmud-Torah; and in Kol leam (Call to the people) in Königsberg, a thank-you letter as the editorial board was contemplating enticing Mendele to become editor of the newspaper (by the way, nothing came of this plan).  Helfman also published several story booklets, of which the following remain extant: Di farfirte yugend oder di blinde eltern (The quarrelsome youth or the blind parents), “a story of contemporary and past times” (Odessa, 1886), reprinted in Warsaw (1889), 44 pp.  In his “Dray literarishe doyres” (Three literary generations), Sh.-L. Tsitron identified Heni Helfman with the well-known female revolutionary and participant in the murder of Tsar Alexander II, Hesye Helfman; Dr. Max Weinreich, in his Bilder fun der yidisher literatur geshikhte (Studies in the history of Yiddish literature), demonstrated that Helfman had no connection whatsoever with the revolutionary movement in Russia.

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 1; Dr. Max Weinreich, Bilder fun der yidisher literatur geshikhte (Vilna, 1928), see index.


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