Sunday, 20 March 2016


            He was born in Slonim, Grodno district, Byelorussia, into a well-to-so family.  At age thirteen he moved to Warsaw, where he graduated from a Polish commercial school.  Until 1903 he was assimilated into Polish language and culture, and thereafter with the influence of a strengthened Jewish nationalist movement, he first became interested in Jewish issues.  He lived all his adult years in Warsaw, where he was very active in Jewish community life.  He was a cofounder in 1916 of the Jewish folk party in Poland and its representative on the Warsaw city council and—in 1919—its deputy in the Polish Sejm.  He began writing articles and poems, primarily satires, originals and translations from Russian and French in the progressive Polish press in Warsaw.  At that time in Cracow, he published a collection of translations from the French poet Béranger in a volume edited by the Polish critic Jan Lorentowicz, published by a Polish publishing house.  In 1903 he brought out a pamphlet in Polish on Zionism (Warsaw, 16 pp.): Co to jest syonizm (What is Zionism).  Over the years 1906-1907, he was one of the main contributors to the weekly newspaper Glos zydowski (Jewish voice), edited by Yitskhok Grinboym in Warsaw, and to the monthly Moriah in Cracow.  Over the years 1915-1917, he wrote for Przegląd codzienny (Daily overview) in Warsaw, and (together with Nosn Shvalbe) he edited and published the weekly Opinia zydowska (Jewish opinion), which was shut down by the German military authorities.  His publicist and journalistic activities in Yiddish began in 1916 in Varshever tageblat (Warsaw daily newspaper), edited by H. D. Nomberg, and he later became one of the principal contributors to: Moment (Moment), Unzer ekspres (Our express), and the Polish Jewish Nasz Kurier (Our courier), Nasz dziennik (Our daily), and Nasz przegląd (Our overview), among others, in which practically daily he published articles on current Jewish and general issues.
            He authored the work Di geshikhte fun di yidn in poyln fun fir yorikn seym biz der velt-milkhome, 1788-1914 (The history of Jews in Poland from the four-year Sejm until the world war, 1788-1914).  This volume was initially published in Polish—Historja zydòw w Polsce od sejmu czteroletniego do wojny europejskiej (1788-1914) (Warsaw, 1921), 376 pp.—and later in the author’s own Yiddish reworking (Warsaw, 1923), 276 pp.  He contributed to virtually every Jewish periodical, such as: Dos folk (The people) in Warsaw; Oyfboy (Construction) in Lodz, and others.  From his numerous Polish translations of Jewish poetry in Polish, he brought out in book form an anthology of Bialik’s poems—including “Al hasheḥita” (On the slaughter), “Beir heharega” (In the city of slaughter), and “Yadaati beleil arafel” (I know of some misty night), among others—(Warsaw, 1907), 32 pp.  He was also responsible for: Antologia poezji żydowskiej (Anthology of Yiddish poems) (Warsaw: Lewin-Epstein, 1921), 262 pp. (and 6-page preface), with poems by over sixty Jewish poets, the majority translated by Hirshhorn himself and in part by other Jewish and Polish Jewish poets.  He was confined in the Warsaw Ghetto during the Nazi occupation, and he kept a diary which was unfortunately lost.  He committed suicide in Warsaw by taking poison during an Aktion in May 1942.

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 1; Dr. R. Feldshuh, Yidisher gezelshaftlekher leksikon (Jewish communal handbook) (Warsaw, 1939), pp. 846-48; P. Shvarts, Dos is geven der onheyb (That was the beginning) (New York, 1943); Sh. Pyetrushke, in Keneder odler (Montreal) (May 27, 1943); V. Grosman, in Keneder odler (June 13, 1943); R. Oyerbakh, in Eynikeyt (New York) (June 1946); M. Ravitsh, Mayn leksikon (My lexicon), vol. 2 (Montreal, 1947), pp. 112-14; Dr. H. Zaydman, Togbukh fun varshever geto (Diary from the Warsaw Ghetto) (Buenos Aires, 1947), p. 149; Y. Turkov, Azoy is es geven (That’s how it was) (Buenos Aires, 1948), pp. 246, 377; Dr. Emanuel Ringelblum, Notitsn fun varshever geto (Notices from the Warsaw Ghetto) (Warsaw, 1952), pp. 295, 308; B. Mark, Umgekumene shrayber fun di getos un lagern (Murdered writers from the ghettos and camps) (Warsaw, 1954), p. 67; B. Kutsher, Geven amol varshe (As Warsaw once was) (Paris, 1955), see index; M. Flakser, in Fun noentn over (New York) 3 (1957), p. 379.
Khayim Leyb Fuks

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