YANKEV-SHOLEM HERTS (August 6, 1893-April 18, 1992)
He was born in Dubienka, near the Bug River, Lublin region, Poland. From childhood he lived in Warsaw, studied in a religious primary school, high school, and with private tutors. In his early youth he began working, initially in a factory, later as an employee in a manufacturing company. During WWI he was active in the Bundist youth movement and in the Bund itself. He was among the creators of a socialist youth movement in Poland and, over the years 1919-1939, was a member of the executive of the central committee of “Tsukunft” (Future), the Bund’s youth movement, a member of the Warsaw committee of the Bund, and from 1929 a representative of the latter on the central committee of the Bund. During the German occupation of Poland (from September 1939), he left Warsaw and until autumn 1940 he was living in Vilna. That very year he came to the United States where he was active in the Bundist movement. He was a member, 1941-1946, to the American representation of the Polish Bund; from 1947 he was a member of the executive bureau of the Bund world coordinating committee. He began his writing activities in 1919 with articles on contemporary community issues for Sotsyalistisher yugnt-shtime (Socialist voice of youth) in Warsaw, and from that time on he was a regular contributor to the Bundist-socialist Yiddish press. He was an internal contributor, 1922-1939, and evening editor of Folks-tsaytung (People’s newspaper) in Warsaw, as well as contributor to Yugnt-veker (Youth alarm) and to Unzer tsayt (Our time), the Bundist theoretical monthly magazine also in Warsaw. From 1941 he was a member of the editorial board of the New York Bundist monthly Unzer tsayt and he contributed as well to: Forverts (Forward), Der veker (The alarm), Gerekhtikeyt (Justice), Tsukunft (Future), Der fraynd (The friend), and Di sotsyalistishe shtime (The socialist voice), among others, in New York. He authored a number of pamphlets and calls from the central committee of the Bund’s youth group, “Tsukunft,” in Poland.
In America he devoted himself to research into Jewish history, especially the history of the Jewish socialist movement, and he published the books: Di yidishe tragedye in eyrope (The Jewish tragedy in Europe) (New York 1943), 79 pp., published anonymously; Henrik erlikh un viktor alter, a lebn fun kemfer, a toyt fun martirer (Henryk Erlich and Viktor Alter, a life of struggle, a death of martyrdom) (New York, 1943), 96 pp.; Di geshikhte fun a yugnt, der kleyner bund-yugnt bund-tsukunft in poyln (The history of a youth, the younger Bund youth, Tsukunft, in Poland) (New York, 1946), 589 pp.; Di yidn un ukrayne, fun di eltste tsaytn biz nokh takh vetat (The Jews of Ukraine, from ancient times until through 1648-1649) (New York, 1949), 256 pp.; 50 yor arbeter-ring in yidishn lebn (Fifty years of the Workmen’s Circle in Jewish life) (New York, 1950), 375 pp. (including a 36-page listing of the Workmen’s Circle leaders, compiled by Yefim Yerushun); Hirsh lekert (Hirsh Lekert) (New York, 1952), 117 pp. (with an 18-page bibliography, compiled by Yefim Yeshurin); Di yidishe sotsyalistishe bavegung in amerike, 70 yor sotsyalistishe tetikeyt, 30 yor yidishe sotsyalistishe farband (The Jewish socialist movement in America, seventy years of socialist activity, thirty years of the Jewish Socialist Union) (New York, 1954), 412 pp.; Di geshikhte fun bund in lodzh (The history of the Bund in Lodz) (New York, 1958), 480 pp. He co-edited Sotsyalistishe yugnt-shtime (1919-1920) and edited Yugnt-veker (1923-1939). He was the compiler of Zigelboym-bukh (Volume for [Szmul] Zygielbojm) and wrote a biography of the Szmul-Mortkhe Zygielbojm (New York, 1947), 408 pp. He compiled, edited, and wrote a great number of biographies for Doyres bundistn (Generations of Bundists), 3 vols. (New York, 1956-1968), 1550 pp. He also compiled Der bund in bilder (The Bund in pictures) (New York, 1958), 192 pp. He also co-edited Di geshikhte fun “bund” (The history of the Bund), 5 vols. (New York, 1960-1984). He published as well under such pen names as: A. B. Ts., A. I. B., Y. Shats, Y. Ernster, Pauper, Natus, A. Glaykher, Bo. Sh-m, Sholem, Fride, Y. Hart, Y. H., A. D. Ker, A. B., and the like. He died in New York.
Sources: H. Gutgeshtalt, in Yugnt-veker (Warsaw) (July 1, 1939); V. Shulman, in Der veker (New York) (September 1, 1946; September 15, 1949); E. Pat, in Yivo-bleter (New York) 1 (1947); Y. Varshavski, in Forverts (New York) (March 20, 1949); Kh. Liberman, in Forverts (July 18, 20, and 22, 1949); Lea Finkelshteyn, in Kultur un dertsiung (New York) (October, November, December 1949); Dr. A. Mukdoni, in Morgn-zhurnal (New York) (July 3, 1949; November 19, 1950); Mukdoni, in Der veker (September 1, 1954; October 15, 1954; November 15, 1954); Dr. Y. Shatski, in In Jewish Bookland (New York) (September, October 1946; September 1954); H. Rogof, in Forverts (July 16, 1950); Shmuel Niger, in Der fraynd (New York) (July-August 1950); Y. Y. Trunk, in Poyln (New York) 7 (1953), p. 150; M. Ravitsh, in Keneder odler (Montreal) (January 19, 1953); D. Blond, in Unzer tsayt (New York) (May 1, 1953); M. Osherovitsh, in Forverts (July 25, 1954); Y. Kharlash, in Unzer tsayt (October 1954); D. Shub, in Yivo-bleter 39 (1955); P. Shvarts, in Fun noentn over (New York) 2 (1956); Dr. E. Sherer, in Unzer tsayt (January 1957); Dr. Y. Lifshits, in Foroys (Mexico City) (August 1958); E. Novogrudski, in Unzer tsayt (November 1958); P. Shteynvaks, Siluetn fun a dor (Silhouettes of a generation) (Buenos Aires, 1958), pp. 247-49; A. Byalik, in Unzer tsayt (Januatry 1959).
Khayim Leyb Fuks
[Additional information from: Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 224.]