ZELIG HELLER (June 17, 1894-1969)
He was born in Volpe, Grodno district, Russian Poland. He studied in religious elementary school and in a private school. In 1906 he arrived in the United States and completed his education. He lived from 1911 in Chicago where he was active in the Jewish National Labor Alliance. He began publishing poetry and children’s stories in Idisher kunst fraynd (Friend of Jewish art) in Chicago in 1916, and from that point in time he published poems, stories, and tales in: Di idishe arbayter velt (The world of Jewish labor), Di velt (The world), Fraye arbeter shtime (Voice of free labor), Tsukunft (Future), Tog (Day), Feder (Pen), Idisher kuryer (Jewish courier), and Gitsises yontef bleter (Gitsis’s holiday pages), among others. He was co-editor of the quarterly journal Unzer veg (Our way) in Chicago. In book form, he published: Alte vegn, lider (Old pathways, poems), with a preface by Kalmen Marmor (Chicago, 1926), 208 pp.; Shabes (Sabbath), poetry, distinguished by the popular scholarly tone of its Yiddish, with an introduction by Dr. Shloyme Goldman and drawings by Dovid Beler (Chicago, 1952), 183 pp. He translated Y.-D. Jacobson’s book Emil garmin (Émile Garmin), “one of the thirty-six hidden righteous ones” (Chicago, 1929), 174 pp. He published also under the pen names: Gavriel Bruno, Aba-Gershon Efrom, Zelig Shaynes, and others.
Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 1; Sh. Menenboym, in Idisher kuryer (Chicago) (December 8, 1940); Di shtime (Mexico City) (July 24, 1954).