E. VOHLINER (November 10, 1877-April 20, 1942)
This was the pen name of Leyzer Landau, born in Alt-Konstantin, Zhitomir district, Ukraine. He was raised as a youngster in a village, later attending religious elementary school and graduating from a Jewish crown public school and then becoming an external student in Zhitomir. At age sixteen or seventeen, he was writing correspondence pieces in the Russian newspaper Volin (Volhynia) in Zhitomir. At that time he participated in the Zionist movement. In 1902 he moved to the United States with a group of idealistic friends who intended to build a commune there. He worked in a factory, sold newspapers, and was an agent for Singer sewing machines. His literary activities commenced in 1903, when he published poetry and prose—initially, in Khonen Minike’s Yontef bleter (Holiday sheets), later in Fraye arbeter shtime (Free voice of labor). He lived for a time in Philadelphia where he was active in anarchist circles and was also a leader in the New York anarchist group. At one time he was editor of the literary division of Forverts (Forward) in New York; at another, he was technical editor of Amerikaner (American). He was one of the first contributors to the Labor Zionist weekly Der idisher kemfer (The Jewish fighter) in New York, in which, after the resignation of Kalmen Marmor in 1907, he served for about two years as editor. For a certain period of time, he edited with Dr. Y. Vortsman the daily newspaper Der bostoner advokat (The Boston advocate). For approximately two years he edited Keneder odler (Canadian eagle) in Montreal. He was a contributor there in 1910 to the weekly Folks-tsaytung (People’s newspaper), published by the local Labor Zionists. Over the years 1919-1921, he was co-editor of the Labor Zionist Di tsayt (The times) in New York, and when Kalifornyer idishe shtime (Jewish voice of California) changed to a daily newspaper (December 1927), he became its editor. In these years he was also editor of Idisher arbayter yor-bukh un almanakh (Jewish labor yearbook and almanac) in New York (394 pp.). Together with Y. Marinov he edited the three-volume publication Humor un satire (Humor and satire) (New York, 1912)—vol. 1 poetry (332 pp.), vol. 2 “stories, sketches, and human-interest pieces” (331 pp.), vol. 3 “scholarship and popular humor” (294 pp.). He was also one of four co-editors of English-idishes entsiklopedishes verterbukh (English-Yiddish encyclopedic dictionary) (New York, 1915), 1748 pp. His correspondence pieces, entitled “Loz-grusn fun amerike” (Greetings from America)—which he published in the Vilna Labor Zionist publication Der proletarisher gedank (The proletarian idea) and Forverts (1906-1907), and later Fraynd (Friend) in Warsaw—were much beloved of Yiddish readers in Russia. He wrote also under the pseudonyms: Ego, Nishkubr, Li-Hung-Tshing-Fang, Rokhls kadish, L. Yosefzon, and B. Kalish, among others. In addition to the serials mentioned above, he placed his work as well in: Tog (Day), a daily feature entitled “Ernst un shpas” (Serious and joking), Yudisher arbayter (Jewish laborer), Yidish folk (Jewish people), Gerekhtikeyt (Justice), Fortshrit (Progress), and L. Miller’s Naye varhayt (New truth)—all in New York. In 1923 he published in Kundes (Prankster) a long satire: “From Christopher Columbus to Henry Ford—a new history of Jews in America, compiled according to the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.” In 1924 he attempted to published a periodical in Yiddish and English entitled Idishe institutsyes (Jewish institutions). He published his poetry under his real name, L. Landau. Among his books: Gift un gal, a zamlung felyetonen (Poison and malice, a collection of feature pieces) (New York, 1909), second printing (New York: Grayzel, 1911), 63 pp.; a Labor Zionist pamphlet Der idisher arbayter un dos idishe bafrayung (The Jewish worker and Jewish liberation) (New York, 1919), 32 pp. He also translated from Russian Ber Borochov’s Unzer platform (Our platform) (Odessa, 1918), 112 pp.; and he wrote a biography of Borochov for the publication of Borochov’s writings. He died in New York.
Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol.1; D. B. Tirkel, in Pinkes fun amopteyl (Records of the American division of YIVO) (New York, 1927-1928); obituary in Hadoar (New York) (April 24, 1942); Y. Khaykin, Yidishe bleter in amerike (Jewish newspapers in America) (New York, 1946); Moyshe Shtarkman, in Hadoar (May 23, 1947); Shtarkman, in Fraye arbeter shtime (New York) (January 13, 1956); Y. Sh. Nauman, in Kheshbn (Los Angeles) 5 (1954); Geshikhte fun der tsienistisher arbeter-bavegung (History of the Zionist Labor movement), vol. 2 (New York, 1955); A. Kritshmar-Yizraeli, Tsvi Kahan, and B. G. Zak, in Idisher kemfer (New York) (March 26, 1956); Zak, in Keneder odler (Montreal), jubilee issue (November 22, 1957); Yankev Glatshteyn, in 50 yor idisher kemfer (Fifty years of Idisher kemfer), anthology (New York, Passover, 1957)