Sunday, 10 April 2016


SHMUEL VULMAN (February 12, 1896-1941)
            He was born in Kalushin (Kałuszyn), Warsaw district, Poland, into a poor, Hassidic family.  He studied in religious elementary school and synagogue study hall, and later through self-study he acquired secular knowledge.  In 1917 he moved to Warsaw.  From his youth he was active among left Labor Zionists.  He began publishing poetry in Der yunger kemfer (The young fighter) in Warsaw in 1919, later contributing poems, articles, feature pieces, reviews, and translations to: Arbeter-tsaytung (Workers’ newspaper), Ilustrirte velt (Illustrated world), Sotsyalistishe yugnt-shtime (Socialist voice of youth), Ilustrirte vokh (Illustrated week), Literarishe bleter (Literary leaves), Folkstsaytung (People newspaper), Vokhnshrift far literatur (Weekly writings for literature), Foroys (Onward), Ilustrirter magazine (Illustrated magazine), Di velt (The world), Dos naye vort (The new word), Oyfgang (Arise), Arbeter velt (Workers’ world), Shprotsungen (Little sprouts), Hantverker-tsaytung (Artisan’s newspaper), Handl un industri (Business and industry), Tribuna Akademicka (Academic tribune), and Dos kind (The child)—all in Warsaw (and he was editorial secretary of Dos kind); Frayhayt (Freedom) in Czernowitz; Arbeter-kultur (Workers’ culture) in Lemberg; and others.  In book form: Gilgulim (Metamorphoses), poetry (Warsaw, 1924), 64 pp.; Zunike shoybn (Sunny panes of glass), poetry (Warsaw, 1938), 96 pp.; 1915-1918, images and sketches from Jewish life under the German occupation during WWI (Warsaw, 1927), 196 pp.; Kinderyorn (Childhood years), an autobiographical novel (Warsaw, 1931), 196 pp.  He was a regular contributor to the publishing house of “Groshn biblyotek” (One-grosz library) which published Vulman’s popular books: Moyshe hes, tsu zayn zekhtsikstn yortsayt (Moses Hess, on the sixtieth anniversary of his death), Ber borokhov (Ber Borochov), Yozefus flavyus (Josephus Flavius), Batko makhno (“Father” Makhno); Fridrikh nittsshe (Friedrich Nietzsche), and Horst vessel, der natsisher kodesh (Horst Wessel, the Nazi saint)—all in Warsaw, 1935, 64 pp.; Emil zola (Émile Zola), B. mikhalevitsh (yoysef izbitski) (B. Mikhalevich, Yosef Izbitski) in 2 vols. (altogether 128 pp.), Robespyer (Robespierre), Zigmund froyd, der shefer fun psikhoanaliz (Sigmund Freud), Stakhanov (Stakhanov), Yapan, di pulverfas fun der velt (Japan, the powderkeg of the world, the creator of psychoanalysis), Der burn-krig (The Boer War), and Der ershter internatsyonal mit marks un bakunin (The First International with Marx and Bakunin)—all Warsaw, 1936, 64 pp.; Karl radek (Karl Radek) and Feliks dziyerzhinski (Felix Dzerzhinsky)—both published without his name in Warsaw, 1937, 64 pp.  He was also the author (under the name L. Felzner) of the drama Naftali which, according to B. Mark, was read out loud from manuscripts in the Warsaw Ghetto (which should now be among the Lodz materials in the Jewish Historical Commission).  He translated into Yiddish, by himself or with others, works by various authors—such as Romain Roland, Stefan Żeromski, Victor Hugo, and S. Kopczynski, among others).
            Until September 1939 he was living in Warsaw.  Among his other work, he published his poem “Hilel hazokn” (Hillel the Elder) which drew the attention of readers and writers; and he also edited Peysekh-blat (Passover sheet) (Warsaw, 1939).  When the Germans occupied Poland, he escaped to Bialystok which was then under Soviet authority, only there to be persecuted for his past critical attitude toward Bolshevism.  He then left Bialystok, lived in a village near Kremenits, Volhynia, and after the German invasion of Russia (June 1941), he and the writers Sh. Zaromb and Yerakhmiel Nayberg left Kremenits and were killed there by the Nazis.  Vulman also published under the names: Y.-Sh. Prager, Sh.-Z. Vulf, L. (Leyzer) Felzner, Sh. V. Man, A. Masholnu, Sh. V., and Shin-vov, among others.

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 1; Zalmen reyzen arkhiv (Zalmen Reyzen archive) (New York: YIVO); Z. Zilbertsvayg, Leksikon fun yidishn teater (Handbook of the Yiddish theater), vol. 1; A. Mark, in Literarishe bleter (Warsaw) (August 5, 1927); Biblyografishe yorbikher fun yivo (Bibliographic yearbooks from YIVO), vol. 1 (Warsaw, 1928); B. Resler, in Folkstsaytung (Warsaw) (January 27, 1928); A. Bekerman, in Di prese (Buenos Aires) (April 26, 1928); H. Fish, in Moment (Warsaw) (August 30, 1929); K. Finger, in Folkstsaytung (September 27, 1929); I. Fefer, Di yidishe literatur in di kapitalistishe lender (Yiddish literature in capitalist countries) (Kharkov, 1933), p. 100; I. Damesek, Lebn un kamf (Life and struggle) (Minsk, 1936); B. Shnaper, in Foroys (Warsaw) (September 2, 1938); M. Mozes, Der poylisher yid (The Polish Jew), yearbook (New York, 1944); B. Heler, Dos lid iz geblibn, lider fun yidishe dikhter in poyln, umgekumene beys der hitlerisher okupatsye, antologye (This poem remains, poems of Yiddish poets in Poland, killed during Hitler’s occupation, anthology) (Warsaw, 1951); B. Mark, Umgekumene shrayber fun di getos un lagern (Murdered writers from the ghettos and camps) (Warsaw, 1954); B. Kutsher, in Geven amol varshe (As Warsaw once was) (Paris, 1955); M. Flakser and Kh. L. Fuks, in Fun noentn over (New York) 3 (1957), pp. 264, 379; Y. Papernikov, Heymishe un noente (Familiar and close) (Tel Aviv, 1958), pp. 231-32.
Khayim Leyb Fuks

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