VILHELM VAYS (WILHELM WEISS) (d. February 1881)
He hailed from Galicia, one of the most earnest followers of the Jewish Enlightenment in his generation. He was a productive journalist and newspaperman. In 1873 he established Dos viener izraelit (The Viennese Israelite), “a newspaper for politics, business, and Jewish interests,” published in Vienna, initially weekly, then thrice weekly (under Vays’s editorship) until 1880. In 1876, the illustrated newspaper of political humor, Der yudisher kikeriku (The Jewish cock-a-doodle-do), began appearing in Vienna as a biweekly, first under Vays’s editorship, and after his death under that of Moritz Dornbush. Just before he died, he published Yidishes folks-kalendar fir dos yor 5641 (The Jewish people’s calendar for the year 5641 [1880/1881]). He left behind in manuscript a Yiddish “Veltgeshikhte leksikon, anhalt di nemen fun di gelernte fun farsheydene religyes fun di eltste tsaytn bizn hayntikn tog” (Handbook of world history, containing the names of scholars of various religions from high antiquity until the present day).
Sources: Shaare tsiyon (Jerusalem) (year 7, p. 11) (Nisan 9 [= April 8], 1881); Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon fun der yidisher literatur un prese (Handbook of Yiddish literature and the press) (Warsaw, 1914), col. 707; Reyzen, Leksikon fun der yidisher literatur, prese un filologye (Handbook of Yiddish literature, the press, and philology), vol. 1 (Vilna, 1928), col. 670 (under the biography of M. Dornbush); E. R. Malachi, in Hadoar (New York) (Tishrei 1 [= October 3], 1959).