Monday, 16 May 2016


YISROEL VAYNLEZ (I. WEINLÖS) (b. January 3, 1877)
            He was born in Khodorov (Chodorów), eastern Galicia.  He studied in a synagogue study hall in Brody and on his own perfected his secular knowledge.  He lived over the course of years in Rohatyn, where he was active in the community.  During the period of WWI, he was in Tarnopol and there he discovered in the library of the Yoysef Perl School the Yiddish writings of this well-known Enlightenment figure.  There were letters and, significantly, a Yiddish version of Megale tmirin (Revealer of secrets) which was a highly artistic satire of Hassidim.  He also found: (1) a fragment of a novel, “Antignos,” which Perl seemed to have translated from German in 1833, with a Yiddish preface by the translator—see Yudish-literarisher calendar (Yiddish literary calendar), ed. A. Kleynman (Lemberg, 1924), pp. 114-26; and (2) a story in Yiddish entitled “Gdules r. volf” (The grandeur of Mr. Volf) whose author was, however, not Perl—according to Sh. Kats, in Yivo-bleter (Pages from YIVO) 13 (1938), pp. 556-57, in Vilna—but his student, Khayim Malaga, a follower of the Jewish Enlightenment.  In the literary heritage of Yoysef Perl can also be found a letter in Polish and a copy with Yiddish writings which Perl wrote to General Korytowski—see Historishe shriftn (Historical writings) 1 (1929), pp. 809-13, in Vilna.  In addition, he also found preserved a manuscript by Mendl Lefin, entitled “Meḥakime pati” (From the wisdom of foolishness)—a critique of Hassidism in a form of correspondence pieces.
            Vaynlez began writing articles on Zionist themes in the Lemberg Yiddish press, and he was for a time (1919) editor of Lemberger togblat (Lemberg daily newspaper).  Later, on the basis of the uncovered materials among Perl’s manuscripts, he published in Haolam (The world) in 1925 a work about Mendl Lefin, in which he raised the topic of Lefin’s gravestone and other important details of his life.  Aside from this, he published in Yiddish: “Vegn dem broder maskl shiye-heshl shur” (On the Enlightenment figure from Brod, Shiye-Heshl Shur), Morgn (Morning) (1927), in Lemberg; “Fun yoysef perls arkhiv, a briv fun mendl lefin (sasanover) tsu shimen fayt” (From Yoysef Perl’s archive, a letter from Mendl Lefin [Sasanover] to Shimen Fayt) and  a fragment “Fun mendl lefins a briv” (A letter from Mendl Lefin), both in Historishe shriftn 1 (1929), 809-14; “Mendl lefin sasavoner, byografishe shtudye afn smakh fun handshriftlekhe materyaln” (Mendl Lefin Sasanover, biographical study based on handwritten materials), Yivo-bleter 2 (1931), pp. 334-57; “An umbakanter briv vegn besht” (An unknown letter about the Besht [Baal Shem Tov])” and “Vegn mekhaber fun anonimen ksavyad fun yor 1816” (On the author of an anonymous manuscript from the year 1816), both in Yivo-bleter 3 (1932), pp. 88-90; “Di oyfklerungs-tkufe in der lemberger kehile” (The Enlightenment era in the Lemberg community), a review of Balaban’s Historia Lwowskiej synagogi postȩpowej (History of the Lemberg Reform Synagogue), Yivo-bleter 14 (1939), pp. 683-84.  He also sorted out, edited, and added a biographical introduction to Yoysef perls yidishe ksovim (Yoysef Perl’s Yiddish writings) (Vilna: YIVO, 1937), 244 pp.  During WWII he was initially under Soviet and later under German occupation.  He was murdered by the Nazis.

Sources: Y. Shatski, Pinkes, amerikaner opteyl fun yivo (Records from the American division of YIVO) 1 (1927-1928), p. 172; Y. Rivkind, in Tsukunft (New York) (May 1932); Maks Erik, Etyudn tsu der geshikhte fun der haskole (Studies in the history of the Jewish Enlightenment) (Minsk, 1934), pp. 145-46, 180; Gershon Bader, Medina veḥakhameha (The state and its sages) (New York, 1934), see index; Shmuel Niger, in Tsukunft (October 1937); Yidishe shriftn, literarishe zamlbukh (Yiddish writings, literary anthology) (Lodz, 1946); F. Fridman, in Yivo-bleter (New York) 33 (1950).

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