Wednesday, 27 July 2016

FALIK ZOLF

FALIK ZOLF (September 18, 1896-April 20, 1961)
            He was born in Zastavye, near Kamenets-Litovsk, Byelorussia.  Until age eleven he studied with his father, a teacher of Talmud, and later he attended a Talmud Torah and yeshivas in Brisk (Brest) and Slobodka.  For a time he studied in the towns around Minsk and Vilna, where he gave Hebrew lessons and taught children in the synagogue study chambers.  In 1915, at the time of the expulsion of Russian Jews from the front lines, he was expelled from his town, stayed for a short time in Molodetshne, and then in 1916 he turned up in Yaroslav, by the Volga River, where he worked in a leather factory.  After the outbreak of revolution in 1917, he volunteered to join the Russian army and left for the front.  He spent some time in a German prisoner-of-war camp in Czersk.  When he returned home at the end of 1918, he founded the first Jewish public school in Zastavye, then moved to Brest-Litovsk, and from there in 1926 he moved on to Canada.  From 1927 on, he worked as a Yiddish teacher in the Peretz School in Winnipeg.  He began his writing activities with a series of descriptions of his voyage to Canada in Dos idishe vort (The Jewish word) in Winnipeg (1926), and from that point on he published stories, books, tales for children, and dramatic works in: Dos naye vort (The new word) in Winnipeg; Der khaver (The comrade) in Vilna; and Der tog (The day), Kinder-zhurnal (Children’s magazine), and Kinder tsaytung (Children’s newspaper) in New York; among others.  His books include: Af fremder erd, bletlekh fun a lebn (On foreign soil, pages from a life) (Winnipeg, 1945), 524 pp. (awarded a prize from YIVO in 1943 while in manuscript)—a book that depicts in a quiet tone and careful language the types and figures of the massacred Jewish towns in Poland and Lithuania; Di letste fun a dor, heymishe geshtaltn (The last of a generation, familiar images), stories (Winnipeg, 1952], 339 pp.—descriptions of familiar figures from the past.  He also published: the children’s plays, Der oyfshtand fun di khashmenoim (The uprising of the Hasmoneans) and Der eybiker nes fun a krigl boymel (The eternal miracle of a little jug of oil), performed in Jewish schools in America and Canada; and Unzer kultur hemshekh (Our culture continued) (Winnipeg, 1946), 221 pp.—a collection of essays and articles on Yiddish writers, “a volume with a pedagogical mission,” written with “conviction and zeal” (according to Dr. A. Mukdoni).  He died in Winnipeg.

Sources: M. Elkin, in Dos naye vort (Winnipeg) (February 15, 1943); D. Tsharni (Charney), in Proletarisher gedank (New York) (May 1, 1947); Charney, in Der shpigl (Buenos Aires) (July 1957); Dr. A. Mukdoni, in Morgn-zhurnal (New York) (February 6, 1946); Mukdoni, in Di goldene keyt (Tel Aviv) 26 (1956); M. Ginzburg, in Keneder odler (Montreal) (July 25, 1946; August 5, 1957); M. Kligsberg, in Tsukunft (New York) (November 1950); B. Ts. Goldberg, in Tog (New York) (March 21, 1953); Goldberg, in Tog-morgn-zhurnal (New York) (March 25, 1959); Shmuel Niger, in Tog-morgn-zhurnal (May 3, 1953); Yankev Glatshteyn, in Idisher kemfer (New York) (October 9, 1953); Glatshteyn, in Folk un velt (New York) (October 1953); Rabbi M. Shvartsman, in Keneder odler (May 8, 1956); Y. Bronshteyn, in Keneder odler (May 21, 1956).
Binyumin Elis and Khayim Leyb Fuks


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