BEN-TSIEN KHILINOVITSH (1889-Summer 1942)
He was born in Lomzhe, Russian Poland, into the family of the headmaster of a yeshiva. He studied in religious elementary school, later in his father’s yeshiva in Maków, and in the yeshivas of Ger and Sochaczew. He was preparing to enter the rabbinate, but under the influence of the revolutionary movement in 1905, he broke off his studies and devoted himself instead to secular subject matter. For this reason he had to leave home, move to Bialystok, and there as an external student he studied to be a pharmacist. In 1910 he moved to Warsaw, worked for a time as an office employee, and subsequently (in 1912) became a contributor to Moment (Moment), in which, in addition to the usual journalistic material, he also published current-events articles, images of the day, reportage pieces, and the like. Following Poland’s independence in 1918, he was the Sejm correspondent for: Moment in Warsaw, Di tsayt (The times) in Vilna, Togblat (Daily newspaper) in Lemberg, and a string of other newspapers. He also wrote under such pseudonyms as: Ben-Odem, Ben-Tsien, Kholi, Ben-Tsemekh, and Vitsh. At the time of the Nazi occupation during WWII, he was confined in the Warsaw Ghetto, was a member of the so-called “Economic Committee,” and he ran (together with M. Kipnis) the “Press Report for the Joint Distribution Committee.” At the start of 1942 he received from the authorities the right to publish in Yiddish a wall newspaper in which, aside from notices, there was also news and information that brought a bit of relief to the Jews in the ghetto. During the Aktion in the summer of 1942, he and a group of Yiddish writers who lived in the same house, and his family, were transported to Treblinka and murdered there.
Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 1; Y. H. in Unzer veg (New York) (August 1943); P. Shvarts, Dos iz geven der onheyb (That was the beginning) (New York, 1943); M. Mozes, in Der poylisher yid (The Polish Jew) yearbook (New York, 1944); Mozes, in Fun noentn over (New York) 2 (1956), p. 298; Yidishe shriftn (Lodz) 1 (1946); Z. Segalovitsh, Tlomatske 13, fun farbrentn nekhtn (13 Tłomackie St., of scorched yesterdays) (Buenos Aires, 1946), see index; Segalovitsh, Gebrente trit (Suffering step) (Buenos Aires, 1947), p. 25; Rokhl Oyerbakh and L. Rokhman, Kidesh hashem (Sanctification of the name), ed. Shmuel Niger (New York, 1947); B. Mark, Umgekumene shrayber fun di getos un lagern (Murdered writers from the ghettos and camps) (Warsaw, 1954), p. 67; B. Kutsher, Geven amol varshe (As Warsaw once was) (Paris, 1955), see index.
Khayim Leyb Fuks