Sunday, 25 September 2016

MEYER KHARTINER (MEIR ḤARTINER)

MEYER KHARTINER (MEIR ḤARTINER) (November 29, 1880-July 18, 1972)
            He was born in the village of Kaladneivke (?), near Skalat, eastern Galicia, into a family of Jewish landowners.  He graduated high school in Czernowitz and studied thereafter at the Universities of Vienna, Berne, and Czernowitz.  He was a teacher in Tarnopol and Czernowitz and for a time an instructor in medieval Hebrew literature at the Jewish pedagogical institute in Vienna.  In 1920 he moved to Israel where he worked as a teacher in a senior high school in Haifa and later at the women’s seminary for teachers in Jerusalem.  He lived in Vienna, 1925-1934, and then returned to Israel.  From his young student years, he was active in the Zionist movement in Galicia.  He was a cofounder of the Jewish student organization “Bar Kokhba” in 1904 and co-editor (with Dr. F. Korngrin) of their Polish “calendars.”  He was a cofounder of the Tseire-Tsiyon (Young Zionists) movement in Austria.  He debuted in print in 1898 with poems in Hatsfira (The times) in Warsaw, to which until 1907 he was a regular contributor.  At the same time, he contributed to other Galician publications.  He was one of the first Yiddish poets in Galicia.  He composed music himself to go with his poems, which were sung widely.  His song Di khasene (The wedding) (Tarnopol, 1905), 8 pp.—which appeared as well in his own Hebrew translation (Jerusalem, 1944), 16 pp.—was assumed to be a folksong.  He was an internal contributor (1907-1914) and editor (1907-1908) of Togblat (Daily newspaper) in Lemberg, in which he published during the Austrian parliamentary elections his well-known twelve articles entitled “Kneses yisroel betsar” (The Jewish people in sorrow), which came out as a separate booklet (Lemberg, 1907), 30 pp.  He wrote poems, articles, and essays as well for such Galician publications as: Der tog (The day), Ilustrirte tsaytung (Illustrated newspaper), Di yugend (The youth), Yung-galitsyaner almanakh (Young Galician almanac), Beys-yisroel (House of Israel), and Di kalendar (The calendar) of Moyshe Frostik and Dr. Anzelm Kleynman, among others.  In Hebrew he wrote articles for the Israeli Doar hayom (The mail today) in 1925 and Haolam (The world) in 1948-1950, and he edited the latter.  He was co-editor of Sefer tarnopol (Tarnopol volume), in the “Encyclopedia of the Diaspora” series (Tel Aviv, 1955).  In his first years as a writer, he served as co-editor of the Galician humor periodicals: Der gazlen (The crook) in 1907 and Der guter bruder (The good brother) in 1909.  Over the years 1904-1912, he brought out Folkstimlekhe lider mit notn (Folksongs with musical notation) in Lemberg, which had a considerable distribution.  He also published in various newspapers, journals, and anthologies in Polish and German.  He died in Jerusalem.

Sources: Gershon Bader, Medina veḥakhameha (The state and its sages) (New York, 1934), pp. 100-1; D. Klinghofer, in Letste nayes (Tel Aviv) (March 5, 1954); M. Naygreshl, in Fun noentn over (New York) 1 (1955), p. 301; Dr. F. Korngrin, in “Sefer tarnopol,” in Entsiklopediya shel galuyot (Encyclopedia of the Diaspora) (Jerusalem, 1957), see index; M. Ravitsh, Mayn leksikon (My lexicon), vol. 3 (Montreal, 1958), pp. 188-91.
Khayim Leyb Fuks


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