Friday, 20 October 2017


ESTER MILER (b. 1896)
            The sister of Shmuel-Nisn Godiner, she was born in Telekhan (Telekhany), Minsk region, Byelorussia.  She received a traditional Jewish education with her father (an itinerant school teacher).  Over the years 1910-1913, she lived in Warsaw, studied in a Russian school, and later immigrated to the United States.  She debuted in print with a story in Haynt (Today) in Warsaw in late 1912, and later for a long period of time she did not write; from 1950 she once again became active in writing.  She contributed from time to time to Yidishe kultur (Jewish culture) in New York.  In book form: Fun telekhan keyn amerike (From Telekhany to America), autobiographical sketches and impressions, four parts (New York, 1956), 410 pp., with a foreword by Z. Vaynper; Af amerikaner vegn (Along American roads) (Tel Aviv: Oyfkum, 1968), 415 pp.  He also wrote the essay “Mayn bruder shmuel” (My brother Shmuel) which was included as a preface to Sh. Godiner’s volume Zaveler trakt (Zavel highway) (New York, 1950), pp. 7-13.  She was last living in Los Angeles, California.

Sources: Y. Sh. Beylin, in Morgn-frayhayt (New York) (June 12, 1956); Y. Frid, in Zamlungen (New York) 10 (pp. 94-96); biography of Shmuel Godiner, in this anthology (
Khayim Leyb Fuks

[Additional information from: Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 373.]


SHMUEL L. MILNER (SIMON L. MILLNER) (May 5, 1882-January 15, 1952)
            The brother of Yoysef Milner, he was born in Moscow.  He received an education influenced by the Jewish Enlightenment and secular education in public schools.  In 1907 he graduated from Berne University in Switzerland with a doctoral degree in law.  He was a delegate to the sixth Zionist congress in Basel and was a delegate later to other Zionist congresses.  In 1902 he published in Hameasef (The collector) in St. Petersburg his piece “Lekorot hayehudim beḥelm” (History of Jewish in Chełm [birthplace of his parents]).  He served as a correspondent for Hamelits (The spectator).  He contributed as well to: Hashavua (The week) in Cracow; the London-based Hadegel (The banner) and Hameorer (The awakening), edited by Y. Ḥ. Brener; Hatsfira (The times) in Warsaw; and the Bern socialist Tageszeitung (Daily newspaper).  In 1904, together with Dr. Y. Zalkind, he founded in Berne the Hebrew-language journal Tsiyon (Zion)—only one issue appeared.  He went on to be editor of the daily Unzer leben (Our life) in Warsaw (1910-1912).  In 1913 he published in Lublin the book Der elfter tsienistisher kongres (The eleventh Zionist congress), 87 pp.  In the years between the two world wars, he lived in Holland and England.  In 1938 he moved to the United States.  There he devoted himself to research on Baruch Spinoza and to the popularization of the plastic arts.  He cofounded the art publisher Machmadim in New York, and he served as president of the Spinoza Foundation.  Among his art monographs was his The Face of Benedictus Spinoza (New York: Machmadim, 1946), 51 pp., and a shorter monographs: Ernst Josephson (1948); Faces from the Ghetto (1946), about Abraham Walkowitz; Isaac Lichtenstein (1949); Lesser Uri (1943, in Hebrew).  He was the American representative and editor of the art journal Gazit (Hewn stone).

Sources: Evreiskaia Entsiklopedia (Jewish encyclopedia), vol. XV, p. 657; Hadoar (New York) (Shevat 5 [= February 1], 1952); A. Z-k (Avrom Zak), in Arbeter-vort (Paris) (January 1952); Zak, In friling fun a lebn (In the spring of a life) (Buenos Aires, 1962); archives of the publisher Machmadim in New York; written information from his brother Yoysef Milner and oral information from Yitskhok Likhtenshteyn in New York.
Zaynvl Diamant


YITSKHOK MILNER (d. July 2, 1928)
            At the start of the twentieth century, he was a book dealer in Krugersdorp, Transvaal.  The first issue of Hakokhav (The star), edited by Y. M. Traub in Johannesburg, dated June 14, 1903, carried a poem by him entitled “Tsum yudishen shtern” (To the Yiddish star), meaning to Hakokhav: “They are welcome, new stars, / Apparently lost their way / ….  We are close to the edge. / It takes days in the East / And night soon comes to an end. / Mother misses us / And reaches out to us with her hands.”  Milner later published poems in other Yiddish newspapers and literary publications in South Africa as well—mainly Der afrikaner (The African).  He died in Krugersdorp, South Africa.

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 2; Y. Sh. Yudelovits, in Dorem-afrike (Johannesburg) (May 1950); L. Feldman, Yidn in dorem-afrike (Jews in South Africa) (Johannesburg, 1956), pp. 176, 291.
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YOYSEF MILNER (September 19, 1887-February 5, 1963)
            He was born in Khelm (Chełm), Poland, a son of the Hebrew writer Yehuda-Leib Milner.  He received an education influenced by the Jewish Enlightenment, and secular subject matter he acquired in the Chełm Russian high school.  In 1905 he left for Switzerland, where he spent a year studying at Berne University.  He published correspondence pieces in Fraynd (Friend) in St. Petersburg (1903) and a story in Hamelits (The spectator).  In 1905 he published articles in the daily newspaper Der veg (The way), edited by Tsvi Prilucki in Warsaw.  In 1906 he arrived in Paris, and from there he sent correspondence pieces to Haolam (The world) and articles to Hazman (The times).  In 1908 he departed for the land of Israel.  He was a contributor to Hatsvi (The gazelle), edited by Eliezer Ben Yehuda, D. Frishman’s Reshafim (Sparks), and Haolam, edited by Leib Yafe in Vilna.  Returning to France in 1909, he studied at the University of Toulouse, where in 1912 he graduated with a degree in chemical engineering.  He did research in the archives in southern France, where there had once been thriving Jewish communities, and he published historical essays on the Jews of France in the Vilna-based Had-hazman (Echo of the times), edited by Ben-Tsiyon Kats.  He served as correspondent for Razsvet (Dawn) and wrote as well for Moment (Moment) and Unzer lebn (Our life) in Warsaw, among others.  From 1930 he was contributing work to Parizer haynt (Parisian today), edited by Sh. Y. Yatskan, in which (1934-1940) he was in charge of the daily sections “Kleynikeytn” (Trifles) and “Farbeygeyendik” (In stride).  At the time of the dreadful dangers of deportation and annihilation in WWII, he was active in illegal relief work, for which after liberation the French government awarded him the Reconnaisance Français Medal.  He published (in his own name and using the pen names Ben-Yehuda and Yosef Kimḥi) articles on historical and literary topics in: Unzer vort (Our word), Tsienistishe shtime (Zionist voice), Tsienistishe bleter (Zionist pages), Arbeter-vort (Workers’ word), Frayland (Freeland), Yid un velt (Jew and world), and Maḥberet (Notebook)—all in Paris; Haboker (This morning) in Tel Aviv; Dorem-afrike (South Africa) in Johannesburg; and in French in Le Monde, Juif, La Terre Retrouvée, and Journal de la Communauté.  He served as editor-in-chief of the weekly newspaper La Tribune.  In book form: Yidn in frankraykh (Jews in France) (Paris: Kiem, 1953), 140 pp., with a preface by Yisroel Yefroykin.  He was a member of the editorial board of the literary serial Almanakh, pariz—1955 (Almanac, Paris—1955), published by the Association of Jewish Writers and Journalists in France, in which he contributed the works: “Yidn in belgye” (Jews in Belgium), pp. 55-71; and “Umgekumene shrayber” (Murdered writers), pp. 291-99.  In Dos bukh fun Lublin (The book of Lublin) (Paris, 1952), he placed his “Ir veam beyisrael” (City and people in Israel), pp. 19-24.  He was a member of the editorial committee for Yizker-bukh khelm (Remembrance volume for Chełm) (Johannesburg, 1954).  His seventieth birthday was marked in Paris with celebrations and articles in the press.  He was president of the Zionist Organization of France and of the Association of Jewish Writers and Journalists in Paris.  He died in Paris.

Sources: Y. Yefroykin, preface to Yidn in frankraykh (Jews in France) (Paris: Kiem, 1953); M. Felin, in Dorem-afrike (Johannesburg) (November 1953); Dr. Y. Tsineman, in Kiem (Paris) 61 (1953); B. Tshubinski, in Tsukunft (New York) (December 1953); M. Shinar, in Nayland (Tel Aviv) (April 2, 1954); M. Shtrigler, in Idisher kemfer (New York) (August 7, 1954); Yizker-bukh khelm (Remembrance volume for Chełm) (Johannesburg, 1954), cols. 683-84, 689-90, 709-10, 711-12; M. Dluzhnovski, in Kultur un dertsiung (New York) (March 1958); A. Goldberg, in Kultur un dertsiung (January 1963); L. Leneman, in Forverts (New York) (February 9, 1963); Unzer kiem (Paris) (March 1963), dedicated to the memory of Yoysef Milner.
Zaynvl Diamant


SHMUEL MILMAN (October 26, 1896-July 19, 1983)
            He was born in Lodz, Poland.  He attended religious elementary school and a Russian public school.  In his youth he worked as a sign painter.  Until WWII he was active in the Lodz committee of the Bund.  For many years he was a Bundist city councilman and municipal councilor to city hall in Lodz.  He was secretary of the national council of Jewish trade unions in Poland and a member of senior council of the general textile union in Lodz.  When the Nazis invaded Poland in 1939, he escaped to Vilna and from there (over Soviet Russia and Japan) made his in late 1940 to the United States.  He was executive secretary of the American ORT (Association for the Promotion of Skilled Trades) and visited Latin America, Europe, and the state of Israel on its behalf.  He wrote correspondence pieces on Jewish workers’ lives in Lodz for Lebens-fragen (Life issues) in Warsaw (1916), and he later contributed to: Lodzher veker (Lodz alarm) (1921-1938); Folkstsaytung (People’s newspaper), Dos profesyonele lebn (The trade union life), and Der sherer-arbeter (The barber) in Lodz; Unzer tsayt (Our times) and Doyres bundistn (Generations of Bundists) in New York; Keneder odler (Canadian eagle) in Montreal; Foroys (Onward), Der veg (The way), and Di shtime (The voice) in Mexico City; Unzer shtime (Our voice) in Paris; Lodzher yizker-bukh (Lodz remembrance volume) (New York, 1943), pp. 11-46; the revived Folkstsaytung in Warsaw-Lodz (1946-1948); Historisher zamlbukh (Historical anthology), fiftieth anniversary of the Bund (Warsaw, 1947), pp. 60-62.  He died in New York.

Sources: Khayim Leyb Fuks, in Unzer shtime (Paris) (July 12, 1955); Fuks, in Fun noentn over (New York) 3 (1957), see index; Y. Sh. Herts, Di geshikhte fun bund in lodz (The history of the Bund in Lodz) (New York, 1958), see index; A. V. Yasni, Di geshikhte fun yidn in di yorn fun der daytsher yidn-oysrotung (The history of Jews in the years of the Germany extermination of Jews) (Tel Aviv, 1960), see index; Y. Yeshurin, Arbeter-ring boyer un tuer (Builders and leaders of the Workmen’s Circle) (New York, 1962), p. 237; Biblyografye fun yidishe bikher vegn khurbn un gvure (Bibliography of Yiddish books concerning the Holocaust and heroism) (New York, 1962), see index.
Khayim Leyb Fuks


SHLOYME MILLER (1859-April 25, 1933)
            He was born in Vag-Ohel (?), Hungary, son of the rabbi of Setchin.  He studied with his father and in the Presburg yeshiva.  In 1878 he became rabbi in Setchin.  He was the author of such religious works (in Hebrew-Aramaic and stylized Yiddish) as: Likute tsvi (Tsvi’s collections), “judgments and Mishnahs and prayers” (Paks, 1910), 48 pp.; Ḥovat nashim (Obligations of women), “judgments that a woman is obligated to follow, challah, menstruation, blessing over the candles” (Paks, 1912), 40 pp.; Minḥa belula (Prayers regarding mixtures), “judgments and customs regarding the Sabbath and holidays” (Veizen, 1913), 48 pp.; Sidur shevaḥ shabat (Prayer book in praise of the Sabbath), “the order of the prayers and hymns on Friday night” (Veizen, 1913), 286 pp.  He also translated into stylized Yiddish the anonymous 1795 religious work Ḥovat nashim (“all the manners which have an established time at which women must attend to them”), published in numerous editions in Hungary, Galicia, and Poland, the last ones in Veizen (1937) and Budapest (1945).  He also wrote emendations to his father’s texts, Ḥavatselet hasharon (The lily of Sharon) and Avne ḥoshen (Stones on the [High Priest’s] breastplat).  He died in Sighet, Hungary.

Sources: Zalmen Reysen, Leksikon, vol. 2; Y. Y. Grinvald, Peere ḥakhmat medinotenu (Greatness of the wisdom of our states) (Sighet, 1912); Ohale shem (The tents of Shem) (Pinsk, 1912), p. 428; Avraham Shtern, Melitse esh (Flickers of fire), vol. 3 (Vranov, 1938), p. 72; Bet eked sefarim.
Khayim Leyb Fuks


            He was born in Ohel, Slovakian Hungary, into a rabbinical family.  He attended yeshivas and in 1908 became rabbi of Parkasd, near Budapest.  He led the struggle against the Reform movement, which had gained strength in Hungary at that time.  He authored religious texts in Hebrew-Aramaic.  In stylized Yiddish, he wrote: Veda ma shetashiv (And know what to answer [a heretic]), a discussion with a Reform advocate (Veizen, 1909), 32 pp.; and Lashon limudim (Language of study), “the way to teach Jewish children respect at home, in synagogue, and among people” (Veizen, 1910), 64 pp.

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 2; Y. Y. Grinvald, Peere ḥakhmat medinotenu (Greatness of the wisdom of our states) (Sighet, 1912).
Khayim Leyb Fuks


SH. (SHAYE) MILLER (October 25, 1895-May 10, 1958)
            He was born in the village of Filipovitsh (Pylypovychi), near Zvihil (Novohrad-Volynskyy), Ukraine.  He studied with tutors, later Talmud and commentators in the Zvihil yeshiva.  He also learned Russian and secular subjects as an external student.  In 1912 he made his way to the United States.  He initially lived in New York, doing unskilled labor, and at the same time studying English and over time mastered bookkeeping.  In 1917 he debuted in print with a story in Fraye arbeter-shtime (Free voice of labor) in New York, and from that time he published stories as well in Der idisher kemfer (The Jewish fighter), Di tsayt (The times), Di tsukunft (The future), Der hamer (The hammer), Kinder-zhurnal (Children’s magazine), Yidishe kultur (Jewish culture), Di vokh (The week), Zamlbikher (Anthologies), and the weekly Kultur (Culture); and in the daily newspapers: Der tog (The day), Morgn-zhurnal (Morning journal), and Frayhayt (Freedom), among others, in New York.  Over the years 1918-1921, he was regular contributor to the daily Idishe velt (Jewish world) in Cleveland, in which, aside from editorial board work, he published feature pieces under such pen names as: Motye and Shayke Fayfer.  He also published poetry under such pseudonyms as: Sh-e, Shin, and Y. Magister.  He prepared translations from world literature and published them under the pen names: Ben Amots, Abramovitsh, and others.  Among his translations were: Frilings dervakhn (Spring awakening [original: Frühlings Erwachen]) by Frank Wedekind, Shvaygn (To be silent) by Maurice Maeterlinck, Der vabli (The Wobbly [original: Der Wobbly]) by B. Traven—all published in Fraye arbeter-shtime; and Tshitra (Chitra) by Rabindranath Tagore, which was published in Shriften (Writings) 7 (New York).  He also published his stories in: the daily newspaper Arbeter velt (Workers’ world) in Chicago; the monthly Shikage (Chicago); Detroyter vokhnblat (Detroit weekly newspaper); the quarterly Pasifik (Pacific) in Los Angeles; and Di goldene keyt (The golden chain) in Tel Aviv; among others.  He brought out his first collection Ertseylungen (Stories) (Cleveland: Fraynt, 1921), 312 pp.  Due to poor health, in 1922 he settled in Los Angeles, California, where he lived and wrote, and where he was active in the community until the end of his life.  Miller’s subsequent books include: Bleter faln (Leaves fall) (Los Angeles, 1926), 306 pp., including his long story “Khevle moves” (Death pangs), 205 pp., and seven shorter stories—this book was held in high esteem throughout the Yiddish reading world; Di shmalts-grub (Striking it rich) (Vilna: B. Kletskin; Los Angeles: Kultur gezelshaft, 1933), 415 pp.; A blyask af tog (The glare of day) (Vilna: B. Kletskin, 1935), 274 pp.; Motivn (Motifs) (Los Angeles: Kultur gezelshaft, 1940), 284 pp., which won the literary prize from IKUF (Jewish Cultural Association); Royt un shvarts (Red and black) (Los Angeles: Sh. Miller Book Committee, 1945), 318 pp., written during the bloody years of WWII; Shtoyb (Dust) (Los Angeles: Sh. Miller Book Committee, 1948), 349 pp.; Dor hamidber (Generation of the desert), an autobiographical novel (Los Angeles: Sh. Miller Book Committee, 1951), 535 pp.; In di shvartse pintelekh (In the world of letters) (Los Angeles: Sh. Miller Book Committee, 1953), 383 pp.—twenty-one stories which depict the world of Jewish intellectuals: poets, novelists, critics, and actors.  “Sh. Miller,” wrote Kh. Sh. Kazdan, “narrates for us in his book as a…writer with varying interests and a broad observational capacity, with an eye for today and for the future….  With wisdom he penetrates the soul of the intellectual, [and] with love he touches the common man.”
            Over the last 10-15 years of his life, Miller suffered from a severe chronic illness and only rarely left his home.  However, driven by the impatience of an artist who knew his mission as a writer, he wrote every day, and when he was able to leave his home, he walked to the library to see the books and periodicals of the wide world.  The last book of stories in Miller’s lifetime was Nekhtn (Yesterday) (Los Angeles: Sh. Miller Book Committee, 1956), 384 pp.  This was the eleventh book with which he carefully occupied himself and to which he paid close attention, so that it would appear tidy in print, sincere and at the same modest.  In 1957 this volume received the Stoliar Prize in Buenos Aires.  “Nekhtn had, first and foremost for Miller,” noted Shloyme Bikl, “a psychological, a psychoanalytic content.  Psychoanalytical in the sense that the mental positions of his figures were formed with a precision that borders on science; and psychoanalytic also in that not a single word in the dialogue of Miller’s protagonists is accidental.  Behind each word that Miller utters today tells a great deal about yesterday.”  For many years Miller was a close friend of Lamed Shapiro, and after the latter’s death he published his writings: L. Shapiro, Ksovim (Writings) (Los Angeles, 1949).  In the spring of 1958 he was brought to City of Hope, a well-known institution for older, ill persons near to Los Angeles, where he died just shy of sixty-three years of age.  After his passing, the “Sh. Miller Book Committee” in Los Angeles published two of his books: Khay-gelebt (It’s a great life) (1959), 346 pp., which contains fifteen stories and a collection of his essays; and Skeptishe makhshoves (Skeptical thoughts) (1959), 343 pp., with a bibliography compiled by Yefim Yeshurin.  “Three things,” wrote Y. Rapoport, “stare readers of Sh. Miller’s Skeptishe makhshoves in the face: The author can both write and think, and above all he has the courage to say in the most direct manner, without beating around the bush, what he is thinking, what he takes to be the truth, in what he entertains doubts and in what he is thoroughly heretical.  These constitute three crowns to which not every writer among us measures up.”  His death was sad for Yiddish literary criticism as well as for readers of Yiddish literature.  “What Sh. Miller showed he had accomplished,” noted Yankev Glatshteyn, “in his struggle with a trembling life is an immense, valuable heritage and an important part of our young Yiddish creativity on American terrain.  People will frequently return to Miller’s stories and in them find ever more artistic surprises.”

Sources: Zalmen Reysen, Leksikon, vol. 2; Zalmen Zilbertsvayg, Leksikon fun yidishn teater (Handbook of the Yiddish theater), vol. 2 (New York, 1934); Avrom Reyzen, in Di feder (New York) (autumn 1933; winter 1936; 1942; 1949); Shmuel Niger, in Tog (New York) (September 9, 1934; October 20, 1935; July 5, 1936; August 28, 1938; February 4, 1940; February 18, 1940; August 22, 1943; December 23, 1945; May 25, 1947; September 4, 1949); Niger, in Tog-morgn-zhurnal (New York) (December 20, 1953); September 5, 1954); Niger, in Algemeyne entsiklopedye (General encyclopedia), “Yidn 3” (New York, 1942), col. 170; Niger, Dertseylers un romanistn (Storytellers and novelists) (New York, 1946), p. 133; A. Glants-Leyeles, in Tog (January 9, 1935; November 15, 1947; January 8, 1948); Glants-Leyeles, in Tog-morgn-zhurnal (July 20, 1957; May 14, 1958); Dr. A. Mukdoni, in Morgn-zhurnal (New York) (May 8, 1935; July 8, 1945; April 7, 1946; February 2, 1947; January 9, 1949; March 18, 1951); Mukdoni, in Tog-morgn-zhurnal (August 4, 1957); Mukdoni, in Di goldene keyt (Tel Aviv) 20 (1954); Mukdoni, In varshe un in lodzh (In Warsaw and in Lodz), vol. 1 (Buenos Aires, 1955); Mukdoni, in Di tsukunft (New York) (February 1957); A. Tabatshnik, in Signal (New York) (July 1936); N. Mayzil, in Yidishe kultur (New York) (January 1939; May 1943); Mayzil, in Tog (March 2, 1939); Mayzil, Doyres un tkufes in der yidisher literatur, bletlekh tsu der geshikhte un tsu der kharakteristik fun der yidisher literatur (Generations and eras in Yiddish literature, on the history and the character of Yiddish literature) (New York, 1942); H. Leivick, in Tog (August 9, 1941; November 18, 1945); Kh. Sh. Kazdan, in Zamlbikher (New York) 6 (1945); Kazdan, in Unzer tsayt (New York) (February 1957); Y. Botoshanski, in Di prese (Buenos Aires) (June 19, 1946; February 5, 1947; December 31, 1947; June 27, 1950; February 25, 1951; February 26, 1951; December 31, 1957; May 13, 1958); Botoshanski, in Davke (Buenos Aires) (October-December 1949), pp. 200-12; Botoshanski, in Pshat, perushim af yidish shrayber (Literal sense, commentaries on Yiddish writers) (Buenos Aires, 1952), pp. 355-99; Yankev Glatshteyn, in Idisher kemfer (New York) (January 4, 1946; January 23, 1948; June 20, 1958); Glatshteyn, In tokh genumen (In essence) (New York, 1956), pp. 412-18; Glatshteyn, In tokh genumen, vol. 2 (Buenos Aires, 1960), pp. 328-33; Yoyel Entin, in Idisher kemfer (May 31, 1946; September 21, 1951; October 8, 1954; October 15, 1954; October 22, 1954; April 26, 1957; May 10, 1957; May 17, 1957; September 14, 1957); Entin, in Farband-shtime (New York) (May 1949); Elye Shulman, in Getseltn (New York) (March-April 1946); Avrom Shulman, Oyfboy (Melbourne) (June 1946); A. Shulman, in Der veker (New York) (June 1957); A. Shulman, in Di shtime (Paris) (July 15-16, 1957); Meylekh Ravitsh, in Keneder odler (Montreal) (August 19, 1946; October 30, 1958); Ravitsh, in Di prese (October 2, 1946; March 23, 1956); Ravitsh, in Der veg (Mexico City) (March 15, 1947); Ravitsh, in Di goldene keyt 18 (1954), p. 165; Ravitsh, in Letste nayes (Tel Aviv) (October 7, 1955); Ravitsh, in Di tsukunft (July-August 1958); Moyshe Shtarkman, in Di tsukunft (April 1948); Shtarkman, in Algemeyne entsiklopedye, “Yidn 5” (New York, 1957), p. 134; N. B. Minkov, in Di tsukunft (January 1953; December 1954); A. A. Robak, in Fraye arbeter-shtime (New York) (December 14, 1956; June 15, 1958); B. Ts. Goldberg, in Tog-morgn-zhurnal (May 20, 1956); Y. Mestel, in Yidishe kultur (December 1957); Sh. Rozhanski, in Yidishe tsaytung (Buenos Aires) (September 1, 1957); Shloyme Bikl, in Tog-morgn-zhurnal (August 4, 1957; August 3, 1958); Bikl, Shrayber fun mayn dor (Writers of my generation) (New York, 1958), pp, 327-34; Y. Yonasovitsh, in Di prese (May 13, 1958; May 14, 1958); Y. Rapoport, in Di tsukunft (February 1960); M. Daytsh, in Idisher kemfer (January 29, 1960); M. Yofe, in Idisher kemfer (November 28, 1958); Zalmen Reyzen archive in YIVO (New York); collection of P. Shvarts’s archive of newspaper clippings at YIVO; information from Zalmen Zilbertsvayg and Yankev Zinger; obituary notices and articles in the Yiddish press; N. B. Minkoff, in Universal Jewish Encyclopedia, vol. 7 (New York, 1942), p. 562; J. Shatzky, in In Jewish Bookland (New York) (March 1951; February 1954).
Zaynvl Diamant

Thursday, 19 October 2017


LOUIS E. MILLER (April 30, 1866-May 22, 1927)
            The adopted name of Efim Bandes, he was born in Vilna.  He received a secular education.  In his early youth he was introduced by his older brother, Lev Bandes, to the revolutionary movement, and around 1880, because of his political activities, he had to go abroad.  He lived in Berlin for a time, later making his way to Switzerland, where he became acquainted with Russian emigré revolutionaries.  He then moved on to Paris where he worked in various trades.  Around 1886 he arrived in the United States, settling in New York.  His first years there, he worked in a sweatshop, stitching shirts, and in the evenings he studied law.  He was active in the socialist movement, initially a member of the Russian socialist groupings: the Russian Labor Lyceum, the Russian-American League, and the “Progresivnii Rabochii Soyus” (Progressive labor union).  In 1888 he joined the Socialist Labor Party (S.L.P.) and was active in the Russian Branch 17 of the party in New York.  In 1889 he was selected by New York socialists as a delegate to the International Socialist Congress in Paris, at which he delivered a report on the socialist movement in America.  In 1886 he had been one of the founders of the first Jewish Shirt Makers’ Union, and he regularly thereafter contributed as an organizer and speaker—in both Russian and Yiddish—to the establishment of the American Jewish trade union movement.  In 1890, together with Philip Krants, Morris Hillquit, and Ab. Kahan, he founded the first American Jewish social-democratic weekly: Arbayter tsaytung (Workers’ newspaper).  He practiced law in New York, but he derived no love from his profession and derived primary satisfaction in political and community life and in journalism.  He wrote articles and essays for Arbayter tsaytung and from 1894 for Abend blat (Evening newspaper), a daily put out by the Socialist Labor Party in New York from 1894 to 1902.  Miller was also a cofounder of the United Hebrew Trades (Fareynikte yidishe geverkshaftn).  During the crisis in the American Jewish labor movement, Miller was one of the leaders of the opposition to the De Leon faction, and at the historic meeting of the Jewish section of the S.L.P., he emerged as the principal accuser of the Arbayter tsaytung Publish Association.  Soon thereafter Miller departed for Europe and studied medicine for a time in Berlin, but soon the crisis in the Jewish labor movement so flared up that the “opposition” found it necessary to summon Miller back from Europe, so that he would come make peace.  In fact, he did work out a peace compromise, which did not, however, last for long, and later there was a split and the “opposition” established the Forverts (Forward) on April 22, 1897, with Miller as one of the main organizers of the newspaper; several times each week, he wrote editorials for it, and when the first editor, Abraham Kahan, resigned for a short time (August 1897), Miller became editor of the Forverts.  When Kahan, five years later, was appointed editor of the newspaper, the long friendship between these two important labor leaders and writers cooled.  Intrigue and conflict between them ensued, and Miller withdrew from the Forverts.  In 1905 Miller became editor of a new daily newspaper: Di varhayt (The truth).  He ran the newspaper in the direction of Jewish nationalism [Zionism] with socialist sympathies.  The newspaper contained reading material both for nationally-minded Jewish intellectuals as well as for the simple reading public.  Its circulation approached 100,000.  During WWI Miller took the stance of opposition to Germany and sympathy for the Entente, but Jewish readers in the first years of the war opposed the Entente, because Tsarist Russia was partner to it.  The circulation of Di varhayt began to plummet, and Miller left the newspaper.  In 1916 he established Millers vokhnshrift (Miller’s weekly)—fifty-nine issues appeared over the course of 1916-1918—and later the daily Der fihrer (The leader) which did not enjoyed a long life.  In 1925 Miller brought out the daily newspaper Di naye varhayt (The new truth), a tabloid full of pictures, but it ceased publication that same year.  He later became a special editorial writer for Tog (Day).  Over the course of his writing career, Miller also penned reviews and essays concerned with Yiddish theater, and he often took part in the passionate discussions carried out at forums and in the press over issues concerned with the Yiddish stage.  He also wrote plays for the theater.  In 1899 his play Di getsendiner (The pagan) was staged; in 1902 his play Liza karlin, oder di payatsn in tsheri strit (Lisa Karlin, or the clowns on Cherry Street) and in 1914 his Der moser (The informer) were produced.  He published in book form: Naye un alte palestina (New and old Palestine), a travel narrative, earlier published in Di varhayt, with illustrations (New York, 1912), 218 pp.; Der moser, “a drama in four acts” (New York, 1914), 96 pp.  He also translated Paul Lafargue’s Dos rekht af foylheyt (The right to be lazy [original: Le Droit à la paresse]), which was published together with a poem by A. Lyesin (New York: Russian revolutionary support association, n.d.), 24 pp.  The last few years of his life, Miller suffered from a severe heart disease.  He died in a New York hospital a few days after he had a foot amputated.

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 2; Zalmen Zilbertsvayg, Leksikon fun yidishn teater (Handbook of the Yiddish theater), vol. 2 (New York, 1934); Moyshe Shtarkman, in Yivo-bleter (Vilna) 4.4-5 (1932), pp. 354-87; Shtarkman, in Hadoar (New York) (Sivan 4 [= May 23], 1947); Elye Shulman, in Yivo-bleter 4.4-5 (1932), pp. 419-31; Shtarkman, in Di tsukunft (New York) (December 1962); Y. D. Berkovitsh, in Forverts (New York) (January 3, 1932); Kh. Ehrenraykh, in Forverts (February 26, 1932); A. Frumkin, in Forverts (Maych 19, 1932); A. Raboy, in Frayhayt (New York) (March 7, 1932); Y. Kopelyov, Amol un shpeter (Once and later), third volume of his memoirs (Vilna, 1932); Yankev Milkh, Di antshteyung fun “forverts” un zayn kamf mitn “abend blat” (1893-1902), zikhroynes (The rise of Forverts and its battle with Abend blat, 1893-1902, memoirs) (New York, 1936); Abraham Kahan, Bleter fun mayn lebn (Pages from my life) (New York, 1926-1931); Yoyel Entin, in Morgn-zhurnal (New York ) (January 17, 1943); M. Regalski, Tsvishn tsvey velt-milkhomes (Between two world wars) (Buenos Aires, 1946), pp. 528-33; Elye Tsherikover, Geshikhte fun der yidisher arbeter-bavegung in di fareynikte shtatn (The history of the Jewish labor movement in the United States), vol. 2 (New York: YIVO, 1945), see index; Y. Khaykin, Yidishe bleter in amerike (Yiddish newspapers in America) (New York, 1946); Sh. Herts, Di yidishe sotsyalistishe bavegung in amerike (The Jewish socialist movement in America) (New York, 1954), see index; obituary notices in the Yiddish press; Elye Shulman, in Der veker (New York) (September 1, 1961); Universal Jewish Encyclopedia, vol. 7.
Zaynvl Diamant

Wednesday, 18 October 2017


            He was born in a village near Skidl, Grodno district, Russian Poland [now, Skidzieĺ, Belarus].  He studied in religious elementary schools and in the Slonim yeshiva, and he was a teacher of Hebrew in Grodno, where in 1871 he opened a bookshop.  Under the impact of the Malbim’s [Meyer Leybush ben Yekhiel Mikhl Wisser, 1809-1879] work, Mashal umelitsa (Allegory and riddle), he began to write items in florid language and became a regular letter-writer among the affluent and the rabbis of Grodno.  In 1870 he published in Vilna a pamphlet, Milḥemet sofrim (War of writers), 118 pp., in opposition to A. M. Shatskes’s Maftea (Key) and thereby acquired a reputation for himself within Orthodox circles.  He also wrote hundreds of Orthodox essays for Hamagid (The preacher)—among others, against Yude-Leyb Gordon’s intercession with the Tsarist government concerning an Enlightened censor over “Ḥaye adam” (Human beings) and “Shulḥan arukh” (Set table)—in Hatsofe lehamagid (The spectator to the preacher) and Halevanon (The Lebanon).  Miller also published a series of storybooks in Yiddish, the majority of them reworked from Hebrew: Rebe mortkhe mit dem pabst (Rebbe Mortkhe with the Pope) (Vilna, 1887), republished (Lemberg, 1907); Toldes montefyore (Biography of Montefiore) (Vilna, 1890); Der poylisher kenig rebe shoyel vohl (The Polish king, R. Shaul Wohl), “a historical story of all the troubles that Jews have had from the kingdom of Poland until Rabbi Shaul Wohl reigned for a short time, [and] composed Yisrael moharim z”l (Israel our teacher, may his memory be for a blessing)….  It is adapted from various sources of celebrated writings in the finest European libraries,” in two parts (Vilna: Romm, 1899), 53 pp. and 49 pp.  (In his Hakdama meet hamatik [Preface from the sage], in which he comes out, incidentally, against the Yiddish novels of that era, Miller explains that in 1899 he was studying in the Vienna library and for his research using primarily Sefer gedolat shaul [Work on the great Shaul] [London, 1952]).  Of his translations into Yiddish, there appeared: Toldes haari (Biography of the Ari [R. Isaac Luria]) (Vilna, 1895); Khosn hameylekh (The king’s bridegroom), a historical tale (Warsaw, 1897); Sipurim fun rebe yitskhok ashkenazi lurye haari z”l (Stories of Rabbi Issac Luria Ashkenazi, the Ari, may his memory be for a blessing) (Lemberg, 1904), 92 pp.  Many of his stories were published anonymously.  He also published his text Sefer toldot menaḥem (Biography of Menaḥem) (Pyetrikov, 1913), 139 pp. in Yiddish—a description of the life of Rabbi Naḥum son of Rabbi Uziel of Grodno—with a postface about Miller’s literary activities.  His son, ARYE-LEIB MILLER, a bookseller in Grodno, also published Sidur minḥat yehuda (Gift of Judah prayer book), with a collection of articles on the significance of the prayers in Minḥat yehuda (Grodno, 1925), 356 pp., “gathered and assembled from the best religious works and authors.”  The Yiddish texts, by the way, were published according to the new Yiddish orthography.

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 2; M. H. Sinai, “Di amolike grodne” (Grodno of old), in Grodner opklangen (Grodno anthology) (New York, 1951), pp. 5-6.


GAVRIEL MILLER (October 3, 1936-October 6, 1906)
            He was born in Hadas, Hungary.  He studied in his father’s yeshiva.  From 1960 until his death, he was rabbinical judge in Mattersdorf and gained a reputation as a brilliant scholar.  He authored religious texts in Hebrew-Aramaic and stylized Yiddish, among them: Sefer birkat hamitsvot (Blessing of the commandments) (Vienna, 1871), 69 pp., with Judeo-German explanation; Otsar agadot (Treasury of homiletical writings), four volumes, compiled in alphabetical order from the Babylonian and Jerusalem Talmuds (Presburg, 1877-1901), 780 pp.; Sefer shiure mitsvot (Lessons from the commandments), in Hebrew-Aramaic and Judeo-German (Presburg, 1880), 36 pp.; Maagle tsedek (Straight paths), “a work of morality with ethical wisdom to lead a virtuous life according to Torah,” first edition (Paks, 1882), second edition (1886).  He died in Mattersdorf.

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 2, with a bibliography; Y. Y. Grinvald, Peere ḥakhmat medinotenu (Greatness of the wisdom of our states) (Sighet, 1912); P. Z. Hacohen Shvarts, Shem hagedolim beerets hagar (Fame of the greats in a strange land) (Paks, 1913), p. 44; N. Ben-Menaḥem, Misifrut yisrael beungariya (From the Jewish literature of Hungary) (Jerusalem, 1958), see index; Avraham Shtern, Melitse esh (Flickers of fire) (Vranov, 1938); Bet eked sefarim.
Khayim Leyb Fuks


            He hailed from Vinitse (Vinnytsa, Vinnytsya), Ukraine.  He lived in Zhitomir, Kovno, Wrasaw, and Lodz, where he was a private tutor of Yiddish, Hebrew, and Russian.  He was the author of the storybooks: Af gots velt (In God’s world), “a novel in two parts” (Zhitomir, 1887), 54 pp.; Di tsvey shutfim (The two partners) (Zhitomir, 1889), 32 pp.; and other booklets which he signed “E-M ish vinitse” (E[liezer=Leyzer]-M[iller], a man from Vinnytsa).  His E. millers nayer briefenshteller (E. Miller’s new model letter-writer), in 2 parts, first appeared in Zhitomir in 1891 (96 pp.), second edition in Warsaw in 1906, third expanded edition in Pyetrikov (published by Shloyme Belkhatovski) in 1913 (128 pp.).  He returned to Russia during WWI.  Subsequent information about him remains unknown.

Sources: Y. Bastomski, in Di naye shul (Warsaw) 1 (1923), p. 54; following materials of Shmuel Viner held in Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.; library of the Lubavicher Rebbe in New York.
Khayim Leyb Fuks

Tuesday, 17 October 2017


JOHN MILL (YOYSEF-SHLOYME MIL) (1870-October 1, 1952)
            He was born in Ponevezh (Panevėžys), Lithuania.  He attended religious elementary school and at home studied Russian, later going to the local Kazyonnoie Yevreskoie Uchilishche (State Jewish school), which the Russian government opened in Panevėžys in 1882.  Concerning his knowledge of Judaism at the time, Mill explained in his memoirs: “[In elementary school] I learned nothing—not Hebrew, not prayer, not the simplest laws of the Jewish religion.  And so it remained, even the Bible, it seemed to me, I never read all the way through in my life, and if I came to know a little bit about the ancient past of the Jewish people, it was not from religious primary school, but thanks to my incidental conversations with my elderly grandfather or the religion-hours (zakon-bozhiy) which one received once each week in senior high school.”  In senior high school, Mill befriended Pavel Berman who would later play a role in the rising labor movement and was one of the participants in the founding conference of the Bund in 1897.  This friendship served to enlist Mill in revolutionary circles and link him up with the Jewish labor movement.  After graduation, he traveled from Panevėžys to Vilna and became one of the pioneers who at the time began to form the Jewish socialist movement.  Together with Pavel Berman, Mill led illegal circles, as well as ran an illegal library.  At the historical May Day celebrations in 1892 in Vilna, at which appeared “four workers and two intellectuals” to give speeches, Mill was counted as one of the “intellectuals” (the other one was Arkadi Kremer).  That year he was arrested in connection with the liquidation of the “Young Narodniks” in St. Petersburg, and after being set free he went abroad, living for a time in Zurich, Switzerland.  In 1894 he returned to Vilna.  In 1896, in compliance with the decisions of the Jewish social-democratic pioneer group of the time, he settled in Warsaw, where he served as the organizer and the theoretician of an independent Jewish socialist organization.  Mill’s literary activities also commenced in Warsaw with his writing of the first calls for the emergent movement.  He composed these calls in Russian, and they were translated in Vilna into Yiddish.  He was one of three delegates from Warsaw to the founding meeting of the Bund.  At the time of Zubatov’s great “liquidation” of the Bund, Mill fled abroad, where he was to remain.  In December 1898, Mill was most actively involved in creating the “foreign committee” of the Bund, with a publishing house run by Mill from 1898 to 1915.  The foreign committee published dozens of publications, mainly in Yiddish, in-house.  Mill contributed to the preparation and editing of manuscripts and then to transporting the published materials to Russia.  He assumed an especially important position in preparing and producing the theoretical organ of the Bund—Der idisher arbayter (The Jewish worker)—which was published by the foreign committee of the Bund.  From issue no. 6, Mill was the editor of the journal and filled out practically every issue himself.  In subsequent issues, he filled out the regular sections: “Fun der prese” (From the press), “Di gantse velt” (The entire world), and “Fun partey-lebn” (From party life).  Very important was Mill’s role in forming the national program of the Bund.  With the outbreak of WWI, he left for the United States, settled in Chicago, and turned his attention to his trade (dental technician).  Mill remained in the United States and was active in the Jewish socialist movement.  Aside from his literary journalistic work in the illegal Bundist press, he greatly enriched the literature on the history of the Jewish labor movement.  In America he wrote on daily issues for: Der veker (The alarm), Forverts (Forward), Tsukunft (Future), and Unzer tsayt (Our time)—in New York.  Chapters of his memoirs concerning the first years of the revolutionary movement among Jews in Lithuania, Poland, and Russia were spread over a variety of Yiddish periodicals.  Of extraordinary value is his work “Fun der pyonern-tsayt” (From the pioneer times)—memoirs published in the anthology Vilne (Vilna), edited by Y. Yeshurin (New York, 1935)—and his piece “Di pyonern-epokhe fun der yidisher arbeter-bavegung” (The pioneer epoch in the Jewish labor movement)—concerning the era just before the Bund in Vilna and Warsaw, in the third volume of Historishe shriftn fun yivo (Historical writings from YIVO).  These essays belong to the most important chronicles of that era.  In book form: two volumes of memoirs, Pyonern un boyer (Pioneers and builders) (New York: Veker, 1946), vol. 1, 308 pp., vol. 2, 307 pp., with an introduction by F. Kurski.  These works are classics in the field of Jewish memoirs.  Mill died in Miami, Florida.  His funeral was held in New York on December 15, 1952.  His grave is in the new cemetery of the Workmen’s Circle.

Sources: N. A. Bukhbinder, Di geshikhte fun der yidisher arbeter-bavegung in rusland, loyt nit-gedrukte arkhiṿ-materyaln (History of the Jewish labor movement in Russia, according to unpublished archival materials) (Vilna, 1931), see index; F. Kurski, in Tsukunft (Future) (January 1933); Kurski, in anthology Lite (Lithuania) (New York, 1935), see index; Kurski, Gezamlte shriftn (Collected writings) (New York, 1952), see index; Historishe shriftn fun yivo (Vilna-Paris) 3 (1939), see index; Arkadi (Arkady) (New York, 1942), see index; V. Shulman, in Tsukunft (1946); Shulman, in Yivo-bleter (New York) 27 (pp. 354-59); Shulman, in Unzer tsayt (New York) (October-November 1950); N. Khanin, in Der veker (New York) (November 15, 1946); L. Gotlib, in Forverts (New York) (August 4, 1946); Avrom Reyzen, in Di feder (New York) (1949); Shmuel Niger, in Der tog (New York) (October 8, 1950); D. Neymark, in Der veker (October 15, 1952); G. Aronson, in Unzer tsayt (November 1952); Professor L. Hersh, in Unzer tsayt (November 1952); P. Vald, in Undzer gedank (Buenos Aires) (November 1952); E. Novogrudzki, in Tsukunft (December 1952); B. Shefner, in Lebns-fragn (Tel Aviv) (December 1952); Y. Pat, in Der veker (November 15, 1953); Leo Bernshteyn, Ershte shprotsungen (First sprouts) (Buenos Aires, 1956), see index; Sh. Slutski, Avrom reyzen biblyografye (Avrom Reyzen’s bibliography) (New York, 1956), no. 5379; Avrom der Tate, Bleter fun mayn yugnt (Pages from my youth) (New York, 1959), see index; Di geshikhte fun bund (The history of the Bund), vol. 1 (New York, 1960), vol. 2 (New York, 1962), see index.
Mortkhe-Velvl Bernshteyn


YANKEV MILKH (JACOB MILCH) (December 4, 1866-August 18, 1945)
            The adopted name of Yankev Zoyermilkh, he was born in Warsaw, Poland.  He attended religious elementary school and acquired a reputation as a child prodigy.  While young he was drawn to Hassidism and Kabbala.  At age twelve he lost his father and became an apprentice to a wood carver in Warsaw.  At age fifteen he began to read books and became known among the followers of the Jewish Enlightenment in Warsaw, among them Benyomen Faygenboym.  In 1886 he left to serve in the Russian military, learning Russian in the army and acquainting himself with Russian literature.  After completing his service, he returned to Warsaw, but he was unable to find any employment for himself, and in 1891 he made his way to the United States.  In New York he stayed with his friend from Warsaw, B. Faygenboym, who was already well known at the time, and Milkh learned through him about the Jewish labor movement in America.  He worked as a carver and joined the carvers’ union as well as the S.L.P. (Socialist Labor Party).  Faygenboym also succeeded in getting him to start writing, and in October 1891 Milkh debuted in print with an article entitled “Der sotsyalizm in rusish poyln” (Socialism in Russian Poland) in the socialist weekly Arbayter tsaytung (Workers’ newspaper), in which he would later publish many more satirical-polemical articles and features (such as: “Gvald, lozt makhn di revolutsye” [Help, let’s make the revolution], a satire on the anarchists); under the pen name “Yakham ben Paltiel,” he also wrote a weekly column entitled “Gedanken fun a prostak” (Thoughts of a boor), in which he interpreted Marxism in a popular manner for thousands of readers of this socialist newspaper.  During the economic crisis of 1893, Milkh interrupted for a time his well-paying work in a furniture factory and became secretary of the “United Hebrew Trades” (Fareynikte yidishe geverkshaftn).  He organized the relief action which fed hundreds of the unemployed daily, and offered them aid in other ways as well.  He became a member of the publishing association of Arbayter tsaytung and was subsequently coopted onto its executive council, and the Jewish section of the S.L.P. selected him onto the committee to publish the monthly journal Tsukunft (Future).  In the controversy between Arbayter tsaytung publishing company and the opposition, which took place in the mid-1890s and led to the split in the S.L.P. (1897), Milkh played an important role—see his book, Di antshteyung fun “forverts” un zayn kamf mitn “abend blat” (1893-1902), zikhroynes (The rise of Forverts and its battle with Abend blat, 1893-1902, memoirs) (New York, 1936), 124 pp.  He later became well-to-do, but remained faithful to socialist ideals and worked for the Socialist Party and for trade unions.  Throughout this entire time, he never stopped writing and publishing his journalistic essays and literary critical articles in: Arbayter tsaytung, Abend blat (Evening newspaper), Di tsukunft (The future), Forverts (Forward), Fraye arbeter-shtime (Free voice of labor), Idisher kemfer (Jewish fighter), the anthologies of Shriftn (Writings), and Di velt un di menshheyt (The world and mankind)—all in New York; Di idishe arbayter velt (The Jewish workers’ world) in Chicago; Di proletarishe velt (The proletarian world), a publication of the PPS (Polska Partia Socjalistyczna, or Polish Socialist Party) in Warsaw (1907); Der pinkes (The record), edited by Shmuel Niger in Vilna (1913); and Di yudishe velt (The Jewish world) in Vilna (1914); among others.  Using the pseudonym “Dr. Mem” [the initial letter in the Jewish alphabet of his surname—JAF], he published several dozen articles entitled “Filozofishe shmuesn” (Philosophical chats), as well as the work “Spinoza un marks, a paralel” (Spinoza and Marx, a parallel) in Spinoza-bukh (Spinoza volume) (New York, 1932), pp. 54-93.  In 1909 he published the quarterly journal Di naye velt (The new world), “dedicated to the study of American institutions”—two issues appeared in print.  Over the years 1898-1901, he also placed his writings (including humorous stories) in such English-language publications as: Haverhill Social Democrat (Haverhill, Mass.) and International Socialist Review (Chicago); and he served as editor of the New York-based monthly Di fraye shtunde (The free hour) in 1909.  He was as well active in the Jewish teachers’ seminary, the American division of YIVO, and other Jewish organizations and institutions.  In the early 1930s he became a contributor to Morgn-frayhayt (Morning freedom) in New York, in which he published, among other items, chapters of his autobiography.  He was also a member of the editorial board of the monthly Yidishe kultur (Jewish culture) in New York; and he stood among the leadership of various institutions of the Jewish Communist movement in New York.  In book form, he published: Sotsyalizm, milkhome un natsyonalizm (Socialism, war, and nationalism), “an attempt to resolve several important strike issues in the socialist world” (New York: M. N. Mayzil, 1916), 75 pp.; Idishe problemen (Jewish issues), a collection of articles, vol. 1 (314 pp.), vol. 2 (236 pp.), vol. 3 entitled “Fun vanen shtamt religye un andere eseys” (Where religion comes from and other essays) (230 pp.) (all: New York, 1920); Biro-bidzhan, a naye epokhe in der idisher geshikhte (Birobidzhan, a new epoch in Jewish history) (New York: Cultural Wing of IKOR, 1936), 43 pp.; Di antshteyung fun “forverts” un zayn kamf mitn “abend blat” (1893-1902), zikhroynes (see above); Oytobyografishe skitsn (Autobiographical sketches) (New York: IKOR, 1946), 296 pp., with a foreword by Kalmen Marmor; Er shrekt zikh far platon, abisl perzenlekhs, dos iberike kultureles (He fears Plato, a little personally, the rest culturally) (New York, 1928?), 8 pp.  Among his translations: Perets Smolenskin’s Kevurat ḥamor (Burial of the ass) as Bagrobn baym parken (Burial near the fence) (New York, 1891); Gerhard Hauptmann’s Di veber (The weavers [original: Die Weber]), a play in five acts, which appeared in print in New York in 1905 and in Warsaw in 1906; Platons dyalogn (Plato’s dialogues), “with an introduction and foreword by the translator, with images of Socrates and Plato” (Brooklyn, 1929), 181 pp.  He died in New York.

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 2; Zalmen Zilbertsvayg, Leksikon fun yidishn teater (Handbook of the Yiddish theater), vol. 2 (New York, 1934); G. Aronson, in Di tsukunft (New York) (September 1904; May-June 1942); Av. Goldberg, in Di tsukunft (November 1906; December 1906); Tsvien, in Di tsukunft (December 1909); E. Almi, Literarishe nesies (Literary voyages) (Warsaw, 1931), pp. 112ff; Shmuel Niger, in Tog (New York) (January 28, 1933); Niger, in Di tsukunft (August 1933; January 1947); Niger, Habikoret uveayoteha (Inquiry and its problems) (Jerusalem, 1957); Dr. A. Mukdoni, in Morgn-zhurnal (New York) (December 23, 1932); Dr. Chaim Zhitlovsky, in Tog (February 12, 1933); Y. Milkh, “Etlekhe verter vegn zikh aleyn” (A few words about myself), Yidishe kultur (New York) (January 1942); Milkh, Oytobyografishe skitsn (Autobiographical sketches) (New York: IKOR, 1946), 296 pp.; Moyshe Shtarkman, in Di tsukunft (May-June 1942; May 1948); Elye (Elias) Shulman, Geshikhte fun der yidisher literatur in amerike (History of Jewish literature in America) (New York, 1943), p. 82; Sh. Almazov, in Morgn-frayhayt (New York) (August 22, 1945; August 21, 1960); Elye Tsherikover, Geshikhte fun der yidisher arbeter-bavegung in di fareynikte shtatn (The history of the Jewish labor movement in the United States), vol. 2 (New York: YIVO, 1945), see index; N. Mayzil, in Ikor (Buenos Aires) (July-August 1945); Y. Khaykin, Yidishe bleter in amerike (Yiddish newspapers in America) (New York, 1946), see index; F. Kurski, Gezamlte shriftn (Collected works) (New York, 1952), see index; Y. Sh. Herts, Di yidishe sotsyalistishe bavegung in amerike (The Jewish socialist movement in America) (New York, 1954), see index; Z. Vaynper, Shrayber un kinstler (Writers and artists) (New York, 1958), pp. 63-71; obituary notices in the Yiddish press; Y. Zerubavel, in Tsukunft (November-December 1962); The Universal Jewish Encyclopedia, vol. 7 (New York, 1942).
Zaynvl Diamant

Monday, 16 October 2017


NOSN-NETANYAHU MILEYKOVSKI (March 11, 1879-February 4, 1935)
            He was born in Kriv (Krivėnai?), Kovno district, Lithuania, into a family which drew its pedigree back to the Gaon of Vilna.  Until age eight, he studied in religious elementary school, before spending ten years in the Volozhin Yeshiva where he received ordination into the rabbinate.  He was a pupil of the celebrated orator Yevzerov, later acquiring prestige for himself as a preacher who traveled round Russia and Siberia (1905-1908), giving speeches on behalf of Zionism.  He later lived in Vilna.  Over the years 1908-1912, he served as director of Krinski’s Hebrew high school in Warsaw, later an orator at the Ohel Yaakov Synagogue in Lodz.  In 1920 he went to the land of Israel.  In 1924 he traveled through Europe on behalf of Israel; 1925-1929, he was on assignment for the Jewish National Fund in the United States, before returning to Israel.  He began publishing in Dos idishe folk (The Jewish people) in Vilna (1906), later in: Yatskan’s Idishes tageblat (Jewish daily newspaper) and Haynt (Today) in Warsaw; Lodzer tageblat (Lodz daily newspaper), Nayer folksblat (New people’s newspaper), and Bloy-vays bukh (Blue-white book)—in Lodz; a regular contributor to Dos idishe folk in New York; Di tsayt (The times) in Vilna; and Di tsayt in London; among others.  His books include: Haneviim vehaam (The prophets and the people) (Lodz, 1913), 64 pp.; the same volume in Yiddish, Di neviim un dos folk (The prophets and the people) (Lodz, 1913); Folk un land (People and country) (New York, 1928), 25 pp., with prefaces by Tsvi-Hirsh Maslyanski and Dr. A. Koralnik.  He died in Jerusalem.

Sources: Haarets and Davar (Tel Aviv) (February 5, 1935); M. R., in Hadoar (New York) (February 8, 1935); Dr. Sh. Bernshteyn, in Der tog (New York) (February 14, 1935); Sefer haishim (Biographical dictionary) (Tel Aviv, 1937), p. 592; D. Tidhar, in Entsiklopedyah leḥalutse hayishuv uvonav (Encyclopedia of the pioneers and builders of the yishuv), vol. 1 (Tel Aviv, 1947), pp. 186-87; A. Tenenboym-Arzi, Lodz un ire yidn (Lodz and her Jews) (Buenos Aires, 1956), see index; Khayim Leyb Fuks, in Fun noentn over (New York) 3 (1957), see index.
Khayim Leyb Fuks


YISROEL MILEYKOVSKI (1887-January 18, 1943)
            He was born in Warsaw, Poland.  He received both a Jewish and a general education.  He studied medicine at the Universities of Berlin and Warsaw.  He received his medical degree in 1914, and from 1918 he was practicing in Warsaw.  He was active in the Jewish Folks-partey, in the People’s University, and in Toz (Towarzystwo Ochrony Zdrowia [Society for the protection of health]), among other institutions.  Over the years 1935-1937, he served as president of the Jewish doctors’ association of Poland.  He published medical articles, 1923-1930, in Moment (Moment) and later in Unzer ekspres (Our express)—in Warsaw.  He contributed as well to: Bikher-velt (Book world) in Warsaw (1922-1928) and to Folks-gezunt (People’s health) in Vilna, among other serials.  He was confined in the Warsaw Ghetto, where he served as director of “Evidence” to the sanitary and health divisions of the Judenrat (Jewish council) in the fight against contagious diseases in the ghetto.  At the time of the January Aktion (1943), on the road to Treblinka to his death, he swallowed potassium cyanide in the train and died.

Sources: Bikher-velt (Warsaw) 3 (1923); Dr. Kh. Zaydman, Togbukh fun varshever geto (Diary from the Warsaw Ghetto) (Buenos Aires, 1947), see index; Yonas Turkov, Azoy iz es geven (That’s how it was) (Buenos Aires, 1948), pp. 48, 56, 73; M. Flakser, in Fun noentn over (New York) 3 (1957), p. 379; Dr. E. Ringelblum, Ksovim fun geto (Writings from the ghetto) (Warsaw, 1961), see index; M. Vaykhert, Yidishe aleynhilf (Jewish self-help) (Tel Aviv, 1962), pp. 13, 238; following materials from Yidishe mediker in poyln, 1939-1945 (Jewish doctors in Poland, 1939-1945) (New York, 1963), see index.
Khayim Leyb Fuks


TSVI MILYAVSKI (1860-March 22, 1922)
            He was born in Slobodka, a suburb of Kovno (Kaunas), Lithuania.  He studied in religious elementary school and yeshiva, and secular subjects as an external student.  In 1885 he moved to Lodz, where he worked as a Hebrew teacher and as a broker with textile merchants.  He was the first “Lover of Zion” and a cofounder of “Hazmir” (The nightingale) in Lodz.  He began his writing activities with humorous sketches and feature pieces in Hamelits (The spectator) in Odessa, later contributing to: Hamagid (The preacher) in Lik; Hatsfira (The times) in Warsaw; Haam (The people) and Der veg (The way) in St. Petersburg; and from 1907 he was a contributor to Lodzer nakhrikhten (Lodz news), Lodzer tageblat (Lodz daily newspaper), and Folksblat (People’s newspaper)—in Lodz; among others.  In book form: A rayze fun lodzh nokh kabtsansk (A trip from Lodz to Poorville) (Pyetrikov, 1908), 29 pp.; A mayse mit a top tsimes (A story of a pot of stew) and Mayn rebe in amerike (My rebbe in America) (Pyetrikov, 1910), 32 pp.  He also published and edited the humorous publications: Yontef-bleter (Holiday sheets) (1910); Der lodzer foygl (The Lodz bird) (1912); Megiles datshe (The scroll of a country home) (1913)—all in Lodz.  He also wrote under the pen name: Khaluts Hapolani.  He died in Lodz.

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 2; Ts, Cohen, in Folksblat (Lodz) (July 16, 1916); Reyzen, Psevdonimen in der yidisher literatur (Pseudonyms in Yiddish literature) (Vilna, 1939); Y. Ug, in Lodzer tageblat (Lodz) (March 23, 1922); ; A. Kirzshnits, Di yidishe prese in der gevezener ruslendisher imperye (1823-1916) (The Yiddish press in former Russian empire, 1823-1916) (Moscow, 1930).
Khayim Leyb Fuks


MAX MILTON (1868-August 2, 1946)
            The adopted name of Mendl Kolton, he was born in Warsaw, Poland.  In 1892 he moved to New York, where he debuted in print (1894) with a socially-themed poem in Fraye arbeter-shtime (Free voice of labor).  In 1896 he went to London, and two years later on to Cape Town, South Africa, where, together with his older brother, Yudl Milton, he worked in artistic stone engravings and gypsum ornaments.  He returned to London in 1903 and in 1904 to New York.  He published poetry and stories in: Di naye velt (The new world) in London; Di idishe velt (The Jewish world), Forverts (Forward), Eplberg’s Yontef-bleter (Holiday sheets), Der groyser kundes (The great prankster), and Di feder (The pen), among others—in New York.  He translated Wilhelm Liebknecht’s pamphlet Di varhayt iber dem sotsyalizm (The truth about socialism) (London, 1902), 54 pp.  With his older brother, he penned: Der khaos oder di letste yudishe hofnung (Chaos or the last Jewish hope), a drama in four acts, preface by A. V. Finkelshteyn (London, 1909), 101 pp.  Other writings in book form include: Ven blut shrayt (When blood cries out) (1925); and Lider fun lebn (Poems of life) (Chicago, 1936), 32 pp.  Among his unpublished writings, he also left behind an autobiographical novel entitled “Dos elfte gebot” (The eleventh commandment).  He was blind during the last years of his life.  He died in Chicago.

Sources: Zalmen Zilbertsvayg, Leksikon fun yidishn teater (Handbook of the Yiddish theater), vol. 2 (New York, 1934); E. Almi, in Forverts (New York) (April 23, 1932); Almi, Momentn fun a lebn (Moments in a life) (Buenos Aires, 1948), pp. 67, 68, 69; N. B. Minkov, in Kultur un dertsiung (New York) (January 1947); Sh. Slutski, Avrom reyzen biblyografye (Avrom Reyzen’s bibliography) (New York, 1956), no. 5044.
Benyomen Elis


YUDL MILTON (1866-1913)
            The adopted name of Yudl Kolton, he was born in Warsaw, Poland.  He studied in the synagogue study chamber of the Gerer Rebbe, later graduating from Poznanski’s trade school for artwork in Warsaw.  In 1890 he immigrated to South Africa, later living in London, England, and the United States where he traveled through various and sundry cities.  He was active in the Zionist movement.  He participated in Zionist congresses, and at the same time was a member of the Fabian Club in London.  After publishing a correspondence piece in Hatsfira (The times), he wrote articles on community topics in Hebrew, English, and French (in the Parisian Humanité, edited by Jean Jaurès).  In Yiddish he contributed work to Di naye velt (The new world) in London, and Forverts (Forward) and Tsayt-gayst (Spirit of the times) in New York.  Together with his younger brother, Max Milton, he wrote Der khaos oder di letste yudishe hofnung (Chaos or the last Jewish hope), a drama in four acts, preface by A. V. Finkelshteyn (London, 1909), 101 pp., in which the authors criticized the modernists and decadent ones in Yiddish literature of their time.

Sources: E. Almi, in Forverts (New York) (April 23, 1932); Almi, Momentn fun a lebn (Moments in a life) (Buenos Aires, 1948), pp. 67, 69, 70; N. B. Minkov, in Kultur un dertsiung (New York) (January 1947).
Benyomen Elis


PERETS MILAKOVSKI (1907-summer 1942)
            He was born in Lodz, Poland.  He studied in Yitskhok Katsenelson’s Hebrew school, later graduating from the Hebrew Broyde high school in Lodz, before continuing his studies in university and the conservatory in Warsaw.  He was active in the Zionist student organization, later in the Revisionist Party in Poland.  Over the years 1929-1932, he lived in Pinsk, and until WWII in Warsaw.  He was secretary general of the Hebrew Literary Association in Poland and chief secretary of “Agudat Haḥazonim” (The association of cantors).  At age thirteen he placed his first poem in the children’s publication Tsafririm (Zephyrs).  In he debuted in print with an essay on Jewish music in Lodzer tageblat (Lodz daily newspaper) in 1928, and thereafter he contributed to: Pinsker shtime (Voice of Pinsk), Lodzer tageblat and Teḥumim (Boundaries) in Lodz; and Unzer veg (Our way) and Baderekh (On the road) in Warsaw; among others.  From 1933 he was associated with the monthly Di khazonim-velt (The cantors’ world) in Warsaw, later becoming editor of the Yiddish-Hebrew Di shuhl un khazonim-velt (The synagogue and cantors’ world), “monthly for Jewish liturgy, cantors, and all sorts of synagogue matters” (Warsaw, 1935-1939); in the latter, he published in both Yiddish and Hebrew reviews of cantors and ran the column entitled “Fun unzer muzikalisher oytser” (From our musical treasury).  His essays, “Di yidishe liturgye” (The Jewish liturgy), in Yiddish and the Hebrew “Perakim beshirat bet yisrael” (Selections from the poetry of the House of Israel) in Di khazonim-velt (1933-1936) were published in book form in Warsaw (1938), 160 pp.  A fragment from his work, “Khazonim un khazones in poyln” (Cantors and the cantorial art in Poland), appeared in the collection Khazones (Cantorial art) (New York, 1937).  He led a course on Jewish liturgy at Warsaw’s “Cantors’ Association.”  He translated into Yiddish and Hebrew texts of operas, among them: Haydn’s The Creation (original: Die Schöpfung).  He published feature pieces in the Yiddish provincial press in Poland.  He was the author of biographies (in Hebrew) of Polish leaders of state (Warsaw, 1939).  Chapters of his “Geshikhte fun yidn in pinsk” (History of the Jews of Pinsk) were published in Di shuhl un khazonim-velt (Warsaw, 1935-1938).  He also wrote under the pen names: Samueli, An Eygener, and A Lodzher, among others.  He was confined in the Warsaw Ghetto, from which he was deported in 1942 to Treblinka and murdered there.

Sources: Khazones (Cantorial art) (New York, 1937), p. 82; Di shuhl un khazonim-velt (Warsaw) (August 1939); Khayim Leyb Fuks, in Fun noentn over (New York) 3 (1957), see index; information from Mortkhe Shtrigler in New York.
Khayim Leyb Fuks


YITSKHOK MILAKOVSKI (b. December 2, 1912)
            He was born in Vilna.  He attended a public school and a Polish-Jewish high school.  He studied medicine at Vilna University.  He was active in Maccabi, Vilbig (Vilner yidisher bildungs gezelshaft, or Vilna Jewish Education Society), and YIVO in Vilna.  In 1939, following the outbreak of WWII, he left for Gluboke (Glubokoye or Hlybokaye), Vilna region, and from there he was evacuated deep inside Russia.  In 1942 he was arrested by the Soviet authorities.  He thrown in prison and endured forced labor for seven years.  In 1949 he was freed and returned to Poland.  In 1950 he settled in the state of Israel.  In 1932 he began writing articles in Vilner tog (Vilna day) and from that point contributed to: Radyo (Radio), Di bine (The stage), Vilner almanakh (Vilna almanac) of 1937, and Wieczór Wilna (Vilna evening)—in Vilna; and Velt-shpigl (World mirror), Ilustrirte vokh (Illustrated week), and Moment (Moment)—in Warsaw.  After WWII he wrote for: Dos naye lebn (The new life) in Warsaw; Dos vort (The word), Di vokh (The week), Letste nayes (Latest news) Folksblat (People’s newspaper), Heymish (Familiar), and Almanakh, 10 yor medines yisroel (Almanac, ten year of the state of Israel)—all in Israel.  He was also a corresponding-collector of information for the Groyser verterbukh fun der yidisher shprakh (Great dictionary of the Yiddish language) in New York.  He was last living in Tel Aviv, a member of the committee of “Vilna Jews in Israel.”

Sources: Vilner almanakh (Vilna, 1937); Groyser verterbukh fun der yidisher shprakh (Great dictionary of the Yiddish language) (New York, 1961), p. 24.


LEON MIKHELSON (b. ca. 1888)
            He was born in Warsaw.  From his youth he was involved in the Bundist movement.  After the Revolution of 1905, he was active in the illegal movement of business employees in Warsaw.  He served as one of the directors of the “Association of Jewish Cooperatives in Independent Poland.”  He contributed to publications of the Jewish cooperatives in Poland.  He died under Nazi rule in Warsaw.

Sources: Doyres bundistn (Generations of Bundists), vol. 2 (New York, 1956), p. 255; Unzer tsayt (New York) (December 1943).
Yankev Kahan


GEDALYE MIKHMAN (b. January 3, 1916)
            He was born in Kishinev, Bessarabia.  He studied in religious elementary school, later in the Hebrew high school “Magen David” (Shield of David).  In 1937 he immigrated to France, where he participated in the resistance movement during the Nazi occupation.  He published in the daily newspaper Unzer vort (Our word) in Paris.  In book form: Mayn fraynd mendl man (My friend Mendl Mann) (Paris, 1978), 80 pp.; and Mayne ayndrukn fun draysikstn tsienistishn kongres (My impressions from the thirtieth Zionist congress) (Paris, 1982), 22 pp. in typescript.

Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 373.

Sunday, 15 October 2017


KHAYIM-MIKHL MIKHLIN (February 5, 1867-July 24, 1937)
            He was born in Khaslavitsh (Khaslavich), Mohilev district, Byelorussia.  In his childhood, he was brought to Israel.  He studied in religious elementary school and in a yeshiva, later studying on his own secular subject matter.  He became a teacher in the “Ets-Ḥayim” (Tree of life) yeshiva and in the first girls’ school in Jerusalem, and he later served as secretary of the Ḥakham Bashi (chief rabbi) and for a time (1912-1915) was chairman of the Mizrachi organization in Israel.  Until 1934 he lived in Jerusalem, later in Petaḥ Tikva.  His writing activities began (using the pen name Neḥelami) in Hatsfira (The times) in Warsaw (1887), later as a contributor to: Hamelits (The spectator) in Odessa; Hayom (Today) in St. Petersburg; Hamagid (The preacher) in Cracow; and Haivri (The Jew) in New York; among others.  For many years he was the Israel correspondent for Di yudishe tageblat (The Jewish daily newspaper) in New York, in which, aside from correspondence pieces, he also published impressions of old Jerusalem, historical surveys, and geographical-topographical descriptions of the land of Israel’s antiquity and excavations.  He was the principal contributor and actual editor of the biweekly (in Yiddish, Hebrew, and Judezmo) Hapardes-der pardes (The orchard) in Jerusalem (1909-1910), and there he defended the Yiddish vernacular, when extreme Hebreists attacked the Yiddish part of Pardes—see: Zalman ben Tuvim, in Haḥerut (Freedom) (Jerusalem) (1909) and Kalman Silman, in Hatsvi (The gazelle) (Jerusalem) 168 (1910), as well as Mikhlin’s response (using the pen name Ben Shem) in Der pardes 3 (1910).  He also contributed to Lunts’s Luaḥ erets-yisrael (Calendar of Israel), to his Mishmar (Guard) 3, and other Yiddish and Hebrew publications in Israel.  His books: Hanezira (The nun) (Jerusalem, 1890), 32 pp.; Yosef enenu (Joseph is no more) (Jerusalem, 1911), 20 pp.; Har habayit (Temple mount) (Jerusalem, 1916/1917), 101 pp.; Hamitspa (The watchtower) (Jerusalem, 1919/1920), 24 pp.—historical tales and novels.  On his seventieth birthday, a collection of his articles entitled Tiferet shiva, sefer haḥayim (Hope of return, the book of life) (Tel Aviv, 1937), 144 pp., was published.  He also published under such pseudonyms as: Mem, Ben-Tsiyon, and Haneelam.  He died in Ramat-Gan and was buried in Jerusalem.

Sources: Ben-Tsiyon Ayzenshadt, Dorot haaḥaronim (Generation of the later ones) (New York, 1913); Biblyografishe yorbikher fun yivo (Bibliographic yearbooks from YIVO) (Warsaw, 1928), see index; Sefer haishim (Biographical dictionary) (Tel Aviv, 1937), pp. 328-29; M. A., in Hadoar (New York) (November 5, 1937); M. Unger, in Zamlbukh lekoved dem tsveyhundert un fuftsikstn yoyvl fun der yidisher prese, 1686-1936 (Anthology in honor of the 250th jubilee of the Yiddish press, 1686-1936), ed. Dr. Y. Shatski (New York, 1937), p. 163; D. Tidhar, in Entsiklopedyah leḥalutse hayishuv uvonav (Encyclopedia of the pioneers and builders of the yishuv), vol. 1 (Tel Aviv, 1947), pp. 377-78; obituary notices in the Israeli press (July 25-26, 1937).
Khayim Leyb Fuks