LEYBISH KHASHMAL (1891-February 19, 1942)
The pseudonym of Leybush Kats, he was born in the town of Krupki (Kripke), Volhynia district, Ukraine. In 1907 he moved to the United States where he received his general education, worked for a time in various physical labors, and later became a teacher in Workmen’s Circle schools in Peabody and Philadelphia; later, until his death, he continued teaching in the leftwing Yiddish schools of the International Labor Order in New York. He was a leader of IKOR (Yidishe kolonizatsye organizatsye in rusland [Jewish colonization organization in Russia]), Proletpen (Proletarian pen), and other pro-Communist organizations. He published humorous and satirical poetry in: Der kibitser (The kibitzer), Der groyse kundes (The great prankster), the humor section of Di varheyt (The truth) (1918), and Der tog (The day)—all in New York. From 1923 he was a contributor to the Communist Frayhayt (Freedom) in New York, in which he published political features and articles and ran the sections “Speaking in verse” and “News in verse,” and he edited (together with Betsalel Fridman) “The children’s corner” of the newspaper. He was a member of the editorial board of the journal Naylebn (New life) (until 1942) and the editor of the journal Humorist (Humorist) (1921-1922)—both in New York. His published books include: Sher un ayzn, un a reye andere populare retsitatsyes (Scissors and iron, and a string of other popular recitations) (New York, 1933), 64 pp.; Provod, proletarisher vodvil (Provod, proletarian vaudeville), short scenarios (New York, 1933), 22 pp.; Fayl un boygn (Arrow and bow), recitations, monologues, ballads, one-act plays, and poetry, with forewords by the author and by Sh. Almazov (New York, 1938), 236 pp. He died in New York.
Sources: A. Pomerants, in Proletpen (Kiev, 1935), p. 211; M. Katz, in Frayhayt (New York) (February 20, 1942); and Katz, in Yidishe kultur (New York) (February-March 1942)
Khayim Leyb Fuks