MOYSHE-KHAYIM LEVI (May 22, 1893-September 1942)
He was born in Lemberg, Galicia, into a well-heeled family. He studied in religious primary school and with the Brzeżany rabbi, and he received ordination into the rabbinate. During WWI he was living in Vienna where he studied at the university as well as in the conservatory. He was a friend of Dr. Nosn Birnboym (Nathan Birnbaum), and he was influence by him in his return path to religious Judaism and to his work with Agudat Yisrael. He was rabbi and headmaster of yeshivas in Slovakia and Romania. He was a cofounder of the “Beys-Yankev” seminars in Cracow and Czernowitz. In 1936 he became rabbi of Piotrków. He was also a member of the executive of Agudat Yisrael and Poale Agudat-Yisrael (Workers of Agudat Yisrael) in Poland and of Moetset Gedole Hatorah (Council of Torah Giants). He began writing in Hebrew and in 1918 switched to Yiddish. His work appeared in: Der yud (The Jew), Dos yudishe togblat (The Jewish daily newspaper), Yudishe arbayter-shtime (Voice of Jewish workers), Darkenu (Our way), and Deglanu (Our banner)—in Warsaw; Ortodoksishe bleter (Orthodox pages), Der idisher arbayter (The Jewish worker), Beys-yankev zhurnal (Beys Yankev journal), Ortodoksishe almanakh (Orthodox almanac), and Oylim-bleter (Pages for immigrants to Israel), and Bnei derekh (Children of the way) which was edited by N. Birbaum—in Lodz; Dos yudishe lebn (The Jewish life) in Piotrków; and Dos vort (The word) in Vilna; among others. He was the author of: Di idishe froyen-velt (The Jewish women’s word) (Prešov, 1930), 84 pp.; Tsvey muters in yisroel (Two mothers in Israel) (Lodz, 1932), 28 pp.; Afn veg tsu kidesh hashem (On the way to sanctification of the name) (Piotrków, 1937), 38 pp. When the Nazis set up the ghetto in Piotrków, he avoided becoming a “Jewish elder” and worthily assumed the fate of the entire Jewish people. On September 21, 1942, during the liquidation of the ghetto, he and all those remaining of the Piotrków Jewry were deported to Treblinka and murdered there. His Hebrew-language religious work, Dine kidush hashem (Services to the sanctification of the name), which he wrote in 1937, was lost.
Sources: Biblyografishe yorbikher fun yivo (Bibliographic yearbooks from YIVO) (Warsaw, 1928), see index; Y. Sh. Goldshteyn, in Forverts (New York) (September 18, 1953); M. Prager, in Fun noentn over (New York) 2 (1956), p. 532; information from Yoysef Firdnzon in New York.
Khayim Leyb Fuks