Friday, 21 April 2017


MARK LEV (b. ca. 1850s)
            In the 1880s, he was living in Kishinev where he worked as a lawyer.  He published a collection of poetry, Naye motivn far dem yidishn folk (New motifs for the Jewish people) (Kishinev, 1886), written in a Christian spirit, and a poem Hodel (Hodl) (Kishinev, 1890), an adapted sentimental theme which at the time was new and even bold in Yiddish literature.  With passable verse, he depicted in the poem the moving fate of a fallen Jewish woman.  Additionally, he was known as the author of a love poem, written in a light, ringing verse and published in the anthology Der kleyner veker (The little alarm) (Odessa, 1890).  He later made his way to England, where he was said to be close to local missionaries.

Source: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 2.


ZISKIND LEV (1896-summer 1937)
            He was born in Zhedishev, near Reyshe (Rzeszów), western Galicia.  He attended religious elementary school, a Polish public school, and later became a carpenter.  In August 1914, when WWI broke out, he volunteered to join the Austrian army and served on the front until the end of 1918.  In 1919 he came to Vienna, was an employee at Yudishe morgnpost (Jewish morning mail), and in 1920 left for Berlin where he joined the Communist Party and was later active in the leftist movement in Poland, Austria, and Germany.  From 1931 he was living in the Soviet Union, where he settled in Minsk.  He participated in meetings of Jewish and general Soviet writers’ conferences in Minsk.  His writing activities began (using the pen name Zishe-Leyb) with poetry in Lemberg’s Togblat (Daily newspaper) in 1914, later also writing stories and articles.  He was also a contributor to the Communist Literarishe tribune (Literary tribune) (Lodz-Warsaw, 1925-1931), Dos vort (The word) (Cracow, 1931), and other serials.  He co-edited (with M. Naygreshl) the publication Yidish (Yiddish) in Vienna (1928); and he contributed to Literarishe bleter (Literary leaves) in Warsaw (until 1932) and Tsushtayer (Contribution) in Lemberg (1931-1932).  From 1930 he was a regular contributor to Morgn-frayhayt (Morning freedom) in New York, in which he published the novels, Getsl safrans veg tsu der revolutsye (Getsl Safran’s path to the revolution) (1931) and Der oyfshtand fun shvyenta sarne (The uprising of Shvyenta-Sarne) (1932), a series of reportage pieces entitled “Vos ikh hob gezen in galitsye” (What I saw in Galicia), stories, and articles.  He also wrote for the Communist magazine Hamer (Hammer)—in which he published his novel Andrey un der pop (André and the priest)—Signal (Signal), and other serials in New York.  The Soviet period in his writing began happily, as the Yiddish publications opened for him a new and broad realm in which he was able to realize his creative plans.  In Soviet Russia he was a regular contributor to: Oktyabr (October) and Shtern (Star) in Minsk—in which he published portions of a long story entitled “Tshvishn zbrutsh un dnyester” (Between the Zbruch and the Dniester [Rivers]); Der emes (The truth) in Moscow, in which among other items he published in 1934 “Di proletn fun berlin” (The proles of Berlin); the collections Sovetish (Soviet) in Moscow, in which in 1934 he placed his long story “Frants kanotop farkoyft zayn zun” (Frantz Kanotop sells his son); and In shotn fun tlies, almanakh fun der yidisher proletarisher literatur in di kapitalistishe lender (In the shadow of the gallows, an almanac of Yiddish proletarian literature in the capitalist countries) (Kharkov-Kiev, 1932); among others.  In book form he published: (using the pen name Yoysef Tishler), Der videroyfboy fun erets-yisroel (The reconstruction of the land of Israel) (Vienna, 1919), 32 pp.; Poyln, a shekhthoyz far mentshn (Poland, a slaughterhouse for men), a portion of which appeared in Morgn-frayhayt (Morning freedom) in New York, with a foreword by P. Novik (New York, 1933), 72 pp.; Fir mentshn zukhn di revolutsye (Four men search for the revolution), a novel in four parts (Minsk, 1933), 172 pp.; Fun velt tsu velt (From world to world), stories (Moscow, 1936), 342 pp.; and German Fridberg, a play in Russian (Moscow, 1936).  His play in three acts, Der shtrayk fun di shniter (The strike of the harvester), was staged in 1935 in the Artef Theater in New York.  On the tenth anniversary of the journal Shtern in Minsk, he published therein the first part of his story “Fishl kopytshik un petre yeremtshuk” (Fishl Kopchik and Petre Yeremchuk), a remembrance of WWI and class struggle, the primary theme of his entire oeuvre.  He published under the pen name “Ziskind Leyb” as well.  “His fictional writings,” noted M. R.., “excelled with raw, primitive naturalism—and an intuitive, artistic graphic quality.”  At the Jewish writers’ meeting in Minsk (March 1937), a number of speakers fiercely attacked him, and one publicly said that “in the Yiddish literature of Byelorussia, an agent of the Gestapo had sneaked in: Ziskind Lev” (Oktryabr 121, March 1937).  He was arrested in late 1936.  From that time there was no news from or about him.  According to unconfirmed rumors, he died in a camp somewhere in the Pechora wilderness.

Sources: Shmuel Niger, in Der tog (New York) (January 18, 1931; December 28, 1931); B. Fenster, in Morgn-frayhayt (New York) (January 26, 1931; March 28, 1931; May 2, 1931); Moyshe Nadir, in Morgn-frayhayt (April 2, 1932); H. Reminik, in Shtern (Kharkov) 244 (1934); M. Litvakov, in Der emes (Moscow) 234, 236 (1934); D. Kurland, in Shtern (Minsk) 6 (1934); A. Pomerants, in Proletpen (Kiev) (1935), p. 89; Pomerants, in Signal (New York) (April 1936); M. Olgin, in Morgn-frayhayt (October 13, 1935); V. Edlin, in Tog (October 16, 1935); H. Vaynraykh, Blut af der zun (Blood on the sun) (New York, 1950), p. 64; N. Y. Gotlib, in Keneder odler (Montreal) (March 30, 1953); Dr. M. Naygreeshl, in Fun noentn over (New York) 1 (1955), p. 390; N. Mayzil, Dos yidishe shafn un der yidisher arbeter in sovetn-farband (Jewish creation and the Jewish worker in the Soviet Union) (New York, 1959), see index; Chone Shmeruk, comp., Pirsumim yehudiim babrit-hamoatsot, 1917-1961 (Jewish publications in the Soviet Union, 1917-1961) (Jerusalem, 1961), see index.
Khayim Leyb Fuks

[Additional information from: Chaim Beider, Leksikon fun yidishe shrayber in ratn-farband (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers in the Soviet Union), ed. Boris Sandler and Gennady Estraikh (New York: Congress for Jewish Culture, Inc., 2011), pp. 210-11.]

Thursday, 20 April 2017


ELIAS (HILLEL) LIBERMAN (LIEBERMAN) (November 10, 1888-October 1969)
            He was born in Bobr, Mohilev region, Byelorussia.  He attended religious elementary school, the Minsk yeshiva, and later graduated from a Russian high school as an external student.  In 1909 he immigrated to the United States, engaged in a variety of jobs, and at the same time continued his studies and later became a lawyer.  He was active in the trade union movement, and over the years 1915-1917 led the Ladies’ Dressmakers’ Union in New York.  He was a member of the national executive of the Workmen’s Circle (1931-1935) and vice-president (1933-1935).  He debuted in print with a story, “A kind” (A child), in Forverts (Forward) in New York (July 1910), and from that point he published sketches, stories, and articles as well in: Glaykhheyt (Equality), Di naye tsayt (The new times), Der yudisher arbayter (The Jewish worker), and Gerekhtikeyt (Justice), among other periodicals in Yiddish and English in New York.  He was the author of the books: The Collective Labor Agreement: How to Negotiate and Draft the Contract (New York, 1939), 233 pp.; and Unions before the Bar: Historic Trials Showing the Evolution of Labour Rights in the United States (New York, 1950), 371 pp.—the latter of these also appeared in a Japanese translation as: Rōdō kumiai to saibansho: Amerika ni okeru rōdōsha no kihonken no hatten o shimesu rekishiteki na rōdō jiken (Labor unions and the courts, historic labor events showing the development of basic rights for workers in America) (Tokyo, 1958), 410 pp.  He was last living in New York and working as a lawyer.

Sources: Biblyografishe yorbikher fun yivo (Bibliographic yearbooks from YIVO) (Warsaw, 1928), p. 89; Y. Yeshurin and Y. Sh. Herts, 50 yor arbeter ring in yidishn lebn (Fifty years of the Workmen’s Circle in Jewish life) (New York, 1950), p. 395; M. Epshteyn, Jewish Labor in the U.S.A. (New York, 1957), p. 35.
Khayim Leyb Fuks


YOYSEF LIBERMAN (LIEBERMAN) (b. December 28, 1896)
            He lived in the colony of Entre Rios, Argentina, where his father was among the first Jewish colonists in the country.  He studied Yiddish and Hebrew in the colony’s school, later graduating from a Spanish-language high school in Buenos Aires.  For many years he worked as a teacher and director of Jewish and general schools in Argentina.  At the same time he completed his doctoral degree in natural sciences at the Universidad National in Buenos Aires where he would later be a professor himself.  His literary work began (in 1909) with poetry, sketches, and political articles in Folks-shtime (Voice of the people) in Buenos Aires, and he went on to publish in Idisher argentiner vokhnblat (Jewish Argentinian weekly newspaper) in Buenos Aires (1909-1914), and then he became a contributor to Sh. Y. Lyakhovitski’s publications: “Bikhlekh far yedn” (Pamphlets for everyone) (1918-1919); and “Far groys un kleyn” (For big and small) (1922).  He also wrote for the daily newspapers Idishe tsaytung (Jewish newspaper) and Di prese (The press)—in Buenos Aires.  He served as editor of the weekly papers: Dos folk (The people) and Dos idishe folksblat (The Jewish people’s newspaper) in Buenos Aires (1920-1925).  He was a regular contributor to the Spanish-Jewish and Spanish-language newspapers: La Razon (The reason) and La Acción (The action), among others.  For many years he was editor-in-chief of Spanish-language Jewish weekly Israel (Israel) in Buenos Aires, for which he translated stories and essays from Yiddish literature, among them: Sholem Asch’s Di kishufmakherin fun kastilien (The Witch of Castile) and Kidesh hashem (Sanctification of the name) which appeared also in book form.  He edited a Spanish-language journal for middle-school teachers.  His books include: Dos yor 50,000 (The year 50,000), “in the series ‘Bikhlekh far yedn,’ a fantasy of the entire world’s transformation” (Buenos Aires, 1919), 24 pp.; Der paynender sfinks (The tormented sphinx) (Buenos Aires, 1924), 64 pp.  He also authored a series of works in Spanish.  He was last living in Buenos Aires.

Sources: Sh. Y. Lyakhovitski, foreword to Dos yor 50,000 (The year 50,000), p. 3; Sh. Rozhanski, Dos yidishe gedrukte vort in argentina (The published Yiddish word in Argentina) (Buenos Aires, 1941), p. 176; Volf Bresler, Antologye fun der yidisher literatur in argentine (Anthology of Jewish literature in Argentina) (Buenos Aires, 1944), p. 925; P. Kats, Shriftn (Writings), vol. 7: Idishe literatur in argentine (Yiddish literature in Argentina) (Buenos Aites1946), p. 57.
Khayim Leyb Fuks


HERSH-BER LISKER (1888-June 3, 1934)
            He was born in Kiev, Ukraine.  Until age fourteen he attended religious primary school, thereafter studying painting for three years in a government school, from which he was barred for his role in a revolutionary circle (1905).  He studied in a Vilna high school (1907-1908), and later he was a business employee in Kiev where, until the revolution of 1917, he was active among the Zionist socialists, later in the “Fareynikte” (United socialist party), the “Kultur-lige” (Culture league), and other organizations.  At the same time he was studying political economy at Kiev University.  In 1925 he made his way to Mexico, and there he became one of the pioneers of the Yiddish press.  He was the organizer and statistician of the first Yiddish newspaper in Mexico (1934).  He contributed to virtually all of the Jewish cultural institutions in Mexico.  He wrote articles on socio-economic and political matters for the daily newspaper Di naye tsayt (The new times) in Kiev (1917-1918), contributing as well to: Unzer veg (Our way) in Homel (1917), Der shtral (The beam [of light]) in Homel (1918); Unzer veg, Nayer veg (New way), and Frayer veg (Free way) in Warsaw; and other partisan periodicals in Yiddish and Russian.  He was co-editor of Meksikaner yidish lebn (Mexican Jewish life) (1927), and later a regular contributor to Di vokh (The week) (1928), Unzer vort (Our word) (1929), and Meksikaner idishe shtim (Mexican Jewish voice) (1932-1934).  He also published under such pen names as: H. Gonzales, A. Farb, A. Shtoltsman, A. Shleyfman, and F. Enrikevitsh.  He died in a gunpowder explosion in Mexico.  At the commemoration thirty days following his death (July 3, 1934), a special issue of Meksikaner idishe shtim was published with articles about him by Yankev Glants, M. Kh. Dubovitsh, Y. Landau, and M. Biderman.

Sources: A. Forsher, in Meksikaner shriftn (Mexican writings), vol. 6 (Mexico City, 1937), p. 90; M. Glikovski, in Der veg jubilee volume (1930-1940) (Mexico City, 1940).
Khayim Leyb Fuks


Y. A. LISKI (I. A. LISKY) (June 12, 1903-May 22, 1990)
           The pseudonym of Yude-Itamar Fuks, the brother of the writer A. M. Fuks, he was born in Yezerna, eastern Galicia, to a father who was a village merchant.  He attended religious elementary school, a Baron Hirsch school, and later worked with a private tutor.  In his youth he traveled with his father through villages.  During WWI, when the Russia army was occupying Galicia, Liski fled to Lemberg and worked there for a time in a tavern, before returning home.  Over the years 1924-1930, he lived in Vienna where he was a member of the circle of young Yiddish writers (M. Naygreshl, B. Shnafer, Ziskind Lev, and others).  He later lived for a time in Paris, from whence he moved to London where he lived for some time.  In 1957 he visited the state of Israel with a delegation of community leaders.  He debuted in print with a story entitled “Payn” (Anguish) in Yidish (Yiddish) in Vienna (no. 1, 1928), and in issue no. 3 he published the story “Gendz” (Geese).  He also wrote for Tsushayer (Contribution) in Lemberg (1929-1930).  Soon after settling in London, he became an internal contributor to Morris Meyer’s Di tsayt (The times), in which he published sketches and articles and performed journalistic editorial work.  He was co-editor of Di ovnt-nayes (The evening news), an afternoon publication of Di tsayt.  He also placed work in Di idishe post (The Jewish mail) in London, and later (until its last issue in 1940) once again wrote for Di tsayt.  He also wrote for: Der morgn (The morning) in Lemberg (1930-1932); Oyfgang (Arise) in Sighet-Marmației (1933); Y. N. Shteynberg’s Dos fraye vort (The free word) in London (1935-1936); Yidishe kultur (Jewish culture), Hamer (Hammer), and Frayhayt (Freedom) in New York (1938-1939); Yidish london (Jewish London) in London (1938-1939); the almanacs Vaytshepl lebn (Whitechapel life) in London (1951) and Yoyvl-almanakh (Jubilee almanacs) in London (1956); Fraye horizontn (Free horizons) in Paris (1952); Loshn un lebn (Language and life) in London.  From 1932 he was the main contributor and for a time co-editor (with B. A. Sokhatshevski and L. Sh. Kreditor) of the weekly newspaper Di yidishe shtime (The Yiddish voice) in London.  He also wrote for the English-language periodicals The Left Review, New Life, and was a regular writer for Jewish Chronicle—all in London.  From 1958 he was writing for Unzer shtime (Our voice) in Paris, where he published, among other items, portraits of the young writers’ group in Galicia between the two world wars.  His books include: Produktivizatsye, dertseylungen (Productivization, stories), concerning Jewish life in Galicia during the era of WWI (London, 1937), 136 pp.; For, du kleyner kozak, dertseylung (On your way, little Cossack!, a story), with a foreword by Sh. Goldberg and drawings by Alva (London, 1942), 48 pp.; Melokhe bezuye, dertseylung (Humiliating profession, a story), describing the spiritual condition of Jewish life during the era of WWII, with drawings by Dovid Nomberg (London, 1947), 100 pp., English edition translated by Hanna Berman under the title The Cockerel in the Basket (London, 1955), 56 pp.  A number of Liski’s stories were published in the five issues of Jewish Literary Gazette (London, 1951), which he edited with Y. Zontag.  He also compiled and edited the two-volume Gezamlte shriftn (Collected writings) of the deceased poet Y. H. Levi (London, 1956-1959).  He was one of the leaders of the Jewish Writers’ and Journalists’ Union in London and vice-president of the association “Friends of the Yiddish Language in England.”

Sources: Shmuel Niger, in Tog (New York) (December 28, 1931); Morris Meyer, in Di tsayt (London) (January 12, 1937); B. Shlevin, in Literarishe bleter (Warsaw) (Mfrch 26, 1937); Dr. A. Mukdoni, in Morgn-zhurnal (New York) (November 17, 1937); Y. Botoshanski, in Di prese (Buenos Aires) (August 25, 1937; January 10, 1943); Y. H. Levi, in Di tsayt and Gezamlte shriftn (Collected writings), vol. 2 (London, 1956), pp. 57-59; Sh. Ravidovits, in Metsada (London) (December 1943); Avrom Shulman, in Kiem (Paris) 9-11 (1952); Shulman, in Unzer shtime (Paris) (February 9, 1960); Sh. Oyerbakh, in Di idishe shtime (Paris) (March 14-15, 1959); M. Mindl, in Loshn un lebn (London) (October 1954); Dr. M. Naygreshl, in Fun noentn over (New York) 1 (1955), pp. 390-91; A. Nehor, in Yediot aḥaronot (Tel Aviv) (October 16, 1959); N. M. Sida, in The Circle (London) (February 1937); Y. Heler, in Zionist Review (London) (December 31, 1943); Cassel’s Encyclopedia of Literature (London, 1953).
Khayim Leyb Fuks

Wednesday, 19 April 2017


YANKEV LISKOVITS (b. February 17, 1884)
            He was born in Haysin (Haysyn), Mohilev (Mogilev) district, Byelorussia.  He attended religious primary school, and acquired his secular education with student-Bundists who attracted him to the Bund.  At age fourteen he became a typesetter for an illegal published house.  In 1903 he helped organize the Jewish self-defense in Homel (Gomel).  After the Homel pogrom, he became a fierce Zionist and in 1904, as a pioneer, made aliya to Israel, and worked with “PIASH” (Proceedings of the Israel Academy of. Sciences and Humanities), but he suffered from malaria and had to leave the country.  In 1906 he moved to Cairo, Egypt, where in 1907 he received a position in a religious publishing house.  He was the editor-publisher of the hectographically-produced Yiddish weekly newspaper Di tsayt (The times) in Cairo (1907-1908), of which twenty-four issues appeared, of an illustrated weekly in Arabic (1909) in Cairo, and of the Hebrew-language weekly Leshana habaa beyerushalayim (Next year in Jerusalem) in Cairo (1910).  Over the course of thirty years, he was president of the Jewish cultural community in Cairo, and in recognition of his accomplishments a street was named after him.  After the 1948 invasion of the Arab countries into Israel, he departed from Egypt, where he had lived for over forty years.  He spent 1955-1956 traveling in the United States.  In the 1940s and 1950s, he contributed work to Der amerikaner (The American) in New York, which published his novels: Di farshleyerte velt (The veiled world) of 1950 and Farkholemte oygn (Dreamy eyes) of 1954.  In these novels he describes the life of the Arab effendis and the enslavement of the Arab woman.  He also wrote for Keneder odler (Canadian eagle) in Montreal.  He was last living in Ramat-Gan.

Source: Sh. Izban, in Der amerikaner (New York) (February 18, 1955); Sh. Ernst, in Keneder odler (Montreal) (June 5, 1959).
Benyomen Elis


NAKHMEN LIST (December 25, 1902-November 11, 1977)
            He was born in Loyev (Loyew), Byelorussia.  Over the years 1914-1921, he lived in the town of Amur, near Ekaterinoslav, where he took part in the struggles against the bands of Nestor Makhno and Simon Petliura.  He made aliya to Israel as a pioneer, worked on highways and buildings.  He was active, 1935-1936, in the underground Communist movement in Israel, Syria, Lebanon, and France.  In 1940 he served in the French army on the front against the Germans, and he later participated in the resistance, twice arrested by the Nazis and both times escaped.  He was in labor camps in Switzerland, later back in France.  In 1955 he settled in the state of Israel.  He began writing in 1933 in the French Communist press in Paris.  From 1946 he switched to Yiddish and Hebrew.  He was a member of the editorial board of Unzer vort (Our word) in Paris (1946-1955), and Letste nayes (Latest news) in Tel Aviv (from 1957), among other serials.  He was a specialist on Arab and Soviet politics, about which he frequently wrote for: Davar (Word), Lamerḥav (To the horizon), Omer (Speech), Molad (Birth), and Keshet (Rainbow), among others.  In Israel he edited the French publications: Les Peuples opprimés (Oppressed peoples) (Paris: La Documentation Permanente).  He authored the French-language books: La Question algerienne (The Algerian question) and L’État d’Israël devant le monde (The state of Israel before the world) (Paris, 1951), 223 pp.

Source: Sefer hashana shel haitonaim (The annual of newspapers) (Tel Aviv, 1960-1961).
Khayim Leyb Fuks


MALKE LISAK (1900-1965)
            She was born in Krashnevits (?), Poland.  She attended a Polish school.  From her youth she was interested in literature.  At age eleven she composed a play in Polish.  In 1915 she wrote a drama in Yiddish: Ayngefalene vent (Fallen walls).  Years later she traveled in Europe and lived for a time in Switzerland.  In 1921 she moved to Soviet Russia, settled in Moscow, and continued her writing there.  In book form: Velt-vinkl, a dray-akter (World-corner, a three act play), published together with two stories, “Afn roytn plats” (At a red plaza) and “A vakh-budke” (A sentry box) (Moscow, 1923), 32 pp.; Stratonavtn (Stratosphere fliers) (Moscow, 1935), 63 pp.  She also published stories in the journal Yungvald (Young forest) in 1925 and in the anthology Sovetish (Soviet) in Moscow in 1935.

Sources: Zalmen Zilbertsvayg, Leksikon fun yidishn teater (Handbook of the Yiddish theater), vol. 2 (New York, 1934); Chone Shmeruk, comp., Pirsumim yehudiim babrit-hamoatsot, 1917-1961 (Jewish publications in the Soviet Union, 1917-1961) (Jerusalem, 1961), see index.
Benyomen Elis

[Additional information from: Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 336; and Chaim Beider, Leksikon fun yidishe shrayber in ratn-farband (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers in the Soviet Union), ed. Boris Sandler and Gennady Estraikh (New York: Congress for Jewish Culture, Inc., 2011), pp. 207-8.]


KALMEN LIS (1903-August 19, 1942)
            He was born in Kovel (Kovle), Volhynia, into a family that came there from village settlements.  He attended religious elementary school and a Polish high school.  He studied at senior high schools in Vilna and Warsaw, specializing in the education of children with special needs.  From 1937 he administered the Tsentos Institution for Special Needs Children in Otwock, near Warsaw.  While still in school himself, he debuted in print with poems in Vilner vokh (Vilna week) and Voliner prese (Volhynia press), among other Yiddish newspapers and publications in Volhynia.  His first longer poem—“Konyukhes” (Horse stable men)—quickly gained him recognition, thanks to its original Volhynian motifs.  In 1927 he moved to Warsaw, and for several years he belonged to the young writers who assembled around Vokhnshrift far literatur (Weekly writing for literature) and the Bundist daily Folkstsaytung (People’s newspaper).  In 1930 he joined the “leftist” writers’ group and became a contributor to its legal and illegal publications, but during the Moscow show trials in the Soviet Union in the 1930s, he left this group.  Lis published poetry, reviews, and literary-critical articles as well in: Yugnt-veker (Youth alarm), Foroys (Onward), Literarishe bleter (Literary leaves)—among other poems: “Volin” (Volhynia), “Marko” (Marko), “Yugnt” (Youth), “Shiml” (Mildew), and “Dos naye shtetl” (The new town)—Arbeter-tsaytung (Workers’ newspaper), Fraye yugnt (Free youth), Shriftn (Writings), Dos kind (The child), Der fraynd (The friend), and Oyfgang (Arise) (1928), among others—in Warsaw; Vilner tog (Vilna day), Yung-vilne (Young Vilna), Zibn teg (Seven days), and Kurts (Short), among others—in Vilna; Shtern (Star) and Lebn un kamf (Life and struggle), a collection of leftwing writers in Poland—in Minsk (1936).  His books include: Voliner shlyakhn (Volhynian battles) (Warsaw, 1930), 78 pp., poetry from his first period, including the poem “Der zeyde fun pravole” (Grandfather from Pravole); Vinter in dorf, fragmentn fun a poeme (Winter in a village, fragments of a poem) (Pietrkov, 1933), 16 pp.; Frilings vintn (Spring winds), poems on revolutionary motifs (Pietrkov, 1934), 48 pp.; Dos lid fun peter batrak, poeme fun di tsarishe tsaytn (The poem of Peter Batrak, a poem from Tsarist times) (Warsaw, 1935), 124 pp.; Kind un rind (One and all), poems of kindergarten and preschool (Warsaw: Shvalbn, 1936), 78 pp.; Erd un vayb (Land and wife), lyrical motifs and love poems (Moscow, 1937), 48 pp.; Der heyl-pedagogisher anshtalt “Tsentos” un zayn dertsiungs-sistem (The therapeutic-educational institution “Tsentos” and its educational method) (Warsaw, 1937), 48 pp.  He translated into verse form Alexander Pushkin’s A maysele vegn dem fisher un dem goldenem fishele (A tale of the fisherman and the little golden fish [original: Skazka o rybake i rybke]) (Warsaw: Kinder-fraynd, 1937), 16 pp.; and Fun pushkins lirik (From Pushkin’s lyric) (Warsaw: Shriftn, 1937-1938), 48 pp.  He was the editor of Lirik, poetisher byuletin (Lyric, poetic bulletin), vol. 1 Warsaw, 1938); co-editor (with Sh. Zaromb) of Dos ershte zamlbukh fun der moderner yidisher lirik (The first collection of the modern Yiddish lyric), an anthology of the modern Yiddish lyric throughout the entire world (Warsaw, summer 1939), set in type but not published because of the war; the same for his books, Farneplte randn (Hazy edges) and Tsugast bay der velt (Visitor in the world), poems from the years 1937-1939, and Antologye fun voliner dikhter (Anthology of Volhynian poets), which was awarded the Y. L. Perets Prize for young poets from the Yiddish Pen Center in Warsaw in 1939.
            On September 1, 1939, the first day of the German invasion of Poland, at the time of the bombing of the Tsentos Institution in Otwock, Lis was wounded in his feet, and for a lengthy period of time he was recuperating in a Warsaw hospital; he then returned to Otwock and went on to run the institution for special needs children until August 16, 1942, when the Germans attacked the institution and shot the children.  Lis succeeded in escaping and hiding with a peasant, but the Nazis discovered his hiding place, and on August 19 seized and shot him on the spot.  After the war, in the underground Warsaw archive that was unearthed were poems by Lis—“Vos shvaygstu, velt” (Why are you silent, world), “Barg-motiv” (Mountain motif), and “A briv mit an entfer” (A letter with an answer)—which convey the mood of the poet with the background of the tragic Nazi reality.  A portion of the poems in Lis’s literary heritage are included in the anthology Dos lid iz geboyrn (The poem is born) (Warsaw, 1951), pp. 110-26, and in Pinkes kovel (Records of Kovel) (Buenos Aires, 1951), pp. 215-20 (there is also a poem here, dedicated to his memory, by his fellow Kovel native, Kehat Kliger).

Sources: Sh. Zaromb, in Literarishe bleter (Warsaw) (September 18, 1930); B. Shnaper, in Tsushtayer (Lemberg) 3 (April 1931); Itsik Fefer, Di yidishe literatur in di kapitalistishe lender (Yiddish literature in capitalist countries) (Kharkov, 1933), p. 100; A. Damesek, in Shtern (Minsk) (December 1934); A, Mark, in Literarishe bleter (August 9, 1935; August 16, 1935); Meylekh Ravitsh, Mayn leksikon (My lexicon), vol. 1 (Montreal, 1945), pp. 116-18; Rokhl Oyerbakh, in Eynikeyt (New York) (June 1946); Oyerbakh, in Kidesh hashem (Sanctification of the name) (New York, 1947), p. 108; Oyerbakh, Beḥutsot varsha, 1939-1943 (In the streets of Warsaw, 1939-1943), trans. Mordekhai Ḥalamish (Tel Aviv: Am oved, 1954), pp. 144, 245; L. Finkelshteyn, Pidyen-hashem (Redemption of the Lord) (Toronto, 1948); M. Mirski, in Yidishe shriftn (Lodz) (December 1948); Yonas Turkov, Azoy iz es geven (That’s how it was) (Buenos Aires, 1948), see index; Y. Horn, in Unzer dor (Our generation) (Buenos Aires, 1949); B. Mark, Umgekumene shrayber fun di getos un lagern (Murdered writers from the ghettos and camps) (Warsaw, 1954), pp. 125-30; Y. Papyernikov, Heymishe un noente (Familiar and close) (Tel Aviv, 1958), pp. 236-38; Dr. Y. Ringelblum, in Bleter far geshikhte (Warsaw) 12 (1959), pp. 6-7; Chone Shmeruk, comp., Pirsumim yehudiim babrit-hamoatsot, 1917-1961 (Jewish publications in the Soviet Union, 1917-1961) (Jerusalem, 1961), see index; N. Mayzil, Tsurikblikn un perspektivn (Retrospectives and perspectives) (Tel Aviv, 1962), see index.
Khayim Leyb Fuks

Tuesday, 18 April 2017


YUDE LIS (October 21, 1908-November 17, 1967)
            He was born in Grayeve (Grajewo), near Bialystok, Russian Poland.  In his youth he moved to Bialystok, where he studied in a Hebrew high school and joined the Zionist movement.  He later moved on to Warsaw, and there worked for the Jewish National Fund.  In 1939 he made aliya to Israel.  He published poetry in Dos naye lebn (The new life) and Undzer lebn (Our life) over the years 1920-1939 in Bialystok.  He also contributed to: Literarishe bleter (Literary leaves), Haynt (Today), and Folk un tsien (People and Zion) in Warsaw.  He published in both Yiddish and Hebrew the poem Likui haḥama (The solar system).  In the 1930s he published in Undzer lebn a novel entitled Der tog-bukh fun yirmiyahu khamsin (The diary of Jeremiah Khamsin).  He was director of the community and press division of the Jewish National Fund in Jerusalem.

Sources: Dos naye lebn (Bialystok), jubilee issue (1919-1929); Byalistoker leksikon (Bialystok handbook) (Bialystok, 1935); Literarishe bleter (Warsaw) (September 23, 1936); Undzer lebn (Bialystok) (February 4, 1938); Lebns-fragn (Tel Aviv) (March 1955); Miyomi (Israel, 1955), p. 266.
Yankev Kahan


AVROM LIS (b. May 1913)
            He was born in Bialystok, Russian Poland.  He graduated from the local Hebrew high school.  He cofounded (in 1933) the Jewish Cultural Association in Bialystok.  For several years he served as administrator of the Yehoash Reading Room of the Yiddish Writers’ and Journalists’ Circle there.  He debuted in print in 1935 in Bialystok’s Unzer lebn (Our life), edited by Peysekh Kaplan, with a treatment of the artist and woodcutter A. Kharif.  In 1936 he made aliya to Israel, where his parents, two sisters, and his extended family were living, having settled there years before.  Lis wrote, primarily literary-critical articles and essays, in: Unzer lebn and Yidish tsaytung (Jewish newspaper) in Bialystok; Di prese (The press) and Der shpigl (The mirror) in Buenos Aires; Tint un feder (Ink and pen) in Toronto; Yidishe kultur (Jewish culture) in New York; Kiem (Existence) in Paris; Dorem-afrike (South Africa) in Johannesburg; Byalistoker shtime (Voice of Bialystok) in New York; Nay velt (New world), Letste nayes (Latest news), Goldene keyt (Golden chain), Undzer haynt (Our today), Bleter (Pages), Undzers (Ours), Shtamen (Tribes), Yisroel-shriftn (Israeli writings), Al hamishmar (On guard), and Yeda am (Folklore), among others, in Israel.  He co-edited: Bleter far literatur un kritik (Pages of literature and criticism), published by the Jewish Writers’ and Journalists’ Club of Israel (Tel Aviv, 1941-1944); the collection Undzers (Tel Aviv, 1941); and together with A. Rives, the anthology Undzers (Tel Aviv, 1949).  Over the years 1952-1954, he served as editor of the literary page of the weekly newspaper Undzer haynt in Tel Aviv.  From 1938 with short breaks, he was a member of the presidium of Jewish Writers’ and Journalists’ Club (later, Union).  He was cofounder of the Sholem-Aleykhem Cultural Association in Israel, chairman of the Friends of YIVO in Israel, and initiator and contributor to a series of campaigns to fight for the rights of Yiddish in Israel, and he also composed a great number of articles on the subject.  With the establishment of the Yiddish Hour on Israeli radio, Lis contributed to programs of “Kol Yisroel” (Voice of Israel) with conversations about modern Yiddish and Hebrew literature.  Over the years 1949-1952, he led discussions entitled “Israeli motifs in Yiddish literature” (later also in the general Hebrew-language program).  Later still he ran the programs: “Shrayber un verk” (Writers and works), “In der yidisher velt” (In the Yiddish world), and “Gest baym mikrofon” (Guests at the microphone).  He also took part in the Hebrew program “Yalkut lesifrut” (Literary magazine) with reports on events in Yiddish literature and culture in the Diaspora.  In 1960 Lis’s book Heym un doyer, vegn shrayber un verk (Home and duration, on writers and work) (Tel Aviv: Y. L. Perets Library), 333 pp., appeared—a number of essays on Yiddish and Hebrew writers, mainly those who lived or were then living in Israel.  Subsequent books include: In skhus fun vort (By virtue of the word) (Tel Aviv, 1969), 331 pp.; In der mekhitse fun shafer (In the compartment of creating) (Tel Aviv, 1978), 270 pp.; Shmuesn biktav (Conversations in writing) (Tel Aviv, 1985), 240 pp.  He edited: Dr. y. rubin-rivkai, opshatsungen un zikhroynes (Dr. Y. Rubin-Rivkai, appreciations and memoirs) (Tel Aviv, 1963), 107 pp.; Zalman shazer, nasi vesofer (Zalman Shazar, president and writer) (Tel Aviv, 1969), 267 pp.; Sefer Reuven rubinshteyn (Reuven Rubinstein volume) (Tel Aviv, 1971), 302 pp.—all in Hebrew and Yiddish.  He prepared for publication: Opshatsungen un eseyen (Appreciations and essays) by Zalman Shazar (Tel Aviv, 1976), 220 pp.  Lis was part of the important force behind writing in Yiddish in the state of Israel.  He visited the United States in 1962, making a trip across the country on assignment for YIVO and preparing a report for the annual YIVO conference in New York.  He was last living in Tel Aviv.  In 1980 he received the prime minister’s prize, and in 1984 the Atran Prize.

Lis on the far right

Sources: Meylekh Ravitsh, Mayn leksikon (My lexicon), vol. 3 (Montreal, 1958); Ravitsh, in Di goldene keyt (Tel Aviv) 39 (1961); Ravitsh, in Keneder odler (Montreal) (November 19, 1961); M. Ḥalamish, in Al hamishmar (Tel Aviv) (August 18, 1960); Yankev Glatshteyn, in Idisher kemfer (New York) (August 19, 1960); M. Daytsh, in Heymish (Tel Aviv) 50-52 (1960); Roza Nevadovska, in Byalistoker shtime (New York) (September 1960); A. Lev, in Lebns-fragn (Tel Aviv) (December 1960); Sh. Izban, in Tog-morgn-zhurnal (New York) (September 23, 1961); B. Ts. Goldberg, in Tog-morgn-zhurnal (September 30, 1961); Y. Shmulevitsh, in Forverts (New York) (October 1, 1961); A. Glants, in Tog-morgn-zhurnal (February 14, 1962).
Mortkhe Yofe

[Additional information from: Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 336.]


YOYEL LINKOVSKI (1904-mid-1984)
            He was born in Pruzhane (Prużana), Poland.  In the early 1920s, he immigrated to Argentina.  For over ten years, he served as editor of the biweekly newspaper Unzer lebn (Our life) in Buenos Aires.  Due to an illegality in the publication, the true name of the editor was not given, and it passed under the pseudonym Y. Shvarts.
Yoysef Horn

Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), cols. 335-36.


YITSKHOK-YOYEL LINETSKI (ISAAC JOEL LINETZKY) (September 8, 1839-September 23, 1915)
            He was born in Vinitse (Vinnytsa, Vinnytsya), Podolia.  His father, Yoysef Linitser, a rabbi and, moreover, a zealous Hassid and mystic, sought to raise his son on the basis of Hassidism and Kabbala, and entrusted him to the supervision of the Kloyzner ultra-Orthodox who guided the bright youngster, a prodigy, in a despotic manner, smacking, cursing, and humiliating him, and not allowing him to learn a single passage of Tanakh while stuffing him with secrets of Kabbala.  This aroused in the lad a deep sentiment of protest against Hassidism generally, as he sought out the acquaintance of local followers of the Jewish Enlightenment and quietly began to devote himself to the Enlightenment.  His father noticed this, and to put an end to his son’s heresy, he married him off at age fourteen to a twelve-year-old girl.  As Linetski, though, succeeded in persuading his young wife to his side, his father was compelled to give her a divorce and then married him off a second time with a blind, mentally handicapped woman.  This outrageousness made an enormous impression on the sixteen-year-old Linetski, and he set out on an open fight against wild fanaticism.  In this struggle the Hassidim fought against him with all means at hand, as they even tried to have him thrown into the river and killed, but with the assistance of the police Linetski succeeded in being saved, and surreptitiously left for Odessa, where he gave Hebrew lessons and also ran a children’s school in Hebrew, while at the same time studying German and preparing to travel to Breslau to attend the rabbinical seminary there.  In Odessa as well, though, he suffered under the persecutions on the part of the Hassidim and escaped from there to Breslau, but en route—in the town of Novoselits (Novoseltsa), near the Austrian border—the local rabbi detained him, informed his father who came after him, and led him to the Sadigurer rebbe “to seek repentance”—Linetski described the trip in his comedy Hanesia hagedola (The big trip), and thereafter brought him back to Vinnytsya.  After divorcing his second wife, he this time departed for Zhitomir, where for a short time he studied at the rabbinical school and where he for the first time got to know and befriend Avrom Goldfaden.  After Zhitomir, he lived for several years in Kiev, where he earned a living teaching and writing poetry which later appeared in his collection Der beyzer marshelik (The wicked jester).  In late 1864 he published in issue 46 of Hamelits (The advocate) his article “Lo talakh rakhil beamekha” (Do not deal in slander with your people), and for the next two years he contributed to this periodical.  That year he also married a woman whom he loved, and thus began a period for Linetski of many years’ wandering with his growing family.  He changed his residence frequently, lived in cities and villages (in southern Russia), while he worked as a teacher, a bookbinder, an employee in a whiskey distillery, and a merchant at fairs.  On two occasions over the course of those years, he happened to meet Avrom Goldfaden who had yet to find his way to the Yiddish theater; they attempted in partnership to run a business which ended poorly.  At that time, Linetski also began writing in Yiddish.  He debuted in print in Yiddish with a satire, “Gezukht un gezukht un gefunen mayns” (Looked and looked and found mine), a correspondence piece from Nikopol, published in Kol mevaser (Herald) (Odessa) 8 (February 28, 1867).  In issue 16 of Kol mevaser (June 9, 1867), he began publishing his work Dos poylishe yingl (The Polish lad), which he signed “Eli Kotsin Hatskhakueli,” an anagram of his name.  This work aroused a genuine sensation.  When a sequel from this work ought to have appeared in print, an impatient crowd gathered at the editorial office to wait for the issuance of the newspaper.  His biting satire of the Hassidim reached all layers and circles of the Jewish population in the Pale of Settlement and even abroad.  The author, who until then had gone unnoticed, suddenly became popular everywhere, even in the courts of Hassidic rebbes.  Linetski was living at the time in a secluded area between Kherson and Simferopol.  When the news reached him about the success of his work, he left for Odessa in self-confidence to collect his royalties from the newspaper, but the editor of the newspaper, Aleksander Tsederboym, told him: “Not I to you, but you should pay me, for I have made you famous.”  In issue 44 of Kol mevaser, the first part of Dos poylishe yingl came to an end, and some two years later the publisher of Kol mevaser brought out the work together with the second part in book form (Odessa, 1869), with a preface by Tsederboym.  At this time Linetski published in Kol mevaser many feature pieces, virtually all of which in a satirical tone.  He later began to publish his own work by himself, initially with his short book of satirical folksongs, Der beyzer marshelik, and then in 1872 he brought out in Odessa Der velt-luekh fun yohr eyn kesef (The world calendar of the year of no money), a collection with parodies of a calendar in verse and prose (95 pp.), in which he principally ridiculed various phenomena in Jewish life, mainly the Hassidic way of life.  His subsequent literary publications include: Dos mishlakhes (The calamity), “scenes from Jewish life” (Zhitomir, 1875), 71 pp., and Der kol-boynik (The rascal), “scenes from Jewish life” (Zhitomir, 1876), 72 pp.  In 1875 Linetski turned up in Lemberg, where he once again encountered his childhood friend Avrom Goldfaden, and together they published (between July 1875 and February 1876) the weekly newspaper Yisroelik, “a newspaper for all Jews,” which exerted an impact on its readers.  After the newspaper ceased publication, he again left for Odessa where he began to publish a series entitled Linetskis ksovim (Linetski’s writings), of which only the first two volumes appeared: Der pritshepe (The bellicose fellow) and Der statek (The well-behaved fellow).  Over the years 1878-1882, he devoted himself to the grain business in various port cities on the Black Sea, but the pogroms cut him off from business, and in 1882 he became a resident of Odessa, and literature became the sole source for him to earn a living.  He became a fierce “lover of Zion” (Ḥovev-tsiyon) and propagandist on behalf of the idea of settling the land of Israel in a series of pamphlets, such as: Amerika tsi erets yisroel (America or the land of Israel) (1882), 16 pp., and Aher oder ahin (Here or there) (1882), among others.  Linetski began focusing on translations, but there was no living to be made from them.  In 1886 he was in Botoșani, Romania, launching publication of the weekly newspaper Natsyonal (National), but after its twenty-first issue the Romanian authorities closed down the publication and expelled the editor from the country.  Until the early 1890s, he remained extremely active.  Aside from his writing, in this period he also published a series of sporadic newspapers, in which he with his satirical and spicy wit spared neither the Hassidim nor the Enlightenment Jews, neither the community leaders nor the assimilated Jewish intellectuals.  At this point, he was already one of the first to recognize the positive aspects of the old Jewish way of life, even of Hassidism.  With his books and newspapers, published for the most part by his own account, Linetski for many years traveled through the cities and towns of the Pale.  An excellent orator, he would also appear at concerts and literary evenings.  In book form he published: Ksovim (Writings), vol. 1: Der praktisher folks-kalendar (The practical people’s calendar) (Odessa, 1875), and Der pritshepe (Odessa: Ulrikh un Shultse, 1876), “critical, satirical, and humorous essays and poems,” 64 pp., vol. 2: Der statek (Odessa: L. Nittsshe, 1876), “critical, satirical, and humorous essays and poems,” 127 pp.; Der beyzer marshelik (Warsaw, 1879), satirical folk-songs, 48 pp.; Di kurtse geografye fun palestine un ir itsigen tsushtand (Short geography of Palestine and its contemporary situation) (Odessa, 1882), 31 pp.; Der velt-luekh fun yohr eyn kesef (Odessa, 1883), 86 pp.; Dos poylishe yungel, oder a biografye fun zikh aleyn (The Polish lad, or a biography of himself) (Odessa, 1885), 132 pp.; Der plapler (The chatterbox) (Odessa, 1887), 8 pp.; Dos khsidishe yingel (The Hassidic lad) (Vilna, 1897), 280 pp.; Nit toyt, nit lebedik (Neither dead nor alive) (Vilna, 1898), 82 pp.; Fir naye sheyne lider (Four lovely new poems) (Warsaw, 1902), 24 pp.; Der nakhalne zhid (The brash Jew) (Odessa, 1907), 16 pp.; Fin’m yarid, a fantazye, tsu mayn zibetsig yoriger geburtstog (From the fair, a fantasy, on my sixtieth birthday) (Odessa, 1909), 16 pp.  His translations include: Di geshikhte fin’m yudishen folk (The history of the Jewish people), “translated and freely adapted from Dr. Graetz with my own perspectives and observations concerning numerous facts and personalities,” 4 vols. (Odessa, 1883-1885), 698 pp.; Nosn der khokhem (Nathan the wise [original: Nathan der Weise]), by Gotthold Ephraim Lessing, “freely translated and adapted into the Yiddish language” (Odessa, 1884), 80 pp.; Iber a pintele, di berihmte hebraishe poeme kotso shel yod (Because of a dot, the famous Hebrew poem, “Kotso shel yod”), by Yehuda Leib Gordon (Odessa, 1904), 48 pp.; and Nur nikht yudish (Only not in Yiddish), by N. N. Samuel (Odessa, 1899), 34 pp.; among others.  Nit toyt, nit lebedik, which was supposed to be a sequel to Dos poylishe yingl, was first published in Sholem-Aleykhem’s Yudishe folks-biblyotek (Jewish people’s library), vol. 1 (Kiev, 1888), under the title “Der vorem in khreyn” (The worm in the horseradish).  Dos poylishe yingl went through nearly thirty editions, the final one in Kiev in 1939.  An adaptation of this work for the schoolroom was made by B. Kahan and Y. Rudin (Moscow-Kharkov-Kiev, 1930), 99 pp.  A portion of Dos poylishe yingle, entitled Reb eybishes mitsl (Reb Eybishe’s cap), appeared in Minsk in 1941, 25 pp.  In November 1890, a group of Linetski’s friends celebrated the twenty-fifth anniversary of his literary activities.  The “Khevre mefitse haskole” (Society for the promotion of enlightenment [among the Jews of Russia]) was practically the only major Jewish organization which demonstrated its participation at the celebration.  From that time on, he lived largely as a man forgotten by the wider Jewish public.  Shortly before WWI, when the newspaper Unzer leben (Our life) was beginning to be published, Linetski came back to life a bit and for a time contributed to the newspaper.  He died in Odessa, when the fires of WWI were all aflame, and his passing aroused no special repercussions.  On his gravestone at the Jewish cemetery in Odessa, there is engraved an epitaph in Hebrew which he prepared himself:

Here lies a man whose heart was stirred for all, with only love and faith
Yet he did not taste the taste of love and mercy all his life;
Good faith demands truth from birth
And all those who knew rose against him at the devil’s command.
A man who was born an old man and died a little boy,
This is the man,
Yitsḥak-Yoel, the son of Yosef, Linetski,
He was a writer of the people, who wrote in blood
Who poured forth like water, as long as he was alive,

Until his soul rose up to sky!

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 2, with a detailed bibliography; Zalmen Zilbertsvayg, Leksikon fun yidishn teater (Handbook of the Yiddish theater), vol. 2 (New York, 1934); A. Gurshteyn, “Sakhaklen fun der mendele-forshung” (A summing up of Mendele research), Tsaytshrift 2-3 (1928), pp. 485-524; M. Shalit, Lukhes in undzer literatur (Calendars in our literature) (Vilna, 1929), p. 17; Nokhum Shtif, Di eltere yidishe literatur (The older Yiddish literature) (Kiev, 1929), pp. 225-46; Avrom Reyzen, Epizodn fun mayn lebn (Episodes from my life), vol. 2 (Vilna, 1929), pp. 153-54; Y. Riminik, in Tsaytshrift (Minsk) 5 (1931); Riminik, in Shtern (Minsk) (September 1939); Riminik, in Fargesene lider (Forgotten poems) (Moscow, 1939); Sh. Ortenberg, Y. y. linetski, zayn lebn un shafn (Y. Y. Linetski, his life and work) (Vinnytsya, 1931), 64 pp.; M. Greydenberg, “Fartseykhenungen vegn mayn foter” (Notes about my father), Tsyatshrift 5 (1931); Greydenberg, in Hadoar (New York) (February 15, 1946); E. Spivak, in Afn shprakhfront (Kiev) 1 (1937); M. Notovitsh, Y. y. linetski, 1839-1939 (Y. Y. Linetski, 1839-1939) (Moscow, 1939), 61 pp.; A. Vorobaytshik, “Briv fun dinezonen un spektorn tsu linetskin” (Letters from Dinezon and Spektor to Linetski), in Mendele un zayn tsayt (Mendele and his era) (Moscow, 1940); R. Granovski, Yitskhok-yoyel linetski un zayn dor (Yitskhok-Yoyel Linetski and his generation) (New York, 1941); Shmuel Niger, Dertseylers un romanistn (Storytellers and novelists) (New York, 1946), pp. 77-78; Niger, Habikoret uveayoteha (Criticism and its problems) (Jerusalem, 1957), p. 351; Niger, Bleter geshikhte fun der yidisher literatur (Pages of history from Yiddish literature) (New York, 1959), pp. 257-59; M. Laks, in Folks-shtime (Warsaw) (November 10, 1956); Chone Shmeruk, comp., Pirsumim yehudiim babrit-hamoatsot, 1917-1961 (Jewish publications in the Soviet Union, 1917-1961) (Jerusalem, 1961), see index; A. R. Malachi, in Yidisher bukh-almanakh (New York, 1962); N. Mayzil, Tsurikblikn un perspektivn (Retrospectives and perspectives) (Tel Aviv, 1962), see index.
Borekh Tshubinski

Monday, 17 April 2017


SHOYEL LINDER (1886-December 24, 1960)
           He was born in Zlatshev (Zolochiv), eastern Galicia.  He attended religious primary school and a Polish public school, but at age fourteen he had to set out on a migratory path.  In the summer of 1900, he arrived in London and, under the influence of Rudolf Rocker, joined the anarchist movement, where for many years he assumed a leading position.  In 1907 he was the London delegate to the international anarchist conference in Amsterdam.  Over the years 1910-1914, he was manager and co-editor of Arbayter fraynd (Workers’ friend) in London, in which, among other items, he published theater reviews.  He was a regular London correspondent for New York’s Fraye arbeter-shtime (Free voice of labor).  In left England in 1918, lived for a time in Sweden and Germany, and in 1923 arrived in New York.  From 1940 he was the manager and from 1950 editor of Fraye arbeter-shtime, for which, among other things, he was in charge of the column “Farvalters vinkl” (Manager’s corner) and published (under the pen name “Sh. L.”) his memoirs (beginning in November 1960) of twenty years with Fraye arbeter-shtime.  Linder made every effort to continue the high level of the newspaper and attracted as contributors writers from a variety of inclinations and opinions.  He died in New York.

Sources: F. Gustav, in Fraye arbeter-shtime (New York) (July 30, 1948); obituary notice in Fraye arbeter-shtime (January 1, 1961); A. R. Malachi, in Fraye arbeter-shtime (January 15, 1961); A. Thorn, in Fraye arbeter-shtime (February 1, 1961; April 1, 1962); A. Zukhi, in Fraye arbeter-shtime (March 1, 1961); Yedies fun yivo (New York) (January 1961); Sam Margolis, in Fraye arbeter-shtime (December 15, 1961).
Khayim Leyb Fuks


N. B. LINDER (LYNDER) (May 26, 1885-August 25, 1960)
            The pen name of Naftole Blinder, he was born in Berdichev, Ukraine.  He attended religious primary school and studied secular subject matter privately.  For a time he studied at a commercial school in Lodz.  In 1903 he immigrated to the United States.  He was a diligent reader of Yiddish literature from his early childhood years, and after making the acquaintance of a group of young Yiddish writers on New York’s East Side, he made his own efforts to test his writing ability.  In 1906 he first published a story in Fraye arbeter-shtime (Free voice of labor).  Encouraged by the then editor of Fraye arbeter-shtime, Sh. Yanovski, he more frequently published stories and sketches in the newspaper.  He also placed work in: Glaykhheyt (Equality), Gerekhtikeyt (Justice), Dos yudishe folk (The Jewish people), Der idisher kemfer (The Jewish fighter), and Yungvald (Young forest)—in New York; Di idishe velt (The Jewish world) in Philadelphia; and elsewhere.  In 1916 he co-edited (with Morris Winchevsky) the weekly newspaper Glaykhheyt; in 1920 he edited the labor section—as “labor editor”—of the daily newspaper Di tsayt (The times).  From 1921 he was a regular contributor to Tog (Day), and later Tog-morgn-zhurnal (Day-morning journal), in New York.  He published novels, plays, theater criticism, book reviews, journalistic articles, and reportage pieces.  He also translated from Russian stories by Tolstoy, Chekhov, Arkady Averchenko, and, with certain abridgements, the book Dos lebn un shafn fun shimen dubnov (The life and works of Simon Dubnov [original: Zhiznʹ i tvorchestvo S. M. Dubnova]) by Sofia Dubnov-Erlikh.  For Tog he translated from English and American writers, such as a volume on the rise of the state of Israel and the autobiography of Stephen Wise.  In book form, he published: In yene teg (In those days), types and images of past Jewish life in Berdichev (New York, 1957), 231 pp.  When Sholem-Aleykhem came to New York in the summer of 1914, Linder was one of those who befriended him and regularly accompanied him on walks through New York.  In the Sholem-aleykhem bukh (Sholem-Aleykhem volume), edited by Y. D. Berkovich (New York, 1926), Linder co-edited the section entitled “Mayses vegn sholem-aleykhem” (Stories about Sholem-Aleykhem), in which he recounted as an eyewitness several episodes that characterized Sholem-Aleykhem from that period.  Among his pen names: Naftole-Ber, N. Ber, and N. Bli-Neder.  “In his book In yene teg,” wrote Arn Tsaytlin, “N. B. Linder shows us a large Jewish community of the past: Berdichev.  We see just how America is the solution for all manner of bad dreams that one left behind on the other side of the ocean….  In addition to purely literary value (a kind of fiction made up of facts), this work has considerable value for the future historian who will proceed to the chapter on America in modern Jewish history not only according to the established, conventional manner.  The material that [the historian] will find in Linder’s book will have to be intregrated—one way or another—onto his canvas.”  He visited Israel in 1935 and died in New York.

Sources: Shmiel Niger, “Shomers mishpet, af sholem aleykhem” (Shomer’s trial, from Sholem-Aleykhem), Tsukunft (New York) (January 1947); Der Lebediker, in Tog-morgn-zhurnal (New York) (April 28, 1957); Dr. A. Mukdoni, in Tog-morgn-zhurnal (June 16, 1957); Y. Horovits, in Fraye arbeter-shtime (New York) (June 28, 1957); Arn Tsaytlin, in Tog-morgn-zhurnal (June 28, 1957); B. Ts. Goldberg, in Tog-morgn-zhurnal (August 30, 1958); B. Tshubinski, in Idisher kemfer (New York) (May 20, 1960); Ray Raskin, in Tog-morgn-zhurnal (June 19, 1960); editorial, in Tog-morgn-zhurnal (August 24, 1960); A. Glants, in Tog-morgn-zhurnal (August 28, 1960).
Borekh Tshubinski


MENAKHEM (MENACHEM) LINDER (July 8, 1911-April 18, 1942)
            He was born in Snyatin (Śniatyń), eastern Galicia.  During WWI he lived with his parents as refugees in Vienna, after the war returning to Snyatin.  He attended religious elementary school, a Hebrew school, and a Polish state high school.  In his student years he was active in the Ukrainian socialist movement, as well as in Jewish youth organizations.  He graduated in law from Lemberg University.  He won a prize from the headquarters of the Gmiles-Khsidim-Kases (“Tsekabe” or Central No-Interest Loan Office) in Warsaw for a social-economic description of his hometown of Snyatin.  Because of legal restrictions on Jewish lawyers in the profession, he devoted himself to Jewish learning.  In 1935 he entered the first cycle of research students at YIVO in Vilna; his research project was “Der zemsherfakh in vilne” (The chamois making vocation in Vilna).  In 1936 he settled in Warsaw, became the secretary of the Warsaw association of friends of YIVO, and served also as editorial board secretary of Di yidishe ekonomik (Jewish economics) published by the economics-statistics section of YIVO (edited by Yankev Leshtshinski).  He wrote a series of research works and published them in YIVO publications, among them: “Vi azoy lebt der poylisher arbeter?” (How does the Polish worker live?), Yivo-bleter (Pages from YIVO) (Vilna) 9 (1936), pp. 131-35; “Dos drukvezn in poyln in di yorn 1933-1934” (Publishing in Poland in the years 1933-1934), Yivo-bleter 19 (1936), pp. 303-12; “Garberay in bolekhov” (Tanneries in Bolekhov [Bolekhiv]), Di yidishe ekonomik (Warsaw) 1 (1937), pp. 19-26; “Der khurbn fun yidishn handl in byalistoker rayon” (The destruction of Jewish business in the Bialystok district), Di yidishe ekonomik 2-3 (1937), pp. 13-33; “Di natsyonale struktur fun di shtet in poyln” (The national structure of the cities in Poland), Di yidishe ekonomik 2 (1938), pp. 26-39; “Di yidishe industrye in erets yisroel” (Jewish industry in the land of Israel), Di yidishe ekonomik 2 (1938), pp. 446-61; with Hersh Shner, “Yidishe arbet in yidishe industrye-unternemungen” (Jewish labor in Jewish industrial undertakings), Di yidishe ekonomik 5-6 (1938), pp. 201-24; “Dos yidishe geto in varshe” (The Jewish ghetto in Warsaw), Di yidishe ekonomik 3 (1939), pp. 145-74; as well as other pieces in Yivo-bleter, Di yidishe ekonomik, Literarishe bleter (Literary leaves), and many other treatments of new works on social economy, statistics, and demography which appeared in a number of languages.  With help from the headquarters of professional associations, he made an important piece of research into the role of Jews in the Lodz textile industry.  “His scholarly perspective and his orientation in general problems,” wrote Max Weinreich, “became wider and wider….  Linder was one of the truly most promising young scholars produced by Jewish Poland between the two wars.”
            Just before the outbreak of WWII, Linder was scheduled to leave for the United States, but the Nazi invasion destroyed his plans.  When Vilna was for a short time part of neutral Lithuania (October 1939-July 1940), Vilna YIVO strove to enable him to leave via Sweden, but this too was unsuccessful, and he remained under the Nazi occupation of Warsaw.  In the Warsaw Ghetto, Linder was one of the first organizers of the community aid committee, run by the statistics division of the Joint Distribution Committee and provided statistical materials for illegal newspapers.  At his initiative, on February 21, 1941 was created the Jewish cultural organization in the Warsaw Ghetto (YIKOR).  He went at the head of a delegation to the appointed “Jewish Elder” Adam Czerniaków with a demand that Yiddish be the obligatory language of the Judenrat (Jewish council); and he helped establish a network of schools, courses, a public university, a Jewish library, lectures, and (with Dr. Emanuel Ringelblum) he founded the Central Jewish Archive.  On the night of April 17-18, 1942—“bloody Friday night”—the Germans forced him out of his home at 52 Leshno St. and shot him.  In a moment of desperation, his wife burned his diary which Linder had kept in the Warsaw Ghetto.  He used to sign his name with the title “Magister” (Master of Arts).

Sources: A yor arbet in der aspirantur afn nomen fun d”r tsemekh shabad baym yidishn visnshaflekhn institute (A year’s work in the Dr. Cemach Szabad Training Division of the Yiddish Scientific Institute) (Vilna, 1937); Dos tsveyte yor aspirantur afn nomen tsemekh shabad baym yidishn visnshaftlekhn institut (The second year “Tsemekh Shabad” research students at YIVO) (Vilna, 1938); Yivo-biblyografye (YIVO bibliography), part 1, 1925-1941 (New York, 1943); M. V. (Max Weinreich), “Menakhem Linder,” Yivo-bleter (New York) 20.2 (November-December 1942), pp. 286-89; Dr. E. Ringelblum, in his letter “Tsum yidishn visnshaftlekhn institut (yivo), tsum yidishn pen-klub, tsu sholem ash, h. leyvik, y. opatoshu, r. mahler” (To the Yiddish Scientific Institute [YIVO], to the Yiddish Pen Club, to Sholem Asch, H. Leivick, Y. Opatoshu, R. Mahler), Yivo-bleter 24 (September-December 1944); Ringelblum, Notitsn fun varshever geto (Notices from the Warsaw Ghetto) (Warsaw, 1952), pp. 308, 321; M. Nayshtat (Melech Noy), Ḥurban umered shel yehude varsha (Destruction and uprising of the Jews of Warsaw) (Tel Aviv, 1946), pp. 83, 196, 197, 316-17; Dr. H. Zaydman, Tog-bukh fun varshever geto (Diary of the Warsaw Ghetto) (Buenos Aires, 1947), pp. 124, 126, 140; B. Goldshteyn, Finf yor in varshever geto (Five years in the Warsaw Ghetto) (New York, 1947), p. 222; Yonas Turkov, Azoy iz es geven (That’s how it was) (Buenos Aires, 1948), see index; Yediot bet loḥame hagetaot (Haifa) (April, 1957); M. Vaykhert, Yidishe aleyn-hilf, 1939-1945 (Jewish self-help) (Tel Aviv, 1962), pp. 330, 305.
Zaynvl Diamant

Sunday, 16 April 2017


SHLOYME LINDERFELD (b. October 30, 1878)
            He was born in Warsaw, Poland.  He studied in religious primary school and in a Russian business school.  He chanted as a prayer leader, and he later joined a Yiddish theater troupe and became an actor.  He acted in various countries, before returning to Poland and becoming an entertainer at celebrations.  He published in his own name and with his initials “Sh. L.” numerous poems and couplets to popular melodies.  The publisher “Melodye” (Melody) in Warsaw brought out the following poems by Linderfeld, originals and those translated and adapted by him: “Di lustike minut” (The cheerful minute), “Dos shpayze tsetl” (The food list) (1910), “Ikh hob a kale” (I’ve got a bride), “Ikh borgn nisht keynem” (I lend to nobody) (1912), “Di havdole” (The end of the Sabbath and start of ordinary week), “Di lodkelekh” (The little boats), “Ven ikh tref dikh aleyn baynakht” (When I meet you alone at night), “Meshiekh af dem oytomobil” (The messiah in a car) (1916), “Dovidl iz popular” (David is popular), “Dos yingl mit a pas” (The boy with a pass) (1918), “Gvald, vu nemt men a dire?” (Help, where do I get an apartment?), “Tsum dashek” (To the peak), “Vos zogt ir af mayn mazl?” (What do you say about my luck?), “Donki, monki biznes” (Donkey, monkey business), “Yontef in der vokhn” (Holiday on weekdays), “Nerven, nerven” (Nerves, nerves), “Di velt hot zikh ibergekert” (The world turned over) (1926), and “Gvald, vu nemt men koyln?” (Help, where do I get coal?), published in “35 letste teater-lider” (Thirty-five final theater poems) (Warsaw, 1930).  He also published: 4 naye lieder (Four new songs) (Warsaw, 1927); and Dos naye lied (The new song) (Warsaw, 1928).  He also wrote the one-act plays: Der geferlikher lokator, fars in eyn akt (The perilous tenant, a farce in one act) (Warsaw: L. Goldfarb, 1927), 16 pp., freely translated from a Polish farce; Der feter fun provints, fars in eyn akt (The uncle from the provinces, a farce in one act) (Warsaw: L. Goldfarb, 1927), 16 pp., translation of G. Timor’s play; A kale af probe, a komedye in eyn akt (A bride on trial, a comedy in one act), adapted and published in Dray naye eynakters (Three new one-act plays) (Warsaw, 1927); Khantshe-gnendil baym doktor (Khantshe-Gnendil at the doctor), a humorous piece (adapted by Lindenfeld); and Der shver als eydem, a komishe fars-komedye in eyn akt (The father-in-law as son-in-law, a comedic farcical comedy in one act), translated and adapted by Lindenfeld (Warsaw: L. Goldfarb, 1928), 16 pp.

Source: Zalmen Zilbertsvayg, Leksikon fun yidishn teater (Handbook of the Yiddish theater), vol. 2 (New York, 1934).
Yankev Kahan