A. S. LIRIK (LIRICK) (1885-July 26, 1960)
The pen name of Arn-Levi Riklis, he was born in Zaslav (Zaslov), Volhynia district, Ukraine, into a rabbinical family. He was the great grandson of R. Pinkhes Korister. He received a traditional Jewish education, and later, through self-study, he acquired general, secular learning. In the summer of 1905 he came to Warsaw, worked as a Hebrew teacher for a time in the homes of wealthy families, stood close to the Polish Socialist Party (PPS [Polska Partia Socjalistyczna]), and published two pamphlets for the latter’s Yiddish publishing house. He later became a Zionist. Over the years 1920-1933, he lived in Berlin, later returning to Warsaw, and then to Israel, London, and Paris. In the summer of 1939, he again visited Warsaw, fleeing from there when the Nazis invaded Poland. For a time he lived in Sweden, and from there he came to the United States in early 1940. From 1952 until his death, he lived in the state of Israel. He began writing articles for Prilucki’s Der veg (The way) in Warsaw (August 1905-January 1907), using the pen names A. Tortshinski and A. R., later translating from Polish and Russian for the illegal Yiddish PPS press, as well as for Roman-tsaytung (Fiction newspaper) in Warsaw (1907-1908). He also contributed work to M. Spektor’s Di naye velt (The new world) in Warsaw (1910-1914). From late 1910 until WWII, he was a regular contributor to Haynt (Today) in Warsaw, in which he published articles, features, and essays on literature and art, as well as correspondence pieces from Germany. At the same time, he was also writing for: Parizer haynt (Paris today); Di tsayt (The times) in London; Der tog (The day) in New York; Frimorgn (Morning) in Riga; Keneder odler (Canadian eagle) in Montreal; Di tsayt in Vilna; Dos naye leben (The new life) in Bialystok; and Idishe tsaytung (Jewish newspaper) in Buenos Aires; among others. For many years he was connected through journalism to Rassvet (Dawn) in St. Petersburg-Berlin-London, and to the Hebrew-language press in Israel. In the jubilee volume for Haynt (Warsaw, 1928), he published his piece, “Yankev vaserman un zayne geshtaltn” (Jacob Vaserman and his images); and in the jubilee volume for Haynt (1938), he wrote “Di memuarn fun slyozberg, vinaver un gruzenberg” (The memoirs of Sliozberg, Vinaver, and Gruzenberg). After settling in New York, he wrote for Tog, and later for Forverts (Forward), for which he wrote a series of articles (in 1956) on Heinrich Heine (on the hundredth anniversary of his death). He also placed work in Tsukunft (Future) in New York, and elsewhere. Among his books: Der arbayts-tog un zayn badaytung (Labor day and its significance), “translated and adapted from various sources” (Warsaw: Di proletarishe velt [The proletarian world], 1907), 74 pp.; Khsidizm, zayn entshtehung un lehre (Hassidism, its origin and teaching), a moralistic pamphlet aimed at “Hassidic fanatics” (Warsaw: Di proletarishe velt, 1907), 47 pp.; Vos tut men? (What should one do?) by Pyotr Kropotkin (translated under the name “Lik”) (Warsaw: 1907), 12 pp.; Lyev tolstoi, zayn lebn un zayne verk (Lev Tolstoy, his life and his works) (Warsaw, 1911), 117 pp. He translated from the German (using the name A. Riklis) Georg Brandes’s Di shtremungen in der literatur fun 19th yorhundert (Directions in literature in the nineteenth century [original: Die Hauptströmungen der Literatur des neunzehnten Jahrhunderts) (Warsaw, 1919), 234 pp. He was also one of the editors and participants in the adaptation of a seven-volume publication of Heinrich Graetz’s Yudishe geshikhte (Jewish history [original: Geschichte der Juden]) (Warsaw: B. Shimin, 1909-1911). In the last nine years of his life, he served as the Israel correspondent for the Forverts in New York. He died in Tel Aviv. “A. S. Lirik and H. D. Nomberg,” wrote Meylekh Ravitsh, “engaged in numerous partnerships. When Nomberg’s position was secure, so too was Lirik’s firmly marked in fine literature, but because of its Bohemian nature people grew tired of writing belles-lettres, which had to be adapted, written, and rewritten.” “He was an innovative, richly spiritual man,” wrote Moyshe Grosman. “He ran from glory and tributes. He was a man of knowledge, talented and self-critical.”
Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 4 (under A. Riklis); Biblyografishe yorbikher fun yivo (Bibliographic yearbooks from YIVO) (Warsaw, 1928), see index; Y. Yeshurin, in Tsukunft (New York) (July-August 1942); Meylekh Ravitsh, Mayn leksikon (My lexicon), vol. 2 (Montreal, 1947), pp. 130-32, vol. 3 (1958), pp. 231-32; Ravitsh, in Forverts (New York) (March 8, 1955); B. Kutsher, Geven amol varshe (As Warsaw once was) (Paris, 1955), see index; Kh. Finkelshteyn, in Fun noentn over (New York) 2 (1956), pp. 136, 206, 207, 209; Ḥ. Shorer, in Davar (Tel Aviv) (Av 5 [= July 29], 1960); H. Yustis, in Hadoar (New York) (Av 19 [= August 12], 1960); Moyshe Grosman, in Heymish (Montreal) (August 11, 1960); Grosman, in Der amerikaner (New York) (August 26, 1960); B. Shefner, in Forverts (August 20, 1960); Y. Sh. Goldshteyn, in Forverts (September 9, 1960); obituary notices in the Yiddish and Hebrew press for July 27, 28, 29, 1960.
Khayim Leyb Fuks