LEYZER LEVIN (1889-August 1940)
He was born in Warsaw, Poland. Until age seventeen he studied in a religious primary school, in the yeshiva of the Chofetz-Chaim in Radin (Raduń), and in the Lomzhe yeshiva, and through self-study he acquired secular knowledge. In his youth he became active in the illegal Bundist organization in Warsaw, was arrested several times by the Tsarist authorities, spent time in Warsaw and Radom prisons, and was also exiled to Siberia. Over the years 1912-1916, he lived in Buenos Aires, Argentina, working in various trades, and then he returned, lived in Paris, and from there in 1917, after the outbreak of the Russian Revolution, he made his way to Russia, lived for a time in Minsk, and appeared on stage to speak at Bundist meetings. When the Bolsheviks later took power in Russia (late 1917-early 1918), Levin returned to Warsaw where he was active in trade unions and political work of the Bund. He was a member of the central bureau of the Jewish trade unions. He began his journalistic activities with reportage pieces on workers’ lives in Der tog (The day) in Buenos Aires (1913). In 1917 he wrote from time to time in Der veker (The alarm), a daily newspaper of the Bund in Minsk. In Warsaw he was a regular contributor to the Bundist daily Folks-tsaytung (People’s newspaper), in which he edited the city’s reportage, the news of the trade union movement, and also published “Bilder fun der yidisher provints” (Images from the Jewish hinterland). In early September 1939, he fled Poland, lived for a time in Vilna and Kovno, where he wrote a series of description of the first weeks of the war in Poland for Idishe shtime (Jewish voice), which was republished in New York’s Forverts (Forward) and other Yiddish newspapers throughout the world. He died of a heart attack in Kovno.
Sources: H-t, in Unzer tsayt (New York) (April-May 1941); M. Manes, in Der poylisher yid (The Polish Jew), yearbook (New York, 1944); Z. Segalovitsh, Tlomatske 13, fun farbrentn nekhtn (13 Tłomackie St., of scorched yesterdays) (Buenos Aires, 1946), pp. 156-57; P. Kats, Geklibene shriftn (Collected writings), vol. 4 (Buenos Aires, 1946); B. Kutsher, Geven amol varshe (As Warsaw once was) (Paris, 1955), see index; P. Shvarts, in Fun noentn over (New York) 2 (1956), p. 427; B. Shefner, Novolipye 7, zikhroynes un eseyen (Nowolipie 7, memoirs and essays) (Buenos Aires, 1955), p. 77; Y. Sh. Herts, Doyres bundistn (Generations of Bundists), vol. 2 (New York, 1956), pp. 291-92, with a bibliography; Rokhl Oyerbakh, Beḥutsot varsha, 1939-1943 (In the streets of Warsaw, 1939-1943), trans. Mordekhai Ḥalamish (Tel Aviv: Am oved, 1954), p. 357.
Khayim Leyb Fuks