YIKHEZKL LIFSHITS (EZEKIEL LIFSCHUTZ) (August 16, 1902-February 17, 2000)
He was a historian, born in Rodem (Radom), Poland. He attended religious elementary school, a Russian Jewish public school, and a pre-high school. In 1923 he immigrated to the United States and settled in New York. His first years there he worked in a shoe factory. He studied at the New School, and in 1926 he graduated from the teacher’s course in the Workman’s Circle. Over the years 1930-1950, with an interruption during the war years, he was a teacher in the Sholem-Aleykhem Folkshul and Middle School. He taught Jewish history (1955-1963) in the Jewish teachers’ seminary. He served as YIVO archivist (1954-1973). He was connected with YIVO from the founding of the American division in New York. He began writing in 1920 in Radomer vokhnblat (Radom weekly newspaper). From that point, he contributed work to: Pinkes fun amopteyl fun yivo (Records of the American division of YIVO), Oyfkum (Arise), Yivo-bleter (Pages from YIVO), Tsukunft (Future), Fraye arbeter-shtime (Free voice of labor), Kultur un dertsiung (Culture and education), and Pinkes (Records) of the World Jewish Culture Congress—all in New York; Literarishe bleter (Literary leaves) in Warsaw; Goldene keyt (Golden chain) in Tel Aviv; Tsiyon (Zion) in Jerusalem; Measef (Literary organ) in Tel Aviv; American Jewish Historical Quarterly in Waltham, Massachusetts; and American Jewish Archives in Cincinnati, Ohio. He also placed work in: Geshikhte fun der yidisher arbeter-bavegung (History of the Jewish workers’ movement) (New York, 1943-1946), 2 vols. Longer works he published include: “Badkhonim un leytsim bay yidn” (Wedding entertainers and clowns among Jews), in Arkhiv far der geshikhte fun yidishn teater un drame (Archive of the history of Yidish theater and drama) (Vilna, 1930); “Di ershte rusish-yidishe masn-emigratsye un di amerikaner yidn” (The first Russian Jewish mass emigration and American Jews), Yivo-bleter (1932); “Di amerikaner interventsn vegn di pogromen in rusland in di 1880er yorn” (The American intervention concerning the pogroms in Russia in the 1880s), Historishe shriftn (Historical writings), vol. 2 (Vilna, 1937); “A nay-ayngegebener pruv fun a masn-emigratsye keyn amerike” (A newly administered effort at mass emigration to America), Yorbukh fun amopteyl fun yivo (Annual from the American branch of YIVO), vol. 1 (New York, 1938); “Katolikn un yidn in amerike” (Catholics and Jews in America), Idisher kemfer (Jewish fighter) (New York) (Rosh Hashanah 1953); “Hapogromim bepolin 1918-1919, veedat morgantau vemisrad haḥuts haamerikani” (The pogroms in Poland, 1918-1919, and the testimony of [Henry] Morgenthau and the American Department of State), Tsiyon (1957-1958). His teacher Y. Shatski exerted a major influence on Lifshits’s spiritual development. His books include: Doyres dertseyln, materyaln tsu der geshikhe fun yidn in mitlalter un in der nayer tsayt (The generations recount, materials on the history of Jews in the Middle Ages and modern times) (New York: Matones, 1944), 404 pp.; Moris rozenfelds briv (Morris Rosenfeld’s letters) (Buenos Aires: YIVO, 1955), 185 pp.; Biblyografye fun amerikaner un kanader yidishe zikhroynes un oytobyografyes af yidish, hebreyish un english (Bibliography of American and Canadian Jewish memoirs and autobiographies in Yiddish, Hebrew, and English) (New York: YIVO, 1970), 75 pp.; with M. Altshuler, Briv fun yidishe sovetishe shraybers (Letters of Soviet Yiddish writers) (Jerusalem: Hebrew University, 1979), 499 pp. Among his pen names: Y. Shames, A Fraynd, and Kulmus.
Sources: H. Rogof, in Forverts (New York) (October 5, 1930); L. Krishtol, in Forverts (March 12, 1939); Y. Botoshanski, in Di prese (Buenos Aires) (June 12, 1944); Y. Shatski, in Yivo-bleter (New York) (1946); Yankev Glatshteyn, in Idisher kemfer (New York) (November 2, 1956); A. Mukdoni, in Tog-morgn-zhurnal (New York) (November 18, 1956); N. B. Minkov, in Tsukunft (New York) (October 1956); Sh. Suskovitsh, in Davke (Buenos Aires) (July-September 1959); Der Lebediker (Kh. Gutman), in Tog (New York) (October 25, 1959); A. Tsaytlin, in Tog-morgn-zhurnal (April 6, 1962); A. Leyeles, in Tog-morgn-zhurnal (June 10, 1962); E. Almi, in Fraye arbeter-shtime (New York) (June 15, 1962); Shloyme Bikl, in Fraye arbeter-shtime (March 14, 1964); H. Parzen, in JWB Circle (New York) (January 1945).
Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), cols. 338-40.