YANKEV MAYZIL (January 24, 1889-June 9, 1943)
Younger brother of Nakhmen Mayzil, he was born in Kiev, Ukraine. He studied with itinerant teachers and tutors, and later he graduated from Kiev University. During WWI he lived deep inside Russia. Over the years 1918-1921, he was an active leader in the modern Jewish school and culture movement in Kiev; later, until WWII, he lived in Warsaw and worked with the publishers Kultur-lige (Culture league), and Shulkult (School culture). He published articles in Der fraynd (The friend) in St. Petersburg-Warsaw, and Bikher-velt (Book world) and Literarishe bleter (Literary leaves) in Warsaw. Together with his wife Yudes Blumenfeld-Mayzil, he translated U. N. Gnesin’s novel Etsel (Close by) into Yiddish as Froym margolis (Ephraim Margolis) (Warsaw, 1925), 167 pp.; and Knut Hamsun’s Di vayber baym brunem (Women at the pump [original: Konerne ved vandposten (Women at the tap)]) (Warsaw, 1929), 536 pp. When the Germans invaded Poland, he fled to Lemberg. In October 1941 he arrived in Borshchov (Borshchiv), and there the Nazis shot him together with other Jews who were hiding among the victims in the cemetery. In Sefer borshtshiv (Volume for Borshchiv), there was published Mayzil’s letter to his son in which he described the violence perpetrated by the Germans and Ukrainians in the years of Jewish Holocaust.
Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 2; Yidishe shriftn (Yiddish writings) (Lodz, 1946); Yanos Turkov, Azoy iz es geven (That’s how it was) (Buenos Aires, 1948), p. 25; Lerer-yizker-bukh (Remembrance volume for teachers) (New York, 1954), pp. 50-51; Sefer borshtshiv (Volume for Borshchiv) (Tel Aviv, 1960), pp. 238-47; information from Nakhmen Mayzil in New York.
Khayim Leyb Fuks