MIKHL MIRSKI (March 26, 1902-November 7, 1994)
The pen name of M. Tabatshnik, he was born in Rovne (Rovno), Volhynia. He graduated from the Jewish teachers’ seminary in Vilna and for a time worked as a Yiddish teacher. From his youth he was active in the leftwing Jewish labor movement in Poland, and because of police harassment he had to live illegally. In 1937 he was imprisoned in the Kartuz-Bereze (Kartuz-Bereza) concentration camp; he was released through the efforts of the Jewish literary association. When the Nazis invaded Poland, he escaped to the Soviet-occupied zone, living in various cities in Russia, and when the Polish army was established in 1942, he joined and fought on the front against the Germans. From 1945 he was again active in Jewish political and cultural life among Polish Jewry. He was a member of the presidium of the central committee and chairman of the Lodz committee of Jews in Poland. In 1946 he was part of the delegation of Polish Jews who went to the United States. During the “Doctors’ Trial” in Soviet Russia, he appeared publicly with accusations against Zionists, the Joint Distribution Committee, and American Jews generally in the Stalinist manner, but later openly admitted that he had sinned. His writing activities commenced in the illegal and semi-legal Communist press in Poland. He contributed as well to the editorial board of: the monthly journal Tsum kamf (To the struggle) in Warsaw (1925-1938); Literarishe tribune (Literary tribune) in Lodz-Warsaw (1930-1933); Der fraydenker (The freethinker) in Lodz; Iberboy (Reconstruction) in Warsaw (1933-1935); the daily Fraynd (Friend) in Warsaw (1934-1935); Literatur (Literature), a biweekly journal of literature, criticism, and art, in Warsaw (1935), five issues appeared; Zibn teg (Seven days), Naye zibn teg (New seven days), and others in Vilna (1935-1936); Farmest (Challenge) in Warsaw (1936); Literarishe bleter (Literary leaves) in Warsaw; and Der blits (The flash) in Vilna (1936); among others. After WWII he placed work in: Dos naye lebn (The new life) in Lodz-Warsaw (1945-1949); Folksshtime (Voice of the people) in Lodz-Warsaw; Oyfgang (Arise) and Yidishe shriftn (Yiddish writings) in Lodz-Warsaw (1946-1948); Frayhayt (Freedom), Eynikeyt (Unity), Zamlungen (Anthologies), and Yidishe kultur (Jewish culture)—in New York; Naye prese (New press), Parizer shriftn (Parisian writings), Parizer tsaytshrift (Parisian periodical), and Oyfsnay (Afresh)—in Paris; Fray yisroel (Free Israel) and Kol haam (Voice of the people) in the state of Israel; and Ikuf-bleter (Pages from IKUF) in Bucharest and Buenos Aires; among others. He co-edited the collection Unter der fon fun pk״p (Under the banner of the Polish Communist Party) (Warsaw, 1959), 377 pp. He was also a regular contributor to the Polish Communist journal Nowe drogi (New roads) in Warsaw. In book form: Problemen fun literatur un kritik (Problems of literature and criticism) (Warsaw, 1953), 222 pp. He translated from German and Yiddish into Polish. He also published under such pen names as: M. Gitelis, M. Mirtal, and M. Moshkovitsh. He died in Copenhagen.
Sources: Zibn teg (Vilna) (April 10, 1936); Di tsukunft (New York) (August 1946); Avrom Reyzen, in Di feder (New York, 1949), pp. 194-95; D. Sfard, in Yidishe shriftn (Warsaw) (December 1953); H. Smolar, in Yidishe shriftn (March 1954); Sh. L. Shnayderman, in Tog-morgn-zhurnal (New York) (March 18, 1956; November 26, 1959); Yonas Turkov, Nokh der bafrayung (After liberation) (Buenos Aires, 1959), see index; Y. Sheyn, in Unter der fon fun kp״p (Under the banner of the Polish Communist Party) (Warsaw, 1959), pp. 5, 329, 331, 333, 334; B. Shefner, in Forverts (New York) (January 30, 1960); Shefner, in Unzer shtime (Paris) (May 4, 1960); Biblyografye fun yidishe bikher vegn khurbn un gvure (Bibliography of Yiddish books concerning the Holocaust and heroism) (New York, 1962), see index.
Khayim Leyb Fuks