BER MARGOLIS (1887-May 4, 1958)
A grandson of Berl Broder, he was born in Zlotshev (Złoczów), Galicia. In 1891 he moved with his parents to Sasov (Sasów), where he completed the fourth level of the Baron Hirsch School. At age ten he began working with a goldsmith in Złoczów, but from time to time he would join his parents in Sasów, and under the influence of his father, he began to write poetry. At age thirteen he composed his first poem in German, for which he also wrote his own melody, before switching later to Yiddish. He lived in Przemyśl and Yaroslav, where he became active on the Labor Zionist party. He was a cofounder of party organizations and trade unions in eastern Galicia. In 1904 he settled in Cracow and, together with Yankev Kener, directed Labor Zionist work in western Galicia. He made his literary debut with the story “Der honig hot zikh in gift farvandert” (The honey had turned to poison) in Der yudishe arbayter (The Jewish worker) in Cracow (1906), in which he later published poems and stories. He also placed work in: Yudishe arbayter-yugend (Jewish laboring youth) in Lemberg (1907-1914); Yugend-shtime (Voice of youth) in Vilna (1908); Leybl Toybish’s Yudishes vokhnblat (Jewish weekly newspaper) initially in Stanisle (Stanislavov) and a bit later in Czernowitz; Lemberger togblat (Lemberg daily newspaper); and Di yudishe folkstsaytung (The Jewish people’s newspaper); among others Yiddish publications in the former Austro-Hungarian empire. From 1911 until the outbreak of war (August 1914), he was living in Vienna, before returning to Sasów, and from there to Złoczów, where he lived through the Russian occupation. When the Austrians retook these cities, he was a member of the Jewish national council, the cultural council, and the first Labor Zionist cooperatives. In those years he composed poetry and his play Meshiekh (Messiah), which was staged by the workers’ theater studio in Galicia. Over the years 1919-1927 he was living in Vienna, before coming to the United States. For a time he worked as a goldsmith, later turning to business. He contributed poems and stories to: Der amerikaner (The American), Nyu-yoker vokhnblat (New York weekly newspaper), and from time to time Fraye arbeter-shtime (Free voice of labor)—in New York. He authored the book Dray doyres, lider fun berl broder, felyetonen fun “yam hatsieni”(yitskhok margolis), poemes un lider fun ber margolis (Three generations, poems from Berl Broder, features from “Yam Tsieni” [Yitskhok Margolis], poetry by Ber Margolis), with biographies of his grandfather, father, and himself, and a foreword by Dr. Yoysef Tenenboym (New York, 1957), 112 pp. He died in New York.
Sources: Dr. Yoysef Tenenboym, in Yidisher arbeter-pinkes (Warsaw, 1928), see index; Tenenboym, foreword to Dray doyres (Three generations) (New York, 1957), pp. 4-7; Yankev Mestl, in Yidishe kultur (New York) (November 1957), pp. 28-39; obituaries in the Yiddish press.
Khayim Leyb Fuks