Friday, 22 June 2018


            She was born in the town of Kuznitse (Kurenets), near Grodno, Poland.  Her father was the rabbi there.  With Avrom Zak and Leyb Neydus, she published a Yiddish journal in Grodno, called Der nyeman (The Neman [River]).  Other details remain unknown.

Source: Grodner opklangen (Buenos Aires) 3-4 (1949/1950), pp. 50-51.


            He came from Lodz and worked as a weaver.  He published poetry in Lodz publications and also in the collection Varshever shriftn (Warsaw writings) (1927).  His poems had an impact on Yiddish literary circles in Lodz.  He also a roused a sensation in the Lodz press for his public opposition to the well-known Lodz textile magnate Osher Kohn.  With Nazi Germany’s invasion of Poland, he was in Bialystok.  His subsequent fate remains unknown.

Sources: N. Taykh, in Unzer lodzh (Our Lodz) (Buenos Aires, 1954); Y. Goldkorn, in Zayn (New York) (May 1962); Goldkorn, in Lodzher portretn (Lodz portraits) (Tel Aviv, 1963), pp. 168-73.
Benyomen Elis


            He was born in Reyshe (Rzeszów) and lived until the Nazi occupation in Cracow, Galicia.  He studied with the religious writer Rabbi Yikusiel Arye Kalhar.  He completed his doctoral degree in philology and philosophy from Cracow University.  Until WWII he was a teacher at the Agudah’s women’s seminary.  He wrote in both Yiddish and in Hebrew.  From 1926 he was publishing articles on Orthodox education and on Hassidism in light of modern research in: Der idisher veg (The Jewish way) of which he was also co-editor, in Cracow (1926); Dos yudishe togblat (The Jewish daily newspaper), Deglanu (Our banner), and Darkenu (Our path) in Warsaw; and Dos vort in Vilna—among other items, he published here portion of his work, “Vegn tsu der eygener velt” (Paths to one’s own world).  Over the years 1937-1939, he published serially in Beys-yankev zhurnal (Beys-Yankev journal) in Lodz his essay “Psikhologishe elementn in khsides” (Psychological elements in Hassidism)—the announcements indicate that it should have appeared through 1939.  He was killed in the years of the Nazi occupation and rule.

Sources: Biblyografishe yorbikher fun yivo (Bibliographic yearbooks from YIVO) (Warsaw, 1928), see index; Beys-yankev zhurnal (Lodz) 1-2 (1937); information from Yoysef Fridenzon in New York.
Khayim Leyb Fuks


TSVI EKRONI (b. September 19, 1911)
            The Hebraized name of Tsvi (Hersh) Akerman, he was born in Ploieşti, Bessarabia.  He was secretary of the Zionist Organization in the Belz region of Bessarabia and leader of the Jewish National Fund and of the central committee of pioneers in Bessarabia.  He edited the newspaper Erd un arbet (Land and work) in Kishinev and a member of the editorial board of Frayhayt (Freedom) in Czernowitz and of Unzer tsayt (Our time) in Kishinev.  He published poems and stories in recognized publications and in: Yidisher almanakh groys-rumenyen (Jewish almanac of Great Romania) in Bucharest, Farn idishn kind (For the Jewish child) in Kishinev, and elsewhere.  He made aliya to the land of Israel in 1933.

Source: D. Tidhar, in Entsiklopedyah lealutse hayishuv uvonav (Encyclopedia of the pioneers and builders of the yishuv), vol.11 (Tel Aviv, 1961), pp. 3741-42.
Yankev Kahan


            He was born in a small town in Podlasie.  He received a religious-Hassidic education.  He was a regular contributor to: Dos yidishe togblat (The Jewish daily newspaper), Der id (The Jew), and Yugend bleter (Youth sheets) in Warsaw; Unzer veg (Our way) in Siedlce; Beys yankev zhurnal (Beys-Yankev journal) in Lodz; and edited Idishe lebn (Jewish life) in Warsaw.  He served as secretary to the first Orthodox deputies to the Sejm in Poland.  He was killed during WWII by the Germans in the Warsaw Ghetto.

Sources: M. Mozes, in Der poylisher yid, yearbook (1944); Yidishe shriftn, anthology (Lodz, 1946); Z. Segalovitsh, Tlomatske 13, fun farbrente nekhtn (13 Tłomackie St., of zealous nights) (Buenos Aires: Central Association of Polish Jews in Argentina, 1946), p. 154; Dr. Hillel Zaydman, Tog-bukh fun varshever geto (Diary from the Warsaw Ghetto) (Buenos Aires, 1947), pp. 35, 110, 278; M. Turkov, Di letste fun a groysn dor (The last of a great generation) (Buenos Aires, 1954), p. 55; B. Kutsher, Geven amol varshe (As Warsaw once was) (Paris, 1955); M. Prager, in Fun noentn over (New York) 2 (1956), pp. 454, 472; Entsiklopediya shel galuyot (Encyclopedia of the Diaspora), vol. 2 (Warsaw, 1959), pp. 391, 560.
Yankev Kahan


            He contributed work to the anthology Af der shvel (At the threshold) which appeared in Warsaw in 1931.  In book form, he published: Der tog fargeyt, lider (The day comes to an end, poetry) (Warsaw, 1937), 31 pp.

Source: Y. Pat, in Vokhnshrift far literatur (Warsaw) (July 17, 1931).
Benyomen Elis


NOSN EK (NATHAN ECK) (March 19, 1889-February 22, 1982)
            He was born in Yanov (Janów), near Lemberg, at the time in Austrian Galicia.  Until age thirteen he studied with a Talmud tutor, thereafter at home and later still in a Polish state high school in Lemberg.  Over the years 1915-1918, he served in the Austrian army.  In 1922 he graduated from the University of Vienna with a doctoral degree in law.  In 1929 he graduated from Warsaw University.  His writing activities commenced with an article in Lemberg’s Togblat (Daily newspaper) in 1912.  He was editor (1920-1921) of the daily newspaper Viner morgnpost (Vienna morning mail).  He also edited several issues of Undzer ruf (Our call), a monthly newspaper of Vienna’s Hitadut (Union).  He was the editor and a contributor (1923-1925) to Folk un land (People and land), which initially appeared in Lemberg and later in Lodz and Warsaw.  He placed work in Lodzher togblat (Lodz daily newspaper) for which he wrote editorials and feature pieces, and for the Polish Jewish newspaper Wiadomości Codzienne (Daily news).  He edited and contributed to three volumes of the Hebrew-language annual Teḥumim (Spheres) (1937-1939).  During WWII he was confined in the Warsaw Ghetto, and he took part in cultural activities and economic relief work for the ghetto population.  In 1945 he visited the United States for a short time.  He lived in Paris (1946-1947), served as a member of the editorial board of the Parisian weekly newspaper Unzer vort (Our word), and he wrote at this time an introduction and notes to the first publication of Yitskhok Katsenelson’s Dos lid fun oysgehargetn yidishn folk (The poem of the murdered Jewish people) (Paris, 1945), 80 pp.  From 1948 he was a resident of the state of Israel.  He published articles in: Tog (Day), Idisher kemfer (Jewish fighter), Tsukunft (Future), Hadoar (The mail), and Jewish Social Studies—in New York; and Davar (Word), Haarets (The land), Di goldene keyt (The golden chain) of which he was the first secretary to the editorial board, Dos vort (The word), and Niv hakevutsa (Words of the collective)—in Tel Aviv.  His depictions of the era of the third destruction (Holocaust) received considerable attention in the Jewish world.  He published several volumes in Hebrew, a book of essays on the Holocaust, and two volumes of translation from English.  Among them: Shoat haam hayehudi beeropa (Destruction of the Jewish people in Europe) (Jerusalem: Yad vashem, 1975), 451 pp.  From 1954 he was a contributor and editor of writings in Hebrew, Yiddish, and English for Yediot yad vashem (News from Yad Vashem), Yad vashem (Yad Vashem) with A. L. Kubovi, and Kovets mekarim (Collection of studies).  Among his pen names: Nosn Ekrun, Nosn Klita, and Nosn Ben Meir.  He died in Tel Aviv.

Sources: Yanos Turkov, Azoy iz es geven (That’s how it was) (Buenos Aires, 1948), pp. 66, 205, 230; Khayim Leyb Fuks, in Dun noentn over (New York) 3 (1957); Meylekh Ravitsh, Mayn leksikon (My lexicon), vol. 3 (Montreal, 1958), p. 481; B. Ts., in Haarets (Tel Aviv) (June 3, 1960); D. Ron, Hapoel hatsair (The young worker) (Tel Aviv: 1960); M. Vaykhert, Yidishe aleynhilf, 1939-1945 (Jewish self-help, 1939-1945) (Tel Aviv, 1962), p. 329.
Benyomen Elis

[Additional information from: Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 419.]


YISROEL EFROYKIN (January 24, 1884-April 12, 1954)
            The brother of Zalmen Yefroykin, he was born in Vekshne (Viekšniai), Kovno district, Lithuania, into a merchant family with followers of the Jewish Enlightenment.  Until age fourteen he studied in religious primary school and in the famed Telz yeshiva.  Thereafter, as his family moved to Libave (Liepāja), Latvia, he began to study, as an external student, secular subject matter.  In 1904 he went to study at Berne University.  Over the years 1904-1910, he continued his studies, with interruptions, initially in philosophy and later in law, but for material reasons he was unable to complete his studies.  In 1910 he settled in St. Petersburg.  His community activities began in 1904 when he joined the Zionist socialist group “Vozrozhdenie” (Renaissance).  Through the years 1905-1906, he devoted himself to party work together with M. Zilberfarb, N. Shtif, and Z. Kalmanovitsh.  He began his literary activities in those years with translations into Russian of Perets and Nomberg, published in the radical newspaper Severnyi kur’er (Northern messenger).  In 1904 he published an article in Fraynd (Friend) under the pen name Rifoelzon, and he contributed work to the organ of the Sejmists, Di folks-shtime (The voice of the people), and to Dr. Chaim Zhitlovsky’s Dos naye lebn (The new life).  Together with Sh. Dubnov, Sh. Ginzberg, Y. Tsinberg, and Kh. D. Hurvits, in 1912 he founded the monthly journal Di yidishe velt (The Jewish world).  Later, when the journal was moved to Vilna, Efroykin and Shmuel Niger were members of the editorial board and Efroykin published monthly reports in it.  With Niger, Z. Kalmanovitsh, and N. Shtif, he edited (1914-1915) Di vokh (The week) in Vilna, and he placed work in: Novyi voskhod (New arise) and Evreiskii mir (Jewish world), among other serials.  Over the course of 1911-1917, he worked in the field of the Jewish cooperative movement as an inspector for YIKO (Jewish Cultural Organization).  After the February Revolution in Russia (1917), he, Dubnov, Shtif, Latski-Bertoldi, Y. Tshernikhov, and F. Dubinski founded “Di yidishe demokratishe fareynikung” (The Jewish democratic union).  A short time later, it took on the name “Yidishe folks-partey” (Jewish people’s party [Folks-partey]).
            In 1920, with a delegation of the Jewish relief committee Yekopo (Yevreyskiy komitet pomoshchi zhertvam voyny, or “Jewish Relief Committee for War Victims”), which he helped found at the outbreak of WWI, he arrived in Paris to organize relief work there for Russian Jews in great numbers.  He administered the general secretariat until the dissolution of the institution in 1925.  Efroykin then turned to private business in which he was very successful.  The riches he earned, though, in no way hindered his remaining an active community leader.  In August 1917 at the conference of the Committee of Jewish Delegations in Zurich, he was elected a member of the permanent executive committee.  Over the course of all the years to follow, he actively participated in the work of this Committee.  In 1936 when the Committee of Jewish Delegations was transformed into the Jewish World Congress, he and Rabbi S. Weiss, Dr. N. Goldman, and other leaders stood by the roots of this organization.    Several years before the outbreak of WWII, Efroykin was invited to take on the position of chairman of the Federation of Jewish Societies of France.  When Hitler invaded France, Efroykin  initially sought protection in the unoccupied zone of France, where he remained active in the realm of relief work.  At the very last moment before the Nazis occupied that part of France as well, he was successfully rescued and taken to South America, and he settled in Montevideo, Uruguay.  After the end of the war, he returned to Paris and with great energy threw himself into rebuilding Jewish associations destroyed in France.
            Throughout his Parisian period, Efroykin concentrated his literary activities on fundamental problems of Jewish existence.  At the time, he and Elye Tsherikover edited and published the anthologies of Afn sheydveg (At the crossroads).  The central theme in this work was Jewish life—continuity and existence.  Two issues appeared: April 1939 and August 1939.  Efroykin continued the publication in Montevideo, when he was also co-editor of the journal Shriftn (Writings).  He went on to join the Labor Zionist-Hitaḥdut Party and, after returning to France, he was selected to be a member of the central committee of the party in France.  After the war Efroykin launched the journal Kiem (Existence), which he edited and published from 1948 until 1952 (sixty issues).  In Di goldene keyt (The golden chain) 15 (1953), he published a piece entitled: “Sines-yisroel un sines tsien (antisemitizm)” (Anti-Israel and anti-Zionism, anti-Semitism).
            In book form: In kholem un af der vor (In dream and reality) (New York, 1944), 377 pp.; A khezhbn-hanefesh (A spiritual stocktaking) (Paris: Tserata, 1948), 491 pp., Hebrew translation by Avraham Kariv as Ḥeshban hanefesh (Tel Aviv, 1950), 295 pp.; Kdushe un gvure bay yidn amol un haynt (Sanctity and fortitude among Jews past and present) (New York, 1949), 164 pp.; Oyfkum un umkum fun yidishe goles-shprakhn un dialektn (The rise and fall of diaspora Jewish languages and dialects) (Paris, 1951), 95 pp.
            Several months before his death, Efroykin was appointed the first community head of the first community of Eastern European Jews in Paris.  He also wrote under such pen names as: Rifoelzon, Y. Manin, A. Litovski, Aleksander, and Efron.

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 2; D. Tsharni (Daniel Charney), Barg-aroyf, bletlekh fun lebn (Uphill, pages from life) (Warsaw: Literarishe bleter, 1935); Y. Bashevis, in Tsukunft (New York) (January 1940); A. Fefer, in Ikuf (Buenos Aires) (November 1948); Y. Kharlash, in Veker (New York) (December 15, 1948); Sh. Z. Shragai, in Unzer veg (Paris) 74 (1948); Shragai, in Letste nayes (Tel Aviv) (May 7, 1954); B. Tshubinski, in Tsukunft (November 1952); Dr. A. Mukdoni, Oysland, mayne bagegenishn (Abroad, my encounters) (Buenos Aires, 1951); Mukdoni, in Der shpigl (Buenos Aires) (August 1954); Meylekh Ravitsh, in Keneder odler (Montreal) (August 21, 1951); Ravitsh, in Der veg (Mexico City) (October 9, 1951); Ravitsh, in Letste nayes (December 14, 1951); Y. Yanasovitsh, in Arbeter-vort (Paris) (January 18, 1952); Yanasovitsh, in Di naye tsayt (Buenos Aires) (May 6, 1954); Khayim Leyb Fuks, in Arbeter-vort (January 18, 1952); Khayim Grinberg, in Idisher kemfer (New York) (October 24, 1952); Y. Botoshanski, in Di prese (Buenos Aires) (April 14, 1954); Shmuel Niger, in Tog (New York) (April 17, 1954); Niger, in Di yidishe tsaytung (Buenos Aires) (May 12, 1954); Y. Grinboym, in Letste nayes (April 23, 1954); Grinboym, Fun mayn dor (Of my generation) (Tel Aviv: Makor, 1959); A. Tsaytlin, in Tog (April 30, 1954); Y. Mark, in Kultur un dertsiung (New York) (May 1954); A. Alperin, in Tog (May 4, 1954); Alperin, in Tsukunft (July 1954); L. Domankevitsh, in Unzer vort (Paris) (May 15, 1954); Y. Anshel, in Kiem (Paris) 2 (63) (1954); Y. Gotfarshteyn, in Kiem 2 (1963) (1954); Dr. M. Dvorzhetski (Mark Dvorzetsky), in Di goldene keyt (Tel Aviv) 20 (1954); B. Tsukerman, in Idisher kemfer (January 27, 1961; Passover issue 1960); Dr. Elye (Elias) Shulman, in Pinkes (New York) (1965), pp. 122ff.
Yekhiel Hirshhoyt

Thursday, 21 June 2018


MOYSHE EFRON (1883-May 5, 1944)
            He was born in the town of Luna, near Grodno.  As a child he moved with his parents to Warsaw.  At age twelve or thirteen, he wrote and published a short composition and presented it to his father as a gift.  Around this time, he abandoned yeshiva and began to write stories.  H. D. Nomberg, Avrom Reyzen, Zalmen Shneur, Yankev Glatshteyn, and others encouraged himself strongly to write.  In 1903 he came to the United States.  He studied for a year at Long Island Medical School.  He later moved to Paris and took a course at the Sorbonne, but he did not complete it.  He returned to America and took up teaching, and he remained a teacher until the end of his life.  He died in New York.  After his death, one of his stories, “Der sod” (The secret), was published in Idisher kemfer (Jewish fighter) in New York.  His widow, Leye Efron, and a group of friends published his stories that had never been published in his lifetime as a book entitled Tsvishn shotns un andere dertseylungen (Among shadows and other stories) (New York, 1945), 432 pp.

Sources: A. Beyzer, in Tsukunft (New York) (August 1946); Avrom Reyzen, in Di feder (New York) (1949).
Khayim Leyb Fuks


LOUIS EFRON (January 5, 1894-October 19, 1965)
            He was born in Slonim, Grodno district, Poland.  He received both a Jewish and a general education.  In 1913 he immigrated to the United States.  He lived in New York, Atlanta, and Philadelphia.  He was a bookkeeper.  From 1916 he published poems, sketches, humorous pieces, and features in: Kundes (Prankster), Varhayt (Truth), Morgn-zhurnal (Morning journal), Tog (Day), Forverts (Forward), and Amerikaner (American)—in New York; Idishe velt (Jewish world) in Philadelphia; and Idisher kuryer (Jewish courier) in Chicago; among others.  He edited Di atlantik vokhnblat (The Atlantic weekly newspaper) in Atlanta (1922-1925).  He died in Philadelphia.

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 2; Biblyografishe yorbikher fun yivo (Bibliographic yearbooks from YIVO) (Warsaw, 1928), see index; Tog-morgn-zhurnal (New York) (October 20, 1965).
Khayim Leyb Fuks


SHOLEM-ALTER EFTER (1861-October 19, 1938)
            He hailed from Ukraine, the son of a rabbi.  Until age nineteen he studied in yeshivas, thereafter departing for Bessarabia and becoming a cantor in the city synagogue in Telenești.  In 1919 he arrived in the land of Israel.  He lived in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv and supported his family through work.  He was the author of Yiddish and Hebrew storybooks and poetry on contemporary themes.  In book form, among others: Arbayter betrug (Labor fraud) and Sipur nifla (A wonderful story) (Tel Aviv-Jerusalem, 1925-1928), each 20 pp.  A number of his poems from the era of the third aliya were republished in the anthology Haifa 4 (Haifa 4) (1967).  He died in Tel Aviv.
Khayim Leyb Fuks


SHLOYME EPSHTEYN (b. October 2, 1866)
            He was born in Ponevezh (Panevėžys), Lithuania, into a rabbinical family.  He studied in yeshivas and secular subject matter on his own.  He lived in Warsaw 1881-1882.  He was a private Hebrew teacher.  In 1884 he made aliya to the land of Israel.  He had a small shop in Jerusalem in which he sold religious texts and newspapers.  This influenced him toward writing, initially in Hebrew and later also in Yiddish.  In 1887 he debuted in print in Hatsfira (The siren) in Warsaw with a reportage piece about Lag Baomer in Jerusalem.  Later, using the pen name Sh”Ep, he published in: Hamelits (The advocate) in Odessa; and Hatoran (The duty officer) in New York.  In Yiddish he published articles in Der erets-yisroel yud (The land of Israel Jew) in Jerusalem, which appeared as a supplement to Hatsvi (The gazelle) (May-July 18, 1890).  Over the years 1893-1898, he lived in New York.  He was a community leader and worked on behalf of Israel in Brooklyn.  He published the Erets-yisroel-karte (Land of Israel map) and published articles, under the pen name Sh”Ep, in: Idishe gazetn (Jewish gazette), Yidishes tageblat (Jewish daily newspaper), among others, in New York.  Further information remains unknown.

Sources: Ben-Tsien Ayzenshtadt, Dor rabanav vesofrav (A generations of rabbis and authors) (New York, 1905), p. 55; A. R. Malachi, in Tsukunft (New York) (July 1928); Malachi, in Fraye arbeter-shtime (New York) (April 25, 1966); M. Unger, in Zamlbukh lekoved dem tsveyhundert un fuftsikstn yoyvl fun der yidisher prese, 1686-1936 (Anthology in honor of the 250th jubilee of the Yiddish press, 1686-1936), ed. Dr. Y. Shatski (New York, 1937), pp. 136-37.
Khayim Leyb Fuks


SHAKHNE EPSHTEYN (EPSTEIN) (July 10, 1883-July 21, 1945)
            He was born in Ivye (Iwie, Iwye), Vilna district, into a Hassidic family of rabbis and followers of the Jewish Enlightenment.  Until age sixteen he studied with itinerant schoolteachers and in yeshiva, while at the same time learning Russian and reading a great deal in Hebrew.  He evinced talent at painting and left for Warsaw to study painting, but later he began to prepare external ways to matriculate.  In 1903 he joined the Bund.  He was arrested in 1905 and thrown into the Warsaw citadel prison until the amnesty following the October Manifesto.  He left Warsaw at this point, moved to Vilna, and there commenced his literary activities in Yiddish in the Bundist Folkstsaytung (People’s newspaper) with journalistic articles (earlier he had contributed work to a Russian newspaper in Vilna).  As a delegate of the Smorgon organization, he participated in the seventh conference of the Bund in Lemberg.  At the time of the second election to the Duma, he led an election campaign for the Bund in Grodno Province.  Through a provocation he was arrested under the name Yosl Ginzburg, spent months in prison at the Warsaw Citadel, and under the name Ginzburg was deported for two years to Yarensk in Vologda Province, from which three months later he escaped.  He then spent time illegally in Vilna and later traveled abroad.  From Vienna he wrote for the American Yiddish press.  In late 1909 he arrived in New York, for a short time worked as secretary for the central association of the Bund, and was one of the founders of the Jewish Socialist Federation and co-edited its biweekly organ Yidisher sotsyalist (Jewish socialist).  He later co-edited the weekly Di naye velt (The new world).  He was secretary of the editorial board of Di tsukunft (The future).  In 1913 he became editor of Glaykhhayt (Equality), the weekly organ of the International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union, and he also contributed to: Arbeter (Worker), Fraye arbeter-shtime (Free voice of labor), Forverts (Forward), and Avrom Reyzen’s Dos naye land (The new land), among other serials.  Following the March Revolution, he returned to Russia and worked there for the Bundist Folkstsaytung in Kiev.  He also wrote for the Odessa Marxist newspapers in Russian, but after the first split in the Bund, he joined the “Kombund” (Communist Labor Bund) and later the Jewish “Komfarbund” (Communist Union).  After the Soviets took Odessa, he was appointed co-editor of Izvestiya (News) in Odessa and editor of a literary-artistic journal in Russian, in which he wrote under the pen names Aleksandr Kutsher, Burov, and Arkadiev.  He also contributed to Vokh (Week), edited by Aleksander Khashin.  He later became editor of the Yiddish-language daily Komunistishe shtim (Communist voice).  At the time of Denikin invasion, he left Odessa for Moscow, together with the Komfarband joined the Russian Communist Party, and was named editor of the daily newspapers Der shtern (The star) and Izvestiya in Vitebsk.  In the spring of 1920 he returned to Moscow for the tenth conference of the Jewish section [of the Communist Party], and he was selected to be editor of the Yiddish state publishing house.  He was also made chairman of the Yiddish literary association.  In the summer of 1921, he traveled to the United States, and he edited under the pseudonym Yoysef Barson the weekly Der emes (The truth) in New York, where he remained until 1929.  He assisted in unifying the leftist elements of the Jewish Socialist Federation with the Communist Party.  Following the split in the Socialist Federation, when the majority joined the Communists, he became co-editor of a united organ, the weekly newspaper Naye-emes (New truth), which quickly changed to a daily called Frayhayt (Freedom), and he was one of its principal editors.  He was also co-editor of the Communist monthly Der hamer (The hammer).  Later, he traveled on to Russia, where in May 1929 he was appointed editor-in-chief of the major Kharkov monthly journal, Di royte velt (The red world).  From the latter half of the 1930s, he lived and worked in Moscow, and when the Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee was established in 1942, he became first secretary and editor of the newspaper Eynikeyt (Unity).  His books include: Der shnee, a drame in 4 akten (The snow, a drama in four acts) (New York: Mayzel et Co., 1911), 79 pp., translation from the Polish work by Stanisław Przybyszewski’s Śnieg; Knut hamsun, byografye (Knut Hamsun, a biography) (Warsaw: Kultur, 1911), 23 pp.; Y. l. perets als sotsyaler dikhter (Y. L. Perets as a social poet) (New York: M. N. Mayzel, 1916), 72 pp.—the same book under the title Dos arbets-folk in y. l. peretses verk (Working people in the works of Y. L. Perets) (Ekaterinoslav: Di velt, 1918), 71 pp.; Frilings-toyt, eynakter fun arbeter-lebn (Spring death, a one-act play of workers’ lives), second printing (Kovno-Berlin: Idish, 1921), 22 pp. [writing as Yoysef Barson]; Mitn viln funem folk, drame fun revolutsye in fir akten (With the will of the people, a drama of revolution in four acts) (New York: Jewish federation of the Workers’ Party, 1923), 78 pp., translation from the Russian work by Sergei Sabatiev; Inem land fun der sotsyaler revolutsye (In the land of the social revolution), vol. 1 (New York: Frayhayt, 1928), 403 pp.—the same book with the title Barg arop (Downhill) (Kharkov: Ukrainian State Publ., 1929), 235 pp., vol. 2 (New York, 1929)—under the title In tsurikmarsh (Return march) (Kharkov, 1933), 178; Osher shvartsman, monografye (Osher Shvartsman, a monograph) (Kharkov: Ukrainian State Publ., 1929), 105 pp.; Der internatsyonaler royter tog (The international red day) (Kharkov: Central Publ., 1929), 15 pp.; Baym oyfgang, 1905-1909 (At the rise, 1905-1909) (Moscow: Central Publ., 1929), 132 pp.; Y. stalin (J[oseph] Stalin) (Kharkov: Ukrainian State Publ., 1930), 59 pp.; Lenin, kak ya evo videl (Lenin, how I saw him) (Kharkov, 1931); and as editor, Di yidishe kinstlerishe literatur un di partey-onfirung (Yiddish artistic literature and Party direction) (Kharkov: Ukrainian State Publ., 1929), 124 pp.  He also made use of such pen names as: Y. Berman and A. Shmildner.  He died unexpectedly in Moscow under utterly unexplained circumstances.

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 2; Y. Nayman, in Tsukunft (New York) (April 1915); Z. Vaynper, Oyfkum (New York) (March 1927); M. Olgin, in Frayhayt (New York) (June 1928); Ve-ke (Vevyorke), in Di royte velt (Kharkov) (July 1929); Y. Opatoshu, in Literarishe bleter (Warsaw) (November 8, 1929); Zalmen Zilbertsvayg, Leksikon fun yidishn teater (Handbook of the Yiddish theater), vol. 2 (New York, 1934); B. Branin (A. Oyerbakh), in Morgn-zhurnal (New York) (January 13, 1932); A. Pomerants, in Proletpen (Kiev) (1935), pp. 38, 39, 40, 94; D. Tsarni (Daniel Charney), in Tsukunft (October 1938); obituary notice in Eynikeyt (Moscow) (July 21, 1945); D. Bergelson, in Eynikeyt (July 26, 1945); Y. Dobrushin, in Eynikeyt (July 20, 1946); Shloyme Mikhoels and I. Fefer, in Eynikeyt (August 19, 1947); Sh. Katsherginski, Tsvishn hamer un serp (Between hammer and sickle) (Paris, 1949), p. 96; Y. Yanosovitsh, in Di prese (Buenos Aires) (June 25, 1958); D. Shub, in Forverts (New York) (May 6, 1962; March 7, 1965).
Leyb Vaserman

[Additional information from: Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 419; and Chaim Beider, Leksikon fun yidishe shrayber in ratn-farband (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers in the Soviet Union), ed. Boris Sandler and Gennady Estraikh (New York: Congress for Jewish Culture, Inc., 2011), pp. 273-74.]

Wednesday, 20 June 2018


SH. EPSHTEYN (1876-1950)
            He came from Ukraine.  Until 1905 he was active in the revolutionary movement in Russia.  Because of a trial he was facing, he fled and traveled through Siberia; in 1906 he arrived in New York.  For a time he wrote for a Russian newspaper (which he edited for awhile), later contributing pieces to: Varhayt (Truth) in New York; and Idishe arbeter velt (Jewish workers’ world) in Chicago.  He also placed work in Frayhayt (Freedom) in New York (1922-1923).  In 1928 he settled in California, where he worked as an editor of Kalifornyer idishe shtime (Jewish voice of California) in Los Angeles.  He also published under such pen names as Ben Sara.  He died in Los Angeles.

Source: Kalmen Marmor archives (YIVO), in New York.
Khayim Leyb Fuks


RIFOEL EPSHTEYN (RAPHAEL H. EPSTEIN) (November 1, 1876-September 17, 1957)
            He was born in Mikhalove (Michałowo), Bialystok district, Poland.  He studied in yeshivas.  In 1899 he came to the United States.  For a time he worked as a Hebrew teacher and preacher in St. Paul.  He later moved to Canada, where he worked as teacher in Ottawa and Montreal.  He was a cofounder and a member if the central committee of the Mizrachi party in Canada.  He published articles on religious and ethnic topics in: Hatsfira (The siren) in Warsaw; Dos idishe likht (The Jewish light) in New York; Keneder odler (Canadian eagle) in Montreal; Der idisher zhurnal (The Jewish journal) in Toronto; Mizrakhi vokhenblat (Mizrachi weekly newspaper); and Unzer shtime (Our voice); among others.  Many of his articles were included in his religious texts in Hebrew and Yiddish: Sefer higayon vetsaut (Book of wisdom and lucidity) (Ottawa, 1943), 212 pp.; Sefer likute shoshanim (Book of wreath of roses) (Montreal, 1955), 178 pp.  He died in Montreal.

Sources: M. Ginzburg, in Keneder odler (Montreal) (November 2, 1943; July 14, 1955); Yisroel Rabinovitsh, in Keneder odler (September 20, 1957; November 5, 1959).
Khayim Leyb Fuks


KOPL EPSHTEYN (KOPEL EPSTEIN) (November 20, 1860-May 5, 1931)
            He was born in Vitebsk, Byelorussia.  His father, although a great scholar, was lured by the Jewish Enlightenment (he was a friend of Avraham Mapu).  His mother passed him off to be raised by his grandfather (her father), the rabbi of Vitebsk, R. Yeshaya Etin.  In 1878 Epshteyn left for St. Petersburg, supporting himself by giving Hebrew lessons, and for a short time translated news for Dr. Kantor’s Hayom (Today).  He was, however, living in St. Petersburg without residency rights, and the police expelled him, and he began wandering through towns of the Pale of Settlement.  His principal means of sustenance was teaching.  Under the pseudonyms of Ben-Arn and Ben-Menakhem, he wrote pieces for Der fraynd (The friend); in the 1920s his “Zikhroynes” (Memoirs) were published in Vilner tog (Vilna day).  He wrote a number of storybooks or “fiction of the highest interest” in the style of Shomer (N. M. Shaykevitsh).  A number of these were published, and it appears that a number were lost somewhere.  We know only that he sold the manuscripts to a published in Berdichev—“A shtub mit grine lodn” (A house with green shutters) and “Fleysh fun a sirkhe” (The flesh of a lung adhesion).  The published booklets were: Der karelsbader khosn, oder der ferhoster geliebter (The bridegroom from Karlsbad, or the despised beloved) (Vilna, 1893), 31 pp.; Der ferlarener brif oder a toes in pshat (The lost letter or literally an error) (Vilna, 1927), 32 pp.; Di untraye kale (The unfaithful bride) (Vilna: Rozenkrants and typesetter, 1893), 32 pp.; Leybe klots (Leybe the blockhead) (Vilna, 1912), 32 pp.; Familyen-bilder oder libe un gloybn (Family pictures or love and belief) (Odessa, 1900?).

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol.2; Vilner tog (Vilna) (March 11, 1931).


NEKHAME EPSHTEYN (November 4, 1898-late summer 1942)
            The wife of Shmuel Zaynvl Pipe, she was born in Lodz, Poland.  She received both a Jewish and a general education.  She was active in the left Labor Zionist party.  Until her death, she worked as a teacher in Jewish schools in Vilna, as a scholarly contributor to YIVO, and as a member of the ethnographic commission of YIVO.  In 1938 she completed her second term as a Szabad researcher.  She debuted in print with poems in Lodzher folksblat (Lodz people’s newspaper) in 1917 (using the pen name “A khaverte”), and thereafter published articles, essays on literature, book reviews, translations, and essays on pedagogy and school issues, as well as poems, in: Lodzher folksblat and Nayer folksblat (New people’s newspaper) in Lodz; Arbeter tsaytung (Workers’ newspaper), Literarishe bleter (Literary leaves), Shul-vezn (School system), and Di naye shul (The new school) in Warsaw; Vilner tog (Vilna day), Shul un lebn (School and life), Yivo bleter (YIVO pages), and Filologishe shriftn (Philological writings—issue 5), among others, in Vilna.  For the volume Dos tsveyte yor aspirantur (The second year of researcher students) (Vilna: YIVO, 1938), pp. 102-11, he contributed: “Vi azoy tsu klasifitsirn dem yidishn vits” (How to classify the Jewish joke).  She translated, among other works: Regina Liliental’s 1924 work on the “evil eye”; Rabindranath Tagore’s “Santiniketan”; Romain Rolland’s L’Âme enchantée (The enchanted soul) as Di farkishefte neshome; and serially in Lodzher folksblat, Stanisław Brzozowski’s Płomienie (The flames) as Flamen, 2 vols (Warsaw, 1925), 352 pp. and 401 pp.  She assisted in collecting and editing the fifth volume of Y. L. Cohen’s Gezamlte ksovim, yidishe folks-mayses (Collected works, Jewish folktales) (Vilna, 1940).  She was confined in the Vilna ghetto.  She attempted to escape, but the Lithuanian guards caught her, took her to Ponar, and murdered her.

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 2; Yivo bleter (New York) 26.1 (September-October 1945); Sh. Katsherginski, Khurbn vilne (The Holocaust in Vilna) (New York, 1947); Lerer yizker-bukh (Remembrance volume for teachers) (New York, 1954), p. 290.
Khayim Leyb Fuks


MOYSHE-MORTKHE EPSHTEYN (February 24, 1875-February 5, 1955)
            He was born in Slonim, Byelorussia.  He studied in yeshivas and perfected his learning through self-study.  From 1893 to 1905, he worked as a Hebrew teacher in Odessa, was a community leader there, and served as secretary of the Bene-Tsiyon (Children of Zion).  In the United States, he was a cofounder of Mizrachi.  He began writing about educational problems for Hamelits (The advocate) in Odessa (using the pen name “Melamed Belo Talmidim” [Teacher without students]) in 1897.  Later, in Hatsfira (The siren) in Warsaw, he published a series of articles entitled “Yisrael veteudotav” (Israel and its missions).  He was a regular contributor to: Yudishes tageblat (Jewish daily newspaper), Dos idishe likht (The Jewish light) for which he also ran the children’s section, Der id (The Jew), Di idishe tsukunft (The Jewish future), Hayom (Today), Haivri (The Jew), Hatoran (The duty officer), and Hadoar (The mail)—in New York; Keneder odler (Canadian eagle) and Der veg (The path) in Canada; Idishe velt (Jewish world) in Cleveland; and Idishe velt in Philadelphia.  He also wrote for English-language Jewish periodicals in America.  His books include: Moyshe un dos folk, oder goles un bafrayung (Moses and the people, or dispersion and liberation), 2 parts (New York, 1910), 110 pp.; Di idishe neshome (The Jewish soul) (New York, 1921), 96 pp.  He was the founder of the “Tashn-broshurn-biblyotek” (Pocket pamphlet library).  In this framework, he published twenty-four volumes in Yiddish, Hebrew, and English in a series called “Nature and Science in the Torah,” among them Der sod fun hoshaynes (The secret of willow twigs) (New York, 1921), 24 pp., Unzere shpayz-gezetse (Our food laws) (New York), 24 pp., and Taares hamishpokhe (Marital fidelity) (New York), 24 pp.; and Der veg tsu retung (The road to salvation) (New York, 1928), 96 pp.; and Redes, droshes un artiklen (Speeches, sermons, and articles) (New York, 1929), 96 pp.  In 1930 he made aliya to the land of Israel, and there he contributed to the press, primarily the religious press.  He placed work in: Haarets (The land), Hamizrai (The Mizrachi), and elsewhere.  He also published books in Hebrew.  He died in Tel Aviv.  He left a number of works in manuscript.

Sources: Sefer haishim (Biographical dictionary) (Tel Aviv, 1940); D. Tidhar, in Entsiklopedyah lechalutse hayishuv uvonav (Encyclopedia of the pioneers and builders of the yishuv), pp. 3145-46; David Yosifon, in Entsiklopediya shel hatsiyonut hadatit (Encyclopedia of religious Zionism) vol. A-D (Jerusalem: Mosad ha-Rav Kuk, 1958), pp. 174-75; G. Kressel, Leksikon hasifrut haivrit badorot haaḥaronim (Handbook of modern Hebrew literature), vol. 1 (Tel Aviv, 1965); Arkhiv fun kalmen marmor (Archives of Kalmen Marmor), in YIVO (New York).
Khayim Leyb Fuks


MORTKHE EPSHTEYN (November/December 1879-December 22, 1908)
            He was born in Teylmitsh (?), eastern Galicia.  Using the pen name “A Yidish kind” (A Jewish child), he published sketches of poor Jewish life in Galicia, as well as feature pieces, among them a series entitled “Khotse emorer mayses” (Somewhat spoken tales) in: Togblat (Daily newspaper) in Lemberg, Nayes lemberger togblat (New Lemberg daily newspaper), Tshernovitser tsaytung (Czernowitz newspaper), and Kolomayer folkspolitik (Kolomaye people’s politics), among others.  He supported himself from a notions shop and lived in utter poverty.

Source: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 2.
Yankev Kahan


MALKE EPSHTEYN (1916-March 1943)
            She was born in a village near Khentshin (Chęciny), Kielce district, Poland.  She graduated from a Polish public school and later became a laborer.  Until WWII she lived in Slomnik (Słomniki).  She published poems in: Kleyne folkstsaytung (Little people’s newspaper) and Literarishe bleter (Literary leaves) in Warsaw; and Keltser lebn (Kielce life) and Radomer keltser shtime (Voice of Radom Kielce); among other serials.  For a time she was confined in the Kielce ghetto, and in late 1941 she escaped from there.  She became a leader of a partisan group in the Miechów and Kielce woods.  She was killed during explosions at a German munitions camp near Kielce.

Sources: Information from Pinkhes Shvarts; American Echo (New York) (April 11, 1943).
Khayim Leyb Fuks


MEYLEKH EPSHTEYN (MELECH EPSTEIN) (March 19, 1889-late July 1979)
            He was born in Rozhinoy (Ruzhany), Grodno district, Byelorussia.  His father, Khayim Epltreger, was a schoolteacher in the municipal Talmud Torah.  Meylekh studied in religious elementary school and yeshiva and Hebrew and Russian with private tutors.  At age thirteen he left home and went to Bialystok.  As a youngster he entered circles of the Minsk Labor Zionist party and actively took part in Jewish labor issues in Bialystok, Warsaw, and elsewhere.  He spent time in a Russian prison for his political activities.  Around 1908-1910, he was one of the founders and leaders of the proletarian musical-dramatic association “Harfe” (Harp) in Lodz, and he later served as secretary of the Jewish Literary Society (St. Petersburg division), under the chairmanship of Y. L. Perets, until the society was closed down by the police.  After the failure of the Zionist socialist organization in Warsaw, in late 1913 he departed for the United States, and there he contributed to socialist-territorialist organs.  Initially he worked as a teacher in a national radical school in New York, later for Tog (Day) in New York, before moving over to Haynt (Today), edited by Herman Bernshteyn, and thereafter he wrote for Di tsayt (The times), the daily organ of the Labor Zionists, in 1921; he went on to join the Communist Party, was one of the founders of Morgn-frayhayt (Morning freedom) and from 1925 to 1928 its editor-in-chief, and he served on the editorial board of the Communist monthly Der hamer (The hammer).  In 1930 he traveled on assignment for the Communist Party to Soviet Russia.  In 1936 he went on a secret mission for the Party to the land of Israel to discover the true facts surrounding the Arab-Jewish struggle.  He left the Communist Party in August 1939 in protest against the Stalin-Hitler accord.  After that, he began writing for: Forverts (Forward), Tsukunft (Future), and Fraye arbeter-shtime (Free voice of labor), among other serials, in New York, as well as for the Anglophone Jewish press.  In 1940 he wrote for the Cloakmakers’ Union a history of the general strike of 1910.  For a time he worked for International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union, was editor of the periodical Hofenung (Hope), and published (1934-1940) for the League Against Fascism.  For a series of years, he played an important role as a Yiddish journalist.  His books include: Sako-vanzeti, di geshikhte fun zeyer martirertum (Sacco-Vanzetti, the story of their martyrdom) (New York: Jewish section, Workers’ [Communist] Party, 1927), 72 pp.; Amerike, der industryeler krizis un di revolutsyonizirung fun arbeter-klas (America, the industrial crisis and the revolutionizing of the working class) (Minsk: Central Publ, USSR, 1930), 39 pp.; Sovetn-farband boyt sotsyalizm, vi azoy der finf-yor plan ruft zikh op af ale gebitn fun lebn (The Soviet Union is building socialism, how the five-year plan responds to all realms of life) (New York: International Labor Order, 1931), 128 pp.; Yisroel faynberg, kemfer far frayhayt un sotsyaler gerekhtikheyt (Israel Feinberg, fighter for freedom and social justice), with a preface by David Dubinsky (New York, 1948), 122 pp. (28 pp. in Italian, 93 pp. in English); Jewish Labor In U.S.A.: An Industrial, Political and Cultural History of the Jewish Labor Movement, 1882-1914 (New York, 1950), 456 pp.; Jewish Labor in U.S.A., 1914-1952: An Industrial Political and Cultural History of the Jewish Labor Movement (New York, 1953), 466 pp.; The Jew and Communism: The Story of Early Communist Victories and Ultimate Defeats in the Jewish Community, U.S.A., 1919-1941 (New York, 1959), 438 pp.; Profiles of Eleven (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1966), 379 pp.  He died in Miami Beach.

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 2; A. Vohliner, in Tsyat (New York) (December 4, 1921); A. Lyesin, in Tsukunft (New York) (October 1928); N. Bukhvald, in Morgn-frayhayt (New York) (April 10, 1931); D. Tsharni (Daniel Charney), in Tog (New York) (July 16, 1932); A. Glants, in Tog (November 27, 1932); Yankev Glatshteyn, in Idisher kemfer (New York) (March 4, 1960); Glatshteyn, Mit mayne fartog-bikher (With my daybreak books) (Tel Aviv, 1963), pp. 387-92; Glatshteyn, in Tog-morgn-zhurnal (new York) (May 9, 1965); Kh. Liberman, in Forverts (New York) (June 29, 1960); Dr. Elye (Elias) Shulman, in Unzer tsayt (New York) (May 1966); Yankev Raykh, in Forverts (April 17, 1966; April 24, 1966).
Leyb Vaserman


            He was the author of a theatrical work and of a number of stories.  He lived, it would seem, in Mezritsh (Międzyrzec), Poland.  In his writing is reflected the transitional dialect of Lithuanian Yiddish and Polish-Volhynian Yiddish of Międzyrzec.  In his stories he describes Jewish life of that era of the struggle of the followers of the Jewish Enlightenment to spread their views.  In general, he did not devote his writings to community affairs.  His works include: Der bal-tshuve, an ertseylung (The penitent, a story) (Zhitomir, 1875), 23 pp.; Der opgilozter shidekh (The abandoned match) (Zhitomir, 1876); Der geshmisener apikoyres oder a khalerye in doranovke (The whipped heretic or a cholera in Doranovke), a theater piece in three acts (Warsaw, 1879), 37 pp., by Y’M’Y’N.  Using the same pen name, he also published: Lemekh der bal-shem oder tsvey khasanim under eyn khupe, a mayse in shirim mes y’m’y’n” (Lemekh, the miracle worker or two bridegrooms under one wedding canopy, a story in poetry by Y’M’Y’N) (Odessa: H. Ulrikh, 1880), 80 pp.  Under his own name he also published: Der toyter kop (The corpse’s head), a story (Vilna, 1867)[1]; Der pidyen haben, an ertsehlung (The redemption of the first born, a story) (Zhitomir, 1876), 35 pp.; Anekdotn fun dem shut balakirev (Anecdotes of the buffoon Balakirev) (Warsaw, 1878); Umgliklekhe yesoyme (Unhappy orphan) (Warsaw, 1878).

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 2; Yankev Shatski, in Yivo bleter (New York) 23.1 (January-June 1944), p. 132.
Elye Shulman

[Additional information from: Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 419.]

[1] Translator’s note. Most sources assign this work to Ayzik-Meyer Dik. (JAF)