Tuesday, 12 June 2018


T. ELSKI (1909-1941)
            The pen name of Leybl Troyanovski, he was born in Warsaw, Poland, into a poor family.  He studied in religious elementary school, later attending evening courses.  From his early youth, he worked in a textile factory in Warsaw.  He immigrated via Czechoslovakia and Germany to France and studied in Paris where he worked in knitwear.  He was an active member of the Parisian sports organization “Yask” (Yidisher arbeter sport klub [Jewish laborers’ sports club]).  In July 1936 he was a delegate to the international “Peoples’ Olympiad” in Barcelona, but due to the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War, he stayed on in Spain.  He volunteered at the time to join the first International Brigade.  As a newspaper correspondent, 1937-1938, he visited the front lines.  He published reportage and correspondence pieces from the Spanish Civil War in: Naye prese (New press) in Paris; Morgn-frayhayt (Morning freedom) in New York; and Emes (Truth) in Moscow.  He was active, 1940-1941, in the resistance movement in Paris.  He authored the book Af di frontn fun shpanye, reportazhn (At the Spanish fronts, reportage pieces) (Paris: A. B. Tserata, 1939), 191 pp., published with assistance from the Parisian “Association of Jewish-Spanish Militiamen” and the directors of Naye prese in Paris, with a foreword by Egon Ervin Kish and an afterword by A. B. Tserata.  Selections from the book were also published in Yizker-bukh tsum ondenk fun 14 umgekumene parizer yidishe shrayber (Remembrance volume to the memory of fourteen murdered Parisian Yiddish writers) (Paris, 1946).  He was interned for a time in the Drancy concentration camp.  He was killed in France when he leapt from a fast running train car with deportees.

Sources: “In der yidisher un hebreisher literatur” (In Yiddish and Hebrew literature), Di tsukunft (New York) (November 1944); Y. Finer and G. Kenig, in Yizker-bukh tsum ondenk fun 14 umgekumene parizer yidishe shrayber (Remembrance volume to the memory of fourteen murdered Parisian Yiddish writers) (Paris, 1946), pp. 145-47; Shmuel Niger, Kidesh hashem (Sanctification of the name) (New York, 1947), see index.
Benyomen Elis


  1. Dear Mr, Fogel - I'm hoping that you can help me on several counts. I am in the process of translating Mr. Elski's book "Oif Di Frontn Fun Shpanye" which I was able to obtain from the Yiddish Book Center, from Yiddish into English. Apparently Mr. Elski wrote two volumes but I have only been able to find the first. Do you know whether he in fact published the second volume and if so, where I could obtain a copy. I was also wondering whether Mr. Elski left any family or an estate because I would like to obtain their permission to publish prior to doing so.

    Thanks so much for any help you could provide to me.

    Deborah A. Green

  2. WorldCat has the following, which indicates libraries that hold the book--don't know if they have both volumes. This biography is just a translation--I don't know any details.