Monday, 11 June 2018

ZALMEN (ZENI) ELBIRT


ZALMEN (ZENI) ELBIRT
            He was born in Lutsk, Volhynia, into a poor family.  He received a traditional Jewish education, later studying in a high school and in the philosophy department at Warsaw University; he went on to graduate from the philosophy department of Nancy University in France, and there he participated in the leftist student movement.  He completed his doctoral degree after returning to Poland.  He was a member of the editorial board of Literarishe tribune (Literary tribune), organ of the left in Warsaw, and later he served as secretary for Der fraynd (The friend) in Warsaw.  He wrote literary criticism as well as journalistic articles.  He was a member of the Warsaw Jewish literary association at “Tłomackie 13,” and he also joined the leftist writers’ group.  He was murdered (together with his wife) in the German occupation of Lemberg.  In Pinkes lutsk (Records of Lutsk), there is a poem by Yoyel Perle entitled “Tsum ondenk fun zalmen elbirt (zeni)” (To the memory of Zalmen Elbirt [Zeni]).  Perle turns him there into a martyr: “Like a hero you fought against violence and lies, / With your magnificent pen in hand, as a weapon against the murderer.”

Sources: “Yizker” (Remembrance), Yidishe shriftn (Lodz) (1946); B. Mark, Umgekumene shrayber fun di getos un lagern (Murders writers from the ghettos and camps) (Warsaw, 1954); Unter der fon fun kp״p (Under the banner of the Polish Communist Party) (Warsaw, 1959), p. 362; Sefer lutsk (Volume for Lutsk) (Tel Aviv: Association of former residents of Lutsk in Israel, 1961), see index.
Yankev Birnboym


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