MOYSHE-LEYB PITSHENIK (M. L. PETSHENIK) (December 23, 1895-March 1941)
He was born in Zlotshev (Złoczów), eastern Galicia. He attended religious elementary school and a small synagogue study hall. He worked as a bank employee in Vienna. He lived (1918-1919) in Złoczów, was active in the Jewish Folks-partey, and edited its newspaper Folksblat (People’s newspaper). Over the years 1920-1922, he lived in Katovits (Katowice), where he graduated from a Polish teachers’ seminary. From 1923 until his death, he lived in Loyvitsh (Łowicz), where he was a teacher and director of the local Jewish high school. He debuted in print in 1914 with poetry in Lemberg’s Togblat (Daily newspaper). Thereafter, he published poetry, stories, articles on literature, and translations from the classical poetry in: Togblat and Der morgn (The morning) in Lemberg; Dos yudishe vort (The Jewish word), Tog (Day), and Di prese (The press), among others, in Cracow; Literarishe bleter (Literary leaves)—among other items, a detailed biography of Berl Broder—Foroys (Onward), and Vokhnshrift far literatur (Weekly writing for literature) in Warsaw; Inzl (Island) and Nayer folksblat (New people’s newspaper), among others, in Lodz; Yivo-bleter (Pages from YIVO) in Vilna; and others as well. He contributed to Dr. Siegfried Bernfeld’s German-language Lexikon (Handbook) on topics of Jewish folklore and biographies of Jewish writers in Galicia. He translated from Ukrainian Di naye vahl-ordnung tsu der yudishe folks-gemeynde in mizrekh-galitsye (The new election rules for the Jewish people’s community in eastern Galicia) (Lemberg, 1918), 24 pp.; from German, Dr. Rubin’s Ver darf forn keyn erets-yisroel (Who should go to the land of Israel) (Złoczów, 1919), 24 pp.; and from the Greek original, Homer’s Odiseye (Odyssey), with a preface by Shloyme Shaynberg and with commentary and annotations by the translator (Warsaw, 1937), 471 pp., for which he received an award from the Yiddish Pen Club. His novels include: Seyfer r’ kalmen inui (The book of R. Kalmen’s suffering), written in the manner of the Yiddish language at the time R. Yisroel Bal Shem-Tov; and Seyfer moyshe kabtsn (The book of Moyshe the pauper), from the era of the Jewish Enlightenment—neither have emerged since WWII. He wrote under such pen names as: Nekhed-Mohel, A Zaytiker, A Lets, and Meshl-Nahayke. When the Nazis seized Poland, he was for a time confined in the Łowicz ghetto; he was then led into the Kazimierz forest near Chełmno, and there he was murdered.
Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 2; N. Shtif, Di eltere yidishe literatur (The older Yiddish literature), a literary reader (Kiev, 1929), pp. 195-208; Peysekh Kaplan, in Unzer lebn (Bialystok) (April 15, 1937); Zishe Bagish, in Inzl (Loidz) 3 (1937); Yidishe shriftn (Lodz) (1946); Sh. Slutski, Avrom reyzen-biblyografye (Avrom Reyzen’s bibliography) (New York, 1956), no. 4929.
Khayim Leyb Fuks