MENAKHEM FLAKSER (April 8, 1898-August 3, 1978)
He was born in Ostrolenke (Ostrołęka), Lomzhe district, Poland. He received a traditional Jewish and a general education. From 1918 until WWII, he lived in Warsaw, working as a journalist, writing poetry, and preparing translations. At the time of the Nazi invasion of Poland, he departed for Vilna, and until late 1940 he was secretary to the association for refugee writers. He then traveled across the Soviet Union and came to Shanghai where he lived out the war. From 1947 he was in the United States. He debuted in print with poetry in Ringen 3 (Links 3) in Warsaw in 1921. From that point, he published poems, stories, essays on literature and art, travel narratives, and journalistic articles in: Khalyastre (The gang), Bikher velt (Book world), Varshever almanakh (Warsaw almanac), Varshever shriftn (Warsaw writings), Literarishe bleter (Literary leaves), Foroys (Onward), and Vokhnblat far literatur (Weekly writing for literature), among others, in Warsaw. From 1926 until September 1939, he was a member of the editorial board of Unzer ekspres (Our express) in Warsaw. In 1940 he became an internal contributor and editorial writer for Vilner togblat (Vilna daily newspaper). Over the years 1941-1943, he was editor of Unzer lebn (Our life), appearing once every three weeks in Shanghai. From 1949 he was an internal contributor to Forverts (Forward) in New York. Together with Alexander Pomerants, he compiled for YIVO: “Biblyografye fun der sovetisher yidisher peryodik” (Bibliography of Soviet Yiddish periodicals). He authored a monograph “Unzer ekspres” for Fun noentn over (From the recent past) (New York) 3 (1957), pp. 363-95, and for Varshe in der yidisher literatur (Warsaw in Yiddish literature) (1966). He translated from French: Anatole France, Blumen (Flowers) (Warsaw: Kultur-lige, 1921), 27 pp. From German: B. Kellermann, Ingeborg (Ingeborg) (Warsaw, 1924), 317 pp.; Rainer Maria Rilke, Dos gezang fun libe un toyt (The song of love and death) (1925). From Russian: Ilya Ehrenburg, Oysergeveynlekhe pasirungen fun khulyo khurenito un zayne talmidim (The extraordinary adventures of Khulio Khurenito and his students [Neobychainye pokhozhdeniia Khulio Khurenito i ego uchenikov]) (Warsaw: Kultur-lige, 1927), 390 pp.; Ehrenburg, Dos lebn un toyt fun nikolai kurbov (The life and death of Nikolai Kurbov [original: Zhizn’ i gibel’ Nikolaya Kurbova] (1928); and Ehrenburg, Dos shturmishe lebn fun lazik roytshvanyets (The stormy life of Lazik Roytshvanyets [original: Burnaya zhizn’ Lazika Roytshvantsa]) (Warsaw: Kultur-lige, 1929), 373 pp.; among others. He helped prepare Yisroel Shtern’s Lider (Poetry) (New York, 1955) for publication, and for the book he wrote up Shtern’s biography. He also contributed bio-bibliographical materials for Leksikon far der nayer yidisher literatur (Biographical dictionary of modern Yiddish literature) in New York. Among his pen names: Mem and M. F. He died in New York.
Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 3; Shmuel Niger, in Tsukunft (New York) (May 1924); A. Tsaytlin, in Varshever ekspres (Warsaw) (September 3, 1926); Y. Rapaport, in Literarishe bleter (Warsaw) 33 (1926); M. Turkov, Di letste fun a groysn dor (The last of a great generation) (Buenos Aires, 1954), p. 326; M. Vaykhert, Varshe (Warsaw) (Tel Aviv, 1961), see index; Y. Gar and F. Fridman, Biblyografye fun yidishe bikher vegn khurbn un gvure (Bibliography of Yiddish books concerning the Holocaust and heroism), vols. 1 and 2 (New York, 1962, 1966).
Khayim Leyb Fuks