HILEL ROGOF (HARRY, HILLEL ROGOFF) (December 11, 1882-November 30, 1971)
He was born in Berezin (Byerazino), Byelorussia. He came to the United States in 1890. He studied in Rabbi Yitskhok Elkhonen’s yeshiva. In 1906 he graduated from New York State College. He was active in both the general and the Jewish socialist movement. At the time of the split in the Jewish labor movement, for a short time he was a follower of the leftists. In 1926 he was a candidate for the Senate on the list of the Socialist Party. He began his journalistic career in English in 1905 and in Yiddish in 1906 with a piece in Forverts (Forward), to which he contributed (with short interruptions in 1908 and 1921) as a news editor, assistant editor, from 1951 to 1964 as editor-in-chief, and as the main journalist for the newspaper. For the paper he wrote editorials, literary and theater criticism, and pieces on social and political topics. Between the two world wars, he published numerous travel narratives from Europe and the land of Israel. He also placed work in: Tsukunft (Future), which he co-edited for a certain time; Di yidishe arbayter-velt (The Jewish workers’ world) in Chicago (1908, also editor); Fraye arbeter shtime (Free voice of labor), Di naye velt (The new world); the Labor Zionist daily newspaper Di tsayt (The times); and Der veker (The alarm); among others. He served as co-editor of Finf un zibetsik yor yidishe prese in amerike (Seventy-five years of the Yiddish press in America) (New York, 1945). Rogof’s reportage pieces on workers in the garment industry, at a time when there was a campaign against Jewish tailors, helped to establish a new union under the leadership of Sidney Hillman and Joseph Schlossberg. His pen names included: Yitskhok-Elkhonen and Ger Toshav. In book form: Vi azoy amerika vert regiert (How America is ruled) (New York: Forverts, 1918), 469 pp.; Di geshikhte fun di fareynigte shtaten (The history of the United States), 5 vols. (New York, 1925-1928)—vols. 1-2 (Levant Press), vol. 3 (Up-to-Date Printing Company), vols. 4-5 (Veker); Meyer london, a byografye (Meyer London, a biography) (New York, 1930), 390 pp., in English as An East Side Epic (New York: Vanguard Press, 1930), 311 pp.; Der gayst fun “forverts” (The spirit of the Forward) (New York, 1954), 283 pp. Pamphlets include: Finf un tsavtsik yor komunistishe bavegung in amerike (Twenty-five years of the Communist movement in America) (New York, n.d.), 4 pp.; Amerikaner frayhayt (American freedom) (New York: Jewish Socialist Federation, 1916), 29 pp.; Di diktatur fun proletariat (The dictatorship of the proletariat) (New York: Jewish Socialist Federation, 1920), 24 pp.; Huver, smit un zeyere platformes (Hoover, Smith and their platforms) (New York: Veker, 1928), 15 pp.; Der kongres fun di fareynigte shtaten (The Congress of the United States) (New York: Veker, 1930), 15 pp.; Di politishe lage in amerike un di oyfgaben fun der sotsyalistisher bavegung (The political state of affairs in America and the tasks of the socialist movement) (New York: Veker, 1938), 15 pp.; Vikhtike problemen fun der arbeter-bavegung (Important issues in the labor movement), with L. Hendin and N. Chanin (New York, 1940), 50 pp. From English he translated Morris Hilquist’s Di geshikhte fun der sotsyalistisher bavegung in di fareynigte shtaten (The history of the socialist movement in the United States), vol. 1 (New York: M. Gurevitsh, 1919), 252 pp. He died in New York.
Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 4; L. Fogelman, in Tsukunft (New York) 9 (1927); Literarishe bleter (Warsaw) 48 (1929); Ab. Cahan, Bleter fun mayn leben (Pages from my life), vol. 4 (New York, 1928), p. 466; Y. Khaykin, Yidishe bleter in amerike (Yiddish newspapers in America) (New York, 1946), see index; Forverts (New York) (April 19, 1957), a special Rogof issue; Y. Bashevis, in Forverts (May 19, 1957); Y. Yeshurin, Hilel rogof biblyografye (Hillel Rogof bibliography) (New York, 1958); Bibliographic Encyclopedia of American Jews (New York, 1935), p. 441.