Monday, 1 July 2019


YANKEV RAYZFEDER (JACOB REISFEDER) (September 18, 1890-January 1943)
            He was a storyteller, a poet, and a children’s author, born in Warsaw.  He was descended from a Hassidic family.  He attended religious elementary school and yeshivas.  In 1923 he left for Argentina, later returning to Warsaw.  He wrote a great deal in the Warsaw Ghetto.  He debuted in print with daily impressions and feuilletons in Warsaw’s daily Yiddish press.  He later also wrote sketches, novellas, poetry, children’s tales, and several plays.  He contributed work to: Unzer leben (Our life), Moment (Moment), Haynt (Today; a regular writer over the years 1911-1915, also under the pen names Reb Yankele, A Yid, and others), Literarishe bleter (Literary leaves), Fraynd (Friend), Folks-tsaytung (People’s newspaper), Nisn (Nisan [the month]), Shvat (Shevat [the month]), Unzer ekspres (Our express), Ringen (Links), and Dos yudishe vort (The Yiddish word)—all in Warsaw; Dos naye land (The new land) in New York; Frimorgn (Morning) in Riga; and in Argentinian publications, mostly Di prese (The press) and Far kleyn un groys (For big and small); among other serials.  In book form: Der milkhiger (The milkman) (Warsaw, 1912); Der khosem-soyfer (The Ḥatam-Sofer [Moses Schreiber]) (Warsaw: A. Gitlin, 1919), 102 pp.; Fartsaytens (Of old), stories (Warsaw: Brider Levin-Epshteyn, 1921), 149 pp.; Shtaplen (Rings), poetry (Warsaw: Unzer bukh, 1923), 90 pp.  He also brought a series of original children’s stories: Kinder fun keler-shtub (Children from the basement apartment), Der oyrekh (The guest), Tsvey sokhrim (Two businessmen), Der brilyantener prints (The precious prince), Der yungele un zayn samovarel (The youngster and his little samovar), and others, all: (Warsaw: Yunge hertsele. 1920-1921), nos. 1-8.  His translations: Maria Konopnicka, Unzer klyatshe (Our mare [original: Nasza szkapa]) (Warsaw: Unzer bukh, 1922), 16 pp.; Ernest Thompson Seton, Uab grizlis byografye (Biography of Wahb, a grizzly [original: The Biography of a Grizzly]); Brothers Grimm, Shneyvaysele (Snow White [original: Schneeweißchen]); Wilhelm Hauff, Der kalif bushl (The caliph stork [original: Kalif Storch] and Der karlik muk (Muk, the midget [original: Der kleine Muck]).  He also authored a three-act play entitled Der invalid (The invalid) which Ayzik Samberg staged in a series of Polish cities.  He died in the Warsaw Ghetto.

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 4; Zalmen Zilbertsvayg, Leksikon fun yidishn teater (Handbook of the Yiddish theater), vol. 5 (Mexico City, 1966); Bikher-velt (Warsaw) (1922), p. 5; B. Mark, Umgekumene shrayber fun di getos un lagern (Murdered writers from the ghettos and camps) (Warsaw, 1954), pp. 59, 60-61, 68; Yeshurin archive, YIVO (New York).
Berl Cohen

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