Friday 30 May 2014


Born in Nay-sants (Nowy Sącz), Galicia, into a well-to-do family in business.  He graduated in 1920 from a public school, and in 1923 he graduated from the commercial academy in Krakow.  He then began to study at the Jewish Educational Seminary in Vilna, but he had to discontinue his studies due to financial difficulties.  In 1931 he passed the high school course in Bilits (Bielsko).  He studied Germanic studies and history first in Krakow and later in Warsaw (under Marceli Handelsman).  From an early age, he demonstrated an interest in Jewish folklore and philology.  He occupied himself with research into the Yiddish and Hebrew elements in the Polish language.  In 1935 he was a YIVO researcher for a term.  He worked on the history of Jews in the Duchy of Warsaw which was also by the same token the topic of his doctoral thesis under Handelsman.  A small piece of this work was published in Yivo-bleter (Leaves from YIVO), vol. 10 (1936), and in the report Yor aspirantur (Research for the year) (Vilna, 1937).  Two chapters were published in Bleter far geshikhte (Pages for history), part 2 (1938), put out by the historians’ circle of YIVO in Warsaw.  One chapter on the structure of the Jewish population of Warsaw in 1810 was published in a Polish bulletin of the Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw (nos. 13-14, 1955, pp. 73-113).
After WWII, he returned to Warsaw where he became one of the most visible contributors at the Jewish Historical Institute, and a member of the editorial board of its organ, Bleter far geshikhte.  With a few exceptions, he was devoting himself from that point almost entirely to research on the Jewish Holocaust in Poland.  In Bleter far geshikhte, he published a series of pieces on this theme (from vol. 1, 1948), some of which were also published in Polish (in the bulletin as well as separately).  He published methodological articles concerned with problems of researching the period of the Holocaust in Yedies-byuletin fun yidishn historishn institut in poyln (News bulletin from the Jewish Historical Institute in Poland) (Warsaw) (November 1949, 1950).  In his essay, “Tsi iz meglekh visnshaflekh oystsuforshn dem letstn period in der yidisher geshikhte” (Is it possible to scientifically investigate the last period in Jewish history) (Yedies, November 1950), he took a stand against Y. Shatski’s article on the same matter (in Problemen, Paris, no. 3-4, 1950), and declared himself a historical materialist contrary to Shatski’s “historical realism.”  The articles were also published in the Polish bulletin.  He also wrote under the pseudonym “Arkhivaroys” (out of the archives).

Artur Eisenbach and his wife

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