Tuesday 20 May 2014


Born in Zhetel (Pol. Zdzięcioł; Bel. Dzyatlava; Lit. Zietela) in the Grodno region of Poland.  He studied in religious school as well as in a Russian state school.  In 1910 he studied with a private tutor in Slonim.  In 1911 he worked as a proofreader for a Russian publishing house in Warsaw.  In 1912 he was in Odessa.  When WWI broke out in 1914, he was mobilized into the Russian army.  He spent eight months at the front, then fell into Austrian captivity in the camps in Croatia.  In 1918 he returned to Zhetel.  In 1921 he was in Vilna, and he contributed to Vilner tog (Vilna day).  At the same time, he studied to be a dental technician.  At the end of 1923, the Vilna Jewish Literary Society published his book, Ven di vegn kraytsn zikh, togbukh fun a yidishn krigs-gefangenem (When the roads cross, diary of a Jewish prisoner of war), 77 pp., with an introduction by Moyshe Shalit (a second printing appeared in 1924).  He described in this book something of Jewish life in the small towns of Croatia in the past which prior to that time had never been done.  In 1924 he was in Warsaw where he worked for Keren Hayesod (United Israel Appeal).  He published fictional pieces, reviews of books, and news items in the Warsaw press.  At that time, he worked as a book agent for Yiddish publishers.  Using the name Y. Ashkenazi, in 1926 he translated Charles Dickens’s Oliver Twist, and in 1928 Knut Hamsun’s The Last Joy.  With help from the Bund, he was elected vice-mayor of Zhetel.  He published in the record book of Yekopo (Yevreyskiy komitet pomoshchi zhertvam voyny—“Jewish Relief Committee for War Victims”) (Vilna, 1931) a monograph on Zhetel.  He was a teacher in the Tsisho (Central Jewish School Organization) school in Zhetel.  He was murdered by the Nazis in 1943.

Sources: A. Kotik, in Tog (Vilna), no. 120 (1923); Sh. Grig, in Bikher-velt, no. 1-2 (Warsaw, 1924); L. Blumenfeld, in Les Hommes du Jour, no. 18 (Paris, 1925); Lerer yizker-bukh, di umgekumene lere fun tsisho shuln in poyln (Teachers’ memory book, the murdered teachers from Tsisho schools in Poland) (New York, 1954).

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