Monday 26 May 2014


WILLIAM ABRAMS (February 19, 1894-1969)
His Jewish given name was Velvl-Dovid.  He was born in Shavel (Šiauliai), Kovno district, into a family of cobblers.  He studied in religious schools and in the municipal school (gorodskoye uchilishche).  At age eleven, he began working in a factory.  He later became a member of Yugnt-Bund (youth wing of the Bund).  He came to the United States at the end of 1912, and he worked offloading cargo wagons, in a city foundry, at a furrier’s shop, and longer than elsewhere for a tailor.  He came active in the amalgamated unions and in the Socialist Party.  In 1917-1918 he organized the Arts Circle (together with Moyshe Shulvays and Sh. Daysel).  In 1918 he published in a radical periodical an essay under the pseudonym “Petronius.”  In 1920 he began publishing essays about the male tailors in New York and their leaders in the Communist weekly Kamf (Struggle).  He published article in 1922 concerned with union issues in the weekly Emes (Truth).  From 1924 to 1943 he was a consistent contributor to Frayhayt (Freedom).  He also published articles in Hamer (Hammer, New York), Emes (Moscow), Shtern (Stars, Kharkov), and Prese (Press, Paris), as well as in Argentinian and Canadian newspapers.  Among his pen names were: Slim Vili (Slim Willie), Dovid Marba, Rokhl Veyner, Dovid Mayerson, and Vov-alef [his initials].  Among his books are the following: Di yidishe arbeter-bavengung in di fareynikte shtatn fun tsofn-amerike (The Jewish workers’ movement in the United States of North America) (Kharkov, 1930) with a foreword by Shakhne Epshteyn; A patsh, dertseylung (A slap, story) (New York, 1933), 31 pp.; Revolutsyonerer deklamator (Revolutionary declamations), collected and edited with Kalmen Marmor (New York, 1933), 329 pp.; Ikh ney un ney (I sew and sew) (New York, 1936), 223 pp.; Hirsh lekert (New York, 1938), 32 pp.  He edited (with editorial colleagues): Yunyon skver (Union Square) (Proletpen collection, New York, 1930); Signal (Proletpen journal, New York, 1933-1938); Mir (We), together with Menke Kats and Yankev Stadolski (New York, 1944).

Sources: Shmuel Niger, in Tog (New York) (1926); M. Olgin, in Morgn-frayhayt (March 2, 1931), in Hamer (March-April 1931), and in Morgn-frayhayt (May 1937); Y. B. Beylin, in Hamer (October 1933), and in Morgn-frayhayt (1936); M. Nadir, in Morgn-frayhayt (May 16, 1932); Martin Birnboym, in Morgn-frayhayt (April 28, 1932); A. Pomerantz, Proletpen (Proletarian pen) (Kiev, 1935), pp. 193-94; N. Y. Gotlib, in Yidisher kuryer (December 26, 1937).

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