SHMUEL ELYASHIV (October 11, 1899-June 20, 1955)
Literary and adopted name of Dr. Shmuel Fridman (Samuel Freedman), born in Pinsk, Russia. He was the son of Shmaryahu Fridman, grandson of Rabbi Dovidl Karliner; and on the mother’s side, nephew of Dr. Isidor Elyashev (Bal-Makhshoves). He was raised in Kovno, where he lived until WWI. He studied in religious schools. In 1917, he graduated from the Kovno commercial school; he studied jurisprudence in Moscow and Kiev Universities and graduated in Kharkov in 1921. He received his doctorate in 1927 in political science from the University of Toulouse (France). In 1928 he was practicing as a jurist in Kovno. Over the years 1927-1934, he was chairman of the central committee of the Zionist Socialist Party, served on the committee for working in the land of Israel, and chair of the Palestine office—all in Kovno, Lithuania. He was a member (1929-1934) of the action committee of the World Zionist Association, and later a member of honorary- and court-congress. He emigrated to Palestine in 1934. Between 1934 and 1937, he was a member of the executive committee of the Tel Aviv workers council. From 1937 to 1945 he was secretary of the central control commission of Histadrut, and from 1945 to 1948, he served on the executive of Histadrut. He was manager (1948-1950) of the East European section in the Foreign Ministry of the state of Israel. He served as Israeli ambassador (1950-1951) to Prague, Czechoslovakia and Budapest, Hungary. In 1950 and 1952, he was a member of the Israeli delegation to the United Nations. He also served as Israel’s ambassador to Moscow, 1951-1955.
He debuted as a writer in Evreyskaya zhizn’ (Jewish life) in Moscow (1915). In 1918 he published in Poltavskie novosti (Poltava news) and in the organ of the Young Zionists in Kiev, Erd un arbet (Land and labor). He was a contributor (1921-1922) to Yidishe shtime (Jewish voice) in Kovno, writing under the pseudonym “Safri,” and in the journal Di tribune (The tribune) in Berlin (edited by M. Grosman). In the years 1927-1933, he wrote for: Yidisher emigratsye (Jewish emigration), edited by A. Tsherikover; Fraye shriftn (Free writings), edited by Y. N. Shteynberg; Morgn-zhurnal (Morning journal) in New York; Di tsayt (The times) in Kovno, edited by R. Rubinshteyn; Di naye tsayt (The new times) in Riga, edited by M. Shats-Anin. In 1934 he was correspondent for Dos vort (The word) in Kovno. In Hebrew he published works in: Davar (Word), Moznaim (Balance), Beterem (Beforehand), Mearbot (Guide), Shenaton (Yearbook), and Besaarah (Into the storm), as well as the annual collection, Kneset (Assembly). His books include: Ukrainishe motivn (Ukrainian motifs), short stories (Berlin-Paris, 1926), 86 pp.; Le problème des minorités ethniques (Paris: Librairie Generale de Droit and de Jurisprudence, 1927); Rishme masa (Impressions of a journey) (Tel Aviv, 1951), 112 pp.; Hasifrut hasovyetit hachadashah (New Soviet literature) (Tel Aviv, 1953), 254 pp. He also edited (1921-1922) Erd un arbet, organ of the Kiev Young Zionists; Unzer veg (Our way), organ of the Zionist socialists (1924-1932); and Di tsayt, the political-literary journal, 1932-1933. Together with A. Shteynberg, he edited the volume of the work of Bal-Makhshoves entitled Untern rod (Under the wheel), published by the Y. L. Peretz Fareyn (New York, 1927). He also wrote a preface to the volume, Geklibene verk (Collected works) of Bal-Makhshoves, published by the L. M. Stayn Folks-bibliotek of the Congress of Jewish Culture (New York, 1953). He translated from Russian into Yiddish a work by Y. N. Shteynberg, Der moralisher ponem fun der revolutsye (The moral face of the revolution) (1924); and the textbook concerning the Histadrut and its institutions: Di histadrut (The Histadrut) (Tel Aviv, 1947).
Sources: N. Y. Gotlib, “Dos yidishe sheferishe vort in lite” (The creative Yiddish word in Lithuania,” Lite, vol. 1 (New York, 1951); B. Rivkin, “Mayn khaver” (My friend), Fraye arbeter shtime (New York) (July 31, 1942); Who’s Who in Israel (1952); Who’s Who in the World (New York, 1955).