SHMUEL-YANKEV (SAMUEL JACOB) IMBER (February 24, 1889-1942)
Born in Jezierna, eastern Galicia, son of the author Shmaryahu Imber and nephew of Naftali-Herts Imber, author of Hatikvah. He received a traditional Jewish education. He frequented the secular high schools in Zlotshev (Złoczew) and Tarnopol, and studied in the faculty of philosophy at Lemberg (Lvov) University. He traveled to Palestine in 1912. In 1915 he served in the Austrian army. After a pogrom in Lvov in 1918, he departed for Vienna and there he devoted himself to writing and publishing activities. In 1921 he was in the United State where, with a short interruption, he spent five years. He returned then to Poland, lived in Lvov and Krakow where in 1935 he received his doctoral degree. He contributed to the Yiddish and Polish-Jewish press. His maiden publication in 1905 was a poem appearing in Leybl Toybish’s Tshernovitser vokhnblat (Czernowitz weekly). In 1907 he published a number of poems in Polish under the pseudonym “Jan Niemiara.” He published poems in A. Reyzen’s Kunst un lebn (Art and life), in Yidisher kemfer (Jewish fighter) in New York, in Dos naye lebn (The new life), in Fraynd (Friend), and in Di yidishe velt (The Jewish world); as well as articles on literary themes in Moment and Haynt (Today) in Warsaw, Togblat (Daily) and Chwila (Moment) in Lvov, and more as well.
His books include: Vos ikh zing un zog (What I sing and say), poems (Lemberg, 1909), 62 pp.; Esterke, a poeme (Esterke, a poem) (Stanisławów, 1911), 60 pp., three editions; In yudishen land (In the Jewish land) (Lemberg, 1912), 45 pp., poems from Palestine, republished with the title Heym-lider (Poems of home) (Vienna, 1918); Royznbleter (Rose leaves), love poems (Vilna, 1914), 239 pp.; Viktorya, akordn tsu knut hamsuns dertseylung (Victoria, chords to Knut Hamsun’s story) (Vienna, 1920), 38 pp.; Vald oys vald ayn (?), poems (Vienna, 1920), 61 pp.; Geklibene dikhtungen (Collected poetry), poems from books cited above (Vienna, 1921), 270 pp.; Pieśń i dusza Oskara Wilde’a (The song and soul of Oscar Wilde) (Warsaw-Krakow, 1934), 120 pp.; Asy czystej rasy (Purebred aces) (Krakow, 1934), 120 pp.; Inter arma, a zamlung lirik (Inter Arma, a collection of lyrics), a collection of lyrics from Galician poets (Vienna, 1918), 79 pp.; Literarishe flugshriftn (Literary pamphlets), one volume (1921); Di gegnvart (The present), no. 1-8 (New York, July-November 1924); Modern Yiddish Poetry: An Anthology, an anthology of Yiddish poetry in English (New York, 1927), 351 pp.; Tsvishn vintmiler (Between windmills), a polemical periodical (Krakow, March-April 1931), 16 pp.; Oko w Oko (Eye to eye), monthly journal (published by S. Imber) (1936, no. 1-3; 1937, no. 4-8), solely his own writings. He translated into Yiddish poems by Heinrich Heine and Lessing’s Nathan the Wise (Natan der vayse; Nathan der Weise). His volume of poems from Palestine was translated by the Russian-Hebrew poetess Elisheva and published in 1916 (Moscow) under the title V evreiskoi stran (In the Jewish land). His Hebrew poem was published in Y. Kh. Brener’s Revivim (Rain showers). Imber contributed to Menakhem Lazar’s Shevuon haivri (Hebrew weekly). A fair number of his works in Yiddish appeared under the pen name Sh. Yakobi.
Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 1; Avrom Reyzen, Epizodn fun mayn lebn (Episodes from my life) (Vilna, 1935), vol. 3; M. Ravitsh, Mayn leksikon (My lexicon) (Montreal, 1945), vol. 1; Dr. Y. Tenenboym, Galitsye, mayn alte heym (Galicia, my old country) (Buenos Aires, 1952); B. Mark, Umgekumene shrayber fun di getos un lagern (Murdered writers from the ghettos and camps) (Warsaw, 1954); Sh. Bikl, “Sh. Y. Imber un B. Horovits” (Sh. Y. Imber and B. Horovits), Zamlbikher (Collection), no. 7 (New York, 1948); M. Naygreshl, “Der letstn dor yidishe poetn in galitsye” (The last generation of Yiddish poets in Galicia), Tsukunft (New York) (December 1950); D. Kenigsberg, in Literarishe bleter (March 20, 1936); Y. Shleyen, in Letste nayes (Tel Aviv) (July 10, 1953); Y. Ashendorf, in Yidisher kemfer (New York) (February 24, 1950; Gershom Bader, Medina veḥakhameha (The land and its wisdom) (New York, 1934), p. 27.