MENDL OSHEROVITSH (MENDEL OSHEROWITCH) (January 14, 1888-April 16, 1965)
Born in the town of Trostinyets (Trostyanets), Podolia, into a poor family that ran a hardware store. He studied in religious elementary school and at the synagogue study hall, later becoming an auditing student. He wandered about the region a lot. At age sixteen, he put into writing in Hebrew a sketch entitled Machazeh mul machazeh (Scene counter-scene). In 1909 he arrived in the United States following a visit to Palestine a year earlier. In that same year of 1909, he published his first poem in Gershom Bader’s anthology, Shtraln (Rays of the sun) (Lemberg). In the United States, he published stories in Yidisher kemfer (Jewish fighter), Tsukunft (Future), Fraye arbeter shtime (Free voice of labor), and Forverts (Forward). In 1914 he became a regular contributor to the last of these.
His books include: Umruike neshomes, gezamlte ertseylungen (Unsettled souls, collected stories) (New York, 1919), 269 pp.; Nor nisht mit yener, dertseylung (With anyone but him, a story) (New York, 1925), 16 pp.; Dovid kesler un muni vayzenfraynd, tsvey doyres yidish teater (David Kesler and Muni Weisenfreund, two generations in the Yiddish theater) (New York, 1930), 252 pp.; Vi mentshn lebn in sovet-rusland, ayndrukn fun a rayze (How people live in Soviet Russia, impressions from a trip) (New York, 1933), 392 pp.; Mari antuanet in der geshikhte fun der frantsoyzisher revolutsye, roman-byografye (Marie Antoinette in the history of the French Revolkution, a biographical novel), two volumes (Warsaw, 1937), 610 pp.; Der sof fun soyne-yisroel, fun di khashmenoim biz bar-kokhba (The end of anti-Semitism, from the Maccabees to Bar Kokhba), two volumes (New York, 1942), 542 pp.; Geshikhtes fun mayn lebn (Histories of my life), first volume of an autobiography (New York, 1945), 489 pp.; Shtet un shtetlekh in ukraine un in andere teyln fun rusland (Cities and towns in Ukraine and in other parts of Russia), two volumes (New York, 1948), 611 pp.; Koloman valish, 1889-1934, di lebnsgeshikhte fun a sotsyalistishn kemfer (Koloman Valish, 1889-1934, the life story of a socialist fighter) (New York, 1937), 62 pp.; Moyshe montefyore, 1784-1885, di lebns-geshikhte fun a yidn mit a varem harts (Moses Montefiore, 1774-1885, the life story of a Jew with a warm heart) (New York, 1941), 48 pp.; Kinigin miryom, historisher roman fun horduses tsaytn (Queen Miriam [Mariamne], a historical novel from the time of Herod) (New York, 1959), 365 pp. Among his works published in Forverts but not as yet in book form: Fun ukraine keyn amerike (From Ukraine to America), the second volume of Geshikhtes fun mayn lebn; Di geshikhte fun der dreyfus-afere (The history of the Dreyfus scandal), two volumes; Di geshikhte fun “forverts”, 1897-1947 (History of the Forward, 1897-1947); Yidishe perzenlekhkeytn (Jewish personalities); Shrayber un bikher, literarishe ophandlungen (Writers and books, literary discourses). His published translations include: Memuarn, vera figner (Memoirs, by Vera Figner; R. Zapechatlennyi trud), from Russian, three volumes (New York, 1925); Arbeter un frayhayt (Labor and freedom) by Lenin, from Russian with H. Burgin (New York, 1919); Di neshome fun der rusisher revolutsye (The soul of the Russian Revolution) by Moissaye Olgin, from English (The Soul of the Russian Revolution, 1917), two volumes (New York, 1921); Di sotsyalistishe bavegung in di fareynikte shtatn (The socialist movement in the United States) by James Oneal, from English (New York, 1922); A gelekhter nokh a shturm (Laughter after a storm) by Arkady Averchenko, from Russian (New York, 1928); Der gayst fun der tsayt (Spirit of the times) by A. Verbitski, two volumes (New York, 1919). He also translated the memoirs of Chaim Weizmann, Vladimir Burtsev, and Emma Goldman, as well as Itzhak Ben-Zvi’s Nidhe yisrael (Exiles of Israel) and a number of fictional works by Russian- and English-language authors. Together with Khone Gotesfeld, he wrote a play entitled Yo farheyrat un nit farheyrat (Married and unmarried), staged in New York in 1920. To honor 300 years of Jewish life in the America, he published in Forverts a series of biographies of prominent figures in the history of American Jewry. Among his pseudonyms: M. Obodovski. In a competition set up by Forverts, he won a prize for a sketch. Over the course of a number of years, he was president of the Y. L. Perets Writers Union. He died in New York.
Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 1; Z. Zilbertsvayg, Teater-leksikon, vol. 1; Shmuel Niger, in Tog (September 2, 1922); Y. Leshtsinski, in Yidisher kemfer (August 6, 1943); Dovid Eynhorn, in Der fraynd (July-August 1944); Dr. E. Naks, in Tsukunft (July 1946 and November 1949); Ab. Kahan, in Forverts (April 11, 1930, December 17, 1944, and April 3, 1945); Hillel Rogoff, in Forverts (March 1943, March 17, 1946, May 23, 1948, December 12, 1948, July 26, 1925, and February 21, 1937); Yankev Glatshteyn, in Yidisher kemfer (March 21, 1947); M. Vishnitser, in Bitsaron (Iyar, 1949); M. Shtarkman, in Tog (January 30, 1949); M. Khazkoni (Shtarkman), in Ha-boker (Tel Aviv) (Cheshvan, 1951); Dr. A. Mukdoni, in Morgn-zhurnal (September 1, 1946 and May 8, 1949); Y. Kharlash, in Der veker (New York) (February 1949).