Sunday 16 November 2014


M. BARANOV (BARANOFF) (1864-December 30, 1924)
The adopted name of Moyshe Gormidor, he was born in Zhitomir, Volhynia, into a merchant’s family.  He studied in religious elementary school, graduated from a public high school, studied in a teachers institute, and studied jurisprudence at St. Petersburg University.  He was pulled into the revolutionary movement.  He was arrested for belonging to Narodnaya volya (People’s will) and exiled to Ukraine.  He escaped abroad, then returned to Russia, only later to turn up in Paris.  In 1888 he came to London, took part in the Jewish workers’ movement, and published in Krantz’s Arbayter fraynd (Laborers’ friend) and Di fraye velt (The free world).  He published a series of articles, entitled “Vos iz tsu ton?” (What is to be done?), in which he associated with the social-democratic point of view against the semi-anarchist ideas that were popular at the time.  He then moved to Argentina and wrote from there important letters for Voskhod (Rising) in St, Petersburg, as well as a depiction of his trip to Argentina in Forverts (Forward) in New York; this was the first description of Jewish colonization in Argentina.  In 1895 he arrived in New York and he contributed to: Abend blat (Evening newspaper), Arbayter tsaytung (Workers’ newspaper), Tsaytgayst (Spirit of the times), and Tsukunft (Future).  He published historical and general scientific articles and brochures, stories, and translations, among much else.  From 1905 until his death, he was a regular contributor to Forverts, in which his weekly article, entitled “Farbaygeyendik” (In passing), was often in conflict with the position of the editor.  After a trip to Palestine, he published a series of travel narratives in which he offered a positive evaluation of the preparations being made by the pioneering laborers.  In general he excelled with his straightforward, free, and distinctive ideas, with his sharp pen and ingenious satire.  He was one of the most original writers of current events and feature pieces in the United States.  He was the author of Der mentsh un di natur (Man and nature) (New York, 1903), 51 pp.  Among his pen names: Aleksandrov, Mikhailov, Ben Froym.

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 1; Ab. Kahan, Bleter fun mayn lebn (Pages from my life), vols. 3 and 4; Geshikhte fun der yidisher arbeter bavegung in di fareynikte shtatn (History of the Jewish labor movement in the United States), vol. 2; Kalman Marmor, Der onhoyb fun der yidisher literatur in amerike (The beginning of Yiddish literature in America) (New York, 1940); Hilel Rogof, Der gayst fun forverts (The spirit of the Forverts) (New York, 1954), pp. 41-46; Shmuel Niger, “M. baranov in ‘tog’” (M. Baranov at Tog) (November 29, 1924).

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