ASHER BEYLIN (BEILIN) (February 21, 1881-September 12, 1948)
Born in Kiev, Ukraine, he was raised in the spirit of the Jewish Enlightenment (Haskala) movement. His father, Menachem Beylin, was a teacher and author of Haskala texts in Hebrew. Beylin graduated from secondary school and thereafter studied in Bern and Freiburg. Over the years 1901-1905, he worked as Sholem Aleykhem’s personal secretary. In 1906 he emigrated to London, and in that year he published his first piece, a story in a competition sponsored by Hatsofe (The spectator). He published stories in other Hebrew-language serials and was, mainly, active as a journalist and correspondent. He published in: Haynt (Today) in Warsaw; Lemberger tageblat (Lemberg daily news) in New York; and Tsayt (Time) in London. He wrote literary critical treatises, feature essays, and current events pieces. In 1933 he settled in Jerusalem. He was a contributor to Davar (Word), in which he published his reminiscences of Sholem Aleykhem and Y. Kh. Brener. Among his books: In shvartse teg (Dark days) (London, 1907), 16 pp.; Der blutiker yontef (The bloody holiday) (London, 1911), concerning a pogrom, 16 pp.; In der fremd (Abroad) (London, 1919), 16 pp. He also translated Victor Hugo’s Di letste teg fun a ferurteyltn (The last days of a condemned man [original: Les derniers jours d’un condamné]) (London, 1910). Over the years 1932-1934, he published in the “Groshn biblyotek” (Penny library), the following volumes (each 64 pp.): Di geheymnishn fun daytshn shpyonazh (Undercover operatives in German espionage); Viktor grin (Victor Green), 1863, di povstanye (1863, the uprising); and Atentat afn zhandarmen-shef markgrafski (The attempted assassination of Chief of Police Markgrafski). As a playwright, he wrote: Pasportn (Passports), a war drama in four acts, staged in London in 1917; Banim legevulam (Sons to their borders), staged at Habima in Palestine. For a time he edited in London: Yidisher zhurnal (Jewish journal) and Yidisher ekspres (Jewish express); and Iyim, a Hebrew anthology of current events, literature, and scholarship (London, 1927), to which he contributed a story and memoir concerning Sholem Aleykhem. During WWI, he conducted publicity for the Jewish Legion in Whitechapel. He worked over the years 1920-1933 in London in a publicity position for the Jewish National Fund. Among his pen names: Emanuel, Alef Beys, A. Ben-Menachem, B. Asher, An Eygener, Dr. A Kievski, Ts. Hekhtman, and A. Brahinski. He died in Jerusalem.
Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 1; Z. Zilbertsvayg, Teater-leksikon, vol. 1; D. Tidhar, Entsiklopedyah leḥalutse hayishuv uvonav (Encyclopedia of the founders and builders of Israel) (Tel Aviv, 1950), vol. 4; A. Vevyorke, in Di royte velt (The red world) (Kiev) (July 1929); L. Kenig, in Loshen un lebn (Language and life) (January 1949).
[Additional information from: Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 81.]