Wednesday 4 March 2015


MAKS (MAX) BEER (1864-1943)
He was born in Zhikov-Tarnobrzeg, western Galicia.  In 1889 he moved to Germany, where he worked as a publisher and simultaneously wrote articles for publications of the Social Democratic Party.  In the early 1890s he became an assistant editor of Magdeburger Volksstimme (Magdeburg voice of the people), the Social Democratic organ in Magdeburg.  In 1893 he was sentenced to fourteen months in prison for an article in this newspaper.  In 1894 he settled in London.  He wrote correspondence pieces for the German Post (Munich) and the Yiddish Arbayter-tsaytung (Workers newspaper) (New York).  In 1898 the Arbayter-tsaytung (together with Abend-blat [Evening newspaper]) brought him to New York, and there he became the editor and contributor to the Encyclopaedia Judaica, while he also wrote for the German Volkszeitung (People’s newspaper) and the Yiddish Arbayter-tsaytung.  He was one of the contributors to the first issue of Die Neue Zeit (New times) on May 10, 1898 (New York), which was published in place of the discontinued Zukunft (Future), and during the rift in the Socialist Labor Party under Daniel DeLion, for a short time he edited Abend-blat.  In 1901 he returned to London and became a regular correspondent for the Berlin Vorwärts (Forward) and for the scientific weekly Die Neue Zeit; from time to time, he also wrote articles for Yiddish publications (one of them was published in Tsukunft [Future] in October 1906).  During WWI, he was deported from England as a “hostile foreigner” (enemy alien).  He was superintendent of the English library at the Marx-Engels Institute, 1927-1929, in Moscow.  He then returned to Germany and worked in the Institut für Sozialforschung (Institute for Social Research) at Frankfurt University until 1934.  The Hitler regime deprived him of German citizenship, and he was compelled to separate from his Aryan wife and was deported from Germany.  A broken, ruined man, Beer moved to London and lived on the support given him by Jewish aid organizations.  Among his books, the following were translated into Yiddish: Algemeyne geshikhte fun sotsyalizm un sotsyale kamf (General history of socialism and social struggles), trans. Yoysef Leshtshinski, 5 vols. (Warsaw, 1929) [original: Allgemeine Geschichte des Sozialismus und der sozialen Kämpfe]; Dos lebn un di lere fun karl marks (The life and teaching of Karl Marx), trans. L. Hodes (Warsaw, 1933) [original: Karl Marx, sein Leben und seine Lehre].

Sources: Universal Jewish Encyclopedia (New York, 1940), pp. 133-34; B. Vaynshteyn, 40 yor in der arbeter-bavegung (Forty years in the labor movement) (New York, 1924), p. 206; H. Burgin, Di geshikhte fun der yidisher arbeter-bavegung (The history of the Jewish labor movement) (New York, 1915), pp. 454-55; E. Shulman, Geshikhte fun der yidisher literatur in amerike (History of Yiddish literature in America) (New York, 1943), p. 64; Yankev Milkh, Di antshteyung fun “forverts” (The rise of the Forverts) (New York, 1936), p. 120; Moyshe Shtarkman, in Yivo-bleter 4.4-5 (Vilna, 1932); Zalmen Reyzen, in Yoyvl-bukh 30 yor keneder odler (30-year jubilee volume of the Canadian eagle) (Montreal, 1938); Dr. Y. Shatski, in Yivo-bleter (Vilna, 1939), pp. 455-56.

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