Thursday 5 March 2015


MORTKHE-SHMUEL BERGMAN (1846-December 10, 1922)
He was born in Wieruszów, Poland.  Until age fourteen he studied in religious primary school and in the synagogue study hall in Kalisz; then, he studied for three years at the Breslau rabbinical seminary, after which he learned ritual slaughtering from an uncle.  In 1866 he left for London, and two years later he converted to Christianity; from 1870 he was a missionary in London.  Around 1894 he began to translate the Hebrew Bible into English, and he published Genesis.  In 1898 he published a complete Yiddish translation of Tanakh and the New Testament which went through a number of editions: Seyfer toyre, neviim uk︠sovim—dos izt di gantse heylige s︠h︡rifṭ—oyfs naye ibergezetst fun loshn kodesh af yudish-daytsh (Torah, Prophets, and Writings—this is the entire text—newly translated from the language of sanctity into Yiddish-German) (London, 1904).  A new, improved edition—together with the text in the original and without the evangelical portion—was published by the British and Foreign Bible Society in London (1912), 1384 pp.  In his Germanized, apologetically written autobiography—A kurtse lebnsgeshikhte fun mortkhe-shmuel bergman (A short life history of Mortkhe-Shmuel Bergman) (London, 1915), 24 pp., with his picture on the cover—he noted that he had also translated: Der farshprokhener meshiekh (The promised messiah); A vanderers vandal (Pilgrim’s progress [by John Bunyan]; and Frayndlikhe brif tsu di yudn, vi hot di jude gevust, az zayne zind zaynen im fergebn, der postukh un zayne shof, di laydn fun meshiekh (Friendly letter to the Jews, as the Jews should know that their sins are forgiven, the shepherd and his sheep, the sufferings of the messiah), among others.

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 1; Yudel Mark, in Yidishe shprakh (January-February 1944).


  1. Hi. I was delighted to find this information about my Great Great Great Grandfather. Please can you tell me where you found it? I am trying to track down the pamphlets that Marcus wrote. Thank you.

  2. This is a translation from a biographical dictionary published some years ago. Best advice is to track down the footnotes ("Sources").