Monday 2 March 2015


TSVI-HIRSH BELKO (1905-February 1943)
He was born in Grodno.  His father worked as a bookseller.  He attended the Grodno yeshiva, was an external student, and then studied in Vienna.  After returning to Grodno, he became one of the most important teachers of Jewish history, as well as of Yiddish and Hebrew literature in high school and in the Tarbut teachers’ seminary.  Additionally, he administered the Zionist library and youth organization “Ḥerut veteḥiya” (Freedom and rebirth) and wrote its program which appeared under this name in Grodno.  He was a member of Poale-Tsiyon (right), and its correspondences from the Zionist congresses were published in the Yiddish press.  He was also a member of the community council of Grodno.  He edited: the weekly Unzer lebn (Our life) (Grodno, 1924); the collection Farn arbetndikn erets yisroel (For a working Land of Israel) (Grodno, 1925); Landkentnish tsaytshrift (Geographical periodical) in Grodno.  In the three issues of this last serial, he published the following works: “Der kheyrem in grodne” (Excommunication in Grodno) (March 1936); “Vitold” (Witold), “Privilegye far di grodner yidn” (A privilege for Grodno Jews), and “Di alte shul in forshtot” (The old synagogue in the suburbs) (July 1938); and “In yorn fun fayer un shverd” (In years of fire and sword) (June 1939).  He also published articles about the history of literature in other newspapers and journals.  Under the Nazis, he was general secretary of the Grodno Jewish council and the first manager of its statistical division.  During the Action of the 5000 in the Grodno ghetto (February 15, 1943), he was led out with his extended family, and thereafter no one had any word from him.

Sources: M Byalodvorski, “Der yidnrat in Grodno” (The Jewish council in Grodno), Grodner opklangen 2 (Buenos Aires) (1949); “Der goyrl un umkum fun grodner yidishe lerers” (The fate and murder of Grodno Jewish teachers), Grodner opklangen 3-4 (1950); Kh. Draznin, “A bisl zikhroynes vegn di grodner ‘tarbut-anshtaltn’” (A bit of a remembrances of the Tarbut institutions in Grodno) (Buenos Aires).

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