Sunday 3 May 2015


            He was born in Sighetu Marmației, Hungary.  Until age twenty, he attended various yeshivas, and later he studied Hebrew and German; he translated into Hebrew Schiller’s “Di Glocke” (The clock), Goethe’s “Vier Elemente” (Four elements), and August von Kotzebue’s “Die Verzweiflung” (Despair).  Over the course of two years in the 1880s, he published in Sighetu Marmației a Hebrew newspaper called Hashemesh ([H’Schemesch] The sun [first issue: October 9, 1878]), but because of a ban invoked by the Sighetu rabbi on reading this “heretical” newspaper, he had to move the printing of it to Kołomyja (Kolomyia), where due to the local press laws, one week it could be called Hashemesh and the next week Haḥarasa (The sun [in a more poetical sense]) in alternating fashion.  This serial appeared for three years with contributions from Reuben-Asher Broydes, Gershom Bader, D. Y. Zilberbush, and other writers from Galicia.  He later moved back to Sighetu Marmației, and there he published Di folks tsaytung (The people’s newspaper [or Jüdische Volkszeitung]), written in a distinctly Hungarian Yiddish, as of January 1893.  Persecutions instigated by the local rabbi compelled him to discontinue this publication with its twelfth number.  Repressed and impoverished, he was silenced for a period of time, but later, with support from Dr. Herzl, he purchased some Yiddish writings in Vienna and published in Sighetu Marmației the weekly newspapers Tsiyon (Zion) and Ahavat tsiyon (Love of Zion), and the monthly Di varhayt (The truth) whose second issue appeared in 1896.  After a break of thirteen years, in 1912 he once again brought out the newspaper Yudishes blat (Jewish newspaper), in which there appeared over twenty issues.  Gotlib was also the author of jokes and anecdotes, which were quite popular among common people.  He also composed poetry, a portion of which entitled Lider fun mayn lebn (Poems from my life) was published by his grandson (Seini, 1933), 96 pp.  He died in New York

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol.1; Sh. Y. Dorfzon, in Forverts (February 1, 1931); Y. D. Izrael, in Oyfgang (Sighetu Marmației) (July 1933); Shmuel Niger, in Tog (November 1, 1942); Dr. Sh. Bikl, in Idisher kemfer (December 3, 1943); Dov Sadan, Kaarat egozim (A bowl of nuts) (Tel Aviv, 1952), see index; Dr. N. M. Gelber, in Pinkes kolomey (Records of Kołomyja) (New York, 1957), p. 70; Dr. Sh. Bikl, in Pinkes kolomey, pp. 212-19.

[1] Translator’s note. The text here give 1844 for the date of his birth, but family descendants note that this must be corrected to 1829.  Also, the autobiography in his Lider fun mayn lebn gives 1829.  He thus lived over 100 years.


  1. Many thanks for all this. I guess the data in the Leksikon for Gottlieb was dated. Will correct shortly.

  2. Dear Joshua,
    Some of the sources you mention I wasn't aware of. You opened a new field of investigation to me. Thank you for that. As the second great grandson I know for sure that he was born in 1829 - even the respective entry in the Encyclopedia Judaica is wrong in this respect. But helas, even Gottlieb stated in his autobiography the year 1844. I guess that he was a bit vain:-)
    I don't know if you know that YIVO (Zalmen Reizen) wanted to publish Gottlieb's collected works in three volumes in Vilnius in 1940, but the Hitler-Stalin agreement made the Russians kill Zalmen Reizen and all works of Gottlieb are thought to be missing since then. And I'm trying to recollect them from many different sources.


    1. Gabriel, did you read the original handwritten version of Gottlieb's Yiddish language autobiography which he sent to Zalmen Reisen for Reisen's unpublished 5th Volume of Reisen's Yiddish Lexicon? An honor to meet you online, Fruma Mohrer

    2. Yes, I have a faksimile of it. I also have dozens of copies of Hersh Leib‘s newspaper editions, starting from Ha Shemes (1878)
      to Jüdische Volkszeitung (1891), Zion (1902) to Ahavat Cion (1908). Much of these resources and more (poems, hanukka songs, letters, etc.) are randomly published on

      How come you are intersted?