Monday 15 June 2015


YITSKHOK GONIKMAN (1876-November 28, 1919)
            He was born in Britshan (Briceni), Bessarabia, into a well-off home.  In 1893 he came to New York, mastered the English language, and developed in himself a sharp flair for political, community life in the United States.  He worked as a machine operator for women’s coats and became very interested in the socialist movement.  With a letter to the editor concerning a conflict between the coat makers and their bosses, in 1901 he came to the attention of Ab. Cahan who invited him to contribute to the Forverts (Forward).  He wrote editorials with a bit of peppery humor.  He also ran a section of the newspaper for information concerning the union movement.  At the end of 1905, when Louis Miller founded his own newspaper, Di varhayt (The truth), Gonikman moved over to the new newspaper where he became assistant editor, wrote editorials, feature pieces, theater reviews, political essays, and principally created in the newspaper what was called “Akhte zayt” (page eight o’clock) which was adjusted to the notions of the simplest readers.  In 1914 when Louis Miller abandoned Di varhayt, Gonikman became its editor, and through the newspaper he assisted the movement for radical national Jewish schools in America.  He also, in partnership with K. Forenberg, translated early on (1900) Émile Zola’s Thérèse Raquin.  In 1918 when Di varhayt merged with Tog (Day), he became the news editor of the newspaper and to an extent also the editor of the “Akhte zayt.”  He died in New York.

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 1; Z. Zilbertsvayg, Teater-leksikon, vol. 1; N. B. L. (N. B. Linder), in Tog (New York) (November 23, 1924); E. Shulman, in Yivo-bleter (Vilna) 4 (1932), pp. 419-31.

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