Friday 19 June 2015


YOYSEF GAR (October 4, 1905-November 1, 1989)
            He was born in Kovno, Lithuania.  He spent his childhood in Kron (Kruonis), near Kovno.  During WWI, he moved with his parents to Minsk, Byelorussia, returning to Lithuania after the war.  He studied in an ORT (Association for the Promotion of Skilled Trades) school in Kovno.  In 1927 he graduated from the Jewish teachers’ seminary in Kovno.  He later became a teacher in the Jewish public school in Utyan (Utena).  Over the years 1933-1937, he studied history and pedagogy in Kovno University.  During the years of the Holocaust, he was in the Kovno ghetto.  In July 1944 on the route to Dachau, he ran from the roadway and later survived until liberation.  In 1945 he left Lithuania for Poland and from there continued on to Germany.  He spent three years among the survivors in Landsberg and Munich.  In November 1948 he made his way to the United States.  He worked as a teacher in Jewish schools in New York and New Jersey.  Most recently he served as a contributor to the Holocaust project of YIVO and Yad Vashem.  In 1932 he debuted in print with a story, “In kupe” (In a pile), in Folksblat (People’s newspaper) in Kovno.  He later wrote treatises on books and essays concerning general Jewish issues.  For a short period of time, he edited the literary page of Folksblat.  He also published his works in Belgishe bleter (Belgian leaves), Brussels (edited by B. Zilbershteyn).  He served on the editorial board of Landsberger lager-tsaytung (Landsberg camp newspaper) (1945-1946), and he edited Hemshekh (Continuation) in Munich.  In 1948 he published articles in Tog (Day), Forverts (Forward), Morgn-zhurnal (Morning journal), and the anthology Lite (Lithuania) in New York; Idishe tsaytung (Jewish newspaper) in Buenos Aires; Yidishe shtime (Jewish voice) in Munich; and Akrikaner yidishe tsaytung (African Jewish newspaper) in Johannesburg.  Among his books: Umkum fun der yidisher kovne (The destruction of Jewish Kovno) (Munich, 1948), 424 pp.; In geloyf fun khoreve heymen (In the rush of destroyed homes) (New York, 1952), 135 pp.; Viderklangen, oytobyografishe fartseykhenungen (Echoes, autobiographical jottings) (Tel Aviv: Peretz Publ., 1961-1971), 2 vols.; Azoy is geshen in lite, 1940-1941 (That’s what happened in Lithuania, 1940-1941) (Tel Aviv: Hamenorah, 1965), 157 pp.; a long piece entitled “Baltishe lender” (Baltic countries) appeared in Algemeyne entsiklopedye (General encyclopedia), “Yidn A” (New York, 1964).  He was well-known for his work, “Bafrayte yidn” (Liberated Jews), in Fun noentn over (From the recent past) 3 (New York, 1957).  He edited (with Philip Friedman) Biblyografye fun yidishe bikher vegn khurbn un gvure (Bibliography of Yiddish books on the catastrophe and heroism) (New York: Yad Vashem and YIVO, 1962), xxxi, 330 pp.  By himself he edited Biblyografye fun artiklen vegn khurbn un gvure in yidisher peryodike (Bibliography of articles on the catastrophe and heroism in Yiddish periodicals) (New York: Yad Vashem and YIVO, 1966-1969), 2 vols.  Among his pen names: Y. Gama, Y. Avi-geto, and Observator.

Sources: V. Volf, in Kiem (Paros) (November 1948); Dr. Y. Kisman, in Forverts (New York) (November 28, 1948); Dr. A. Mukdoni, in Morgn-zhurnal (New York) (January 23, 1949); Y. Varshavski, in Forverts (December 11, 1949; April 12, 1953); P. Berman (Dr. Maks Vaynraykh), in Forverts (December 1, 1952); Yankev Glatshteyn, in Idisher kemfer (New York) (December 5, 1952); Dr. Sh. Bernshteyn, in Dos yidishe folk (New York) (January 1952); Y. Leshtshinski, in Velt un folk (New York) (December 1952); Shmuel Niger, in Tog-morgn-zhurnal (New York) (April 5, 1953).

[Additional information from: Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), cols. 144-45.]

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