Friday 31 July 2015


EZRA GUTMAN (b. December 1, 1883)

            He was born in Zhitomir, Ukraine.  He studied in religious elementary school, later as an external student, graduating from middle school.  In 1905 he emigrated to the United States.  In 1909 he studied physics and mathematics in Chicago.  In 1933 he published in Fraye shriftn (Free writings) in London an essay, entitled “Shpinoza un der imanents-gedank” (Spinoza and the idea of immanence).  He later published articles on scientific and philosophical themes in Chicago and in publications in other local areas.  He regularly took part in William Nathanson’s philosophical group, “Thursday Group” in Chicago.  He was living in Los Angeles, California.


            He was born in Jassy (Iași), Bessarabia, into a rabbinic family which traced its pedigree back to the Baal-Shem-Tov.  His father, R. Sholem Gutman, was the rabbi of Jassy (Iași).  He studied in yeshivas and secular knowledge with private tutors.  From 1918 he was the rabbi of Leove, later in Husiatyn and in Jassy, where he lived until WWII.  When the German army entered Romania, he was sent to a camp.  In 1945 he was liberated and settled in Bucharest, where he was active in Jewish religious life, and until 1948 he managed a rabbinical seminary.  He was knowledgeable and a scholar of Hassidism, and the author of works in Yiddish and Hebrew which were published in part in such serials as: Der mizrekhi veg (The Mizrachi way), Mizraḥi (Mizrachi), and Yidishe arbeter shtime (Voice of Jewish labor) in Warsaw; Unzer veg (Our way) in Paris; and Hatsofe (The spectator) in Israel.  Among his books: Rabi yisrael baal shem tov (Rabbi Israel Ba’al Shem Tov) (Jassy, 1922), 80 pp., which also appeared in his own enlarged reworking in Yiddish with a preface and an afterword in which he expressed his love for the Yiddish language, Rabi yisroel baal shem tov, zayn lebn, virkn un lere (Rabbi Israel Ba’al Shem Tov, his life, impact, and teaching) (Bucharest, 1946), 116 pp.; Seyfer oyneg shabes, gedanken un erklerungen oyf di parshes hatoyre (Enjoying the Sabbath, thoughts and explanations of the weekly portions of the Torah) (Satu Mare, 1937), 76 pp.; Migedole haḥasidut (From the giants of Hassidism), 6 vols. (Warsaw and Bilgorai, 1927-1937), 356 pp.  He translated a portion of his writings into Romanian himself, and published them in anthologies and journals.

Sources: Dr. Y. Klausner, in Hashiloa (Jerusalem) (May); Biblyografisher yorbukh fun “yivo” (Bibliographical annual from YIVO) (Warsaw, 1927), p. 293.


MOYSHE KAMENSHTEYN (1888-June 20, 1938)

            He was a journalist and community leader, born with the family name Gutman in the town of Veper (Vepriai), Kovno Province, into a merchant family. He received a traditional Jewish upbringing and education. In 1907 he passed the examination to become an assistant pharmacist. From 1902 he was active in the Jewish labor movement, initially with the Labor Zionists and later with the Zionist socialists, and later still in the Fareynikte (United socialist) party, the Bund, and ultimately the Communist Party. He was one of the initiators of the Jewish school curriculum in Russia. He lived in Lodz and Warsaw, was arrested on several occasions, spent time in prison, and later lived illegally in Pinsk, Homyel' (Gomel), Minsk, Kiev, and Odessa. In 1917 he was chairman of the first committee for the organization of a labor council on Odessa; in July-August, he was a member of the Ukrainian central assembly in Kiev; in December, a member of the assembly in the Byelorussian People’s Republic in Minsk, where he implemented a manifesto on the national-personal autonomy of the Jews. He was as well a councilor in the Minsk Jewish community. From 1918 until early 1925 he lived in Warsaw and was active in the Jewish trade union school movement. In 1925 he returned to Russia, lived in Kharkov, and then later in Moscow. He was involved in work for Gezerd (All-Union Association for the Agricultural Settlement of Jewish Workers in the USSR) in accommodating Jews on the land. His publishing work began in 1903 for the newspaper Khronik fun poyle-tsien (Chronicle of Labor Zionism) in Vilna, which he also edited. He used a number of pseudonyms, such as: B. Zelikovitsh, Baltikalis, and Magen. All these pen names disappeared when he came to Moscow in 1925 as a political emigré. When Gezkult (all-Ukrainian society for the development of Jewish culture) was founded in Kharkov, he was put in charge of its central administration. Gezkult created theatrical collectives, looked after their repertoires, and sought to publish new work by Yiddish writers. He wrote for Royte velt (Red world) on matters of social economy and Party affairs. He was co-editor of Yunger shlogler (Young shock troops) in Kharkov (1931-1932). He was arrested in March 1938. Of the fifteen times he was arrested in Tsarist Russia and Poland, he succeeded in remaining alive, but this time it was different: he was shot on June 20, 1938.

His books would include: Ratnmakht, idishe erdaynordenung un gezerd (Soviet power, Jewish accommodation on the land and Gezerd) (Moscow: Gezerd, 1928), 62 pp.; Poyerim, kolektivizirt ayer virtshaft (Peasantry, collectivize your economy) (Kharkov: Central Publishers, 1929), 36 pp.; Der sotsyalizm in oyfbli, der kapitalizm in klem (Socialism booming, capitalism in desperate straits) (Kharkov-Kiev, 1932), 87 pp. He translated Nikolai Konstantinovich Lebedev’s Eyner aleyn tsvishn vilde (Alone among savages [original: Odin sredi dikarei]) (Moscow: Emes, 1935), 51 pp.

Sources: Chone Shmeruk, comp., Pirsumim yehudiim babrit-hamoatsot, 1917-1961 (Jewish publications in the Soviet Union, 1917-1961) (Jerusalem, 1961), see index; Ratnbildung (Kharkov) 2.12 (1930); Yeshurin archive, YIVO (New York)

Yekhezkl Lifshits

[Additional information from: Chaim Beider, Leksikon fun yidishe shrayber in ratn-farband (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers in the Soviet Union), ed. Boris Sandler and Gennady Estraikh (New York: Congress for Jewish Culture, Inc., 2011), pp. 316-17.]

Thursday 30 July 2015


MEYER-BER GUTMAN (b. July 17, 1898)
            He was born in Lodz, Poland, into a well-to-do family.  He received a traditional Jewish education as well as to a certain extent a general secular education.  Later he worked as a laborer.  Until the war in 1939, he was living in Lodz.  He was active in Jewish drama circles.  Until August 1944, he was in the Lodz ghetto, from which he was sent to Auschwitz, but he survived until liberated (April 1945)—and until 1951 he resided in Germany.  From 1951 he was in Chicago where he worked as a teacher in Workmen’s Circle schools.  He began writing poetry before the war, but was interrupted for a time.  He later published in Unzer shtime (Our voice) in Bergen-Belsen in 1946, and in St. atilyer bleter (St. Atilier leaves) in 1947.  He published a book of poems, Farvolknte teg (Cloudy days) (Bergen-Belsen, 1949), 185 pp.  He edited (together with A. Rozenfeld) Tsoytn, belzener bletlekh (Tufts of hair, Belsen leaves), an anthology of literature, criticism, and community issues (Bergen-Belsen, August-September 1947; 1948).  His poetry was written in a torrential, though simple folk language and put into words the poet’s survival through the years of the Holocaust.

Sources: M. Ravitsh, in Keneder odler (January 9, 1950); B. Mark, Umgekumene shrayber fun di getos un lagern (Murdered writers from the ghettos and camps) (Warsaw, 1954), p. 161; Kh. L. Fuks, “Dos yidishe literarishe lodz” (Jewish literary Lodz), in Fun noentn over (New York, 1957), vol. 3.

[Additional information from: Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 151.]


            He was a translator of Russian and Ukrainian into Yiddish of scientific, economic, and political textbooks.  Among them: Der alveltlekher ekonomisher krizis (The universal, economic crisis) by A. Amo (Kharkov-Kiev, 1932), 84 pp.; Fun der lebediker derfarung (From living experience) by S. Gotlib, the first experience of a collective farm exchange (Kharkov-Kiev, 1932), 27 pp.; Di kult-arbet (Cultural work) by M. Potaftshik (Kharkov-Kiev, 1932), 38 pp.; Di bafrayung fun di tsen toyt-farmishpete (The freeing of the ten persons sentences to death) [original: Uvoz desi︠a︡ti smertnikov] by F. Kon (Kharkov-Kiev, 1932), 48 pp.; 17 konferents fun al. k. p. b. in frages un entfern (Seventeenth congress of the All-Union Communist Party, Bolsheviks, in questions and answers), translated with Shachtman, Greenberg, and Shadur (Kharkov-Kiev, 1932?), 211 pp.; Geshikhte (History) by D. Pakhilevitsh, a textbook for the fifth year of school, translated with Greenberg and Lado (Kharkov-Kiev, 1932), 132 pp.; Zamlung arifmetishe oyfgabes far der onfang-shul (Collection of arithmetic publication for first year in school) [original: Uchebnik arifmetiki dli︠a︡ nachalnoi shkoly] by N. S. Popova, translated with M. Shapiro (Kharkov-Kiev, 1933), 74 pp.; Finftsiferdike tabeles fun logarifmen (Five-digit tables of logarithms) [original: Pi︠a︡tiznachnye tablit︠s︡y logarifmov] by Y. Przheval’skii (Minsk, 1933), 200 pp.  Biographical information unknown.

Source: N. Rubinshteyn, Dos yidishe bukh in sovet-farband (The Yiddish book in the Soviet Union) (Minsk, 1932, 1933).


KHAYIM GUTMAN (DER LEBEDIKER) (December 20, 1887-July 18, 1961)
            He was born in Petrikov, Minsk region, Byelorussia.  His father, Elye, well known as “Elye the shoreman,” came from an elite family in Pinsk.  They had barges by the “shores” of the Pripet River and engaged in trade with the largest Russian commercial centers.  His older brother Borekh was a followers of the Jewish Enlightenment, wrote stories, and published correspondence pieces in Hatsfira (The siren).  Until age thirteen, Khayim Gutman studied Tanakh and Gemara in religious primary schools, later studying on his own.  He acquired secular knowledge with private tutors, including Russian and German, later leaving to pursue his studies in Pinsk and Vilna.  At the age of nine, he was already writing Hebrew verse.  For a brief period, he held a job with a town’s communal administration, where he transcribed the local births and deaths.  He was also a petition scribe.  Late in 1904 he emigrated to the United States, where he stayed with his uncle (on his mother’s side), Shmuel Ofenhenden, a farmer in Woodbine, New Jersey.  In the winter of 1905 he entered the Baron Hirsch Agricultural School in Woodbine.  But the hard work did not fit his disposition and his physical strengths.  In the summer of 1905, he moved to New York.  He worked in a paper factory, and that year he published his first piece, a poem in Fraye arbeter shtime (Free voice of labor).  From that point he published stories in the Forverts (Forward) and in the weekly Der arbayter (The worker) which was under the editorship of Dovid Pinski and Y. Shlosberg.  For a short time he ran a store selling Yiddish books in Brownsville.  He published a weekly newspaper which he alone wrote with news, editorials, stories, features, and even a “letter box.”  In 1909 for the first time he published epigrams in Der tunkeler’s Der kibetzer (The joker), and he signed them with the pseudonym “Der lebediker” (The live one), which would remain his pen name.  He became the leading contributor to this humorous magazine.  His short poems and parodies, epigrams and human-interest pieces became a byword of American Yiddish journalism.  When Der kibetser discontinued publication for financial reasons from time to time, Yankev Marinov snatched him away for his magazine Kundes (Prankster).  Later, after “Der tunkeler” (The shady one) left Der kibetser, Gutman served as its editor from 1911 to 1914.  After Der kibetser seized publication, he became one of the most important contributors to Kundes, for which he wrote a weekly feature.  In 1915 he started publishing in Kundes his weekly feature “Afn literarishn yarid” (At the literary fair), and he followed this up with a series of philosophical-satirical essays entitled “Azoy hot geredt pompadur” (Thus spake Pompadur) which he had begun in Der kibetser.  During the theater seasons, he wrote about performances in the Yiddish theater.  He published treatises on literature, “feder shpritsn” (squirts of the pen), aphorisms, and humorous sketches.  Together with caricaturist Lola, Zuni Maud, and Shoyl Raskin, he gave the art of caricature a grounding.  At the same time, he contributed to: Fraye arbeter shtime, Der arbayter, Dos idishe folk (The Jewish people), Idisher kemfer (Jewish fighter), Di glaykhheyt (Equality), Gerekhtikeyt (Justice), Roman-tsaytung (Fiction newspaper) in Warsaw, Amerikaner (The American), and Literatur un lebn (Literature and life).  He wrote for the Forverts from 1913 to 1919.  Afterward, as Varhayt (Truth) ceased publication in 1919, he moved over to Tog (Day) in which he published once each week a feature piece under the general heading “In krig mit der velt” (At war with the world).  In 1920 he became a regular contributor to the Labor Zionist newspaper, Di tsayt (The time).  In 1922 when Di tsayt discontinued publication, he became a regular contributor to Morgn zhurnal (Morning journal), where under his pen name “Der lebediker” and other pseudonyms—such as R. Khayim, R. Yat, Zhivoy, Inkognito, Regidebl, and the like—he wrote weekly features, reviews of theater and film, every Friday a rhymed feature, and served as editor of the weekly humor page “Zol zayn lebedik” (should be alive).  He continued in Morgn zhurnal his weekly feature “Afn literarishn yarid” in which he succinctly responded to what he found in newly published books, magazines, periodicals, and often even to individual stories, essays, and poems.  In these feature pieces, he frequently in just a few words would characterize a writer, evaluate a work, and with a special delight draw attention to talented writers who had been overlooked.
            Among his books: Azoy hot geredt pompadur (New York, 1918), 235 pp., which later appeared with the Warsaw publisher Aḥiasef under the general title Humoristishe shriftn (Humorous writings) (1928), 184 pp.; Azoy lakh ikh (That’s how I laugh) (New York, 1918), 268 pp.; 100 taynes tsu amerike (100 complaints for America) (Warsaw, 1928), 286 pp.; Shpil un lebn (Play and life) (Warsaw, 1928), 207 pp.; Pisem un ramses (Pithom and Ramses) (Warsaw, 1928), 309 pp.; Di ferte vant (The fourth wall) (Warsaw, 1928), 211 pp.; Di eybike milkhome (The eternal war) (Warsaw, 1937), 194 pp.; Yidn oyf der vogshol (Jews in the scales) (Warsaw, 1937), 213 pp.; Pompadur (Buenos Aires, 1957), 330 pp.  He also translated F. M. Dostoevsky’s The Idiot (Y. Der idyot) in three volumes (New York).  He was also the author of a comedy in two acts, Meshiekh af ist-brodvey (The messiah on East Broadway) which was staged several times.  On the occasion of his fiftieth birthday, a collection of his, entitled Der lebedike, was assembled and published in 1938, edited by Dr. A. Mukdoni (New York), 249 pp., with contributions from over twenty writers.  After the discontinuation of Morgn zhurnal, he became a contributor to the joint Tog-morgn zhurnal, where he continued his weekly feature “Afn literarishn yarid,” while also publishing in Fraye arbeter shtime a new series entitled “Azoy hot geredt pompadur.”  He placed writings as well in Di goldene keyt (The golden chain) in Tel Aviv and in other newspapers and periodicals in the United States and overseas.  He was living in Miami Beach, Florida.
            “Der lebediker is thus an exception, in that he is a humorist whose humor is never reckless,” noted B. Rivkin.  “….  A joke for him is born naturally.  It jumps out at you with good reason, a fillip before the reader’s forehead or nose, but it arrives like a natural support for an idea….  Der lebediker always has a moral and a reason, and he will not abandon them, even when he had to break off a joke.  This places the seal on his brand of humor….  His humor is on a mission from his writerly vocation.”

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon (Vilna, 1928), vol. 1; N. B. Linder, in Tog (New York) (February 5, 1932); Z. Zilbertsvayg, Leksikon fun yidishn teater (Handbook of Yiddish theater), vol. 2 (Warsaw, 1934); Dr. A. Mukdoni, in Morgn zhurnal (New York) (May 8, 1935); Mukdoni, In varshe un in lodzh (In Warsaw and in Lodz), vol. 1 (Buenos Aires, 1955), p. 290; Bikher nayes (Warsaw) (April 1938); Toyznt yor pinsk (1000 years of Pinsk) (New York, 1941), pp. 360-61; D. Ignatov, in Tsukunft (New York) (December 1944); N. Mayzil, ed. and comp., Amerike in yidishn vort, antologye (America in the Yiddish word, an anthology) (New York, 1955), see index; M. Yafe, in Fraye arbeter shtime (New York) (August 28, 1953); M. Yordani, Intervyus mit yidishe shrayber (Interviews with Yiddish writers) (New York, 1955), pp. 44-52; Mukdoni, in Kultur un dertsiung (New York) (January 1958); Mukdoni, in Tog-morgn zhurnal (New York) (January 12, 1958); Sh. Slutski, Avrom reyzen biblyografye (Avrom Reyzen bibliography) (New York, 1956), nos. 4951, 5039; Kh. Pets, in Fraye arbeter shtime (January 15, 1958); Mukdoni, in Tog-morgn zhurnal (January 12, 1958).

Zaynvl Diamant


            He was born in Galicia.  He authored the book In heymishn lager (In a friendly camp), concerning life of pioneers in the Land of Israel (Warsaw, 1931), 96 pp.  Biographical information unknown.

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, in 30 yor keneder odler (Thirty years of Keneder odler) (Montreal, 1938); Literarishe bleter (Warsaw) 2 (1932) under the rubric “Naye bikher” (New books).


GOLDE GUTMAN-KRIMER (January 26, 1906-July 19, 1983)

           She was born in Yedinets (Edineţ), Bessarabia, into a family of laborers.  In 1923 she emigrated to Argentina.  She began writing when she was young and debuted in print with a story about the Jewish way of life in Bessarabia, which appeared in Di prese (1934) in Buenos Aires.  From then on she has published a large number of stories, sketches, images, novels, and reportage pieces in: Di prese and Unzer fraynt (Our friend) in Buenos Aires.  She contributed to Antologye fun der yidisher literatur in argentine (Anthology of Yiddish literature in Argentina) (Buenos Aires, 1944).  Among her books: Tsvishn kranke (Among the sick) (Buenos Aires, 1937), 127 pp.; Vos mayn fraynt dertseylt (What my friend recounts), stories (Buenos Aires, 1938), 97 pp.; Besarabye in 1918 (Bessarabia in 1918), a novel (Buenos Aires, 1940), 269 pp.; Mayn shtetl yedinets, shteyger-roman (My town Yedinets, roman à clef) (Buenos Aires, 1943), part 1, 180 pp, part 2, 187 pp.; Milkhome-yorn, 1914-1918 (War years, 1914-1918) (Buenos Aires, 1945), 251 pp.; Tsvishn berg, dertseylungen (Among the mountains, stories) (Buenos Aires, 1945), 186 pp.; Di muter rokhl, roman (Mother Rachel, a novel) (Buenos Aires, 1948), 370 pp.; Unter di bloye argentiner himlen (yehudis), roman (Under the blue Argentine sky [Judith], a novel) (Buenos Aires, 1954), 370 pp.; Afn sheyveg, roman (At a crossroad, a novel) (Buenos Aires, 1958), 247 pp.; Dos lebn fun a froy (The life of a woman) (Buenos Aires, 1958), 284 pp.; A kholem fun a pastekhl (A dream of a little shepherd) (Buenos Aires, 1961), 213 pp.; Fun dos nay, shpitol-dertseylungen (Starting over, hospital stories) (Buenos Aires, 1962), 307 pp.; Di vinter-blum (The winter flower) (Buenos Aires, 1966), 179 pp.  She was one of the most productive Yiddish writers in Argentina and portrayed with love and good nature in her stories images of the Jewish way of life in the old country in Bessarabia.  “A writer with a long breath,” wrote Shmuel Rozhanski about her, “she was one of the few Yiddish writers in Argentina who did not submit to the dominance strain of decline in Yiddish literature, but brought forth a number of creative works in a short period of time.  She combined fictional writing with reportage, depicted the surroundings that she observed, and was able with a long breath to recount in fictionalized memories that belonged to the most ardent of realities.”  Yankev Botoshanski wrote: “In her novels she painted on a wide canvas Jewish life in Bessarabia.”  She also wrote under the name Golde Krimer.  She died in Buenos Aires.

Sources: Sh. Rozhanski, Dos yidishe gedrukte vort un teater in argentine (The published Yiddish word and theater in Argentina) (Buenos Aires, 1941), p. 178; Y. Botoshanski, “Di yidishe literatur in argentine” (Yiddish literature in Argentina), in Algemeyne entsiklopedye, “Yidn H” (New York, 1957).

[Additional information from: Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 152.]


ARN (AARON) GUTMAN (b. December 3, 1903)
            He was born in Bialystok, Poland, into a family of scholars, merchants, and followers of the Jewish Enlightenment.  He received a Jewish education and studied secular subject matter on his own.  At age fourteen he became an assistant teacher in a “cheder metukan” (improved religious elementary school).  In 1923 he emigrated to Argentina.  He was until 1926 employed as a teacher and simultaneously was active in the Zionist movement in Córdoba.  He published poems and articles initially in Spanish in the local Horizontes (Horizons).  In 1942, under the influence of the Jewish Holocaust in Poland, he began writing poetry in Yiddish.  Among his books: Tsu dir mensh, lider (To you, man, poetry) (Buenos Aires, 1943), 44 pp.; Yisroel-gezangen, lider (Songs of Israel, poetry) (Buenos Aires, 1944), 54 pp.; Mayn payn, lider (My affliction, poems) (Buenos Aires, 1945), 88 pp.; Mayne gezangen, lider (My songs, poetry) (Buenos Aires, 1946), 80 pp.; Ikh zing tsu dayn hant, lider (I sing to your hand, poetry) (Buenos Aires, 1951), 54 pp.

Sources: Y. Botoshanski, in Di prese (Buenos Aires) (March 1, 1944); Dr. L. Zhitlitski, in Di prese (January 19, 1944); Antologye fun der yidisher literatur in argentine (Anthology of Yiddish literature in Argentina) (Buenos Aires, 1944), p. 922; A. Elshin, in Ikuf (Buenos Aires) (July 1944).



            He was a Soviet Yiddish poet and playwright of the post-revolutionary generation, born in the village of Glubochek, Podolia, Ukraine.  His father was a carpenter and died when Benyomen was three years old. When he was still very young, his musical aptitude was recognized. He went to Odessa to study violin with Professor Peysi Stolyarski, and although he did not complete the education and music did not become his profession, he nonetheless remained faithful to this art. In the 1920s, he entered the Jewish Pedagogical Technicum in Kiev. There he became acquainted with a number of other students, later leaders among Soviet Yiddish literature—the dramatist Moyshe Gershenzon, folklorist Zalmen Skuditski, and literary researcher Shloyme Brianski. They brought out a literary wall newspaper in which each of them published their own work. They also created an amateur cabaret group using the name “Mishlakhes” (Calamity) which was very popular among the young Kievan spectators. After graduating, he entered the physics and mathematics department at Kiev State University. He began working in a Jewish school as a teacher of mathematics, literature, and language. In 1936 a Minsk publishing house brought out his first collection of poetry, Far kleyne kinder (For small children) (Byelorussian State Publishers), 72 pp. Several further books by him also appeared in print before WWII: e.g., Alerley zakhn (All manner of things), Mesholim (Fables), and Far kinder (For children). During the war, he published in Moscow his collection of satirical anti-fascist poetry, Zalts in di oygn (Salt in the eyes). He was also the author of a series of textbooks for Jewish schools, which went through a number of editions. Many of his children’s poems and fables were anthologized in literary readers at the very beginning of his creative path, and in the middle of the 1930s, he wrote a play for the puppet theater, entitled Leyzer der beyzer (Wicked Leyzer), which was initially staged in Ukrainian (in his own translation) and later in Yiddish. In 1936 the Kiev Yiddish puppet theater put on a play at the festival of puppet theaters in Moscow and took second place after the famous puppet theater under the direction of Sergei Obraztsov. To this day, the puppets from this performance are held in a museum of the Moscow Central Puppet Theater. During WWII, Gutyanski evacuated to Ufa, the capital of Bashkiria, and worked for a Ukrainian publisher, “Front and Hinterland.” After the war he returned to Kiev and continued his literary activity. He was, however, arrested in 1950 and sent to a forced-labor camp in the North. In 1956 he was rehabilitated. Broken physically and psychologically, he returned to Kiev, but soon thereafter died.

            Among his writings: Zay gezunt, for gezunt (Be well, go healthily), poetry (Kiev: Kultur-lige, 1930), 10 pp.; and A rebn kumt azoy (Thus comes a raven) (Kiev: Kultur-lige, 1930), 10 pp.; Brivntreger (Mailman) (Kiev: Kultur-lige, 1930), 11 pp.; Tsip-tsap hemeln (Little hammer) (Kiev: Central Publishers, 1932), 12 pp.; Naft (Oil), a story told in verse (Kiev: Ukrainian State Publishers for National Minorities, 1934), 14 pp.; Geklibene mesholim (Collected fables) (Kiev: Ukrainian State Publishers for National Minorities, 1936), 107 pp.; Azelkhe un azoyne (Such and such) (Kharkov-Odessa: Kinder farlag, 1936), 37 pp.; Artikl 2, komedye in eyn akt (Article 2, a comedy in one act) (Kiev: Ukrainian State Publishers for National Minorities, 1937), 20 pp, with Fayvl Sito.; Alerley zakhn, poetry (Kiev: Ukrainian state publishers for national minorities, 1937), 94 pp.; Bulye, Krokevyake, tsvey stsenkes far kleyne kinder (Bulye, Krokevyake: Two scenes for small children) (Odessa: Kinder-farlag, 1937), 32 pp.; Nokh der arbet (After the work) (Kiev, 1938), 109 pp., with Dovid Foynitski; Mesholim (Kiev: Ukrainian State Publishers for National Minorities, 1940), 61 pp.; Far kinder (Kiev: Ukrainian State Publishers for National Minorities, 1940), 102 pp.; Leynbukh farn ershtn klas fun der onfang-shul (Reader for the first class in elementary school) (Kiev-Lvov: Ukrainian State Publishers for National Minorities, 1940), 116 pp., second printing (Kaunus, 1940); Literarishe khrestomatye farn 4 klas (Literary reader for the fourth class) (Kiev: Ukrainian State Publishers for National Minorities, 1941), 191 pp., with Sh. Horovits; Zalts in di oygn (Moscow: Emes, 1944), 38 pp.; Leynbukh far onfanger, khrestomatye (Reader for beginners) (Moscow: Emes, 1947), 132 pp.  His translations include: M. Il’in, Der groyser plan (The great plan [original: O velikom plane]) (Kharkov: Central Publishers, 1931), 207 pp.; N. Mitrofanov, Der batalyon iz opgeshnitn (The battalion is cut off [original: Batal’on otrezan]) (Kharkov: Ukrainian State Publishers for National Minorities, 1934), 62 pp.; Miguel de Cervantes, Don kikhot (Don Quixote) (Kharkov: Ukrainian State Publishers for National Minorities, 1936), 478 pp.; Korney Chukovsky, Der doktor oystutvey (Dr. Ow-it-hurts [original: Doktor Aybolit]) (Kiev: Ukrainian State Publishers for National Minorities, 1937), 103 pp. 

Sources: Kh. Loytsker, in Eynikeyt (August 31, 1943); M. Notovitsh, in Eynikeyt (January 11, 1945); A. Kushnirov, in Naye prese (Paris) (July 27, 1945); M. Z., in Naye prese (December 27, 1947).

[Additional information from: Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), cols. 150-51; and Chaim Beider, Leksikon fun yidishe shrayber in ratn-farband (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers in the Soviet Union), ed. Boris Sandler and Gennady Estraikh (New York: Congress for Jewish Culture, Inc., 2011), pp. 77-79.]

Wednesday 29 July 2015


YITSKHOK GUTVAYN (1919-January 8, 1983)
            He was born in Zhikov (Tarnobrzeg), Galicia.  During the period of WWII, he was living in Russia, and in 1946 he returned to Poland.  In 1949 he emigrated to the United States.  He was a cantor in a synagogue in Washington, later in New York.  From 1972 he published essays in Algemeyne zhurnal (General journal) in New York.  He was also the author of a short volume of memoirs, A zekher fun my shtetl dzhikov (A remnant from my hometown of Zhikov) (Paris, 1948), 94 pp.

Source: Algemeyne zhurnal (New York) (January 14, 1983)

[Additional information from: Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 150.]


            She came from a pious Hassidic family in Warsaw.  She was the sister of the Yiddish writer Lea Rotkop and the wife of the poet Hirsh Gutgeshtelt.  She received a Jewish and a secular education.  She studied the humanities at Warsaw University and graduated from the teachers’ course of Tsisho (Central Jewish School Organization).  She was also active in the youth movement of the Bund.  Until the coming of WWII to Warsaw, she was one of the first teachers in the secular Jewish schools and one of the most devoted Tsisho associates.  She contributed to all the pedagogical conferences at which she lectured on new pedagogical and school experiments in the secular Jewish school movement.  She published articles on Zionist problems in Shul-vegn (School ways) in Warsaw and in other pedagogical publications of the central school organization in Poland.  When the Germans occupied Poland, she escaped to Vilna.  She was in the ghetto there and was employed as a Yiddish teacher.  During the liquidation of the ghetto, she and Pati Kremer along with other Bundist women were led out to Ponar and murdered there (according to another version, offered by Sh. Katsherginski, during the liquidation of the Vilna ghetto she was deported to Treblinka).

Sources: Sh. Katsherginski, Khurbn vilne (The Holocaust in Vilna) (New York, 1947), p. 185; B. Mark, Lerer-yizker-bukh (Teachers’ memory book) (New York, 1954), p. 87.


            He was born in Warsaw and studied in religious elementary school as well as in the commercial schools of the Warsaw Commercial Association.  In 1915 he was the founder of a socialist student circle which two years later became a part of the social democratic youth organization “Tsukunft” (Future)—later dubbed “Young Bund Future.”  At a very young age, he took an interest in Yiddish literature and Jewish cultural issues.  In 1916 he was the organizer of a large group of some 1500 students, who had Yiddish as their mother tongue, who undertook an official questionnaire of the German occupying authorities during WWI.  On January 26, 1918 he was arrested by the Germans and sent to the Modlin Fortress, near Warsaw, for a year.  He published poems and articles on literature in a series of literary magazines.  In 1933 his volume of poetry appeared in print in Warsaw: Mentsh un landshaft (Man and landscape), 116 pp.  His broad phrasing, often in blank verse, was full of social and humanistic pathos.  His descriptions of nature were personal and lyrical experiences from nature.
            After the outbreak of WWI, in October 1939 he escaped from Warsaw to Vilna which was then under the control of Lithuania.  Together with Noyekh Prilucki, he worked in the Historical Bureau in Vilna (November 1939-summer 1940), which was involved in collecting testimony from those who had escaped Hitler-dominated Poland.  In August 1940 he was arrested by the Bolsheviks and released in January 1941.  When Hitler’s armies seized Lithuania, he was active in the Vilna underground organization of the Bund and in the managing committee of the association of authors, artists, and musicians in the ghetto.  With the remnants of the Vilna ghetto, he was deported on September 23, 1943 to the concentration camp at Klooga in Estonia.  There with his nineteen-year-old son Gavriel and over 1000 other Vilna and Warsaw Jews, he was on September 19, 1944 burned to death, one day before the Soviet Army liberated the camp.  His poem “Anno 1941” and his essay “Di yidishe poetn hobn foroysgezen dem geto” (The Jewish poets foresaw the ghetto) circulated in manuscript in the Vilna ghetto.  In his younger days, he had used the pen names: Vorek and V. Vald.

Sources: V. Vald, in Yugnt-veker (Warsaw) 9, 11, 12 (1926); M. Natish, in Literarishe bleter (Warsaw) 9 (1934); Y. Rapoport, Vokhnshrift far literatur (Warsaw) (May 31, 1934); Y. Sh. Herts, Di geshikhte fun a yugnt (The story of a youth) (New York, 1946); A. Sutskever, Fun vilner geto (From the Vilna ghetto) (Moscow, 1946); Sh. Katsherginski, Khurbn vilne (The Holocaust in Vilna) (New York, 1947); Dr. M. Dvorzhetski (Mark Dvorzetsky), Yerusholayim delite in kamf un umkum (The Jerusalem of Lithuania in struggle and death) (Paris, 1948); Togbukh fun herman kruk (Diary of Herman Kruk), written in the Vilna ghetto (manuscript in the YIVO archives).

Pinkhes Shvarts


LEYVI GUTGELT (1896-1942)
            He was born in Shedlets (Siedlce), Poland, into a successful, merchant household.  He received a rigorous religious education in primary school and with private tutors.  Later he completed his education with secular subject matter.  During WWI, he joined the Zionist organization and was, until WWII, one of its representatives in Shedlets.  He was a member of the Zionist Party council in Poland and one of the “On Guard” faction.  For a time he worked as a Hebrew teacher in a high school in Shedlets, and later he ran the local Tarbut schools.  He began writing current events articles in Shedletser vokhnblat (Shedlets weekly newspaper) over the years 1922-1939, and he served as its editor from 1922 to 1927.  He used such pseudonyms as: Yunger and Gl.  He also contributed pieces to Haynt (Today) and Al-hamishmar (On guard) in Warsaw.  During the period in which the Germans occupied Shedlets, he escaped to Warsaw.  He died of hunger in the Warsaw Ghetto.

Source: Y. Kaspi, in Sefer yizkor lekehilat shedlets (Remembrance volume for the community of Shedlets) (Tel Aviv and Buenos Aires, 1956).


YEHUDE GUZ-RIVKIN (January 1894-July 25, 1952)
            This was the adopted name of Y. L. Berditshevski, born in Rogatshov (Rogachev), Volhynia.  He studied in a Talmud Torah, later in a state public school.  In 1913 he emigrated to the United States.  He published poems in: Tageblat (Daily newspaper), Fraye arbeter shtime (Free voice of labor), Di naye velt (The new world), Der fraynd (The friend), organ of the Workmen’s Circle, Idishe velt (Jewish world) in Philadelphia, Trentoner vokhnblat (Trenton weekly newspaper), and Shtern (Star) in Paterson, New Jersey, among others.  He published a series of poems in the anthology In veg (On the road) (New York, 1918).  He also wrote stories.  He was the correspondent for Tog (Day) in Newark, New Jersey.  Among his books: Shtraln (Beams), poetry and prose (New York, 1928), 320 pp.; Blumen un derner, dertsyelen, bilder, shtimungen un lider (Flowers and thorns, stories, images, moods, and poems) (New York, 1924), 304 pp.  He died in Newark.

Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 1.


            He was born in Bialystok, Poland, into a well-to-do, commercial household.  He father was among the prominent Orthodox leaders in Bialystok.  He received a Jewish and general education in religious primary school, yeshiva, and with private tutors.  He worked for a time as a merchant and devoted himself to public Jewish affairs.  He began to write articles on Jewish issues in Naye lebn (New life) in Bialystok.  In 1932 he settled in Pinsk where, until WWII, he edited the weekly newspaper Pinsker vort (Pinsk word), which he practically filled entirely by himself with his own articles, feature pieces, and journalistic material.  After the Germans entered Pinsk, he disappeared, and his subsequent fate remains unknown.

Sources: Byalistoker leksikon (Bialystok handbook) (Bialystok, 1935).


           He was the son of the writer Yoysef Gudelman [and brother of Hersh Gudelman], born in Mezhibizh, Podolia region.  He was raised in Otik (Ataki), Bessarabia.  He studied Jewish subject matter in religious elementary school and with private tutors, and Russian with his father; later, he studied in a state school in Mohilev and graduated from high school in Odessa.  He worked, 1902-1905, in a pharmacy in Russia.  From 1905 he was living in the United States.  There he received a degree as a pharmacist in 1910, and later, from 1937 to 1950, he taught in schools of the National Jewish Workers’ Alliance and of the Sholem-Aleykhem Folk Institute in New York.  He served as secretary of the last of these.  From 1950 he was the owner of a pharmacy in Brooklyn.  He began writing stories for children in 1935 for Kinder-zhurnal (Children’s journal) in New York, and from that point forward he published his own and translations of others’ stories in this magazine, as well as in: Di prese (The press) and Grininke beymelekh (Little green trees) in Buenos Aires, and in other serials.  He contributed as well to Pedagogisher zhurnal (Pedagogical journal) in New York.  He was the author of the volumes Yidishe geshikhte (Jewish history), for the first, second, and third years of school.  The publisher Matones in New York initially brought these out in 1945 in four editions, with the fourth in 1954: vol. 1, 46 pp.; vol. 2, 47 pp.; and vol. 3, 57 pp.

Tuesday 28 July 2015


YOYSEF GUDELMAN (December 7, 1862-December 17, 1947)
            He was born in Otik (Ataki), Bessarabia.  In 1878 he graduated from a Russian state school and became a teacher in the town of Yedintsy (Edineţ), Bessarabia.  He served, 1883-1886, in the Russian military.  He ran a Russian school in Otik, 1893-1905.  In 1906 he joined his children in the United States, where he was employed in various trades.  At the end of the nineteenth century, he began writing poetry.  He also translated from Russian poetry which he published in Fraye arbeter shtime (Free voice of labor) in New York (1911-1917).  Among his books: a translation of Lemontov’s Demon (The demon) (Vilna, 1923), 54 pp.  In the last years of his life, he worked as secretary of the bakers’ union.  He died in New York.

Source: Information from Gudelman’s sons, Hersh and Yisroel-Mortkhe, in New York.


            He was born in Otik (Ataki), Bessarabia.  He studied in religious elementary school, later with his father, the Yiddish writer Yoysef Gudelman who ran a Russian school in the town.  He later graduated from the state school in his town.  In 1905, together with two of his brothers, he emigrated to the United States, and in 1912 he worked as a packer in a clothing factory.  From 1929 he was employed as an apartment painter.  He began to write—poetry and prose—in 1907.  The first years he published mostly in Fraye arbeter shtime (Free voice of labor).  He later placed pieces in: Forverts (Forward), Varhayt (Truth), Naye varhayt (New truth), Dos naye land (The new land), Kibetser (Joker), Literarishe velt (Literary world), Gerekhtikeyt (Justice), Milers vokhnblat (Miller’s weekly newspaper), Tsayt (Time), Haynt (Today), Keneder id (Canadian Jew), Kundes (Prankster), Der gazlen (The thief), Teater-shtern (Theater star), Teater-shpigl (Theater mirror), and others.  He served as editor of: Poezye (Poetry), monthly journal of modern poetry and criticism (New York, 1919-1920); Di berg shtime (The voice of the mountain) (Liberty, 1924); Teater shtern, biweekly magazine (New York, 1926); Unzer tsaytung (Our newspaper) (Brooklyn, 1928).  He was the author of the following comedies: Di mizinke (The youngest daughter), staged in New York in 1910, and Tserunene khaloymes (Disappearing dreams).  Among his books: Minutn (Minutes), modern poetry with additions by Arn Gudelman (New York, 1923), 105 pp.  He translated a volume of poems by the Japanese poet Isamu Noguchi.  He also published under the pseudonyms: Khokhem Atik, Hershele Dubrovner, Namledug, Ish Godl, Pauline Brandrat, Roze Barkin, A Besaraber, and others.  He died in New York.

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 1; Z. Zilbertsvayg, Leksikon fun yidishn teater (Handbook of the Yiddish theater), vol. 1; A. Leyeles, in Inzikh (New York) (April 1940).


PINKHES GUDMAN (PINCUS GOODMAN) (April 1881-January 1947)
            He was born in Łowicz, Warsaw region, Poland, into a family of poor tradesmen.  He studied in religious primary school and on his own in the synagogue study hall.  At age thirteen he lost his father and mother during an epidemic.  He became a weaver in Lodz.  Early in the twentieth century, he emigrated to the United States, where until his final days he was employed in silk-weaving in Paterson, New Jersey.  He published poems in the Forverts (Forward), Dovid Pinski’s Arbayter (Worker), and Fraye arbeter shtime (Free voice of labor)—all in New York.  Among his books: Der veber, lider (The weaver, poems) (Paterson, 1922), 38 pp.; In geshpan, lider un gedikhtn (In harness, songs and poems) (New York, 1923), 160 pp., second enlarged edition (New York, 1926), 303 pp.; In geshpan, vol. 2 (New York, 1932), 271 pp.; In geshpan, vol. 3 (Paterson, 1940), 260 pp.; In geshpan, vol. 4 (New York, 1945), 262 pp.; In geshpan, vol. 5 (Paterson, 1951), 240 pp.

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 1; P. Vyernik, in Morgn zhurnal (New York) (April 17, 1932); Sh. Slutski, Avrom reyzen biblyografye (Avrom Reyzen bibliography) (New York), nos. 4752, 5244; Kh. L. Fuks, in Fun noentn over, vol. 3 (New York, 1957), p. 270.


PAUL T. GUDVIN (b. May 15, 1885)
            This was the adopted name of Peysekh Gudankski.  He was born in Serey (Sereje), Suwalk region, Lithuania.  He emigrated to the United States around 1907.  He worked as an apartment painter in New York.  He began to publish poems and stories in Fraye arbete shtime (Free voice of labor) in New York around 1910.  Later, in the 1920s, he published in the Forverts (Forward) and in Fraye arbete shtime—both in New York—a series of articles on the apartment painting trade.


YISROEL GUBKIN (May 21, 1899-April 28, 1993)
            He was born in Brisk (Brest), Lithuania.  He studied in a “cheder metukan” (improved religious elementary school), the Brisk yeshiva, a Russian high school, and in a Polish teachers’ course.  He was active in Labor Zionism.  From 1921 he was living in the United States, where he continued his education in the Jewish teachers’ seminary and Teachers College at Columbia University.  He began publishing around 1920-1921 in Bafrayung (Freedom) in Warsaw.  He later published poems and children’s stories in: Idishe velt (Jewish world) in Philadelphia; Kalifornyer idishe shtime (California Jewish voice); Idisher kuryer (Jewish courier) in Chicago; Tog (Day), Morgn-zhurnal (Morning journal), Yontef bleter (Holiday leaves), Idisher kemfer (Jewish fighter), Nyu yorker vokhnblat (New York weekly newspaper), Kinder-velt (Children’s world), Yidishe dertsiung (Jewish education), Bleter far yidisher dertsiung (Pages on Jewish edication), and Brener-zamlbukh (Brener anthology)—all in New York; Hahad (The echo) in Jerusalem; Sefer brisk delita (The book of Brisk, Lithuania) in Tel Aviv (1954), and others as well.  With Sh. Shapiro, he published Dos naye vort (The new word) (New York, 1954), 316 pp.  He translated Y. Ḥ. Brener’s “Min hametsar” (Out of the depths), in Brener zamlbukh (New York, 1943).  Among his pseudonyms: Y. Brisker, G. Yisroel, G. Brisker, Y”g, and Y. G. Tsukerman.  He lived in New York and was active in the schools of the Zionist labor movement as well as in the Jewish teachers’ seminary and people’s university.

Source: G. Menakhem, in Nyu-yorker vokhnblat (December 31, 1957).

Monday 27 July 2015


KHAYIM-SHIMEN (SIMÓN) GUBEREK (April 17, 1903-1990)
            He was born in Zhelekhov (Zelechow), Poland, into a bourgeois family.  He studied in religious elementary school and with private tutors.  He was the founder of the local First Jewish Sports Association.  In 1925, after undergoing the preparatory training course for agricultural work in the Land of Israel, he left to become a pioneer in Israel.  In 1928 he returned to Poland, and from there he moved to Colombia.  He lived in Bogotá and was one of the most active Jewish communal and cultural leaders.  In 1946 he was elected president of the Bogotá Jewish community.  He began his writing activities with correspondence pieces on Jewish life in South America in Folkstsaytung (People’s newspaper) in Warsaw in 1934.  He contributed articles and other journalistic works on Jewish community life and Jewish education to: Tog (Day) in New York; Di idishe tsaytung (The Jewish newspaper) in Buenos Aires; Dos vort (The word) in Mexico; Der idishe zhurnal (The Jewish journal) in Toronto; Heymat (Homeland) in Israel; Nyu yorker vokhnblat (New York weekly newspaper); Havaner bleter (Havana pages); Di kolombyaner shtime (The voice of Colombia); Zhelekhover byuletin (Zhelekhov bulletin) in Chicago; Zhelekhover yizker-bukh (Zhelekhov memory book) (Buenos Aires—he was a member of the editorial group); Zhurnal (Journal) in Caracas, Venezuela; and elsewhere.  Together with Sh. Bryanski, he edited Di kolombyaner shtime in 1935.  Among his books: Shloyme bryanski, zayn lebn un shafn (Shoyme Bryanski, his life and works) (Bogotá, 1957), 64 pp.; A yid in kolombye (A Jew in Colombia) (Buenos Aires, 1973), 358 pp.; Venesuela (Venezuela) (Tel Aviv: Nay lebn, 1978), 539 pp., Spanish edition (Bogotá, 1978); A yidish indzele afn dorem amerikaner continent (A little Jewish island in the South American continent) (Bogotá, 1977), 403 pp.  In Spanish, he published: Yo ví crecer un país (I saw a country grow), 2 vols. (Bogotá, 1964-1980).  He published as well in the Spanish-Jewish and Spanish presses.

Sources: Yankev Beler, Iber tsvantsik latayn-amerikaner lender (Across twenty Latin American countries) (Buenos Aires, 1953); B. Ts. Goldberg, in Tog (May 22, 1956).

[Additional information from: Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), cols. 148-49.]


SYLVIA GUBERMAN (March 4, 1914-July 22, 2011)
            She was born in New York, to working immigrant parents from Ukraine.  She studied in a supplementary Yiddish children’s school and middle school, where she took higher level Yiddish classes.  Later, she received a general academic education.  She graduated from Brooklyn College with a diploma in the arts.  She specialized in painting, sculpture, and music.  She received a master’s degree from Teachers’ College at Columbia University.  For a time she worked in a clothing shop, as a Yiddish teacher, and later as a teacher of English for adults.  She began writing in her school years and debuted with a story entitled “A dres-shop in a shtetl” (A dress shop in a town), which dealt with life for middle class people during the Depression years in America; it appeared in Morgn frayhayt (Morning freedom) in New York (1937).  She published a large number of stories and a novel about Jewish American youth.  She contributed pieces to Morgn frayhayt, Hamer (Hammer), Yidishe kultur (Jewish culture), Alef (Aleph), and Vayter (Further), among others in New York.  She later began to compose poems as well and placed them in: Tsukunft (Future) and Tog (Day) in New York; Goldene keyt (Golden chain) in Tel Aviv; Unzer vort (Our word) in Paris; and in literary publications in Argentina and other countries.  She was the wife of the poet Volf Yunin (Wolf Younin, 1904-1984).  She died in New York.

Sources: Y. A. Rontsh, Amerike in der yidisher literatur (America in Yiddish literature) (New York, 1945), pp. 172-74; A. Leyesen, in Tog (April 23, 1955); Sh. Rozhanski, in Di yidishe tsaytung (Buenos Aires) (September 23, 1958).


ITSHE GDAYNSKI (1899-1933)
            He was born in Vlotslavek (Włocławek), Poland, into a poor family.  He studied in religious elementary school and in a public school.  He was an active leader of the Bund and secretary of the Vlotslavek regional committee.  He published feature articles on workers’ issues, political problems, and Jewish cultural matters in Naye folks-tsaytung (New people’s newspaper), Ershter mai (May 1st), Unzer ruf (Our call), Kegn shtrom (Against the tide), Vokhnshrift far literatur (Weekly writing for literature) in Warsaw, and Vlotslavek veker (Vlotslavek alarm), among others.  He also published under the pseudonyms: Y. Ski, G-ski, G-Sky, and others.  He died of tuberculosis in Vlotslavek.

Source: Kh. Tabatshnik, Yoyvl bukh fun brentsh 611 a”r (Memory book from branch 611 of the Workmen’s Circle) (New York, 1951), p. 198.


SHIRE GORSHMAN (April 10, 1906-April 4, 2001)

            She was prose author, born in Krok (Krakės), a town near Kovno, Lithuania, to a poor family.  Her father died when she was still a child; her mother remarried, and her stepfather caused her great suffering. Her grandparents raised her more than her own parents—on this see her “Elehey an oytobyograye” (As if an autobiography) which appeared in Sovetish heymland (Soviet homeland) 9 (1968). During WWI she was evacuated with her family to Vilna. In 1924 she moved to Palestine to find a better future. She worked hard there on a kibbutz, and later with a group of communards she emigrated to Crimea in 1928 and worked on an agricultural commune. She described this harsh labor in her books which were effectively autobiographical. In Crimea she became acquainted with the painter Mendl Gorshman who had come there to paint. They married and then moved to Moscow. She began her literary activities in the 1930s with stories for the newspapers Der shtern (The star) in Kiev and Der emes (The truth) in Moscow. In 1940s she published in the Moscow newspaper Eynikeyt (Unity) and in anthologies. She published some of her stories under the name “Shirke Goman” or “Shire Goman.” She was extremely successful in developing her talents, beginning in the 1960s, when she took to publishing in the journal Sovetish heymland. She was an author of short novellas, in which she depicted masterly the deep psychological experiences, rich in characterization of human features. The hero throughout her entire oeuvre is the woman as a popular image in this chaotic and stormy historical epoch. One critic noted that “this image of the woman in Shire Gorshman’s work emerges complete at a time when the secrets of the old order were exposed and new relations and interrelations in social life and in the family were being created. Through this image of the woman, Gorshman embodied the most important problems of reality.” (Hirsh Remenik) In 1989 she made aliya to Israel, where she died in Ashkelon.

Among her books: Der koyekh fun lebn, noveln un dertseylungen (The power of life, novellas and stories) (Moscow: Emes, 1948), 206 pp.; 33 noveln (33 short stories) (Warsaw: Yidish bukh, 1961), 179 pp.; Lebn un likht, dertseylungen un noveln (Life and light, stories and novellas) (Moscow: Sovetski pisatel, 1974), 430 pp.; Ikh hob lib arumforn (I enjoy traveling) (Moscow: Sovetski pisatel, 1981), 60 pp.; Yontev inmitn vokh, roman, dertseylungen un noveln, rayze bilder (Holiday in the middle of the week: a novel, stories, and novellas, travel images) (Moscow: Sovetski pisatel, 1984), 374 pp.; Oysdoyer, dertseylungen, noveln, zikhroynes (Perseverance, stories, novellas, memoirs) (Tel Aviv: Yisroel bukh, 1992), 254 pp.; Khanes shof un rinder (Hannah’s sheep and cattle), novel (Tel Aviv: Yisroel bukh, 1993), 199 pp.; Vi tsum ershtn mol, novele, dertseylungen, skitsn (Like the first time, novella, stories, sketches) (Tel Aviv: Yisroel bukh, 1995), 320 pp.; On a gal, dertseylungen, skitses, zikhroynes (With no malice, stories, sketches, memoirs) (Tel Aviv: Yisroel bukh, 1996), 196 pp.; In di shpurn fun “Gdud havode” (In the tracks of the “Labor Corps”), stories and memoirs (Tel Aviv: Yisroel bukh, 1998), 80 pp.

Sources: Noyekh Lurye, in Heymland, vol. 6 (Moscow, 1948); Rivke Rubin, in Folksshtime (Lodz) 47 (1947); Y. Yonasovitsh, in Dos naye lebn (Lodz) 41 (1948); Yonasovitsh, in Der idisher zhurnal (Toronto) (July 23, 1957); B. Mark, in Folksshtime 40 (1949); N. Meisil, in Yidishe kultur (New York) 11 (1949); Moyshe Kats, in Morgn frayhayt (New York) (May 26, 1957).

[Additional information from: Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 148; and Chaim Beider, Leksikon fun yidishe shrayber in ratn-farband (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers in the Soviet Union), ed. Boris Sandler and Gennady Estraikh (New York: Congress for Jewish Culture, Inc., 2011), pp. 76-77.]



            He was the author of the novella, Moyshele, zayn kindheyt in un yugend (Moyshele, his childhood and youth), “a story concerning a ruthless teacher who tormented his students” (Warsaw, 1906), 67 pp.  Biographical information remains unknown.


TSVI GORFINKEL (1893-December 1942)
            He was born in Riga, Latvia, into a family of middle class means.  He graduated from a Russian-Hebrew high school and studied the humanities and literature in Riga University.  In his youth, he became an active leader in the Zionist socialist movement, initially with Tseire-Tsiyon (Young Zionists) and later with the Labor Zionist Party.  He lived in Riga until WWII.  He was the head of a Jewish public school, a community activist, and reciter, especially, of the works of Sholem-Aleykhem.  He was a member of the managing committee of Jewish commercial employees.  He contributed pieces in Riga to Frimorgn (Morning), Unzer veg (Our way), and Der veg (The way), which published his articles concerning literature and educational issues.  During the period when the Soviets occupied Latvia, he and the other prominent Jews in the city were harshly persecuted for their Zionist views.  In the middle of June 1941, during the major round-ups, he was sent to the camp at Komi (near the North Pole), and he suffered terribly there.  In October 1942 he was freed because he was no longer able to work.  He settled in Syktyvkar, and there died after considerable suffering.

Sources: Biblyografishe yorbikher fun yivo (Bibliographic yearbooks from YIVO) (Warsaw, 1928), pp. 6, 260; Meyer Gerts, 25 yor yidishe prese in letland (25 years of the Yiddish press in Latvia) (Riga, 1933); Yahadut latviya (Latvian Jewry) (Tel Aviv, 1953), see index.

Khayim Leyb Fuks


LEYB GORFINKEL (March 15, 1896-September 7, 1976)
            He was born in Kovno, Lithuania, into a well-to-do family.  He studied law at the universities of Petrograd, Kiev, and Kovno.  From his student days, he was an active leader in the Zionist socialist workers’ movement.  He was a member of the central committee of Tseire-Tsiyon (Young Zionists), later of the Labor Zionist Union in Russia and Lithuania.  Over the years 1920-1922, he served on the presidium of the first Jewish national council in Lithuania.  He served as a deputy, 1926-1936, in the Lithuanian parliament (Sejmas), as well as a member of the Kovno city council.  Until the coming of WWII to Kovno, he worked there as a lawyer.  He was one of the most prominent leaders of Lithuanian Jews.  In June 1940, after the Bolsheviks seized Kovno, he was arrested and until the Nazi assault on Russia, he remained in a Kovno jail.  When the Germans occupied Lithuania, he was among the first leaders to assist the poor Jews.  He was a member of the Jewish committee, later vice-chairman of council of elders in the ghetto.  He was arrested by the Germans several times on the charge of assisting in the construction of underground bunkers.  For this he was tortured at the Ninth Fort.  Because of his post, he had the possibility of living in better circumstances in the ghetto, but he declined the opportunity of enjoying German privileges.  He also reported to Jews in the ghetto on Jewish community issues.  During the liquidation of the Kovno ghetto, he was deported to various German death camps.  In 1945 he was liberated from Dachau.  He spent 1946-1948 in Italy, where he was chairman of the Organization of Jewish Refugees.  From 1948 he was living in Israel and was employed by the Control Committee of Mapai.  He began writing in the party press in Russia—Unzer veg (Our way) and Bafrayung (Freedom)—articles on Jewish and Zionist labor issues.  He also contributed to Yidishe shtime (Jewish voice), Di tsayt (The times), and Dos vort (The word), among other publications in Kovno.  His essay, “Vikhtike momentn in kovner geto” (Important moments in the Kovno ghetto), was published in volume 1 of the anthology Lite (Lithuania) (New York, 1951), pp. 1679-1712.  He contributed as well to Badereḥ (On the road) and In gang (On the way) in Rome, and Milḥamotenu (Our wars) in Jerusalem (1955), among others.  Among his books: Der tsienizm fun di arbetende (Zionism of workers) (Kiev, 1919), 45 pp.; Memorandum tsu der english-amerikanisher oysforshung-komisye iber erets yisroel (Memorandum to the Anglo-American Commission for the Land of Israel) (Rome, 1945), 22 pp. in mimeograph.  He also edited Yidishe shtime (1920), Unzer ruf (Our call) (1925-1926), and Di tsayt (1932)—all in Kovno.  He served on the editorial board of Yizker bukh vegn litvishn yidntum (Memory book for Lithuanian Jewry), scheduled to appear in Israel soon.  A portion of his work in Yiddish, Di nitsl-gevorene italyenishe yidn un vegn di yidishe pleytim in italye (The survivors of Italian Jewry and the Jewish refugees in Italy) appeared in Italian (Rome, 1945), 15 pp.  He co-edited Yahadut lita (Lithuanian Jewry) in Tel Aviv.  He was the author in Hebrew of Kovna hayehudit beurbana (The destruction of Kovno’s Jewry) (Jerusalem: Yad Vashem, 1959), 330 pp.  He died in Jerusalem.

Sources: Z. Ratner and Y. Kvitni, Dos yidishe bukh in f.s.s.r. in di yorn 1917-1921 (The Yiddish book in the USSR for the years 1917-1921) (Kiev, 1930); Der yidisher natsyonal-rat in lite (The Jewish national council in Lithuania) (Kovno, 1922); Dr. Y. Shatski, in Zamlbukh, lekoved dem tsvey hundert un fuftsikstn yoyvl fun der yidisher prese 1686-1936 (Anthology in honor of the 250th jubilee of the Yiddish press, 1686-1936); Yoysef Gar, Umkum fun der yidisher kovne (Destruction of Jewish Kovno) (Munich, 1948), see index; Who’s Who in Israel (Tel Aviv, 1952), p. 267.

[Additional information from: Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 148.]


FAYVL (FELIKS) GARFINKEL (1896-August 1944)
            He was born in Lodz, Poland, into an intellectual workers’ household.  He graduated from the Russian-Hebrew high school of Kovner and Berkman.  He worked as a private tutor of German, a commercial traveler, and a business employee.  For a time he was a teacher of Jewish literature in an evening course at the Medem School in Lodz.  He was living in Lodz until WWII, subsequently in the Lodz ghetto.  He was a member of the writers’ group which gathered around Miriam Ulinover in the Lodz ghetto.  His first publication was a poem in German in Die Jugend (Youth) (Berlin, 1913).  He later published poems and articles in: Der yidishe zhurnalist (The Jewish journalist) (Lodz, 1919); In der shtil (Quietly) (1919); Gezangen (Songs) (1919-1920); Der gezang (The song); Vegn (Pathways); Di fayl (The arrow); Lodzger tageblat (Lodz daily newspaper) (1930); Nayer folksblat (New people’s newspaper) (1937); and Grine bleter (Fresh pages) (1939).  Among his books: Likht un shotn (Light and shadow) (Lodz, 1920), 94 pp.; Di klole, dramatishe poeme (The curse, dramatic poem) (Lodz, 1923), 28 pp.; and Bizn sof fun veg, poeme (Until the end of the road, a poem) (Lodz, 1937), 67 pp.  Influenced by German and Russian romantic poets, he wrote in the style of the Romantic school.  In August 1944, during the liquidation of the Lodz ghetto, he was deported to Auschwitz and murdered there.

Sources: Arno Nadel, in Die Jugend (Berlin, 1913); Pe d’Es (Perets Markish), in Literarishe bleter (Warsaw) 5 (1924); B. Shnaper, in Foroys (Warsaw) (January 4, 1938); Y. Shpigel, in Dos naye lebn (Lodz) (August 31, 1946); B. Mark, Umgekumene shrayber fun di getos un lagern (Murdered writers from the ghettos and camps) (Warsaw, 1954), pp. 161-63; Unzer lodz (Our Lodz) (Buenos Aires, 1954), see index; Kh. L. Fuks, in Fun noentn over (New York) 3 (1957).

Sunday 26 July 2015


SHEMARYE (SCH) GORELIK (1877-October 25, 1942)
            He was born in Lokhvytsia, near Poltava, Ukraine.  He received a traditional Jewish education.  At age thirteen, together with his father, a scholar and a follower of the Jewish Enlightenment, he moved to Vilna where he worked as a business employee, later a bookkeeper, and at the same time devoting himself to self-study.  He began his literary activities in the late 1890s as a Russian journalist.  He contributed, using the pen name “Postoyanni” (Permanent), to the Vilna Russian newspaper Severo-zapadnoie slovo (Northwestern word) and Novaya zarya (New dawn).  For a period of time, he stood close to the Bundist movement.  In 1905 he left the Bund and joined the Zionist Organization.  He began to write in Yiddish in the Zionist organ, Dos yidishe folk (The Jewish people), edited by Dr. Yosef Luria.  Aside from current events pieces and criticism, he published a series of essays, “Briv tsu a fraynd” (Letters to a friend), which later appeared in book form, in which he criticized the radical Jewish parties and directions, and he opposed them with Zionist ideology.  He also contributed to Rassvet (Dawn) in Russian and to Hebrew newspapers and magazines: Had hazman (Echo of the times), Haolam (The world), and Hashiloa (The shiloah).  His articles in Hebrew were translated from Yiddish manuscripts.  In 1908, together with Shmuel Niger and A. Vayter, he founded the Literarishe monatshrift (Literary monthly), “the tribune for a Jewish cultural renaissance.”  In 1910 he edited the anthology Der idisher almanakh (The Jewish almanac) (Kiev) and contributed to various Yiddish newspapers and anthologies in Poland and the United States—in particular, Folk un land (People and country), ed. M. Shalit; Yudish (Yiddish), ed. Y. L. Peretz; Dos bukh (The book), ed. A. Vevyorke; Lebn un visnshaft (Life and science); and the daily newspapers Unzer lebn (Our life), Di naye velt (The new world), and Der fraynd (The friend).  He spent the years of WWI in Switzerland where he contributed to a pacifist newspaper and was held under arrest for six months.  He later settled in Berlin and there contributed in German to Jüdische Rundschau (Jewish circular) and to Ost und West (East and West).  Over the years 1923-1924, he made a trip to Canada and the United States and published his travel impressions in Tog (Day) in New York, Moment (Moment) in Warsaw, and elsewhere.  Later, he wrote some pieces for Morgn-zhurnal (Morning journal).  In 1933 he settled in Palestine where he contributed to Davar (Word), Haarets (The land), Haboker (This morning), and also to the magazine Bustanai (Gardener).
            Among his books: Briv tsu a fraynd (Letters to a friend) (Vilan, 1906), 96 pp.; Di libe provints (The beloved province), “spiritual images of a small Jewish town” (Vilna, 1913), 160 pp. (also in a German translation: Berlin, 1913); Literatur-bilder (Literary images), “a series of critical articles on world literature” (Warsaw, 1912), 117 pp. (concerning Ibsen, Hamsun, Strindberg, Wilde, France, Rodenbach, and Shevchenko); In vanderlebn (Itinerant life), “travel impressions and human interest pieces” (Warsaw, 1918), 159 pp. (among other things, articles on Glikl fun Hameln, Baron Edmund de Rothschild, Captain Scott, and Y. L. Peretz); Groyse neshomes (Great souls) (Dresden: Farlag “Vostok,” 1921), 170 pp. (concerning Angelo, Pascal, Carlyle, Ruskin, Whitman, Tolstoy, and Tagore); Yidishe kep (Jewish heads) (Dresden, 1921), 132 pp. (concerning Graetz, Beaconsfeld [Disraeli], Spinoza, Brandes, Heine, Mendele, Sholem-aleykhem, Peretz, Dinezon, Asch, Vayter, and Levitan); Yoysef budko (Joseph Budko) (Warsaw, 1924), illustrated, 30 pp.; and Eseyen (Essays) (Los Angeles: Farlag Mayrev, 1947), 350 pp.  In his Berlin period, he published a book in German, Fünf Jahre im Lande Neutralien (Five years in neutral lands), a description of his wandering in neutral countries during the years of WWI (Berlin, 1919), 137 pp.  In 1937 there appeared in Tel Aviv a book of his essays in Hebrew, Masot (Essays), translated by A. Shlonsky.  Gorelik also published a volume of translations, Dertseylungen fun rabindranat tagor (Stories of Rabindranath Tagore) (Berlin, 1922), 138 pp.

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 1; Bal-Makhshoves, Geklibene shriftn (Collected writings), vol. 2 (Vilna, 1910); Vladek, in Tsukunft (New York) (October 1912); Tsvi Hirshkon, in Morgn frayhayt (New York) (February 4, 1925); D. Tsharni, in Tsukunft (January 1929); Tsharni, Barg-aroyf (Uphill) (Warsaw, 1935); Shmuel Niger, in Yoyvl-bukh draysik yor keneder odler (Jubilee volume for the thirtieth anniversary of Keneder odler) (Montreal, 1938); David Tidhar, Entsiklopedyah lealutse hayishuv uvonav (Encyclopedia of the founders and builders of Israel), vol. 1 (Tel Aviv, 1947), pp. 335-36; Dr. H. Frank, in Fraye arbeter shtime (New York) (August 8, 1947); Mikhl Horelik, in Gorelik, Eseyen (Los Angeles, 1947); N. Meyzel, Y. l. perets un zayn dor shrayber (Y. L. Peretz and his generation of writers) (New York, 1951); Yankev Glatshteyn, In tokh genumen (In essence) (New York, 1956), pp. 98-102; Sh. Slutski, Avrom reyzen biblyografye (Avrom Reyzen’s bibliography) (New York, 1956), no. 4550.