Sunday 9 August 2015


ELYE (ELIAS) GILNER (December 5, 1890-February 2, 1976)
            This was the pen name of Khayim-Yitskhok Ginzburg, born in Volkovisk (Wołkowysk), Grodno region, Russian Poland.  At age five he emigrated with his parents to the United States.  Soon thereafter, he returned with them to Lodz, where he lived until 1905 when his father sent for the family to come to Baku, Kavkaz.  In Lodz, he studied in religious elementary school, later graduating a public primary school; in Baku he studied privately, later graduating from a secular high school as an external student.  In the revolutionary of October 1905, he took part in the stormy events in Derbent, Kavkaz (Caucasus).  He began writing in Russian at age eighteen or nineteen.  He published theater reviews and social reportage pieces in the local Russian newspaper, Baku.  In 1912 he emigrated to America.  In 1919 there appeared in Haezra (The citizen) in Tel Aviv the Hebrew translation of a story of his and from a one-act play of his, both having been written in Russian.  The Hebrew translation of another one-act play of his (written originally in English) appeared in Hashiloa (The shiloah) in 1921.  His poems as well as articles about Zionism appeared at that time in Makabeyen (Maccabis), later in New Palestine.  He served, 1922-1923, on the editorial board of the Yiddish-English journal Der idishe soldat (The Jewish soldier), for which he wrote articles and sketches in both Yiddish and English.  In 1925 he published in Tsukunft (Future) in New York the drama Ferdinand lasal (Ferdinand Lassalle).  He contributed to Tog (Day) in New York and to the Yiddish-English magazines: Opinyen (Opinion), Menoyre (Menorah), Kongres vikli (Congress weekly), Kenedyen dzhuish kronikl (Canadian Jewish chronicle), and to the daily Palestine Post.  In 1953 he wrote the historical novel Prince of Israel in English (New York: Exposition Press), 347 pp., and he published it serially in Tog that same year.  His memoirs in English, “Jews Who Fought” and “The Landing,” were published in Braille (for the blind).  His theatrical piece Shmates un brilyantn (Rags and diamonds) was staged in 1926 in Montreal; in Israel his one-act plays, Meaḥore hapargod (Behind the curtains) and Shaul vebaalat haov (Saul and the sorceress), were staged in 1948; and in Buenos Aires and New York his drama Dos kol fun yisroel (The voice of Israel).  Over the years 1934-1935, he edited the revisionist journal Our Voice in New York.  His one-act play, We Will Never Die, premiered in New York in 1930 in English.  Among his pseudonyms: Elias, Eliyahu Ben Ir, Eliyahu Maror, Alef Giml, and Eliyahu Ginzburg.
            Gilner was a Zionist from his earliest years.  He belonged to the Labor Zionists, 1907-1921.  In 1918 he helped organize and later took part in the Jewish Legion.  In 1920 he was one of the organizers of the Haganah in Jerusalem, commander of the Bezalel Division.  He was arrested (Passover, 1920) by the British and sentenced to three years hard labor.  He was freed after four months sitting in the Acco Fortress.  He was president, 1933-1935, of the Revisionist Zionist Party in America.  In 1939, he was a member of “Vaad hadar hakarmel” (Committee of Hadar) in Haifa.  From 1941 to 1950, he served as president of the Jewish Legions.  He was elected to this same position through 1955.  At the end of 1940, he resigned from the Revisionist Party and in 1941 joined the general Zionists organization.  He was living in Brooklyn, New York, and passed away in Eastchester.

Sources: Kh. Yafe, in Tog (New York) (August 7, 1946); Dr. N. Sverdling, in Tog (June 11 and October 29, 1948); Sverdling, in Tog-morgn-zhurnal (New York) (July 12, 1948); M. Beylin, in Di prese (Buenos Aires) (September 10, 1948); M. Dantsis, in Tog (October 30, 1948); Z. Gutlev, in Morgn-zhurnal (New York) (November 12, 1948); A. Kritshmer-Yizraeli, in Tog (November 20, 1948); Yitskhok Zev, in Morgn-zhurnal (July 18, 1953).

No comments:

Post a Comment