HESHL GURVITSH (b. 1894)
He was born in Sventsyan (Svencionys), Lithuania, into a workers’ household. Until age fourteen, he studied in religious elementary school and a Russian public school. In 1909 he moved to Vilna and became an employee in a business. For a time he was active in the Bund, later he moved over to the Territorialists. In 1915 he settled in New Sventsyan and became active in Jewish community life. He was a cofounder of the Vilna regional committee of Yekopo (Yevreyskiy komitet pomoshchi zhertvam voyny—“Jewish Relief Committee for War Victims”). Over the years 1925-1929, he was living in Israel, before returning to Vilna. He contributed to Pinkes-yekopo (Records of Yekopo), in which he published a piece entitled “Novo-sventsyan in di yorn 1915-1925” (New Sventsyan in the years 1915-1925), important material for the history of Jewish life there during WWI. He also published in Undzer hilf (Our help) in Vilna in 1921. Further information about him, as well as his fate, remain unknown. His relative, Mates Gurvitsh, from Ponevezh (Panevezys), was a Yiddish poet and published poetry in Kveytn (Flowers) in Ponevezh in 1922, as well as in the Kovno daily newspapers, Folksblat (People’s newspaper) and Idishe shtime (Jewish voice), until 1939. Another relative, L. Gurvitsh, from Kovno, was a community leader and a cofounder of the Jewish cooperative movement in Lithuania; he published articles and translations from Russian and German on cooperative issues in the monthly magazine Der idishe kooperator (The Jewish cooperative) in Kovno, 1926-1932. According to available information, they were murdered by the Nazis.