Monday, 17 August 2015

MAKS GIRZHDANSKI (MAX GIRSDANSKY)

MAKS GIRZHDANSKI (MAX GIRSDANSKY) (1864-October 11, 1932)
            He was born in Kovno, Lithuania.  In 1879, at age fifteen, he emigrated to the United States.  He received both a Jewish and a general education in New York.  He initially worked as an engraver.  He was an active member of the anarchist group “Pyonire der frayhayt” (Pioneers of freedom) and later one of the founders of the American Socialist Party.  He studied medicine at New York University, graduating from medical school in 1894, and he subsequently specialized in neurology.  For many years he was popular as a doctor on the Jewish East Side of New York City.  He took an active part in general politics, Jewish politics, and community life.  He was one of the more colorful Jewish figures from the emigration to New York in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.  He often engaged in polemics with Dr. Chaim Zhitlovsky.  Under the pseudonym “Dr. Adam Yisroel,” he wrote for Naye tsayt (New times), edited by Tsh. Rayevski and Ab. Kahan, in 1898; and in 1900 for Sotsyal-demokrat (Social democrat), later for Dr. Zhitlovsky’s Dos naye land (The new land), for Tsukunft (Future), and for other publications as well.  In 1913 he left the Jewish labor movement.  He became active in circles concerned with New York civic politics.  During WWI he was a fiery pro-war patriot, and served as chairman of an army recruiting office on New York’s Jewish East Side.  He was as a result very unpopular among Jewish radicals who were opposed to the war.  Though not by consensus, the Jewish East Side began to avoid him, and no one continued coming to him for medical care.  During the last fifteen years of his life, he was largely consumed with experimenting on light coloring in film.  He was isolated and nearly forgotten, when he died in his sleep at home on the East Side of New York.

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 1 (Vilna, 1928); M. Dantsig, in Tog (New York) (October 16, 1932); Sh. Yanovski, Ershte yorn fun frayhaytlekhn yidishn sotsyalizm (The first year of free Jewish socialism) (New York, 1948), see index; obituary notices in Forverts (New York) (October 12, 1932), The New York Times (October 12, 1932), and American Jewish Yearbook (vol. 35).

Zaynvl Diamant

2 comments:

  1. This guy was my great-grandfather. Fascinating! :-)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Mine as well! Who are you Marksman?

    ReplyDelete