Tuesday 11 August 2015


MORTKHE GINZBURG (October 15, 1894-February 25, 1966)
            He was born in Slonim, Grodno region, Poland.  He studied in religious primary school, yeshiva, and later graduated from a Russian public school.  Over the years 1907-1911, he studied at the Vilna teachers’ institute.  From 1913 to 1924, he lived in Lodz where he was one of the more active Zionist leaders and cofounders of “Bet Am” (Home of the people).  In 1924 he departed for Brest, Lithuania.  From 1930 he was living in Canada, where, aside from work as a journalist, he was active in Jewish community life.  He began writing poetry in Russian for Niva (The field) in St. Petersburg in 1912.  In 1915 he moved over to Yiddish.  He published poems, articles, and a series of reportage pieces on destroyed Jewish cities during the war in Lodzher tageblat (Lodz daily newspaper).  In 1919 he edited the collection In der shtil (In the silence) (Lodz), in which (together with Yitskhok Katsenelson and Moyshe Broderzon) he published poetry.  Over the years 1924-1930, he founded and edited in Polesye a number of Yiddish newspaper: Di polesyer shtime (The voice of Polesye), Polesyer vokhnblat (Polesye weekly newspaper), and Brisker vokhnblat (Brest daily newspaper), among others.  From 1930 on, he was a regular contributor to Keneder odler (Canadian eagle), in which, in addition to journalistic work, he also published essays on Yiddish and Hebrew literature and Jewish personalities.  He was for many years the Montreal correspondent for Tog (Day) in New York.  He also played pieces in: Forverts (Forward), Amerikaner (American), and Hadoar (The mail)—all in New York; Hatsofe (The spectator), Haboker (This morning), and Folk un tsien (People and Zion)—all in Tel Aviv; and Di yidishe tsaytung (The Jewish newspaper) in Buenos Aires.  His work on the provincial Yiddish press of Polesye for the volume on Brest in Entsiklopediya shel galuyot (Encyclopedia of the Diaspora) (Tel Aviv, 1955) is a contribution to the history of the Yiddish press in Poland.  His play, In thom fun elend (In the abyss of misery), was staged, under the direction of Yitskhok Katsenelson, in 1917 in Lodz’s Skala Theater.  He also wrote: Dos naye yisroel, ayndrukn fun a bazukh (The new Israel, impressions from a visit) (New York: Pardes, 1966), 430 pp.  He also published under the pseudonyms: Kaliner Khosid, Onkl Borekh, R. Mordkhile, and Slonimski, among others.  He died in Montreal.

Sources: D. Ferski, in Hadoar (New York) (February 5, 1954); Kh. L. Fuks, in Fun noentn over, vol. 3 (New York, 1957).

[Additional information from: Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 158.]

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