Tuesday 22 September 2015


MOYSHE GROSS (MOSHE GROSS-ZIMMERMANN) (September 20, 1891-February 12, 1974)
            He was born in Borislav (Boryslaw), eastern Galicia, into a Hassidic family.  He studied in religious elementary school and on his own in a house of study in Drohobych.  At age seventeen he departed for Vienna, studied there as an external student, and in 1937 departed for Israel.  He began writing Yiddish in 1917-1918.  He published political articles and essays on literature in Viner morgntsaytung (Vienna morning newspaper), later known as Yudishe morgnpost (Jewish morning mail), which he edited in 1918-1920.  He was a cofounder of M. Zilburg’s monthly magazine Kritik (Critic), in which he published a series of articles entitled “Form-problemen in der yidisher literatur” (Problems of form in Yiddish literature).  Together with A. M. Fuks, in 1924 he edited the section “Literatur un kunst” (Literature and art) in the Vienna Jewish weekly Di naye tsayt (The new times).  At that time he also contributed to: Forverts (Forward) and Tog (Day) in New York; Idisher kuryer (Jewish courier) in Chicago; Idishe velt (Jewish world) in Philadelphia; and the anthology Sambatyen (Sambatyon) in Riga, in which he placed an essay entitled “Stil un banalitet” (Style and banality).  He wrote a preface to the anthology: Mendele moykher-sforim, fragmentn vegn zayn literarisher perzenlikhkeyt (Mendele Moykher-Sforim, fragments concerning his literary personality), published in 1920 by “Der kval” (The source) in Vienna, 92 pp., which appeared in the series “Finf niftorim” (Five deceased persons).  Among his books: Idn tsvishn idn (Jew among Jews) (Buenos Aires: Kiem, 1956), 177 pp.; Intimer videranand, eseyen (Intimate contrast, essays) (Tel Aviv: Peretz Publ., 1964), 320 pp.; Dos vort vos mir shraybn, eseyen un profiln (The word that we write, essays and profiles) (Tel Aviv: Yisroel-bukh, 1971), 298 pp.  He also published critical essays on literature and philosophy in: Tsukunft (Future), In zikh (Introspective), Oyfkum (Arise), and Der inzl (The island) in New York; Di yudishe velt (The Jewish world) in Vilna; Haynt (Today) in Warsaw, edited by M. G. Tsimerman, to which he was a regular contributor; Literarishe bleter (Literary leaves) in Warsaw; and Yudishe post (Jewish mail) in Lodz; among others.  He was the director of radio broadcasting of “Kol tsiyon legola” (The voice of Zion to the Diaspora) in Jerusalem, a regular contributor to Davar (Word) and Di goldene keyt (The golden chain) in Tel Aviv, Folk un tsien (People and Zion) in Jerusalem, and Idisher kemfer (Jewish fighter) in New York.  His essays on Yiddish and general literary issues, especially his courageous, fiercely combative articles concerning Peretz revisions, echoed far and wide.  He wrote in a deeply idiomatic Galician Yiddish, and hence full of the sharpest, most humorous, familiar, European esprit.  He was a writer’s writer.  He had an extraordinary knowledge of European literature and of Talmudic learning, and he was a spirited speaker.  He lived until his death in Tel Aviv, where he was active in the Jewish writers union in the state of Israel.

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 1; Shmuel Niger, in Tsulkunft (New York) (October 1923); Niger, Lezer, dikhter, kritiker (Reader, poet, critic), vol. 2 (New York, 1928), pp. 406-7; R. Ayzland, in Der inzl (New York) (November 1925); Z. Landau, in Der inzl (January 1926); N. Mayzil, Y. L. Perets un zayn dor shrayber (Y. L. Peretz and his generation of writers) (New York, 1951), see index; Dov Sadan, Kaarat egozim o elef bediha ubediha, asufat humor beyisrael (A bowl of nuts or one thousand and one jokes, an anthology of humor in Israel) (Tel Aviv, 1953), see index; D. Tidhar, in Entsiklopedyah lealutse hayishuv uvonav (Encyclopedia of the founders and builders of Israel), vol. 5 (Tel Aviv, 1952), p. 2249; M. Naygreshl, in Fun noentn over (New York) 1 (1955); Yisroel Shtern, Lider un eseyen (Poems and essays) (New York, 1956), pp. 245-47; M. Shenderay, in Di yidishe tsaytung (Buenos Aires) (October 24, 1956); Y. L. Yonatan, in Hatsofe (Tel Aviv) (August 2, 1957); M. Yafe, in Di goldene keyt (Tel Aviv) 28 (1957), pp. 254-58.

[Additional information from: Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 172.]

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