NOSN GENSH (NOSSON GENSS)
He was born in Tartu (Derpet), Estonia. He was a doctor of philosophy, a writer, historian, and a cultural leader. In the period between the two world wars, when Estonian popular representation accorded the small Jewish population cultural autonomy, Genss was a leading force in a group of professional Jewish intellectuals who made an effort to develop a Jewish community life and cultural activities in Estonia. In 1931 he edited (with Dr. Yoysef Markovitsh) Undzer vort (Our word), “organ of Estonian Jewry.” In 1933 he published in Yivo bleter (Pages from YIVO), issue 2.5, a treatise on the work of P. Ariste, entitled “Der yid in estonishn folks gloybn” (The Jew in Estonian folk belief). In 1934 he was one of the initiators of and principal contributors to a supplement for Estonia of Folks blat (People’s newspaper) in Kovno, which published his formulation of a call for Jewish cultural work in Estonia and contact with the Lithuanian Jewish community. In 1937 he edited (again with Dr. Markovitsh) Yung yidish (Young Yiddish), “the Baltic cultural almanac,” published in Tallinn (Revel). Of Genss’s work, we know the following: Tsvontsik yor yidish teater in tartu (Twenty years of the Yiddish theater in Tartu), covering the years 1917-1937, an album with text and pictures (Tallinn, 1937); Biblyografye fun yidishe oysgabn (Bibliography of Yiddish publications) in Estonia (Tallinn, 1937), 80 pp. In the early 1930s, he assembled an archive of Estonian Yiddish record books, and he historically revised the Pinkas miḥevra ḥaye adam (Records of the Association of the Life of Adam) of Jurjev (Tartu). In the early 1930s, he also published a work in German on the history of the Jews in Estonia: Zur Geschichte der Juden in Eesti (Tartu, 1933-1937). Further information on his career remains unknown.
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