Wednesday 30 September 2015


YISROEL GRILAK (1898-May 10, 1943)
            He was born in Warsaw, Poland, into a family of wealthy, scholarly Hassidim.  His father Leyb was a leader of Orthodox Jews in Poland and a head of the Warsaw Jewish community.  He received a rigorous religious education in elementary school and synagogue study hall.  He was a man with a fierce sense of social justice.  Already in synagogue he was moving closer to the Jewish socialist youth movement of Tsukunft (Future), of which he later became a prominent leader and member of its Warsaw committee.  He was active as well in the Jewish trade union movement, in the administration of office employees, the garment union, and the like.  From 1930 until WWII, he worked with the main office of the garment workers in Poland.  At that time he began writing about Jewish laborers and the life of trade unionists for Folkstsaytung (People’s newspaper), Der handls-ongeshtelter (The office employee), and Der bakleyd arbeter (The garment worker) in Warsaw.  He was one of the most active leaders in the underground movement in the Warsaw Ghetto.  He contributed to the underground Bundist ghetto publications: Der veker (The alarm), Dos fraye vort (The free word), Der glok (The bell), Yugnt-shtime (Voice of youth), and Af der vakh (On alert), among others—all in Warsaw, 1940-1943.  During the ghetto fighting, he was in the Bershter rayon (Bristle workers’ section) of Warsaw.  He died in the Jewish hospital in Genshe 6.

Sources: M. Nayshtat, Khurbn un oyfshtand fun di yidn in varshe (Holocaust and uprising of the Jews in Warsaw) (Tel Aviv, 1948), p. 414; Unzer tsayt (New York) (November-December 1947); Bernard Goldshteyn, Finf yor in varshever geto (Five years in the Warsaw ghetto) (New York, 1947); H. Kupershteyn, Doyres bundistn (Generations of Bundists), vol.2 (New York, 1956), pp. 287-90; Yoysef Kermish, in Di goldene keyt (Tel Aviv) 27 (1957).

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