Thursday 29 October 2015


YOYSEF DANILAK (1900-June 10, 1951)
            He was born in Radzin (Radzyń), near Warsaw, Poland, into a poor working family.  In his youth, he moved with his parents to Mezrich (Międzyrzec), and there he received a Jewish and a secular education in religious primary school, synagogue study hall, and with private tutors.  He later became a Yiddish teacher, and a leader and educator in an orphanage.  In 1923 he came to Canada, as an escort for a ship carrying adopted Jewish orphans, and there he remained.  Until 1947 he was an active leader in community Jewish affairs, a school director, and a teacher in Toronto and Montreal, as well as a lecturer on Jewish cultural issues and literature.  From 1947 until his death, he was among the most active contributors to the Jewish Public Library in Montreal.  His writing work began in Mezrich.  He was one of the founders of the Yiddish serial, Mezritsher vokhnblat (Mezrich weekly newspaper), and its editor, in which he published stories, children’s tales, children’s plays, and articles on pedagogical questions.  He also contributed to: Shedletser vokhnblat (Shedlets weekly newspaper), Voliner vokh (Volhynia week) in Rovno, Mezritsher tribune (Mezrich tribune), Mezritsher arbeter shtime (Voice of Mezrich labor), Mezritsher kleynhendler (Merrich retailer), Mezritsher lebn (Mezrich life), Arbeter shtime (Voice of labor), and Podlasher tsaytung (Podlaski newspaper) in Biała Podlaska.  In Montreal he published in Keneder odler (Canadian eagle) reportage pieces, feature essays, and humorous sketches.  A number of his children’s plays were staged under his direction by children from the Jewish schools in Mezrich and later in Canada.  He died in Montreal.

Sources: Biblyografishe yorbikher fun yivo (Bibliographic yearbooks from YIVO) (Warsaw, 1928); Y. Horn, Mezritsher zamlbukh (Mezrich anthology) (Buenos Aires, 1952), pp. 424-25; M. Ravitsh, in Biblyotek-bukh, 1914-1957 (Library book, 1914-1957) (Montreal, 1957), pp. 103-4; M. Edelboym, Di yidnshtot mezritsh (The Jewish city of Mezrich) (Buenos Aires, 1956); Sefer radzin (The book of Radzyń) (Tel Aviv, 1957), p. 342.

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