Friday 27 November 2015


SOLOMON (ZALMEN) DINGOL (March 15, 1887-June 12, 1961)
            He was born in Rogatshev (Rahachow), Byelorussia.  He descended from a scholarly Hassidic family and received a traditional Jewish education, with secular subject matter covered in a state school.  He later studied in the faculty of political economy at the University of Berne in Switzerland.  In 1908 he emigrated to England.  From there he wrote correspondence pieces for Fraynd (Friend) in St. Petersburg, and he stayed on when the newspaper was published from Warsaw.  He also placed works in the Russian Jewish Novyi vostok (New east) in Moscow, Vuhin (Where to) in Galicia, Dos naye land (The new country) in New York, Haynt (Today) in Warsaw), Tsukunft (Future) in New York, and Nayer zhurnal (New journal) in Paris, among others.  He edited: 1911-1912, in London the family magazine Der fonograf (The photograph); in 1913-1914, the daily newspaper Der idisher zhurnal (The Jewish journal); and in 1915-1916, Di velt (The world).  In 1916 he moved to the United States.  He studied at Columbia University.  From 1917 to 1919, he was assistant editor of Yidishes tageblat (Jewish daily newspaper) in New York.  In 1920 he wrote the musical mystery drama Der neyder (The vow); and in 1922 a play about Jewish life, Fremd blut (Strange blood).  In 1923-1924, he worked as assistant editor of the Forverts (Forward) in New York, and he edited the Sunday issue of the newspaper.  From 1920 he was a contributor and from 1947 the editor of Tog (Day).  In 1951 he edited the Sunday edition of Tog.  He published current events pieces and editorials there and also in the joint Tog-morgn zhurnal (Day-Morning journal).  He excelled in his clear style and his social and political erudition.  For many years he published an article every Saturday, entitled “Di vokh in yidishn lebn” (The week in Jewish life), which was among the most widely read sections of the newspaper.  They excelled in the clarity of his commentary of the events of the week.  Among his books: Fertribene neshomes, ertseylung (Dispossessed souls, a story) (London, 1910), 31 pp.; compiler and translation of the literary collection, Velt-literatur (World literature) (London, 1909), 32 pp.; translator of Leonid Andreyev’s A gelekhter (Laughter [original: Krasnyi smekh (Red laugh)]), Arthur Schnitzler’s An antdekung (A discovery), Anatole France’s Shvarte broyt (Black bread), Dos farreterishe harts (The treacherous heart), and other works (London, 1909).  He also translated under the pen name Z. Rozes: Stanisław Przybyszewski’s drama Dos glik (Happiness [original: Dla szczęścia (For happiness)]) (London, 1908), 84 pp.; Andreyev’s Finsternish (Darkness [original: V tumane]) (London: Kunst, 1909), 127 pp.; Wladyslaw Reymont’s Di letste nakht (The last night) (London: Kunst, 1909), 37 pp.; Ivan Turgenev’s Klara militsh, ertseylung (Klara Militsh, a story [original: Klara Milich]) (London, 1909), 88 pp.; Mikhail Artsybashev’s Glik (Happiness) (London: Kunst, 1910), 16 pp.  He wrote the chapter on Jews for Henry Pratt Fairchild, Immigrant Backgrounds (New York, 1927), pp. 123-25.  In addition, he was also active in the life of the Jewish community: a member of the director’s council of YIVO, a member of the “League for Working Israel,” and vice–president of HIAS (Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society).  For a time he was also president of the Sholem Aleichem Folk Institute.  He was a member as well of the executive council of the New York Jewish teachers’ seminary.  He wrote a great deal about theatrical performances, and for a time he had a special section in Tog called “Teater” (Theater).  He also published a number of novels in the same newspaper.  He excelled in many Jewish and general areas of learning, and with a great sense of responsibility for his duties within the Jewish public sphere.  In 1957 a celebration was held for his seventieth birthday, during which the New York writers and colleagues in their speeches and writings for the press brought to the fore fascinating features of his personality as a writer.  H. Leivick noted in a speech: “Dimentshteyn has his own approach to the problems in Jewish life.  He has the courage to criticize what must be criticized in all spheres of Jewish life, irrespective of direction or party.  He is reliable with his pen at his desk, and he is friendly and sincere to each and every colleague.” (Tog-morgn zhurnal, April 11, 1957)  He wrote under the following pseudonyms as well: Z. Ben-Shmuel, Z. Rozes, D. Solomon, and others.  He was living in New York.  He was the chairman of the Committee to Teach Yiddish in Public High Schools.  He was the principal initiator of arguing that Yiddish ought to be introduced as a subject in the high schools of New York.

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 1; Z. Zilbertsvayg, Leksikon fun yidishn teater (Handbook of the Yiddish theater) (New York, 1931); Dr. A. Mukdoni, In varshe un in lodzh (In Warsaw and in Lodz) (Buenos Aires, 1955), p. 127; O. Dimov, in Tog-morgn zhiurnal (New York) (May 16, 1957); A. Oyerbakh, in Tog-morgn zhurnal (March 18, 1957); see also the notice in Tog-morgn zhurnal (April 11, 1957); editorial in Tog-morgn zhurnal (March 15, 1957); B. Ts. Goldberg, in Tog-morgn zhurnal (March 17, 1957); Y. Zilberberg, in Fraye arbeter shtime (New York) (June 14, 1957); Who’s Who in World Jewry (New York, 1955), p. 159.
Zaynvl Diamant

[Additional information from: Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 198.]

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