Tuesday 3 November 2015


YANKEV-KOPL DUA (April 14, 1898-early September 1942)
            He was born in Warsaw, into an extremely poor family.  He received a Jewish and a general education.  He studied in a Russian high school.  Due to WWI, however, he had to interrupt his studies after graduation from the sixth level.  In his early youth he was severely ill with paralysis, stayed for a long time in Warsaw hospitals, and remained thereafter crippled.  From his youth he also had to earn his own living.  He supported himself by giving lessons to private students and for adults in evening courses of study.  He was an active labor leader, initially with the “Left Labor Zionists,” and for a time he served as technical secretary of the union of business clerks and waiters, as well as with Labor Zionist youth.  He was later active among the leftwing trade unions.  During the years of WWI, he began writing stories and was a member of the writers’ circle with Sh. Vulman and Yoysef Papyernikov.  He debuted under the pseudonym K. Ben-Nun with a translation of Sándor Petőfi’s poem, Di shverd un di keyt (The sword and the chain [original: Nemzeti dal, or The National Poem]), in Arbeter-tsaytung (Workers’ newspaper) in Warsaw (1919), and he would subsequently become one of this serial’s contributors.  Aside from stories, he published there translations from European literature.  He contributed to: Fraye yugnt (Free youth), Velt-shpigl (World mirror), and Vokhnshrift far literatur (Weekly writings on literature) in Warsaw; Frimorgn (Morning) in Riga; Kovner shtime (Voice of Kovno); and Der shpigl (The mirror) in Buenos Aires, in which he published a series on important musicians, literary treatises, and translations.  Over the years 1929-1931, he published periodically in the literary section of Der folks-tsaytung (The people’s newspaper) in Warsaw, using the pen name K. Finger, on music, literature, art criticism, as well as essays and reviews of theatrical performances.  From 1931 he was a contributor to Hayntike nayes (Contemporary news) in Warsaw, where he placed a great number of novellas and stories on themes in Jewish history, among them: Esterke, di poylishe ester-hamalke (Esterke, the Polish Queen Esther) (Warsaw, 1930), 64 pp.; Di gildene royze (The golden roses); Graf pototski der ger-tsadek (Count Potocki the holy convert) (Warsaw, 1934), 64 pp.; Der tragedye-dreyfus (The tragedy of Dreyfus) (Warsaw, 1933), 2 vols.; Beylis-protses, der zig fun emes (The Beilis trial, the victory of truth) (Warsaw, 1931), 62 pp.; Borekh shulman, der varshever held (Baruch Shulman, the hero of Warsaw), which was reissued until 1940 by the Forverts (Forward) in New York, Di prese (The press) in Buenos Aires, and in the Yiddish newspapers of Canada, South Africa, and elsewhere.  He was the main contributor to the “Groshn biblyotek” (Penny library) in Warsaw, and over the years 1930-1935 wrote and adapted for its 170 booklets at roughly 64 pages each in a popular form and language, adjusted to a mass readership, on various and sundry topics from history, literature, science, technology, and music, among others.  On literature, he authored: Y. l. perets (Y. L. Peretz) (Warsaw, 1935), 184 pp.; Maksim gorki (Maxim Gorky) (Warsaw, 1934), 128 pp.; Haynrikh hayne (Heinrich Heine) (Warsaw, 1931), 64 pp.; Gete, der goen fun vaymar (Goethe, the genius from Weimar) (Warsaw, 1932), 64 pp.; Lev Tolstoy, der novi fun yasnaya polyana (Lev Tolstoy, the prophet from Yasnaya Polyana) (Warsaw, 1932), 64 pp.; and Sholem-aleykhem, der goen fun yidishn gelekhter (Sholem-Aleykhem, the genius of Jewish laughter) (Warsaw, 1934), 64 pp.  Also, biographies of labor leaders, scholars, and on motifs drawn from Jewish and world history: Karl marks (Karl Marx) (Warsaw, 1932), 63 pp.; Lenin, mit tsvey bilder (Lenin, with two pictures) (Warsaw, 1931), 63 pp.; Marat, der fraynt fun folk (Marat, the friend of the people) (Warsaw, 1931), 2 vols.; Spartakus, der bunt fun di shklyafn (Spartacus, the rebellion of the slaves) (Warsaw, 1931), 63 pp.; Hirsh lekert, mit a bild (Hirsh Lekert, with a picture) (Warsaw, 1931), 60 pp.; Yosif dzshugoshvili, Stalin (Joseph Dzugashvili, Stalin) (Warsaw, 1935); Koloman valish, der royte hoyptman (Koloman Wallisch, the red leader) (Warsaw, 1934), 63 pp.; Dzherzhinski (Dzerzhinsky) (Warsaw, 1934), 63 pp.; Dos lebn fun karl libknekht (The life of Karl Liebknecht) (Warsaw, 1933), 63 pp.; Sergey kirov, zayn shturmisher lebns-veg (Sergei Kirov, his violent way in life) (Warsaw, 1935), 62 pp.; Zhan zhores (Jean Jaurès) (Warsaw, 1933), 62 pp.; Di lebns-geshikhte fun maksim litvinov (The biography of Maxim Litvinov) (Warsaw, 1934), 63 pp.; and Danton, der goen fun der frantsoyzisher revolutsye (Danton, the genius of the French Revolution) (Warsaw, 1930), 62 pp., among others.  On historical topics: Moyshe hes, als sotsyalist, id un denker (Moses Hess, as socialist, Jew, and thinker) (Moscow, 1918), 15 pp.; Yankev frank (Jacob Frank) (Warsaw, 1930), 62 pp.; Dovid haruveyni, der yidisher firsht (David Hareuveni, the Jewish duke) (Warsaw, 1931), 61 pp.; Dizraeli, lord bikonsfild der yidisher premyer fun england (Disraeli, Lord Beaconsfield, the Jewish prime minister of Engand) (Warsaw, 1933), 63 pp.; Kayzer neron (Emperor Nero) (Warsaw, 1931), 62 pp.; Avrom linkoln, der bafrayer fun di shvarte shklyafn (Abraham Lincoln, the liberator of the black slaves) (Warsaw, 1933), 63 pp.; and Der novi fun meka, makhmed, (Mohammed, the prophet from Mecca) (Warsaw, 1930), 61 pp.  Monographs on such themes as: Albert aynshtayn (Albert Einstein) (Warsaw, 1936), 61 pp.; Mahatma gandi, der falsher novi fun indyen (Mahatma Gandhi, the false prophet from India) (Warsaw, 1931), 63 pp.; Der ayzener kantsler, bismark (The iron chancellor, Bismarck) (Warsaw, 1932), 61 pp.; Pilsudskis atentat oyf a tsarishn tsug, mit bilder (Piłsudski’s attempted assassination on a Tsarist train, with pictures) (Warsaw, 1933), 62 pp.; Vilhelm II, der gekroynter hitler, miṭ a bild (Wilhelm II, Hitler crowned, with a picture) (Warsaw, 1933), 63 pp.; Voroshilov (Voroshilov) (Warsaw, 1934), 62 pp.; Tukhatshevski, der royter marshal (Tukhachevsky, the red marshal) (Warsaw, 1934), 62 pp. Frantsisko ferer, der martirer fun frayen gedank (Francisco Ferrer [y Guàrdia], the martyr for free thought) (Warsaw, 1931), 62 pp.; Musolini, mit tsvey bilder (Mussolini, with two pictures) (Warsaw, 1931), 64 pp.; Di tragedye mateoti (The tragedy of [Giacomo] Matteotti) (Warsaw, 1931), 64 pp.; Hindenburg (Hindenburg) (Warsaw, 1934), 62 pp.; Der ṭants fun ṭoyt un libe, ayzedore dunkan (Isadora Duncan, the dance of death and life) (Warsaw, 1934), 63 pp.; Sara Bernar (Sarah Bernhardt) (Warsaw, 1931), 59 pp.; and Der martirer-veg fun sako-vantseti (The martyr’s road of Sacco and Vanzetti) (Warsaw, 1932), 64 pp.  And, a series of pamphlets on the history of the revolutionary movement in Russia and Poland, such as: Atentat oyfn general-gubernator skalon (The attempted assassination of Governor-General [Georgi] Skalon) (Warsaw, 1931), 63 pp.; Der bunt af der pantser-shif potyomkin (The rebellion of the armored ship Potemkin) (Warsaw, 1930), 62 pp.; Der groyser onfal bay der stantsye bezdani (The great raid on Station Bezdany) (Warsaw, 1933), 64 pp.; Der azef fun hitler-daytshland (The [Yevno] Azef in Hitler’s Germany) (Warsaw, 1934); Di revolutsye in daytshland, der naynter november 1918 (The revolution in Germany, November 9, 1918) (Warsaw, 1932), 60 pp.; Di blut-bod oyf di lener gold-grubn (The bloodbath in the Lena goldfields) (Warsaw, 1934), 63 pp.; Zubatovshtshine (Zubatovshchina) (Warsaw, n.d.), 63 pp.; Provokator malinovski (Malinovsky, the provocateur) (Warsaw); Grigori gapon, galekh-provokator (Georgy Gapon, the priest-provocateur) (Warsaw, 1930), 62 pp.; Dos faln fun tsarism, februar 1917 (The collapse of tsarism, February 1917) (Warsaw, 1937); Di geheymnishn fun englishn shpyonazh, mit a bild (The secrets of English espionage, with a picture) (Warsaw, 1933), 64 pp.; Der kishefmakher fun unzer tsayt, tomas edison (The magician of our time, Thomas Edison) (Warsaw, 1930), 63 pp.; and Di geheymnishn fun yapanishn shpyonazh (The secrets of Japanese espionage) (Warsaw, 1934), 63 pp.  He also translated a number of works from world literature, among them: Romain Rolland, Bethoven (Beethoven), with Sh. Vulman (Warsaw, 1924), 122 pp. [original: Vie de Beethoven (The life of Beethoven)]; and Vicente Blasco Ibañez, Lune benamor (Luna Benamor) (Warsaw, 1929), 98 pp., among others.  His own novel Der tog fun batsolt (Payday), which was published in various newspapers, was translated into Polish by Jerzy Borejsza and published in the newspaper Ostatnie Wiadomosci (Latest news) (Warsaw, 1938-1939).  His two booklets, Der blutiker mitvokh (Bloody Wednesday) (Warsaw, 1931), 61 pp., and Atentat oyfn general-gubernator skalon, were reprinted in “Pinkes varshe” editions (Buenos Aires, 1955) under the pen name “K. Moshkevitsh.”  Among his many pseudonyms: Y. Safir, Y. Kagan, N. Slonimski, St. Mayzner, K. Moshkevitsh, Y. K. Simkhovitsh, M. Hartman, D. Kopel, K. Finger, B. Gavrieli, A. Freydkin, M. Karolin, B. Serlin, Dovid Kapelzon, D. Kapelman, Sh. Mlovski, and D. K.  During WWII he was in the Warsaw Ghetto.  He suffered terribly there, but he continued his writing activities.  He was shot by a Nazi officer on Zamenhof Street, near the military prison in Warsaw (at this site where there now stands a memorial to the Warsaw Ghetto).  He was tragic, fascinating personality; he devoted his life to Yiddish literature and culture, and he sacrificed his life until his last days.  Concerning his brother, Gershon Dua, see the biography under “G. Bogen” in the first volume of the Leksikon (translated earlier on this website).

Sources: Y. Samson, in Pyetrikover veker 6 (1926); Biblyografishe yorbikher fun yivo (Bibliographic yearbooks from YIVO) (Warsaw, 1928); Yidishe shriftn, literarish zamlbukh (Yiddish writings, literary anthology), ed. Leo Finklshteyn (Lodz, 1946); B. Borg, in Folksshtime (Lodz-Warsaw) (September 1947); Y. Kornhendler, in Arbeter-vort (Paris) (October 26, 1951); B. Mark, Umgekumene shrayber fun di getos un lagern (Murdered writers from the ghettos and camps) (Warsaw, 1954); P. Kats, in Pinkes Varshe (Buenos Aires, 1955); Y. Papyernikov, in Letste nayes (Tel Aviv) (January 15 and 31, 1957).

Khayim Leyb Fuks and Leyzer Ran

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