Sunday 22 November 2015


            He was the older brother of the novelist Y. Dembes, born in Radom, Poland, into a Hassidic family.  He studied in religious elementary school, yeshiva, and evening courses for secular subjects and languages.  He moved to Warsaw in his youth and became a photographer.  At the same time he was active in the Bund, the Groser-klub (a drama circle), and the Kultur lige (Culture League).  He lived in Paris for a lengthy period of time.  He later returned to Poland and until WWII lived in Warsaw.  He worked as a translator from Polish, Russian, English, and German into Yiddish, and from which appeared in print: Henryk Sienkiewicz, Koyl-tseykhenungen (Charcoal sketches [original: Szkice węglem]) (Warsaw, 1920), 94 pp.; Kvo vadis (Quo Vadis?), a historical novel in six parts (Warsaw, 1920), and others.  He also translated a number of writings by Sh. An-sky from Russian into Yiddish, which were included in publications of An-sky’s collected writings (Warsaw, 1921-1922).  He translated some novels by Charles Dickens, among them: Dovid koperfeld (David Copperfield), which appeared in booklets of sixteen pages each (Warsaw, 1920-1921); Oliver tvist (Oliver Twist) (Warsaw, 1927); Tsvey shtet (Tale of Two Cities) (Warsaw, 1928), and others as well.  He also contributed to Librairie Triangle in Paris which brought out a number of monographs by Jewish artists.  He published in Naye folkstsaytung (New people’s newspaper) in Warsaw his translations of sketches, novellas, and short stories from Russian, German, Polish, and French under the pen name Y. Ashkenazi.  He also translated from French Alphonse Daudet’s Briv fun mayn mil (Letter from my mill [original: Lettre de mon moulin]) (Warsaw, 1932).
            When the Germans occupied Poland, Daytsher escaped to Vilna.  He was later in the Vilna ghetto, where he performed various difficult labors.  At that same time, he wrote a longer research piece, entitled Batrakhtungen iber dem hayntikn seyder hooylem (Examinations of the contemporary order of things), for which he received a prize in the third literary competition in the Vilna ghetto.  He was murdered with his wife and only child during the liquidation of the Vilna ghetto.

Sources: Information from his brother, Y. Dembes-Daytsher, in Paris; Biblyografishe yorbikher fun yivo (Bibliographic yearbooks from YIVO) (Warsaw, 1928); Sh. Katsherginksi, Khurbn vilne (The Holocaust in Vilna) (New York, 1947), p. 187.

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