Friday 27 November 2015


YOYSEF M. DIMENTSHTEYN (December 5, 1898-September 20, 1945)
            He was born in Kirenits, Vilna region.  He studied in religious elementary school and yeshiva, and secular subject matter in a Russian state school.  He lived in New York where he attended middle school and college, as well as one year at a Jewish teachers’ seminary in New York.  In the 1920 he took off for Canada with a puppet troupe.  He lived in Montreal.  He supported himself with a variety of trades.  He worked as a book agent, a teacher, and had a chicken farm.  From 1924 he was writing for the English-language and Yiddish newspapers.  In 1927 he founded in Montreal Yidishe folks shtime (Voice of the Jewish people).  He contributed to Keneder odler (Canadian eagle) and Jewish Chronicle.  In early April 1931, he was attempted to kill himself by shooting himself in the mouth in a restaurant next door to Keneder odler.  In a letter that he left behind, he asked that his body be turned over to the medical college at McGill University for medical research.  In a letter to the editor of Keneder odler, he spoke of the vanity of vanities in life and ended with: “I now go where we all must go.”  He was saved and went on to write more.  In the jubilee volume for Keneder odler of 1932, he contributed an essay on B. G. Zak, entitled “Der historiker fun yidisher kanade” (The historian of Jewish Canada).  He died in Youngstown, Ohio.

Sources: Y. M. Dimentshteyn, “Idishe shrayber makht zelbstmord-farzukh in montreol” (Yiddish writer attempted suicide in Montreal), Tog (New York) (April 3, 1931), front-page news; “In di yidisher un hebreyisher literatur” (In Yiddish and Hebrew literature), Tsukunft (New York) (November 1945).

Zaynvl Diamant

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