Thursday 31 December 2015



            He was the translator of two rare pamphlets: Toldes rashi (Biography of Rashi), “this is a description of the famed man” (Warsaw, 1880), 11 pp.; Der khometsdiker borkhu oder di nayn teg peysekh (The leavened prayer or the nine days of Passover), “a lovely story that transpired in the great city of Prague” (Warsaw, 1880), 6 pp.



            He was born in Radom, Poland.  He studied in religious primary school and a Jewish public school.  Over the years 1931-1933, he lived in Belgium, and from 1933 he was in Paris.  He was a Communist who from 1965 became a Zionist.  Among his books: Lomir lakhn, zamlung fun mayselekh, vitsn un vertlekh (Let’s laugh: a collection of tales, jokes, and aphorisms) (Tel Aviv: Aguda tarbut laam, 1970), 360 pp.



            From the 1930s through the end of the 1940s, he was living in Chicago and the 1960s in Ḥolon, Israel.  He returned to Chicago in the mid-1970s.  Among his works: Yoyev ben tsruye, biblishe drame (Yoav Ben Tzruya, biblical drama) (Chicago: M. Tseshinski, 1937), 63 pp.; Peyrush, komentar af matye, di ershte evangelye fun nayem testament (Commentary on Matthew, the first gospel of the New Testament), three parts (Chicago, 1958), part 1, 464 pp.; Dertseylungen un drame (Stories and drama [Yoyev ben tsruye]), vol. 1 (Tel Aviv, 1963), 140 pp.; Zalmen ripe (Zalme Ripe), 3 parts (Tel Aviv, 1964), part 1, 652 pp.; Kritisher analiz af “man fun matseres”fun sholem ash (A critical analysis of “The Man from Nazareth” by Sholem Asch), 2 vols. (Tel Aviv, 1968), part 1, 448 pp.  He died in Chicago.


SHMUEL OSTERZETSER (b. August 9, 1905 [1901?])
            He was born in Brody, Galicia.  He studied in religious elementary school and in 1920 in a yeshiva in Hamburg.  From 1923 he was publishing features pieces, historical and Jewish community works in the Beys-yankev magazine Unzer vort (Our word) and in Dos yudishe vort (The Jewish word) in Kolomaye, Dos yidishe vort (The Jewish word) in Antwerp, and Ortodoksishe yugend-bleter (Orthodox youth pages).

Source: Zalmen Reyzen archive housed at YIVO in New York.


YOYSEF-MENAKHEM HOLENDER (TSUKER) (October 11, 1896-February 19, 1950)
            He was born in Baranov, near Tarnobrzeg, Galicia.  His father was the head of the rabbinical court in Rudnik and later head of the yeshiva in Vizhnits (Vizhnitsa) and in Torne (Tarnów).  The son studied in religious elementary schools and yeshiva.  In 1915 he left for Berlin, studied at the Hildesheimer Rabbinical Seminary and thereafter in the cadet school in Troppau, Bohemia.  During WWI he served in the Austrian army, was wounded on the front, and from the hospital he wrote correspondence pieces and war impressions for Yudisher morgnpost (Jewish morning mail) in Vienna.  Together with Leon Vizenfeld, in 1918 he published in Rzeszów Di yudishe folkstaytung (The Jewish people’s newspaper).  In 1919 he contributed works to the Togblat (Daily newspaper) in Lemberg, Di tsayt (The times) in Cracow, and to other Hebrew, Yiddish and German publications in Galicia, Austria, and Germany.  In 1920 he settled in Köln (Cologne).  He edited a Yiddish supplement to the German-language Jüdische Woche (Jewish week) and he published a notebook entitled Hekhaluts in yidish (The pioneer in Yiddish)—he whole life he was tied to Zionist labor parties.  At this time he also penned a drama, Afn vanderveg (On the traveler’s road), which was stage in Germany.  Together with Leyzer Shindler and Yoysef Levi, in 1923 he brought out a magazine in Munich entitled Undzer svive (Our environs) and founded a literary group and a publisher by the same name.  When he was later living in Köln, he published the journal Undzer lebn (Our life) and wrote for it essays and poems under the name Yoysef-Menakhem Tsuker and the pen name Yosipon.  For his socialist work he was expelled from Köln by the occupying French forces, and he moved to Karlsruhe, where he worked in a machine factory.  He later settled in Lille, southern France, and published articles and correspondence pieces to Parizer haynt (Paris today) and Lodzher tageblat (Lodz daily newspaper), while also contributing to the Lemberg Hebrew-language serials Haluaḥ (The calendar) and Bat kol (Heavenly voice).  During WWII and the German occupation of France, he was imprisoned and then hidden in Free France.  After liberation he again became active in the Zionist labor movement and contributed to Undzer vort (Our word) in Paris, in which he published articles and reportage pieces about postwar Jewish life in France, Belgium, and the neighboring lands.  He died in Rouen, northern France, and was laid to rest in Lyon.

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 1; G. Bader, Medina veḥakhameha (The state and its sages) (New York, 1934); M. Kalikshteyn, in Undzer vort (Paris) (February 23, 1950); M. Shtrigler and M. Yarblum, in Undzer vort (February 27, 1950); A. A. Liberman, in Undzer vort (February 5, 1954); Yoysef-Hilel Levi, Gezamlte shriftn (Collected writings), vol. 2 (London, 1958).

Zaynvl Diamant

Sunday 20 December 2015


KHAYE-ROKHL ANDRES (b. May 1, 1899)

            Born in Suwalki, Poland, she attended religious elementary school.  She graduated from a Russian public school.  In 1922 she emigrated to Dallas, Texas.  She frequently published poetry in Vokhnblat (Weekly newspaper) in Toronto, Zamlungen (Collections) in New York, and Yidishe tsaytung (Jewish newspaper) in Tel Aviv.  Among her books: Mayn tatns yerushe, lider (My father’s heritage, poems) (Tel Aviv: Hamenorah, 1972), 185 pp., including twenty Hebrew poems translated by E. Zametski; Far vemen zing ikh mayne lider (For whom do I sing my songs) (New York, 1979), 267 pp.; Zaynen yorn geforn, mayn lebns geshikhte (Year gone by, my life story) (Brooklyn, 1981), 194 pp.  The latter two books with English translation by Yudel Cohen.


TUVYE AMSTER (November 2, 1920-January 9, 1983)

            Born in Ozorków, Poland, he studied in religious primary school.  He survived the ghetto, Auschwitz, and Bergen-Belsen.  In 1945 he settled in Uppsala (Sweden), later moving to Stockholm.  He translated from Russian, Polish, and German into Yiddish, and from Yiddish into Swedish.  He co-edited Yidish kultur in skandinavye (Yiddish culture in Scandinavia) (Stockholm, first issue, 1977).  For a number of years he was a regular contributor to Fraye arbeter shtime (Free voice of labor) in New York, in which he wrote general political articles.  He died in Stockholm.

Friday 18 December 2015



            From 1920 into the 1930s, he lived in Kovno.  He was the author of Aleyn lerer fun notn (Autodidact of musical notation) (Kovno: B. Hurvits, 1928/1929), 82 pp.


LEON OLER (February 24, 1899-January 23, 1971)
            He was born in Warsaw, and he attended religious primary school, Russian public school, and secular high school.  In his youth he was active in the Bund.  At the end of 1939 he escaped into Soviet Russia where he was arrested.  In 1945 he came to New York.  He wrote political articles for Kegn shtrom (Against the tide) in Warsaw (1935), Yugnt-veker (Youth alarm) in Warsaw (he was also a member of its editorial board), and primarily for Unzer tsayt (Our time) in New York.  After his death, a memorial volume was published: Leon oler, zayn lebn un tetikeyt (Leon Older, his life and activities) (New York, 1973), 180 pp., with a section entitled “Fun leon olers pen” (From the pen of Leon Oler).  He died in New York.

Sources: Inzer tsayt (New York) (February 1071); Leon oler, zayn lebn un tetikeyt.



            She was a teacher who lived and worked in Minsk and who wrote textbooks for children and for the Jewish school. She was the author of Freyd, helf-bukh farn ershtn lernyor (Joy, aid book for the first school year), with T. Bensman (Minsk: Melukhe farlag, 1927), 207 pp.; A mayse mit dray tsigelekh (A story with three goats), with T. Bensman (Minsk: Melukhe farlag, 1929), 18 pp.; Murze un andere mayselekh (Murza and other stories) (Minsk: Melukhe farlag, 1929), 24 pp., second edition as Shneyers un andere mayselekh (Old Man Winter and other stories) (Moscow, 1929); Ershte trit, freyd (First step, joy) (Minsk: Tsentrfarlag, 1930), 192 pp., second edition (Moscow-Kharkov-Minsk, 1931), part 2 (Minsk, 1932).

[Additional information from: Chaim Beider, Leksikon fun yidishe shrayber in ratn-farband (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers in the Soviet Union), ed. Boris Sandler and Gennady Estraikh (New York: Congress for Jewish Culture, Inc., 2011), p. 25.]


            He was the older brother of Khayim Holmshtok, born in Minsk, Byelorussia.  He was living until the end of 1922 in New York where he was an active leader, teacher, and for a time also director of the Sholem Aleichem Folkshuls.  He was the founder and first editor of Kinder-zhurnal (Children’s magazine) in New York (1920-1922).  He returned to Russia in late 1922 and until 1937 was active in Yiddish school work, Soviet Yiddish scholarly research, and the Jewish “pioneer” youth in Minsk.  He was a contributor to Der yunger pyoner (The young pioneer) in Minsk (1925-1927) and to Afn visnshaftlekhn front (On the scholarly front) in Minsk (1932-1935), in which he published articles about the “treason” of the Bund and Zionism at the time of the 1905 Revolution.  He also translated various pamphlets and books from German and Russian, such as: Heinrich Schmid, “Fraye” arbetn af di khemishe zavodn (“Free” labor in chemical factories), in wage labor in Germany (Minsk, 1932), 36 pp.; V. N. Verkhovski, Khemye lernbukh far der mitlshul (Chemistry textbook for middle school), with illustrations (Minsk, 1934), 155 pp.  In Russia he also published under the name “L. Holomshtok.”  His subsequent fate remains unknown.

Sources: Kinder-zhurnal (New York) (April-May 1922); R. Shklyar, Afn visnshaftlekhn front (Minsk) 5-6 (1934); Dos yidishe bukh in sovetnfarband in 1932 (The Yiddish book in the Soviet Union in 1932) (Minsk, 1932-1933, 1934-1935).


YITSKHOK-AYZIK ALEN (1875-July 23, 1973)
            In 1891 he came from Lithuania to the United States.  He was one of the founders of the American Jewish Committee, the American Jewish Congress, and the Zionist Federation in America.  For many years he was a regular contributor to Yidishes tageblat (Jewish daily newspaper), among other Yiddish publications.  He also often wrote for Hadoar (The mail).  He died in Hartford, Connecticut.

Source: Hadoar (New York) (Av 12=August 10, 1973).


MATES OLITSKI (OLITSKY, OLITZKY) (November 10, 1915-December 4, 2008)
            He was born in Trisk (Turiysk), Volhynia.  He was poet and younger brother of Leyb and Borekh Olitski.  He studied at a Tsisho (Central Jewish School Organization) school.  In 1934 he received he diploma from the Polish Jewish high school in Kowel and later studied for a year at Warsaw University.  He spent the war in Soviet Russia, and afterward he was in displaced persons camps in Germany.  He emigrated to New York in 1949 and there became a teacher in the Sholem Aleichem schools, later in the Workmen’s Circle schools, as well as director of a Workmen’s Circle Middle School.  He published for the first time, in 1935, poems in Literarishe bleter (Literary leaves) in Warsaw.  He also contributed poetry and articles to: Unzer hofenung (Our hope), Af der vakh (On guard), Bafrayung (Liberation), and Shriftn (Writings)—publications of survivors in Germany; Shriftn, Oyfkum (Arise), Tsukunft (Future), Fraye arbeter shtime (Free voice of labor), Svive (Environs), Veker (Alarm), Unzer tsayt (Our time), Kultur un dertsiung (Culture and education), Kultur un lebn (Culture and life), Kinder-zhurnal (Children’s magazine), Kinder-tsaytung (Children’s newspaper), and Forverts (Forward)—in New York; Goldene keyt (Golden chain) and Lebns-fragn (Life issues) in Tel Aviv; and others.  Among his books: In fremdn land, lider (In an alien country, poems) (Eschwege, 1948), 64 pp.; Freylekhe teg (Joyous days), poetry (New York: Workmen’s Circle, 1962), 119 pp., which was awarded the Kessel Prize; Lider tsu a bruder (Poems to a brother), with Leyb Olitski (Tel Aviv: Nakhmeni, 1964), 64 pp.; Geklibene lider (Selected poems) (Tel Aviv: Peretz Publ., 1967), 128 pp.; Lider far yugnt (Poems for young people) (New York: Workmen’s Circle, 1974), 96 pp.; Lider fun friyer un fun itst (Poems from earlier and now) (Tel Aviv: Yisroel bukh, 1980), 96 pp.  He also wrote textbooks: Trakht un shrayb, arbetsbukh far der mitlshul (Think and write, workbook for middle school) (New York: Workmen’s Circle, 1974), 32 pp.; Yidishe kinder beys (Jewish children, two), with Y. Mlotek (New York: Workmen’s Circle, 1975), 129 pp.; Gut yontef, kinder (Happy holiday, children) (New York: Workmen’s Circle, 1981), 32 pp., with an English translation.  “M. Olitski celebrates economy of imagery, and as a result his poems are clear and transparent,” wrote Yankev Glatshteyn.  “[He] elevates his lines with a charmingly expressive idea which is also poetically frugal—above all, when they possess charm, music, and the essence of humor, in the most ideal sense of the word.”  “M. Olitski,” wrote Y. Varshavski,[1] “has a rare eye for children’s language, its world view….  Olitski’s poems are a treasury for the Jewish child, for the Jewish school.”  “M. Olitski is a poet of sincere accents,” noted Y. Shpigl.  “His verse is clear and clean.  The mood is charged with straightforward, poetic vision.”  He died in New York.

Sources: Y. Shpigl, in Dos naye lebn (Warsaw) (1948); B. Grin, in Morgn-frayhayt (New York) (December 19, 1948); Y. Varshavski [Y. Bashevis], in Forverts (New York) (February 10, 1963); Y. Zilberberg, in Idisher kemfer (New York) (February 22, 1963); Yankev Glatshteyn, in Tog-morgn zhurnal (New York) (April 14, 1963); Sh. D. Zinger, in Unzer veg (New York) (June-July 1963); Y. Emyet, in Fraye arbeter shtime (New York) (September 1, 1963); Y. Horn, in Idishe tsaytung (Buenos Aires) (September 22, 1963); A. Volf-Yasni, in Letste nayes (Tel Aviv) (August 14, 1964); Glatshteyn, in Idisher kemfer (December 1965); Y. Bronshteyn, in Yisroel shtime (Tel Aviv) (October 17, 1967); R. Yanasovitsh, Penemen un nemen (Faces and names), vol. 1 (Buenos Aires, 1971), pp. 34-40; Glatshteyn, Prost un poshet (Plain and simple) (New York, 1978), pp. 278-83; Elye Shulman, in Forverts (September 14, 1980); Avrom Shulman, in Kultur un lebn (New York) (February 1981).

[1] Translator’s note.  This was the most common of Isaac Bashevis Singer’s pen names.



            He was a linguist, current events writer, and translator, the younger brother of the writer Fayvl Holmshtok, born in Minsk, Byelorussia.  From 1916 to 1918, he lived in the United States.  He was active in the “Workers’ University” at the Sholem-Aleichem Folk Institute in New York, and he translated a number of books from Russian into Yiddish.  He returned to Soviet Russia in 1918, lived in Minsk, worked as a teacher, and took up scholarly work in the field of linguistics. Like the majority of Soviet linguists, he contributed to producing the so-called “Marxist conception” in the field of language research. Together with M. Mishkovski, Shloyme Rives, and students from the Minsk Jewish Pedagogical Technicum, where he worked as a language and literature teacher, he assembled an instructional reader (which was later reprinted several times). He also concerned himself with translations—among others, works by Marx and Engels and F. Seniushkin, see below. He led the commission charged with creating a major academic Yiddish explanatory dictionary. At the Yiddish language conference held in Kiev in May 1934, he gave a presentation on this dictionary. In 1935 there was published in Minsk the first trial volume of this dictionary under his editorship. He published an article in the Kiev journal Afn shprakhfront (On the language front) on dialectology, lexicology, and etymology. After this, as Birobidzhan was declared to be a Jewish autonomous district, he accepted an invitation from the regional leaders and moved from Minsk to Birobidzhan. He was particularly interested in producing a uniform Yiddish for students who came there from various and sundry dialectological environments. In 1936 he began in Birobidzhan preparation of a national-wide language conference. He was appointed chairman of the scholarly commission of the regional executive committee. In the daily schedule for the planned conference, his presentation, “On the unification of Yiddish dialects,” was approved. A number of his ideas in this area are summarized in his essay, “Uniformatsye fun di yidishe dialektn” (On the unification of Yiddish dialects) which was published in Forpost (Outpost) 1 (1937). The language conference, however, was disallowed, and Holmshtok was arrested. His subsequent fate remains unknown. According to no precise information, he was said to have died during exile in 1942.

He wrote about pedagogy and linguistic matters in various Soviet Yiddish publications, such as: Yunger pyoner (Young pioneer) in Minsk (April 2, 1927).  He was the editor of Lingvistishe zamlung 1 (Linguistics collection 1), with style-editor Moyshe Kulbak (Minsk: Byelorussian Academy of Sciences, 1933), 93 pp.; and Oktyaber-kinder (October children), with L. Mishkovski and Shloyme Rives (Moscow: Central People’s Publishers, 1926), 100 pp., a textbook for Jewish schools.  He also translated: Dos kinstlerishe shafn (The artistic works) by D. Nikolaevich [Ovsianiko-Kulikovskii] (New York: Di heym, 1919), 52 pp.; Politishe ekonomye (Political economy [original: Kurs politicheskoi ekonomii]) by Aleksandr Bogdanov (New York, 1920), vol. 1, 244 pp., vol. 2, 551 pp.; Shtat-visnshaft (State science [original: Ocherki nauki o gosudarstvie]) by V. I. Dunaev and A. A. Nikitskii (New York: Di heym, 1920), 300 pp. (edited by Dr. Yitskhok-Ayzik Hurvits); Komunistisher manifest (Communist manifesto) by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels (Moscow: Central People’s Publishers, 1924), 181 pp., republished in Warsaw (Kultur, 1931 and 1932); Di arbet fun di fabrikn un zavod-komitetn ba di badingungen fun itstiker tsayt (The work of factories and plant committees under contemporary conditions [original: Rabota fabrichno-zavodskikh komitetov v sovremennykh usloviiakh]) by F. Seniushkin (Minsk, 1926), 120 pp.  He also contributed work to Afn shprakhfront (On the language front), in which (no. 3-4) he published a work entitled: “Vegn dem yidishn oystaytsh-verterbukh” (On the Yiddish explanatory dictionary).  He was editor of Yidisher verterbukh (Yiddish dictionary), trial volume (Minsk: Byelorussian Academy of Sciences, 1935), xii and 26 pp., and he wrote the preface to it. 

Sources: M. Gurevitsh, in Emes (Moscow) 283 (1935); Y. M. Budish, Almanakh in dinst fun folk (Almanac in service to the people) (New York, 1947), p. 382.

[Additional information from: Chaim Beider, Leksikon fun yidishe shrayber in ratn-farband (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers in the Soviet Union), ed. Boris Sandler and Gennady Estraikh (New York: Congress for Jewish Culture, Inc., 2011), pp. 108-9.]

Thursday 17 December 2015


PERL HALTER (May 15, 1913-December 30, 1974)
            She was born in Warsaw and graduated from middle school.  Her first publication was in 1940 in Minsker shtern (Minsk star), issue 2.  From that point, she published in: Dos naye lebn (The new life), Arbeter-vort (Workers’ word), Undzer vort (Our word), and Folks-shtime (Voice of the people) in Lodz; Yidishe shriftn (Yiddish writings), Oyfgang (Rising), Der veg (The way), and Ikuf (IKUF [= Jewish Cultural Association]) in Argentina, among others.  During WWII, she was in Russia.  She was living in Paris from 1946 until her death.  She published several volumes of poetry: Dermonungen (Remembrances) (Paris: A. B. Tserata, 1953), 110 pp.; Yunge teg (Young days) (Paris, 1962), 59 pp.; Af yener zayt barg (On the far side of the mountain) (Tel Aviv: Peretz Publ., 1968), 125 pp.

Sources: Kh. L. Fuks, in Arbeter-vort (Paris) (February 20, 1953); L. Domankevitsh, in Unzer vort (Paris) (March 14, 1953); Shloyme Bikl, in Tsukunft (New York) (December 1953); Yankev Glatshteyn, in Idisher kemfer (New York) (January 8, 1954).

[Additional information from: Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 206.]


            He was born in Suwalk, Poland.  In 1940 he was deported with his family to Siberia.  From 1946 he was living in Wrocław, Lower Silesia, where he studied in a Yiddish and Hebrew school.  In 1949 he made aliya to Israel.  Over the years 1956-1974, he studied Hebrew literature, as well as general and Jewish history, at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, from which he received his doctorate for a dissertation on the history of the Jewish Section in the Soviet Union (1918-1930).  From 1968 he was an instructor there and subsequently a professor of modern Jewish history.  He has published two books in Hebrew, as well as an array of articles in Hebrew- and English-language periodicals.  He compiled and edited (with Y. Lifshits) the volume Briv fun yidishe sovetishe shraybers (Letters from Soviet Yiddish writers) (Jerusalem, 1979), 501 pp.


YISROEL-BER ALTERMAN (January 15, 1913-1996)
            He was born in Gritse (Grójec).  He studied in religious elementary school and yeshiva, as well as in a Polish school.  During WWII, he was in Soviet Russia.  From 1949 he was living in Israel—near Ḥadera.  From 1946, he published reportage pieces, articles, and stories in: Dos vort (The word), Unzer veg (Our way), and Ibergang (Transition)—in Munich; Landsberger tsaytung (Landsberg newspaper); and Letste nayes (Latest news), Yidishe tsaytung (Jewish newspaper), and Yisroel shtime (Voice of Israel)—in Tel Aviv.  He edited the memorial volume Megiles gritse (Grójec scroll) (Tel Aviv, 1955), 408 pp.; and he revised Kaynmol nisht fargesn (Never forget) (Tel Aviv, 1972), 236 pp.  Among his writings: Heymloze d. p., yidn in daytshland (Homeless d[isplaced] p[ersons], Jews in Germany), stories and reportage pieces (Tel Aviv, 1959), 198 pp., second edition (1980); Likui ḥama (Eclipse), stories translated from Yiddish manuscripts by Yosef Aḥai (Tel Aviv: Peretz Publ., 1976), 208 pp.; Blondzhers (Lost their way), stories (Tel Aviv: Nay-lebn, 1982), 205 pp.; Di letste heym, dertseylungen (The last home, stories) (Tel Aviv: Yisroel-bukh, 1986), 287 pp.

Sources: Kh. Zeltser, in Letste nayes (Tel Aviv) (July 17, 1981; June 26, 1982).


MORTKHE (MORDECHAI) HALTER (May 3, 1906-December 27, 1976)
            He was born in Koło, Lodz County, Poland.  He studied in religious elementary school, public school, and at a Hebrew teachers’ course in Warsaw.  He worked as a teacher, 1930-1932, in Jewish schools.  Later, until WWII, he was an internal contributor and editor of the reportage division of the daily newspaper Dos vort (The word) in Warsaw, in which he also published sketches and stories.  When the Nazis invaded Poland, he escaped to Vilna, and from there (early 1941) he made his way to Palestine.  He was initially employed in agriculture, later becoming a teacher for complementary courses for teachers in Kibbutz Dafna in the Upper Galilee, near the Syrian border.  He began publishing stories in the anthology Unzer tsukunft (Our future) in Koło (1926), of which he was co-editor.  He contributed reportage pieces, sketches, images, and stories to: Dos vort, Dos naye vort (The new word), Bafrayung (Liberation), Arbeter-shtime (Voice of workers), Haynt (Today), and Literarishe bleter (Literary leaves), and in Hebrew in Heatid (The future) and Olami (My world), among others—in Warsaw; Davar (Word), Omer (Speech), Davar leyeladim (Word for children), Folk un tsien (People and Zion), and in the pedagogical journals, Hed haḥinukh (Echo of education), Urim (Illuminations), and others—in the state of Israel.
            Among his books: Kleynberger (Petty bourgeoisie), ten stories and sketches of Jewish life in Poland (Warsaw, 1932), 101 pp.; Yoysef khayim brener, byografisher reportazh (Yosef Ḥayim Brenner, biographical sketch) (Warsaw, 1934), 27 pp.; Nakhmen sirkin, kapitlekh fun zayn lebn un lere (Nachman Syrkin, chapters from his life and teachings) (Warsaw, 1935), 28 pp.; Briv fun an arbeter (Letter from a laborer) (Warsaw, 1935), 24 pp.  His novel about Polish agricultural training for Palestine, entitled Mir greyt zikh (We’re ready) (Warsaw, 1937), 210 pp., in which he artistically depicts the life of the pioneering young people and their struggle to make aliya to Israel, aroused great interest.  The novel was published serially from 1938 in Nasz Przegląd (Our review) in Warsaw [in Polish], and in two Hebrew translations: (1) in Warsaw under the title Leḥayim ḥadashim (To a new life) (1939); and (2) in Tel Aviv under the title Ḥalutsim bau laayara (Pioneers came to town) (1947).  In Hebrew, he published: Hashevuya mitsipori, sipur miyeme haamoraim bevavel (The prisoner from Tsipori, a story from the days of the Amoraim in Babylonia) (Tel Aviv, 1946), 215 pp.; Hamemra bakefar (The word in the village), on folklore in an Israeli village (Tel Aviv, 1947), 120 pp.; Hamemra vehabediḥa bahityashvut haovedet (The sayings and jokes in the agricultural settlement) (Tel Aviv, 1953), 8 pp.; Shiurim betanakh (Lessons from the Hebrew Bible) (Tel Aviv, 1954), 135 pp.  He translated into Yiddish two collections of selected stories drawn from Hebrew literature: (1) Erd (Earth); and (2) In onheyb (In the beginning) (Tel Aviv, 1948), both running 180 pp.  He edited the anthologies: Hagalil haelyon (The Upper Galilee), dedicated to the renewal of Jewish settlement in the Upper Galilee (1949, 1950), both running 176 pp.; and the remembrance volume Sefer kolo, finfhundert yor yidish kolo (Koło volume, 500 years of Jewish Koło), in Hebrew and Yiddish (Tel Aviv, 1958), 408 pp.  His work A shif in shturem (A ship in a storm), the sequel to Mir greyt zikh, did not appear because of the war.  He died in Dafna, Israel.

Sources: Bibliographishe yorbikher fun yivo (Bibliographic yearbooks from YIVO) (Warsaw, 1928); Sefer hashana lebiblyografya yehudit bepolanya (Annual for Jewish bibliography in Poland) (Warsaw, 1934); M. Barlas, in Oyfgang (Sighetu Marmației) (May-June 1934); L. Finkelshteyn, in Foroys (Warsaw) (June 7, 1938); Finkelshteyn, in Bafrayung (Warsaw) (April 29, 1938); Y. Lis, in Literarishe bleter (Warsaw) (December 23, 1938); Y. A. Zaydman, Hapoel-hatsair (Tel Aviv) 39; N. Kantorovitsh, in Fun noentn over (New York) III (1957), pp. 295ff; K. Frenk, in Forverts (New York) (March 29, 1959).

Khayim Leyb Fuks


ROKHL ALTER (December 28, 1917-December 25, 1968)

            She was born in Kolno, Poland.  She studied at a secular high school.  She survived ghettoes and concentration camps.  After WWII she was living in Israel.  She published the book Iz geven a mentsh (Was a person) (Tel Aviv, 1969), 157 pp.  She died in Tel Aviv.



            He was born in Janów Lubelski, Poland.  He authored Mayn shtetl, bilder un zikhroynes fun der alter heym (My hometown, images and memories of the old country) (Buenos Aires, 1954), 221 pp.


            He was born in Grodzisk, Poland.  He moved to Warsaw in 1915.  He managed to survive the ghetto and hiding.  From 1957 he was living in Buenos Aires.  Among his books: Yidishe varshe durkh payn, blut un toyt (Jewish Warsaw through pain, blood, and death) (Buenos Aires, 1958), 475 pp.

Source: M. Ravitsh, Dos amolike varshe (Warsaw of the past) (Montreal, 1966), p. 69.


MORRIS HOLTMAN (February 17, 1885-December 8, 1949)
He was born in Poltava, Ukraine, into a merchant family.  Until age twelve he attended religious primary school, later a Russian school, and later still he graduated from university in Germany.  From 1902 he was active in the Russian Social Democratic Workers’ Party.  At that time he was writing stories in Russian under the pen name Mikhail Kotshevoy.  In 1912 he emigrated to the United States and subsequently settled in New York where he was a contributor to Fraynd (Friend) and Tsukunft (Future).  For many years he was a member of the Socialist Jewish Federation and later a co-founder of the Communist Party.  He served as editorial secretary of the illegal Communist weekly paper Der kamf (The struggle), and later of Funken (Sparks), of the revived Der kamf (July 1920-May 1921), and co-editor of Emes (Truth) in 1921—all published in New York.  He was one of the founders of Frayhayt (Freedom) in New York (April 1922)—and from September 1922 a standing member of the editorial board of the newspaper.  He also wrote under the pseudonyms: Mem Hey, Yunger Gayst, R. Kirsh, Morris Shvayger, M. Galin, and Moyshele Shtifer.  He translated (with R. Holtman) Lenin’s Der radikaler komunist (The radical Communist [original: Detskaya bolezn’ “levizny” v kommunizme (Infantile illness of “leftwing” Communism)]) (New York, 1920), 147 pp.

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 1; Dr. A. Ginzburg, in Tsayt (New York) (August 7, 1921); Morgn-frayhayt (New York) (December 9, 1949); Kh. Y. Kastrel, in Morgn-frayhayt (January 4, 1950).

Aleksander Pomerants


Y. ALBINSKI (b. November 7, 1909)
            This was the pseudonym of Yankev Gutfraynd.  He was born in Warsaw.  He studied in religious elementary school.  He was an active Communist in Poland and Belgium where he emigrated in 1938.  There he took part in the resistance movement against the Nazis.  From 1957 he was living in Israel.  He wrote for the leftist Lebn un sholem (Life and peace) (Brussels, 1947-1952).  He also published articles in Naye prese (New press) in Paris, Yidishe kultur (Jewish culture) in New York, and Fraye yisroel (Free Israel) in Tel Aviv.  In the last of these he published a series of articles (February-August 1972).  In pamphlet form: Tsuzamen gekemft, tsuzamen gefaln, tsum ondenk fun a yidisher partizaner grupe (Fought with, fell with, to the memory of a Jewish partisan group) (Brussels, 1946), 23 pp.—a second edition appeared in Israel.


MOSHE INDELMAN (YINNON) (March 11, 1895-September 24, 1977)
Born in Zhuroman (Żuromin), Poland.  He studied in religious schools and in the synagogue study hall.  He later studied philosophy in Berlin.  In 1916 he became a high school teacher in Warsaw as well as in Plotsk (Płock).  He was an active Zionist leader and member of the “Al hamishmar” (On guard) group in the central committee of the Zionist party in Poland.  In 1940 he was rescued in Palestine where he became active in the Hebrew press.  From 1925 to 1939, he was a contributor—and for a time on the editorial board—of Haynt (Today) in Warsaw.  He died in Miami Beach.

Source: Dr. R. Feldshuh, Yidisher gezelshaftlekher leksikon (Biographical dictionary of Jewish society) (Warsaw, 1939), p. 473.

Wednesday 16 December 2015


YOYSEF HOLDER (January 11, 1893-1944)
            He was born in Bichkiv, Maramureș County, Hungary [now, Romania], into a Hassidic home.  He attended religious elementary school, and from age thirteen studied in the yeshivas of Hungary and Galicia, acquiring the reputation of a prodigy.  At the same time, he was learning Hebrew and German, while also attending a Hungarian public school.  He later lived in Budapest, where he was employed in a bank.  His literary activity began at age fifteen with a Hebrew story published in Hamitspe (The watch tower).  In Yiddish he debuted with a humorous sketch—“Yekl mit dem hon” (Yekl with the rooster)—in the heavily Germanized Yidishe tsaytung (Jewish newspaper) in Sighet (July 20, 1911) and with a poem in Yidisher blat (Jewish newspaper) also in Sighet (November 1911).  From that point forward, he published stories, poetry, human-interest pieces, and articles in Hatsofe (The spectator), Haolam (The world), Hayom (Today), Togblat (Daily newspaper) in Lemberg, Yidishes tageblat (Jewish daily news) and Forverts (Forward) in New York, Yudishe morgnpost (Jewish morning mail) in Vienna, Vilner tog (Vilna day), and others.  In 1928 he published a book of poems in Vilna under the title Oft zingt zikh (Frequently sung), 80 pp.  For many years he was a contributor to the Hungarian Jewish press, for which he wrote in Hungarian about Yiddish literature and its authors; he translated poems from Hungarian into Yiddish, as well as the war drama Der levyosn (The leviathan) by Peter Oyvari (??) and the one-act play Di tragedye funem mentshn (The tragedy of man [original: Az ember tragédiája]) by Imre Madách.  He also assembled around himself literary novices from Maramureș and Sighet to teach them about Yiddish literature, and the local literary talents recognized him as their literary rebbe.
            On the eve of WWII he lost his job in the bank because of Hungarian anti-Semitism, and his Hungarian Christian wife remained the only provider in the family (they had no children).  At the time of the Nazi occupation of Hungary (March 19, 1944), Holder found himself in the Christian, and ever more anti-Semitic and Nazi, surroundings of his wife’s family.  He became ill, and his most intimate and strongest desire was that after his death he receive a proper Jewish burial.  He died two months before the liberation of Hungary.  His Christian wife wrapped his body in canvas—she had heard that this was how Jews buried their dead—and with the help of neighbors, she managed to carry the corpse and, according to the practice at the time, laid it at the gate.  She paid close attention, while they were gathering up the Jewish dead, as to where her husband was buried, and a year after the liberation of Hungary she set out to unearth him from the mass grave.  She recognized her husband’s corpse from the canvas in which she had wrapped him, and she thus executed Holder’s wishes to be buried according to Jewish law.

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 1; Z. Zilbertsvayg, Leksikon fun yidishn teater (Handbook of the Yiddish theater), vol. 1; Literarishe bleter (Warsaw) (January 11, 1929); M. Ravitsh, in Vokhnshrift far literatur (Warsaw) (November 18, 1932); Y. Grinvald, Toyznt yor yidish lebn in ungarn (One thousand years of Jewish life in Hungary) (New York, 1945), p. 272; Grinvald, Matsevet kodesh (Holy monument) (New York, 1952), p. 48; Bukareshter zamlbikher (Bucharest anthologies) (Bucharest, 1947); Dr. Shloyme Bikl, in Tog-morgn zhurnal (New York) (April 17, 1955).

Zaynvl Diamant


            He was born in Warsaw, the younger brother of Y. A. Arturski.  He was a locksmith by trade.  He wrote stories of the workers’ environment which were published in Folks-tsaytung (People’s newspaper) and Yugnt-veker (Youth alarm) in Warsaw.  He died in the Warsaw Ghetto.

Sources: Lebns-fragn (Tel Aviv) (April 1964); V. H. Even, in Lebns-fragn (March 1972).

Reuven Goldberg


            He was born in Copenhagen.  He was one of the most active pioneers in the Berlin Jewish Enlightenment and co-editor of Hameasef (The collector).  He authored the comedy, Reb henikh, oder vos tut men damit? (Reb Henikh, or what is to be done?), circulated for a time in manuscript and thereafter was published, one edition in Germanized Latin script (Berlin, 1864).  He died in Berlin.

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 1; Eliezer Shulman, Sfat yehudit-ashkenazit vesifruta (The Yiddish-Ashkenazi language and its literature) (Riga, 1913), p 175.



            He was a literary researcher and playwright, born in Kishenev, into a family of a watchmaker. He spent his childhood and youth in Berdichev, where he studied in and a regular Jewish school, later graduating from a Russian high school. He belonged to the first post-October group of Yiddish writers. From 1919 he was working as a teacher in Berdichev, Kiev, and Kharkov. He was a student in the philology department at the Second Moscow University [now, Moscow State Pedagogical University]. For a certain period of time (1933-1937), he worked for the monthly journal Farmest (Competition), in which he placed critical articles and had charge of the section “Litkonsultatsye” (Literary consultation). He was a member of the editorial board (1934-1937) of the Kharkov pedagogical journal Ratnbildung (Soviet education) and of the monthly journal Yunger shlogler (Young shock worker) (1931-1932). He contributed to the journals Di royte velt (The red world) in Kharkov and Shtern (Star) in Minsk, and to the Kharkov newspapers Der shtern (The star), Yunge gvardye (Young guard), and Zay greyt (Be prepared). Over the period 1935-1936, he was a scholarly associate of the Institute for Jewish Culture in Kiev and the author of literature textbooks for Jewish schools. During WWII he lived in the city of Orenburg in the Ural Mountains and worked as a journalist for the Southern Ural Military Circle. He returned to Kharkov after the war and there continued his literary activities. He was purged in the late 1940s and exiled to a northern camp, and from there he returned after being rehabilitated in 1955. From 1961 he was publishing articles in Sovetsh heymland (Soviet homeland) in Moscow.

Holdes, however, was not only a literary critic and researcher; he also assembled and adapted Jewish folklore. His Mayses, vitsn un shpitslekh fun hershl ostropolyer (Tales, jokes, and pranks of Hershl Ostropolyer) appeared in 1941, published by Kiev’s Ukrainian State Publishers for National Minorities. How he came to the idea of publishing such a work as this, he explained in the foreword: “Working in a school as a teacher of literature, I began to jot down from the children’s mouths the tales of Hershl Ostropolyer, and later I complemented these tales with what I remembered myself from childhood and what I gathered in my family and among acquaintances and in Berdichev.” While working in Kharkov, through his editing of the children’s newspaper Zay greyt, he turned to his pupils and readers asking them to send him folktales that they knew or had heard. Hundreds of letters arrived with stories. The majority of them were differing variations of the wisdom of Hershl Ostropolyer. To verify and adapt this material, he made a trip through the towns of Podolia, visited Derazhne, Khmil'nyk, and especially Medzhibozh where Hershl Ostropolyer lived and where they even preserved his grave. Holdes also took up playwriting, and his drama Moyshe lang (Moyshe Lang)—see below—was staged on the eve of WWII by the Kiev Yiddish State Theater. In 1948, the Kharkov Russian Theater produced his play Andere mentshn (Other people). He died in Kharkov.

Among his writings: Hantbukh far yidisher literatur (Handbook for Yiddish literature) (Kharkov: Central Publishers, 1931), 320 pp., with Fume Shames; Arbetbukh af shprakh un literatur far der 7-ter grupe fun der arbeṭshul (Workbook for language and literature for the seventh group in the workers’ school) (Kharkov: Central Publishers, 1931), 179 pp., with Yitskhok Rodak, Khayim Loytsker, M. Gelman, and F. Shames; editor and author of the foreword to Sholem-Aleichem’s Dos meserl (The penknife) (Kharkov, 1934); Literarishe khrestomatye farn 7tn lernyor der politekhnisher shul (Literary reader for the seventh school year at the polytechnic school), with F. Shames (Kharkov: Ukrainian State Publishers for National Minorities, 1934), 327 pp.; “Oysher shvartsman biografye” (Biography of Oysher Shvartsman), in the Oysher Shvartsman, Lider un briv (Poems and letters) (Kiev: Ukrainian Academy of Sciences, 1935); Literatur-lernbukh farn 7tn klas (Literature textbook for the seventh class) (Kharkov: Ukrainian State Publishers for National Minorities, 1936), 121 pp.; Moyshe lang, pyese in 4 aktn (Moyshe Lang, a play in four acts), published in the anthology Sovetishe literatur (Soviet literature) (Kiev, August 1939); Mayses, vitsn un shpitslekh fun hershl ostropolyer, as retold by Holdes with a critical biographical preface (Kiev: Ukrainian State Publishers for National Minorities, 1941), 199 pp., the second edition (Warsaw: Yidish bukh, 1960), 210 pp. His work was also included in: Almanakh, fun yidishe sovetishe shrayber tsum alfarbandishn shrayber-tsuzamenfor (Almanac, from Soviet Jewish writers to the all-Soviet conference of writers) (Kharkov: Ukrainian State Publishers for National Minorities, 1934).  He translated into Yiddish: Anton Chekhov’s Shlofn vilt zikh (Let me sleep [original: Spat’ khochetsya]) (Kharkov: State Publ., 1935), 31 pp.; and Maxim Gorky’s Danko, a maysele (Danko, a short story) (Kharkov: Ukrainian State Publishers for National Minorities, 1936), 14 pp.  He prepared for publication Sholem Aleykhem’s Blondzhende shtern (Wandering stars), with a literary critical preface, background history, and selection of variants (Kiev, 1936). He also adapted in Yiddish a volume by L. Mayakovskaya, Mayakovskis kindheyt un yugnt (Mayakovsky’s childhood and youth) (Kiev, 1937).

Sources: A. Kushnirov, in Naye prese (Paris) (July 27, 1945); Eynikeyt (Moscow) (April 2, 1946; December 23, 1947); N. Meyzil, Dos yidishe shafn un der yidisher arbeter in sovetn-farband (Jewish creation and the Jewish worker in the Soviet Union) (New York, 1959), see index.

[Additional information from: Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 206; and Chaim Beider, Leksikon fun yidishe shrayber in ratn-farband (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers in the Soviet Union), ed. Boris Sandler and Gennady Estraikh (New York: Congress for Jewish Culture, Inc., 2011), pp. 107-8.]


SHMUEL AYZENSHTADT (March 20, 1886-October 30, 1970)
            He was born in Borisov, Byelorussia.  He studied in religious elementary school, later receiving a secular education.  Over the years 1906-1910, he studied law and philosophy in Berne, where he received his doctorate for a dissertation on “The History of Jewish Rights of Trial until the End of the [Era of the] Talmud.”  For a certain period of time, he also devoted his attention to Yiddish philology, and at the Czernowitz Conference (1908) he gave a paper on Yiddish orthography.  He was as well one of the founders of Tseire-Tsiyon (Youth Zionism) in Russia.  In 1915 he settled in Moscow, where he ran the Yiddish-Hebrew division of the Rumiantsov Library (later changed to “Lenin Library”).  From 1925 he was living in Israel, where he served as director of the central bureau of “Vaad halashon haivrit” (Hebrew language council) (1926-1953).  In later years he became active in the Israeli Communist Party.  From 1906 he published research work in books, primarily concerning matters of Hebrew and general rights—in Hebrew, German, and Russian—and he edited Hebrew periodicals.  In 1911 he published the monthly Shaḥarit (Morning) (in Russia, and 1913 in Warsaw where he settled for two years; this publication later became the main organ of Tseire-Tsiyon).  His books in Yiddish include: Di neviim, zeyer tsayt un zeyere gezelshaftlekhe ideen (The prophets, their times and their social ideas) (Vilna: B. A. Kletskin, 1925), VII, 167 pp. (new edition: Tel Aviv: Eynikeyt, 1964), 312 pp.; Pyonerishe geshtaltn (Pioneer images) (Tel Aviv: Oyfkum, 1970), 407 pp.  He also translated: Yesoydes fun der eltster yudisher kultur-geshikhte (Foundations of ancient Jewish cultural history) by Max Soloweitschik (Vilna: B. A. Kletskin, 1923), second edition (1926), 2 vols.  He also edited Erd un frayhayt (Land and freedom), organ of Tseire-Tsiyon (Moscow, 1919), and wrote a number of articles for Fraynd (Friend) in St. Petersburg (1907), Literarishe monatshrift (Literary monthly writing) in Vilna (IV, 1908); Tsukunft (Future) in New York (1911), and Lebn un visnshaft (Life and science) in New York (1912).  He died in Tel Aviv.  He also wrote under the pen names: Sh. Barzilai, Sh. Ben-Yosef, Sh. Ḥeruti, and Sh. Naḥmoni.

Source: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 1; Getzel Kressel, Leksikon hasifrut haivrit (Handbook of Hebrew literature) (Merḥavya, 1967), vol. 1; Sh. Moshkovits, in Oystralishe yidishe nayes (Melbourne) (December 11, 1970); Y. Zandberg, in Di prese (Buenos Aires) (December 31, 1970); Zandberg, in Di goldene keyt (Tel Aviv) 72 (1971).


            He was born in Warsaw, Poland, into a rabbinical family.  He studied in religious primary school and yeshiva, later secular subjects as well.  During WWI he became an active leader in the youth Bund “Tsukunft” (Future) in Poland.  He subsequently worked as a representative of the Bund in the Jewish trade union movement in Radom, and from there in 1919 he moved to Vilna where he studied at the university.  From 1933 until WWII, he worked as a reporter for Vilner tog (Vilna day) under the pseudonym “A” and was the Vilna correspondent for Folks-tsaytung (People’s newspaper) in Warsaw.  During the Nazi occupation he was in the Vilna ghetto, suffering from want and hunger.  His wife (a relative of Y. L. Peretz) worked in the ghetto infirmary.  When the ghetto was liquidated, both were deported to the Klooga Concentration Camp in Estonia and there killed.

Sources: Y. Sh. Herts, Geshikhte fun a yugnt (Story of a youngster) (New York, 1946), p. 241; Sh. Katsherginski, Khurbn vilne (The Holocaust in Vilna) (New York, 1947), p. 188; Dr. M. Dvorzhetski (Mark Dvorzetsky), Yerusholayim delite in kamf un umkum (The Jerusalem of Lithuania in struggle and death) (Paris, 1948), p. 256; L. Ran, 25 yor yung vilne (Twenty-five years of young Vilna) (New York, 1955).


BOREKH AYZENSHTADT (July 14, 1889-1937)
            He was born in Borisov, Russia.  He received a Jewish education with private tutors.  For a lengthy period of time he lived in Smargon (Smarhon, Smorgon).  Until mid-1914 he was studying medicine at Dorpat University.  From 1920 he was in Warsaw, where he worked as a teacher in the Borochov School.  In 1927 he was deported to Soviet Russia with the permission of the Soviet authorities, and he settled in Moscow.  He was active all over on behalf of the left Labor Zionists.  He died in a prison at the edges of Siberia during the Purges of 1937.  He co-edited Dos fraye vort (The free word), “biweekly newspaper for Jewish social democratic workers” (Minsk, 1918-1919).  Among his books: Vi azoy me badarf gebn di ershter hilf ba umglik-faln (How one should give first aid in case of accident) (Moscow: Central Publishers, 1929), 20 pp.; Vi azoy zoln mir farhitn dos gezunt fun undzere kinder (How we should engage in preventive health for our children) (Moscow: Emes, 1934), 134 pp.

Source: Sh. Shvaytser, ed., Shures poyle-tsiyen, portretn (The ranks of Labor Zionism, portraits) (Tel Aviv, 1981), pp. 402-5.


            He was born in Tsoyzmir (Sandomierz), Poland, and raised in a Hassidic household.  Until late 1939 he was in Warsaw, a student in a religious teachers’ seminary and a music conservatory.  He survived the ghetto and concentration camps.  From 1948 he was living in Toronto.  He wrote articles for Idishe zhurnal (Jewish journal) in Toronto, Keneder odler (Canadian eagle) in Montreal, and others.  He also authored: Un di erd hot nisht tsugedekt dos blut (And the earth did not cover the blood) (Toronto, 1962), 373 pp.

Source: Kh. L. Fuks, Hundert yor yidishe un hebreishe literatur in kanade (A century of Yiddish and Hebrew literature in Canada) (Montreal, 1980).


YISROEL AYZENBERG (ISRAEL EISENBERG) (November 26, 1915-January 4, 2003)
            He was born in Warsaw.  He studied in a yeshiva in Lublin and graduated from middle school.  He survived Auschwitz and Majdenek.  In 1949 he emigrated to the United States and settled in Los Angeles.  He wrote for Lublin shtime (Voice of Lublin) in Tel Aviv.  He authored Far vos grod ikh? Kapitlen fun payn, gvure un hofenung (Why me? Chapters of pain, valor, and hope) (Tel Aviv: Yisroel-bukh, 1980), 228 pp.



            He was the author of Dinim un minhogim far froyen un meydlekh (Laws and customs for women and girls) (New York, 1981), 145 pp.


            He was born in Lublin, Poland, into a devout, middle-class family.  He studied in religious elementary school.  He later became a student of R. Leybele Ayger (Eiger) in Lublin.  He married young and lived in the village of Kotseve (?).  He was a man of great virtue, who for many years supported himself on incidental earnings and did not wish to become a rabbi.  He later lived in Rachów (Annopol) and there became known as a Hassid with the name “Shayele from Rachów.”  In 1902 he was hired to serve as rabbi in the town of Visoke (Wysocie Litewskie), near Lublin, and five years later he departed for Israel.  He was the author of eighteen works on various and sundry topics, also fables and stories drawn from the Talmud and midrashim, such as: Misgeret hashulḥan (The framework of the Shulḥan [arukh]); Yeshuot ḥayim (Deliverance of life) (Warsaw, 1911), 104 pp.; and Darkhe ḥayim (Pathways in life) (Lublin, 1886); among others.  He translated into Yiddish Kitsur shulḥan arukh (Shorter Shulḥan arukh) under the title Likute shoshanim (Gleanings of lilies) (Lublin, 1903), with a preface and an afterword in which he noted: “Every Jew is obliged to study Torah every day.  Even those who have no time are obliged to study just a little each day, so that each word that one studies is a great deed that one should not take for granted.  Even those people who cannot study are obliged to study the sacred texts that have been translated into ‘Yiddish’ [Ivre-taytsh], just a little every day.  Also, at night before lying down, one should study just a little.  And, for this accrued merit, one shall have many good things in this world and in the world to come.”  This work (96 pp.) was published in Lublin in 1880 and was republished in 1903, 1912, and later.  He also compiled Sefer divre tora (Commentaries on the Torah) which included Jewish laws of the Shulḥan arukh in Yiddish (Warsaw, 1886, republished in many editions, the last of which among Holocaust survivors in Germany [Landsberg, 1947, 172 pp.]).  He also compiled the prayer book Yeshuot yisrael (Deliverance of Israel) (Lublin, 1876), also known by its Yiddish translation as Brokhe veyeshue (Prayer and salvation) (Lublin, 1977); aside from the translated prayers into Yiddish, this prayer book contained sections from Psalms and portions of the Gemara and Mishnah.  He died in Jerusalem.

Source: Y. Bashevis, Fun mayn tatns beys din shtub (From my father’s religious court) (New York, 1957).

Khayim Leyb Fuks


DVORE G. AYZNER (b. ca. 1908)

            She was born in Zduńska Wola, Poland.  She survived ghettoes and concentration camps.  Among her books: Yorn fun payn un nisoyen, zikhroynes fun der tsveyter velt-milkhome (Years of pain and temptation, memoirs of WWII) (Tel Aviv: Emek, 1980), 298 pp.

Tuesday 15 December 2015


MENDL AYZLAND (b. October 25, 1910)

            He was born in Groys-radomishle (Radomyśl Wielki), Poland.  He studied in religious elementary school, and he graduated from a Polish public school and in 1936 from the Vilna teachers’ seminary of Tarbut.  He survived the war in Soviet Russia, later leaving for Poland, and from 1949 he was in Israel.  He was active in Labor Zionism.  He wrote articles in Arbeter-vort (Workers’ word) in Paris, Folksblat (People’s newspaper) in Tel Aviv, and numerous works in Radomishler yizker-bukh (Radomyśl remembrance book).  He contributed as well to Asupot (Assemblies) and Hapoel-hatsair (The young worker).



            He was a wedding entertainer in London.  He was the author of a satire, Der londoner dales (London squalor) (London: Druk Goldberg, n.d.), 2 pp.


DOVID EYDELMAN (b. June 5, 1910)
            He was born in Niewaszow (?), Poland.  He studied in religious primary school and yeshivas, later sitting for baccalaureate examinations.  During WWII, he was in Soviet Russia, later in the displace persons camps in Germany.  From 1950 he was living in Israel.  In the 1930s he wrote correspondence pieces in the provincial Yiddish newspapers of Kielce, Radom, Bialystok, and elsewhere.  He later published in Unzer vort (Our word) in Paris and Letste nayes (Latest news) in Tel Aviv, among others.  Among his books: Fun gerikht, fun rabinat, fun gas, reportazh (From the court, from the rabbinate, from the street—reportage) (Tel Aviv: Hamenorah, 1966), 326 pp.; Geven a mol a yidish lublin (There was once a Jewish Lublin) (Tel Aviv: Hekhalot, 1979), 262 pp.

Sources: A. Baraban, in Yidishe tsaytung (Tel Aviv) (June 3, 1966); A. Volf-Yasni, in Letste nayes (Tel Aviv) (August 19, 1966); E. Feld, in Letste nayes (November 2, 1972).

Reuven Goldberg



            He was poet, born in a Ukrainian shtetl, and in the years of WWI, he moved with his family to Kharkov. He studied there in school, later in an institute from which he did not graduate before going to work. While still in school, he wrote poetry, initially in Russian and later in Yiddish. In the latter half of the 1920s and first half of the 1930s, he placed his work in the Kharkov newspapers: Zay greyt (Be ready!) and Der shtern (The star); later in various journals as well. He was invited to join the editorial board of the newspaper Yunge gvardye (Young guard), where he worked until 1936 at which point the newspaper was shut down. At the beginning of WWII, he volunteered to go to the front. During the war, he began writing in Russian, and his poems appeared in the divisional and army newspapers.

            At the end of 1945, he settled in the city of Kuibyshev (Samara); he worked there editing the local Russian newspaper, composing poetry in Russian, and bring out several collections of his poems. He contributed to the anthology Litkomyug (Literary Communist youth) (Kharkov-Kiev, 1933).  He was the author of In der shenster fun medines (In the best of countries), poetry (Kiev: Ukrainian state publishers for national minorities, 1939), 100 pp.

[Additional information from: Chaim Beider, Leksikon fun yidishe shrayber in ratn-farband (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers in the Soviet Union), ed. Boris Sandler and Gennady Estraikh (New York: Congress for Jewish Culture, Inc., 2011), p. 17.]


ARN HALBMILLYON (1873-February 22, 1941)
            He was born in Vasilkov (Vasylkiv), near Kiev, Ukraine, into a well-to-do family.  He studied in religious primary school, later in a Russian high school.  He subsequently studied at the universities of Kiev and Geneva (in Switzerland).  He returned to Russia in 1910.  During the Russian Revolution of 1917, he worked as an engineer in a sugar factory.  In 1922 he moved to Poland, lived for a time in Rovno, later in Warsaw until WWII, when he took refuge in Lemberg and from there to Brody.  He began writing humorous sketches and skits in Gut morgn (Good morning) in Odessa (1912), and he contributed to Unzer lebn (Our life) in Warsaw, in which he published Brivelekh (Short letters) in the style of Sholem Aleykhem.  He also wrote for: Moment (Moment) and Unzer ekspres (Our express) in Warsaw; Voliner lebn (Volhynia life) in Rovno; and other serials.  Among his books: Beyeshiva shel mata, uveyeshiva shel mayle (In the yeshiva below and the yeshiva on high), humorous sketches (Odessa, 1913), 64 pp., second edition (Kiev, 1917), 58 pp.; A frishe pekl naye briflekh fun menakhem-mendlen tsu sheyne sheyndlen un tsurik (A new batch of letters from Menakhem-Mendl to Sheyne Sheyndl and the return [letters]), part 1 (Kiev, 1918), 87 pp.; Freylekhe kaptsonim (Happy paupers) (Warsaw, 1931), 160 pp., thirty humorous sketches and human-interest pieces.  He published as well under the pen name “Sar Alef” (Prince Alef).  He died in Brody.

Sources: Z. Ratner and Y. Kvitni, Dos yidishe bukh in f.s.s.r. in di yorn 1917-1921 (The Yiddish book in the USSR for the years 1917-1921) (Kiev, 1930), p. 41; Literarishe bleter (Warsaw) (August 14, 1931).

Khayim Leyb Fuks


VOLF IVENSKI (b. January 15, 1888)
     Born in Dvarets (Dvorets) in the Grodno region.  He came to the United States in 1907.  He began publishing sketches and stories in 1917 in Tageblat (Daily news).  He also published humorous pieces in Amerikaner (The American).  He published: Nor lakhn, humoreskes un monologn (Only laughter, humorous sketches and monologues) (Brooklyn, 1970), 210 pp.


            He was born in Pinsk, Byelorussia.  He studied in religious elementary school, later graduating from the Pinsk senior high school.  He worked for a time as a teacher.  In 1912 he moved to Warsaw, where he became a contributor to Haynt (Today) and published poems and humorous sketches.  Over the years 1926-1929, he was in charge of the humor section of Ekspres (Express) in Warsaw.  In 1930 he settled in London, England, where he became engaged in business.  His humorous pieces were staged in the Yiddish revue theaters in Poland and in London as well.  He also brought out joke sheets (1913) and a journal Dos heyrats-glik (The joy of marriage) (Warsaw, 1920).  He also placed pieces in Di tsayt (The times) and Loshn un lebn (Language and life) in London, among other venues.  He died in London.

Sources: Sh. Y. Dorfzon, in Dorem-afrike (Johannesburg) (January 1956).


            He was born in Manhattan, New York.  He studied at Columbia University and Jewish subject matter with Meyer Vakhsman, the Yiddish-Hebrew writer Yisroel Levin, and primarily at his father’s home which maintained its traditional Lithuanian Jewish way of life in the United States.  Over the years 1916-1918, he was the first Yiddish-Hebrew teacher in Havana, Cuba, and there he helped to found the first Ashkenazi Jewish organization in that country.  Back in America, he worked as a teacher of Spanish in a New York high school.  For a time he was a lecturer in Spanish language and Latin American history at City College and Columbia University.  He worked for the American Jewish Committee and other Jewish institutions in New York.  His first publications were correspondence pieces on Jewish life in Cuba for Tog (Day) in New York in 1917, and from that time forward he published articles, reviews, treatises, studies, and memoirs in: Tog, Forverts (Forward), Morgn-zhurnal (Morning journal), Nyu yorker vokhnblat (New York weekly newspaper), and Tsukunft (Future) in New York.  The Yiddish press in Latin America and Canada republished the materials and articles from those that he edited for the weekly bulletin, Yedies (Information) from June 1943 to October 1951.  He also published in Hebrew in Hadoar (The mail) in New York, and Gesher (Bridge) and Haolam (The world) in Jerusalem; in Spanish for La prensa (The press) and Diario de Nueva York (New York diary) in New York, and the Spanish-Yiddish and Spanish press in Latin America (concerning Yiddish writers); in English in The New York Times, Herald Tribune, as well as the periodicals Hispania and High Points.  He was living in New York.

Source: Tsukunft (New York) (March 1947).


YOSEF AḤAI (December 15, 1898-1988)
            He was a Hebrew writer, born in Kovno.  In 1920 he made aliya to Israel.  He performed great service for Yiddish literature with his many translations of Yiddish into Hebrew: books by Yankev Fridman, Rivke Kvyatkovski-Pinkhasik, Khayele Gruber, Y. B. Alterman (from a Yiddish manuscript), Froym Shrayer, Yeshaye Rekhter, and others.  He was also one of the translators of Chaim Grade’s Af mayn veg tsu dir (On my way to you) as Bedarki elayikh (Tel Aviv, 1969), 179 pp.

Source: Getzel Kressel, Leksikon hasifrut haivrit (Handbook of Hebrew literature) (Merḥavya, 1967), vol. 1.


BOREKH (BARUKH) OREN (October 15, 1915-June 23, 2004)
            He was born in Novi Pohost, near Vilna.  He studied in religious primary school, yeshiva, the Gluboke Jewish public school, and a Tarbut seminary in Vilna and Warsaw.  From 1941 he was living in Israel.  He worked as a teacher in various places.  He went on assignment to the displaced persons camps for survivors in Germany.  From 1948 he published sketches and stories in Hebrew-language newspapers.  He published several books in Hebrew concerning the Haganah, the pre-state Jewish paramilitary organization, Holocaust survivors, and Petaḥ Tikva.  He began writing in Yiddish for Dos vort (The word) in Munich, and he edited the bulletin Yedies (Information) and Madrekh legole (Guide for the Diaspora), both in Yiddish and in Munich.  He was also the regular art critic for Yisroel shtime (Voice of Israel) in Tel Aviv.

Source: Getzel Kressel, Leksikon hasifrut haivrit (Handbook of Hebrew literature) (Merḥavya, 1967), vol. 1.