Tuesday 15 December 2015


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

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