BOREKH (BARUCH) HAGER (January 2, 1898-June 2, 1985)
He was born in Czudi, northern Bukovina, where his father (Yitskhok-Yankev-Dovid) was rabbi. Until age fifteen he studied Jewish subject matter. Over the years 1913-1923 he studied in Vienna. He spent 1933-1940 in Bucharest. He spent 1940-1941 under the Soviet regime in Czernowitz. During WWII he was deported to a concentration camp in Transnistria. He returned to Bucharest in 1945, where he remained until December 31, 1947. Later, until July 1952 he was living in France. From August 1952 he was in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where he was employed in the cultural division of the Jewish community. He began publishing stories in the journal Ikuf (IKUF [Jewish Cultural Association]) in Bucharest (1944), and from then he published stories (largely taken from Hassidic life), essays, and articles on literature and painting in Bukareshter zamlbikher (Bucharest anthologies) (1947), Kiem (Existence) in Paris, Tsukunft (Future) in New York, Di goldene keyt (The golden chain) in Tel Aviv, as well as Davke (Necessarily), Der holts industryal (The timber industry), and Di prese (The press) in Buenos Aires. Among his books: Afn veg, geklibene khsidishe skitsn (On the road, selected Hassidic sketches), stories (Bucharest: Bikurim, 1946), 100 pp. (there is as well a Romanian translation by Isac Luda [Pe căile neantului (Bucharest, 1946)]); Af der kotsh (On the coach), stories (Bucharest: Bikurim, 1947), 95 pp.; Malkhes khsides (Realm of Hassidism) (Buenos Aires, 1955), 283 pp., awarded the Mordechai Stolier Prize in 1956 and was highly acclaimed in the Yiddish press throughout the world; In geule-umru (In the anxiety of deliverance) (Tel Aviv: Hamenorah, 1969), 285 pp. He also translated from German Der toyt fun bruder antonyo (The death of Brother Antonio [original: Der Tod des Bruders Antonio]), a novel by Hermann Hesse. Hager’s Hassidic stories were written in a distinctive, precisely expressive style. The stories were drawn from within the realm of Hassidism, with an intimate penetration into the world of the rebbe. He died in Buenos Aires.
Sources: A. Frenkel, in Dos yidishe vort (Jassy) (1948); Sh. Suskovitsh, in Davke (Buenos Aires) 20 (1954) and 36 (October-December 1958); Y. Botoshanski, in Di prese (Buenos Aires) (July 2 and July 7, 1955); A. A. Fisher, in Di naye tsayt (Buenos Aires) (November 4, 1955); A. Leyeles, in Tog (New York) (December 24, 1955); Y. Bernfeld, in Unzer shtime (Paris) (January 28, 1956); Dr. A. Mukdoni, in Tsukunft (New York) (February 1956); Shloyme Bikl, in Tog (February 20, 1956); Bikl, Shrayber fun mayn dor (Writers of my generation) (New York, 1958), pp. 336-39; L. Domankevitsh, in Unzer vort (Paris) (November 1958?); F. Lerner, in Di prese (December 19, 1958); A. Oyerbakh, in Tog-morgn-zhurnal (New York) (March 23, 1959).
Khayim Leyb Fuks
[Additional information from: Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 205.]