Wednesday 9 December 2015


HERSH DRIMER (December 20, 1883-February 20, 1957)
            He was born in Galicia, hailing from an elite family, which had in the late Middle Ages migrated from Holland to Hungary, from the same family as the Ketsot HaḤoshen (Aryeh Leib Heller).  He received a traditional Jewish education in Bukovina.  He also studied secular subject matter and the German language.  At age sixteen he left for Vienna where he worked at various trades.  He later traveled around with wandering Yiddish theater troupes through Galicia and Bukovina.  Under the influence of Dr. Nosn Birnboym (Nathan Birnbaum), he became interested in Yiddish and Yiddish literature.  In 1902 he published his first poem in Gershom Bader’s Yudisher folkskalender (Jewish people’s calendar).  He also wrote in German.  In 1907 he emigrated to the United States where he worked in various lines.  In 1915 he published a play in four acts: Zalmen ganuar (Zalman Ganuar) in Dos idishe folk (The Jewish people).  In Shriftn (Writings), edited by Dovid Ignatov, he published a one-act play, “Di hant” (The hand), and the final act of a biblical drama entitled “Iber ale berg” (Over all mountains).  In 1918 he joined the Jewish Legion, returning to the United States in late 1919.  He worked as a publicity agent for both Yiddish and English-language theaters in New York.  In 1925 he contributed to L. Miller’s daily newspaper, Naye varhayt (New truth).  He also published essays on literature in the bimonthly journal, Undzer bukh (Our book), in New York (edited by Yitskhok Libman).  He also wrote articles and stories, feature essays and treatments of art—in Yiddish and English.  Among his books: Midber (Wilderness), a drama (New York: Amerike, 1923), 93 pp.; Der homen shebehomens (Haman’s Haman) “a Purim play from the distant past when the children of Israel were in times of trouble, and the Creator liberated his people Israel at the proper time and sent defeat to the enemies of Israel and their entire gang—such an end should come to all enemies of Israel.”  This was an allegory for the Hamans of the Hitler era (New York: Amerike, 1944), 158 pp.  For many years he worked on a piece of philosophical writing and personally translated his own writings into English.  He died in New York.

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 1 (Vilna, 1928); Z. Zilbertsvayg, Leksikon fun yidishn teater (Handbook of the Yiddish theater), vol. 1 (New York, 1931); I. Talush, Idishe shrayber (Yiddish writers) (Miami Beach, 1953), pp. 185-90; M. Shtiker, in Der veker (New York) (June 11, 1927); Dr. A. Mukdoni, in Undzer bukh (New York) 1 (1926); Sh. Slutski, Avrom reyzen biblyografye (Avrom Reyzen’s bibliography) (New York, 1956), no. 5201; obituary notices in the New York Yiddish press.

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