LEYVIK (LEIVICK) HODES (November 20, 1892-March 16, 1957)
He was born in Lepel (Lepiel), near Vitebsk, Byelorussia. His father Zalmen ran a “cheder metukan” (improved religious elementary school) and gave his son a Yiddish-Hebrew education. He graduated from a Russian state school in 1907 and from the Vilna teachers’ institute in 1914. He was a teacher, 1921-1922, of Yiddish and history in the Vilna Jewish senior high school; 1922-1923, manager of the Leyzer Gurevitsh public school in Vilna; 1923-1926, manager of a Jewish public school in Warsaw (at 68 Nowolipki); and in 1926, he was an instructor in the evening school for young laborers in Warsaw. From 1927 he was engaged solely in literary journalistic activities. He was also very active in political work and assumed a prominent position in the Bund. At the twelfth conference of the Bund in 1920 in Moscow, Hodes sided with the majority, and when the social democratic minority then left the conference, he was selected to be a candidate for the central committee of the party. He left Moscow soon thereafter, however, and traveled to Kovno and Vilna, where over the years 1921-1923 he chaired the Jewish teachers’ union and the Jewish cultural office in the trade unions (both in Vilna). From 1923 to 1936, he chaired the Jewish teachers’ union in Warsaw, and from 1925 he was a member of the central committee of the Bund in Poland. He was also a member of the executive of Tsisho (Central Jewish School Organization in Poland). With the outbreak of WWII, he left for Kovno, and from there the Jewish workers’ committee in the United States rescued him in 1940 and brought him to New York, where he became extremely ill and was confined to his bed for nearly ten years. He died in New York.
He began writing for Veker (Alarm) in Minsk in 1917, and he edited in 1920 Di shtime fun bund (The voice of the Bund), later known as Naye tsayt (New times), in Kharkov, and over the years 1920-1921 he was editing the weekly newspaper Di naye tsayt (The new times) in Kovno; from 1923 he was contributor, and from 1935 until the Nazi invasion, also co-editor of Folkstsaytung (People’s newspaper) in Warsaw. He was also a contributor to the pedagogical journals Shul un lebn (School and life) and Naye shul (New school), editor of Kleyne folkstsaytung (Little people’s newspaper) from 1930, and co-editor (with Itzik Manger, Sh. Mendelson, and Kh. Sh. Kazdan) of the literary weekly Foroys (Onward)—all in Warsaw. In New York he served as co-editor of: Faktn un meynungen (Facts and opinions), a publication of the Jewish workers’ committee; Unzer tsayt (Our time), a Bundist monthly; and the anthologies, Di yidishe tragedye in eyrope (The Jewish tragedy in Europe) (New York, 1943), 79 pp., Geto in flamen (Ghetto in flames) (New York, 1944), 206 pp., and other publications of the Bund in New York. Over the years 1942-1948, he also co-edited the Medem-bukh (Medem book) and John Mill’s Pyonern un boyern (Pioneers and builders). He authored the pamphlets: Materyaln un onveyzungen far der sotsyalistisher dertsiungs-arbet (Materials and instructions for socialist educational work) (Warsaw, 1928), 31 pp.; Tsi iz noytik a yidishe armey (Is a Jewish army necessary?) (New York, 1942), 39 pp. He also translated from German and Russian: volumes 2 and 3 of Shimen Dubnov’s Weltgeschichte des Jüdischen Volkes (The world history of the Jewish people); Felix Salten’s Bambi, vald maysele (Bambi, a story of the woods [original: Bambi. Eine Lebensgeschichte aus dem Walde (Bambi, a Life in the Woods)] (Warsaw, 1930, 193 pp.); Nathan Asch’s Der tsvey un tsvantsikster oygust (August 22nd [original: Der 22. August]) (Warsaw, 1931, 218 pp.); Max Beer’s Karl marks, zayn lebn un lebnsverk (Karl Marx, his life and lifework [original: Karl Marx. Eine Biographie] (Warsaw, 1933), 142 pp.; children’s stories by Dostoevsky and Korolenko, published in the youth magazine Khaver (Friend) and the children’s newspaper Grininke beymelekh (Little green trees), both in Vilna; and children poetry by Julian Tuwim, published in Kleyne folkstsaytung in Warsaw. Among his pseudonyms: L. Hodes, H. Lezgin, Lamed, L. H., H. Rozin, Godfrid, and H. Meytin.
Sources: The twelfth conference of the Bund (in Russian) (Homel, 1920); Dr. Sh. Y. Feygin, in Tsukunft (New York) (February 1932); Forverts (New York) (March 17, 1957); Unzer tsayt (New York) (March 1957); B. Shefner, in Forverts (April 1957); L. Oler, in Unzer tsayt (April-May 1957); Faktn un meynungen (New York) (May 1957).
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