Sunday 6 December 2015


MEYER-HERSH DRAKHLE (January 9, 1888-1941)
            He was born in Brisk (Brest), Poland.  For a short time, he studied in a religious primary school.  He was early on orphaned on his father’s side and raised by strangers.  He began working at age twelve.  Over the years 1909-1913, he served in the Russian military.  He later worked as a teacher and administrator of a Jewish school in Terespol until 1923.  From 1923 until WWII, he was a community leader and teacher of Yiddish in an ORT (Association for the Promotion of Skilled Trades) school in Brisk.  He began publishing poetry in Sotsyal-demokrat (Social democrat) in Lemberg (1909), and later stories in Nayes (News) (1912), Fraynd (Friend), Haynt (Today), Moment (Moment) in Warsaw, and Frayer gedank (Free thought) in Vilna.  In 1923 he became editor of Polyeser shtime (Voice of Polesia) in Brisk (published initially as a weekly, and from 1924-1939 it came twice weekly).  He published a weekly newspaper for Polesia province, Polyesyer lebn (Polesia life)—ten issues appeared.  In addition to stories and literary treatises, in this newspaper he also published political and community-related articles under his own name and human interest pieces signed: A. H., M. D., and Dajet, among others.  He was also the author of a book of stories, entitled In umruike tsaytn, dersteylungen (In unsettled times, stories) (Brisk: Polesia, 1936), 137 pp., in which he depicted various types of ordinary Jewish people.  During the period of WWII, from September 1939 to June 22, 1941, he worked as a teacher of Yiddish in the Soviet evening school in Brisk, and he was a librarian for the district library.  Later, when the Germans took Brisk, he and 5,000 other Jewish men were led out on June 24, 1941 to a former Polish military camp, and there he was shot by the Nazis.

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol.1; Khanan (Peysekh Kaplan), in Unzer lebn (Bialystok) (September 24, 1937); M. Ginzburg, in Entsiklopedya shel galuyot, brisk-delite (Encyclopedia of the diaspora, Brisk, Lithuania), ed. Eliezer Steinman (Jerusalem, 1954), p. 370.

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