SHOYEL HOKHBERG (April 23, 1870-April 22, 1942)
He was born in Yaltushkov (Yaltushkiv), Podolia region, Ukraine. He studied in religious primary school; early on became a follower of the Jewish Enlightenment and turned his attentions to secular subject matter. At age fifteen he wrote correspondence pieces for Yudishes folksblat (Jewish people’s newspaper). In the third and four issues of M. Spektor’s Hoyzfraynd (House friend), he published descriptions of Jews in the Caucasus. He also contributed pieces to the Russian Jewish newspapers Voskhod (Rising) and Russkii evrei (Russian Jewry). In 1891 he settled in Warsaw, where he was the representative and a correspondent for the Russian telegraph agency, for the Berlin “Wolff Bureau,” and for the Parisian “Havas Agency.” In 1906 he published in Warsaw a weekly newspaper, Fraytog (Friday), edited by M. Spektor, and Di yudishe vokhnshrift (Jewish weekly writing), edited by Y. L. Peretz. At the start of 1907, he was the publisher of the daily newspaper Unzer lebn (Our life), edited by M. Spektor and Tsvi Prilucki, which played a leading role in Jewish life in Warsaw and reached a circulation of 40,000. In 1912 he moved the newspaper to Odessa, and there he published it until the October Revolution in 1917. In 1922 he returned to Poland and wrote for Lodzer tageblat (Lodz daily newspaper) and Di khazonim velt (Cantorial world), among others. He wrote a play entitled Treytl kvatsh (Rubbish) which was staged in Warsaw, Lodz, and Odessa. He was also concerned with community work, in particular with aid work to those who had suffered during WWI and pogroms in Ukraine. During the months of the Kerensky government in Russia in 1917, he intervened with the Romanian government concerning the harsh conditions facing Jews in Romania, especially in the provinces that Romania occupied in 1918. At the time he published in Unzer lebn a series of articles on the persecutions suffered by Jews in Romania. Prior to the outbreak of WWII, he emigrated to Israel, and he died in Jerusalem.
Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 1, including a bibliography; Z. Zilbertsvayg, Leksikon fun yidishn teater (Handbook of the Yiddish theater), vol. 1; American Jewish Year Book (5703-1942).