Thursday 31 December 2015


YOYSEF-MENAKHEM HOLENDER (TSUKER) (October 11, 1896-February 19, 1950)
            He was born in Baranov, near Tarnobrzeg, Galicia.  His father was the head of the rabbinical court in Rudnik and later head of the yeshiva in Vizhnits (Vizhnitsa) and in Torne (Tarnów).  The son studied in religious elementary schools and yeshiva.  In 1915 he left for Berlin, studied at the Hildesheimer Rabbinical Seminary and thereafter in the cadet school in Troppau, Bohemia.  During WWI he served in the Austrian army, was wounded on the front, and from the hospital he wrote correspondence pieces and war impressions for Yudisher morgnpost (Jewish morning mail) in Vienna.  Together with Leon Vizenfeld, in 1918 he published in Rzeszów Di yudishe folkstaytung (The Jewish people’s newspaper).  In 1919 he contributed works to the Togblat (Daily newspaper) in Lemberg, Di tsayt (The times) in Cracow, and to other Hebrew, Yiddish and German publications in Galicia, Austria, and Germany.  In 1920 he settled in Köln (Cologne).  He edited a Yiddish supplement to the German-language Jüdische Woche (Jewish week) and he published a notebook entitled Hekhaluts in yidish (The pioneer in Yiddish)—he whole life he was tied to Zionist labor parties.  At this time he also penned a drama, Afn vanderveg (On the traveler’s road), which was stage in Germany.  Together with Leyzer Shindler and Yoysef Levi, in 1923 he brought out a magazine in Munich entitled Undzer svive (Our environs) and founded a literary group and a publisher by the same name.  When he was later living in Köln, he published the journal Undzer lebn (Our life) and wrote for it essays and poems under the name Yoysef-Menakhem Tsuker and the pen name Yosipon.  For his socialist work he was expelled from Köln by the occupying French forces, and he moved to Karlsruhe, where he worked in a machine factory.  He later settled in Lille, southern France, and published articles and correspondence pieces to Parizer haynt (Paris today) and Lodzher tageblat (Lodz daily newspaper), while also contributing to the Lemberg Hebrew-language serials Haluaḥ (The calendar) and Bat kol (Heavenly voice).  During WWII and the German occupation of France, he was imprisoned and then hidden in Free France.  After liberation he again became active in the Zionist labor movement and contributed to Undzer vort (Our word) in Paris, in which he published articles and reportage pieces about postwar Jewish life in France, Belgium, and the neighboring lands.  He died in Rouen, northern France, and was laid to rest in Lyon.

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 1; G. Bader, Medina veḥakhameha (The state and its sages) (New York, 1934); M. Kalikshteyn, in Undzer vort (Paris) (February 23, 1950); M. Shtrigler and M. Yarblum, in Undzer vort (February 27, 1950); A. A. Liberman, in Undzer vort (February 5, 1954); Yoysef-Hilel Levi, Gezamlte shriftn (Collected writings), vol. 2 (London, 1958).

Zaynvl Diamant

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