Monday 29 February 2016


ALEXANDER HARKAVY (May 5, 1863-November 2, 1939)
            He was born in Navaredok (Novogrudok), Byelorussia, into a distinguished family which included the celebrated Orientalist Avraham-Eliyahu Harkavy.  His paternal grandfather was a rabbi in Navaredok, and his father Yoysef-Moyshe was a businessman who later abandoned commerce and made a living from watchmaking which he mastered on his own.  Harkavy received a traditional Jewish education, though one of his teachers was a follower of the Jewish Enlightenment and taught his pupils Tanakh with Mendelssohn’s commentary.  He studied Talmud in the local Talmud-Torah.  When he was eleven years of age, his mother died, and he was subsequently raised by a great-uncle, Gershon Harkavy, and Gershon’s son Yankev who was later to become a well-known Russian Jewish journalist and a contributor to Voskhod (Sunrise), and from him the young Alexander acquired his first knowledge of Russia, German, arithmetic, and geometry, but he did not give up on Talmud.  From his early childhood years, Harkavy demonstrated a knack for languages, and from a German-Syrian textbook that he found in Gershon’s home mastered Syrian.  At age thirteen or fourteen, he began composing Hebrew poetry and articles in the florid style of the time.  In 1878 he moved to Vilna, and there he studied for a time in a synagogue study hall, also perfecting his Hebrew grammar and Russian, while working at the Romm’s Publishing House as a letter polisher, later working as a bookkeeper and at night diligently devoted to self-study and to the study primarily of languages.  He also began writing articles in Russian at that time.  For a short period of time, he attended the Vilna school of design, for several months worked as a Hebrew teacher in Bialystok, then returned to Vilna to his former job, became an intimate of Ayzik-Meyer Dik, and also made his first ventures in the Yiddish language—with his poem “Al nehares bovl” (To the rivers of Babylon) and with the sketch “Kantorske stsenes” (Cantorial scenes).  After the pogroms of 1881, he joined the “Am-olam” (Eternal people) [a group aimed at establishing agricultural colonies in the United States] movement, and with the second Am-olam group (under the guidance of Avrom Kaspe) departed for the United States in May 1882.  When the plans of the group to establish in the “New World” a colony along communist principles came to naught and the group disintegrated, Harvavy took up arduous physical labor.  He worked as a longshoreman at port, a dishwasher in a soup kitchen, and a farmer; he worked in a matzah-making factory for starvation wages, but none of this impeded his continuing study of languages.  In 1885 he left for Paris and published there his first philological work in Hebrew, Sefat yehudit (Yiddish language), in which he offered a survey of the history of the Yiddish language and its grammar, and he demonstrated that Yiddish was a language like all languages of culture.  The famed Jewish philologist Dr. Yisroel-Mikhl Rabinovitsh, who learned of Harkavy’s work in manuscript, wrote an article about it in the French journal Archives Izraelites (Jewish archives) on January 14, 1886, and advised the author to publish the work in German.  Sefat yehudit remained unpublished, with only the first part thereof, entitled “Hayesh mishpat lashon lisefat yehudit?” (What is the language judgment on Yiddish?), published in 1896 in Rozenberg’s Ner hamaarvi (The Western candle) and in book form (New York: Rozenberg, 1896), 24 pp.  This booklet appeared in Yiddish translation by the author in Minikes yorbukh (Minikes’s annual) in 1906—the fourth part of the book, entitled “Obshtamung fun eynige idishe verter” (Root of certain Yiddish words), appeared earlier in Tsukunft (Future) in 1904.
            In 1886 Harkavy returned to the United States, and that year he published—as a “first booklet” of a “linguistic scholarly library”—a pamphlet entitled Di idish-daytshe shprakh (The Judeo-German language) (New York, 36 pp.), in which “there are included the rules of Zhargon, which is needed by nearly half of the Jews, and it will be demonstrated that it is as good a language as all other languages.”  In his foreword, the author noted: “This pamphlet is the first step I am taking in the literary world, and I am extremely happy about it; my joy is even greater, though, as it involves out mother tongue and that it is written in that language.”  In 1887 Harkavy was invited to the society “Shaar hashamayim” (The gate of heaven) in Montreal to be a teacher of Hebrew in the local Hebrew Free School.  In Montreal he made an attempt to publish a lithographic Yiddish newspaper (he himself printed the block letters for the lithographer): Di tsayt (The times), the first Yiddish newspaper in Canada, but only one issue of it appeared.  Back in the United States, he began publishing (on June 15, 1890) in Baltimore the weekly newspaper Der yidisher progres (Jewish progress).  From his long programmatic article in the first issue of the newspaper, one can see that the newspaper was to be progressive and aimed at spreading modern knowledge among the Jews, but because of opposition from conservative elements the newspaper was forced to cease publication with its ninth number.  Historically, it was the first example of the use of phonetic orthography for Yiddish.  Harkavy then settled in New York, where he was active over the course of four decades as a journalist, as a teacher, and—first and foremost—as the author of dozens of books which made him famous as a lexicographer and philologist.  Aside from his literary activities, over the years 1904-1909 Harkavy was a representative of HIAS (Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society) in the general immigration bureau at Ellis Island, a lecturer in Yiddish for the Board of Education on the history, Constitution, and educational institutions of America (for the Jewish immigrants at Ellis Island), a lecturer for the Education Department of the Workmen’s Circle, and a lecturer on old Yiddish literature and grammar in the Jewish teacher’s seminary in New York (1919).  On assignment from the Navaredok compatriot society in New York, he made a trip to the city of his birth in 1920 to carry out an aid project and with research objectives as well.  He later wrote up his impressions from the trip in a series of articles for Forverts (Forward), as well as in the volume Navaredok, ir historye un ir hayntige lebn (Navaredok, its history and its contemporary life) (New York, 1921), 160 pp.  In 1924 he spent a long stretch of time in Vienna, where his life’s work—the Yiddish-Hebrew-English dictionary—was being published at the time.  Afterward, he also visited Israel.  In 1926 he became chairman of the pedagogical council of the education committee at the Workmen’s Circle, was a member of the philological section of YIVO, and in 1928 on the occasion of the celebration of his sixty-fifth birthday he was elected an honorary member of American division of YIVO.  His visited Europe in 1931 and was a guest of YIVO in Vilna.  On May 6, 1933 his seventieth birthday was celebrated by the American division of YIVO in New York, and the entire Yiddish press dedicated articles in his honor.
            Harkavy published his writings on issues of the day as well as historical topics, and on Yiddish philological matters, in such venues as: Izraelitishe prese (Jewish press); Yudishe gazeten (Jewish gazette), including the essay “Poezye un reglen fun prozodye” (Poetry and norms of prosody) on April 11, 1897; A. Goldfaden’s Nyu yorker yudishe ilustrirte tsaytung (New York Jewish illustrated newspaper), writing under the pen name “Hipeus” such pieces as “Mikoyekh unzer shprakh” (Concerning our language) and “Klolim far yidisher oytografye” (Rules of Yiddish orthography) in 1888; Braslavski’s Nyu yorker yudishe folks tsaytung (New York Jewish people’s newspaper); Y. Yaffa’s Abend post (Evening mail), writing under the pen name “Berakhye ben Yoysef”; Teater zhurnal (Theater journal); Shomer’s Di natsyon (The people), including “Yidishe baladen in hebreish un yidish-daytsh” (Jewish ballads in Hebrew and Judeo-German), issue no. 1 (1901); Minikes yontef bleter (Minikes’s holiday pages); Fraye gezelshaft (Free society); Fraye arbeter shtime (Free voice of labor); Yidishes tageblat (Jewish daily newspaper), under the pen name “Freydes Kadesh”; Forverts; Tsukunft; Morgn zhurnal (Morning journal)—all in New York; Vintshevski’s Der emes (The truth) in Boston, including such pieces as “Goyishe nemen bay yidn” (Gentile names among Jews); and more.  He also published feature pieces and letters from Canada, Paris, and a trip through the States in the newspapers.  In Hebrew he published in: Hamagid (The preacher), Hamelits (The advocate), Hayom (Today), Hatsfira (The siren), Hapisga (The summit), Ner hamaarvi, and Haolam (The world).  Harkavy also contributed to a number of English-Yiddish and English periodicals and one-time publications.  And, aside from the aforementioned Di tsayt and Der yidisher progres, he also edited Yudish-amerikanisher folks-kalendar (Jewish American people’s calendar) (1894-1900), the monthly for scholarship, literature, and art; Der nayer gayst (The new spirit) (1897, writing under the pseudonym “Amerikanus”); Der tsvantsigster yorhundert (The twentieth century), an anthology (1900); as well as Avrom Khayim Rozenberg’s Yiddish translation of Johann Gustav Vogt’s twelve-volume Veltgeshikhte, fun uralte tsaytn biz hayntign tog (World history, from ancient times until the present day).  Harkavy published a long series of textbooks and dictionaries of English, Hebrew, Russian, and Polish with Yiddish, such as: Der englisher lerer (The English teacher) (1891), 186 pp.; Der englisher alef-beys (The English alphabet) (1892), 32 pp.; Harkavis amerikaner brifn-shteler (Harkavy’s American letter-writing manual) (1892), 96 pp., which in subsequent editions grew to 315 pp.; Olendorfs metode zikh grindlikh oystsulernen di englishe shprakh on a lerer (“Ollendorff’s method to acquire a thorough knowledge of the English language without the aid of a teacher”) (1893), 445 pp.; English-yidishes verterbukh (English-Yiddish dictionary) (1893; sixth printing, 1910); Folshtendiges english-yudishes verterbukh, mit der oyssprakhe fun yeden vort in yudish (Complete English-Yiddish dictionary, with the pronunciation of every word in Yiddish) (1893); Yudish-englishes verterbukh (Yiddish-English dictionary) (1898); the two dictionaries, English-Yiddish and Yiddish-English, which went through numerous editions, were published together in 1898 by the Hebrew Publishing Company in New York and went through twenty-two editions, the last of them in 1957, with the English-Yiddish portion at 759 pp. and the Yiddish-English part coming in at 364 pp.  Harkavy’s life work in the field was his Yidish-english-hebreish verterbukh (Yiddish-English-Hebrew dictionary) (first printing, 1925; fourth edition, 1957), 583 pp. in large format.  He also worked on a Yiddish-Yiddish dictionary, but apparently never finished it; an extract from the planned “Yidish folks-verterbukh” (Jewish people’s dictionary) was published in Yivo-bleter (Pages from YIVO) 1.4 (1931) in Vilna.  He also published in book form (in the series “Amerikana”): Kolumbus, di antdekung fun amerike (Columbus, the discovery of America) (1892), 32 pp.; Vashington, der ershter prezident fun di fareyntigte shtatn (Washington, the first president of the United States) (1892), 32 pp.; Konstitutsyon fun di fareynigte shtatn (Constitution of the United States), English text and Yiddish translation (1897), 84 pp.; Der sitizen (The citizen), laws on naturalization in the States (1899; revised edition, 1922), 64 pp.  He also published among other works: Navaredok (see above); Perakim meḥayai (Chapter from a life), autobiographical sketches (1935), 62 pp.  In 1957 N. Mayzil translated Harkavy’s autobiography into Yiddish as Kapitlekh fun mayn lebn (Chapters from my life).  All of these were published in New York.  Harkavy also translated: from the Spanish original Miguel de Cervantes’s Geshikhte fun don kikhot (The story of Don Quixote [original: Don Quixote]) (New York, 1897), part 1, 583 pp; and from English, Professor Israel Friedlaender’s Idn in rusland un poyln, an iberblik iber zeyer geshikhte un kultur (Jews in Russia and Poland, a survey of their history and culture [original: The Jews of Russia and Poland: A Bird’s-Eye View of Their History and Culture]) (New York, 1920), 260 pp.  He died in New York.

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 1 (with a bibliography); Yevreiskaya entsiklopediya (St. Petersburg), vol. 6 (with a bibliography); Jewish Encyclopedia (New York), vol. 4, p. 234; Universal Jewish Encyclopedia (New York), vol. 5, p. 216; S. Wininger, Grosse jüdische National-Biographie (Czernowitz, 1930), vol. 3, pp. 102; Harkavy’s autobiography (1903); Banket zhurnal (Banquet journal), published by the “Harkavi banket-komitet” (Harkavy banquet committee) (New York, 1926); Yivo-bleter (New York) 1.4 (1931), pp. 289-300; Yivo-bleter 6.1 (1934), pp. 1-4; Dr. Y. Shatski, Harkavis byo-biblyografye (Harkavy’s bio-bibliography), an accurate record of his longer and shorter works in book form and of a large number of his periodical publications, published by the jubilee committee of the American division of YIVO (New York, 1933), 18 pp.; Yivo- biblyografye, vol. 1; A. Almi, Mentshn un ideyen (Men and ideas) (Warsaw, 1933); Y. Spivak, in Shikago (Chicago) (July 1933); Y. Ribkind, in Tsukunft (New York) (June 1933); K. Marmor, in Morgn-frayhayt (New York) (May 15, 1938); Y. Mark, in Tsukunft (January 1940); E. Shulman, in Hemshekh (New York) 2 (1940), pp. 102-6; Shmuel Niger, in Tsukunft (December 1940); A. Frumkin, In friling fun yidishn sotsyalizm (In the spring of Jewish socialism) (New York, 1943), see index; M. Ḥizkuni (Shtarkman), in Metsuda 7 (1954).

Borekh Tshubinski


MOTL HARTSMAN (1908-December 15, 1943)

            He was a poet, born in Berdichev, Ukraine, into the poor family of a house painter. From childhood he was hungry for knowledge, and when in 1918 the first Jewish school opened in the city, he immediately entered it to study, and it became his second home. There, together with a few other older children, he prepared his studies, read Yiddish and Russian books, and put on shows in the amateur school theater. There he also came to know for the first time Aleksandr Pushkin’s stories and the works of the Yiddish classic writers, Mendele Moykher-Sforim and Sholem-Aleichem, who once lived in Berdichev and described the city and its people in their works. As soon as he learned to read and write, he tried his hand at his first literary pieces, particularly successful with teachers who were themselves writers—Oyzer Holdes, Abraham Kahan, Shmuel (Syame) Zhukovski, and the journalist Buzi Goldenberg. A major role in the education of this future poet was also played by the young teacher Nine Brodovski who was responsible for establishing the school in Berdichev. When at her initiative, they sought to publish a written monthly journal, dubbed Dos kvelekhl (The source), there was a poem by Motl Hartsman in practically every issue. His poems excelled in their distinctiveness—with an unexpected poetic structure, with a word that was beyond the comprehension of children older than he was. Already experts considered Hartsman the most gifted among the beginning writers locally.

            In the latter half of the 1920s in Berdichev, a Yiddish weekly Di vokh (The week), later called Der arbeter (The worker), began to appear in print, and Buzi Goldenberg (the later editor of the Kiev republican newspaper Der shtern [The star] and later of Birobidzhaner shtern [Birobidzhan star]) was an active contributor, as was the literary critic Shmuel (Syame) Zhukovski who died very young. According to their initiative, the newspaper introduced literary pages for beginning writers. Zhukovski thought very highly of Hartsman’s poems and many of them he recited from memory. “From childhood,” Avrom Gordon related, “Hartsman gravitated toward the big city. Kiev was his dream, and when he turned thirteen, he ran away there. One week later, when he returned to Berdichev, he explained that he washed his feet in the Dnieper River and that Dovid Hofshteyn listened to his poems and read aloud [to Hartsman] his own poems.” Hartsman grew up in a family of craftsman and himself became a worker in a factory. He later began studying in the Odessa Jewish Pedagogical Technicum, which was in general a workshop for Jewish men of letters from all over Ukraine. He later departed for Moscow and became a student in the Yiddish division of the literature faculty at the Moscow Pedagogical Institute, from which he graduated in 1934. When the Kiev Institute for Jewish Culture created a research position for writers under the direction of the literary scholar Maks Erik, Hartsman took up this post, to which only five young writers were deemed worthy of receiving—in addition to Hartsman, the group consisted of Nosn Zabare, Elye Gordon, Avrom Gontar, and Motl Shturman. Hartsman was already the author of two poetry collections: Mayn tsveyte yugnt (My second youth) and Mir, di zin (We, the sons). As is the case for many other creative dispositions, he was captivated by clattering, flowery slogans that the Communist Party would always exasperate the people. Although Hartsman’s lyre took self-confidence to excess—“We were born in battle for golden combat over the years”—one senses in the majority of his work a haunting disquiet which was clearly expressed in one of his most mature poems: “This is our destiny, even to die with a poem.” And, as if prophetically spoken: he volunteered for service at the front as a military correspondent four days after the German invasion of the Soviet Union, June 25, 1941; and he fell in the fighting at the age of thirty-five on December 15, 1943. Hartsman was among those few Yiddish poets who wrote at the front an entire poem and sent it in to the editor of Eynikeyt (Unity).

Among his books: Mayn tsveyte yugnt, poetry (Kharkov-Kiev: Central Publishers, 1931), 52 pp.; Mir, di zin, poetry (Minsk: Byelorussian State Publishers, 1932), 64 pp.; Gutmorgn, mayn land! (Good morning, my country!), poetry (Kiev: Ukrainian State Publishers for National Minorities, 1935), 158 pp.; Kh’hob lib dikh, lebn (I love you, life) (Kiev: Ukrainian State Publishers for National Minorities, 1937), 28 pp.; Goldene fakeln (Golden torches), poems (Kiev, 1939), 162 pp.; A briderlekher grus (A fraternal greeting) (Kiev, 1939; Montevideo rpt., 1944), 25 pp.; Gezang un shverd (Song and sword) (Kiev, 1939), 181 pp., (Moscow: Sovetski pisatel, 1970), 135 pp.; Rokhls libe (Rachel’s love), a poem (Kiev: Ukrainian State Publishers for National Minorities, 1940), 72 pp.; Lider (Poems) (Kiev: Ukrainian State Publishers for National Minorities, 1941), 58 pp.; “Mayn harts hot der soyne geshosn” (My heart shot the enemy), a poetry cycle in the anthology Di lire (The lyre) (Moscow: Sovetski pisatel, 1985), pp. 148-60.

His translations include: Andrei Irkutov’s Der her berger git on in demisye (Mr. Berger submits his resignation [original: Gospodin Berger podaet v otstavku]) (Kharkov-Kiev: Ukrainian State Publishers for National Minorities, 1932), 64 pp.  His work also appeared in: Almanakh fun yidishe sovetishe shrayber tsum alfarbandishn shrayber-tsuzamenfor (Almanac, from Soviet Jewish writers to the all-Soviet conference of writers) (Kharkov: Ukrainian State Publishers for National Minorities, 1934); Birebidzhan (Birobidzhan) (Moscow, 1936); Komsomolye (Communist Youth) (Kiev: Ukrainian State Publishers for National Minorities, 1938), Shlakhtn (Battles) (Kharkov-Kiev: Ukrainian State Publishers for National Minorities, 1932); and Pyonerishe lider (Pioneer poems) (Minsk, 1934).

Sources: Emes (Moscow) (March 30, 1930); Kh. Dunyets, in Shtern (Minsk) (December 1932); N. Kabakov, in Farmest (Kharkov) (November 1934); A. Vevyorke, Der stil fun der proletarisher literatur (The style of proletarian literature) (Kharkov, 1932), p. 24; Sh. Herish, in Farmest (February 1936); I. Druker, in Shtern (September 1938); H. Bloshteyn, in Sovetishe literatur (Kiev) (January 1940); N. Y. Gotlib, in Sovetishe shrayber (Soviet writers) (Montreal, 1945), pp. 39-41; N. Mayzil, Dos yidishe shafn un der yidisher arbeter in sovetn-farband (Jewish creation and the Jewish worker in the Soviet Union) (New York, 1959), see index.

[Additional information from: Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 216; and Chaim Beider, Leksikon fun yidishe shrayber in ratn-farband (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers in the Soviet Union), ed. Boris Sandler and Gennady Estraikh (New York: Congress for Jewish Culture, Inc., 2011), pp. 119-21.]


DOVID HARPENIS (d. Summer 1943)
            He was born in Năsăud (Naszód), Hungary [now, Romania].  Until 1924 he lived in a variety of towns in Hungary.  Until WWII he was the director of a yeshiva in Klausenburg (Cluj-Napoca).  He was the editor of: the Yiddish-language Kol makhzike hadas (Voice of the sustainers of the faith) in Cluj (1928), which from 1929 carried the subtitle: “Weekly newspaper for Orthodox concerns of the Jewish community in Transylvania”; and of the Hebrew-language Shaare dea (Gates of knowledge) in Déva (Deva) in 1928 (three issues appeared). When the Nazis occupied Klausenburg, he suffered various agonies and persecutions and ultimately died a martyr.

Source: Y. Yosef Kahan, in Areshet (Jerusalem) (1958-1959), pp. 317-18.
Khayim Leyb Fuks

Sunday 28 February 2016


SHMUEL-YANKEV HARENDORF (September 25, 1900-ca. May 1969)
            He was known by the name Shmuel-Yankev Dorfzon.  He was born in Khentshin (Chęciny) and raised in Kelts (Kielce), Poland.  He was orphaned at age four on his father’s side, and his mother settled in a village not far from Yendzheyev (Jędrzejów) where he studied with his older brother and in the village school.  In Kielce at age fourteen, he was a journeyman sign-painter.  At the beginning of WWI, he was working in a tannery as well as in other difficult physical labors.  In 1915 his mother died and he left with a shipping job for the southern Tyrol where he performed backbreaking labor.  Half a year later he moved on to Vienna and there worked in a locomotive factory while attending evening courses, devoted to educating himself, and he became a member of the Vienna Labor Zionist organization.  At the end of WWI he returned to Kielce and took an active role in the local Labor Zionist youth movement.  In 1919 he was a delegate to a Labor Zionist youth conference in Warsaw, and he was there elected to the youth central committee.  Over the decade 1921-1931, he traveled with Yiddish theatrical companies, as a prompter, impresario, or partner through Czechoslovakia, Romania, Hungary, Austria, and Yugoslavia.  In 1931 he settled in Prague, Czechoslovakia, where he was involved in journalistic activities, and he corresponded from there to various newspapers in other countries.  When the Nazis occupied Prague in 1939, they search for the name “Sh.-Y. Dorfzon” among the names of foreign correspondents that were on their black list, but the writer’s actual name, Harendorf, was on the list, and that saved him.  He departed for London where he remained until his death.
            Harendorf began his writing activities in 1919 with articles and short stories in Fraye yugend (Free youth), the central organ of the Labor Zionists in Warsaw.  In 1920 he served as correspondent from Vienna for the Warsaw-based Moment (Moment) and a regular contributor to the Vienna-based Jüdische Morgenpost (Jewish morning mail) in which he also published theater reviews.  He was cofounder in 1924 of the Viennese literary weekly Di naye tsayt (The new times), in which he published a lengthy work: “Tsu der geshikhte fun yidishn teater in estraykh un tshekhoslovakay” (On the history of the Yiddish theater in Austria and Czechoslovakia).  In 1926 he founded in Munkatsh (Munkács), Carpathian Russia, Dos yudishe folksblat (The Jewish people’s newspaper), the first Jewish weekly newspaper from that region.  In 1929 over the course of eight months he published the weekly Yudishe vokhnpost (Jewish weekly mail) in Vienna.  From 1931 he was the correspondent from Czechoslovakia for Moment in Warsaw, Morgn-zhurnal (Morning journal) in New York, Haarets (The land) in Tel Aviv, and Idishe shtime (Jewish voice) in Kovno, among others.  In June 1940 he became the director of the Morgn-zhurnal Bureau in London and correspondent for Idishe tsaytung (Jewish newspaper) in Buenos Aires, Der amerikaner (The American) in New York, Afrikaner idishe tsaytung (African Jewish newspaper) in Johannesburg, and a regular contributor to the London daily Tsayt (Time).  In London in 1940 he founded the Jewish World News Agency (Ivna [Idishe velt-nayes agentur]), which appears daily until the present day a news bulletin in Yiddish.  Over the years 1943-1950, he wrote the plays: Der kenig fun lampeduse (The king of Lampedusa), staged hundreds of times to great success in the London Yiddish theater, “Grand Palais,” in Tel Aviv’s “Hametate” (The sweeper), and in other theaters in England and Argentina; Khane senesh (Hannah Szenes); Gesheftn un parnose (Jobs and a living); and Pleytim zaynen oykh mentshn (Refugees are people, too).  He was also the author of a volume of memoirs, Teater karavanen, mayselekh un epizodn fun mayne vanderungen mit yidish teater (Theater caravan, stories and episodes from my travels with Yiddish theater), with a preface by Dr. Arn Shteynberg (London, 1955), 231 pp.; these memoirs were published earlier serially in Idishe tsaytung in Buenos Aires (1953-1954).  He also wrote a long study on Yiddish theater in Western and Central Europe in Yidisher teater in eyrope tsvishn beyde velt-milkhomes (Yidish theater in Europe between the two world wars) (New York, 1971), vol. 2.  He also wrote under the pen names: Ben Yoysef, Ben Shulamis, Kafrini, Shidon, Sh. Moldaver, and H. Betushin.  He died in London.

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 1; Z. Zilbertsvayg, Leksikon fun yidishn teater (Handbook of the Yiddish theater), vol. 1; Yankev Glatshteyn, in Idisher kemfer (New York) (July 22, 1955); Y. Mestel, in Yidishe kultur (New York) (October 1955).

[Additional information from: Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 215.]


ARN HARENDORF (December 18, 1904-March 20, 1979)
            He was born in Chentshin (Chęciny) and raised in Kelts (Kielce), Poland.  He studied in religious elementary school, later becoming a laborer in a tannery.  He lived for a time in Vienna, thereafter settling in Belgium.  He debuted in print with a piece entitled “Peysekh” (Passover) in a Lodz newspaper edited by Shaye Shpigl.  In 1925 he emigrated to Brussels where he was a Zionist activist.  He would later contribute to Di yidishe prese (The Jewish press) in Antwerp.  He was a correspondent from Belgium for: Moment (Moment) in Warsaw; Folksblat (People’s newspaper) in Lodz; Frimorgn (Morning) in Riga; Tshernovitser bleter (Czernowitz pages) in which he published a series of articles entitled “Fertsik yor yidish teater in belgye” (Forty years of Yiddish theater in Belgium); and, after WWII: Morgn-zhurnal (Morning journal) in New York; Idishe tsaytung (Jewish newspaper) in Buenos Aires; Haboker (This morning) in Tel Aviv; and Dos vort (The word) in Paris.  He was co-editor of Unzer vort (Our word) in Paris and editor of Undzer marokineri-zhurnal (Our leather-goods journal) in Belgium.  In 1951 he moved and settled in Israel, and there he became a regular contributor to Nayvelt (New world) in Tel Aviv, in which he wrote under the pen name “A. Dorf.”  He also wrote for Letste nayes (Latest news) in Tel Aviv and Di prese (The press) in Buenos Aires.  He also used the pseudonyms: Helesman, Ben Yoysef, Arele Datshnik, and Gazdres Eynikl.  He died in Brussels.

Source: H. Bibtovski, in Unzer vort (Paris) (March 3, 1979).

[Additional information from: Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 190.]


            He wrote under the pen name of Yisroel Khoser-Koyekh.  He lived in Berdichev.  He authored two booklets which appeared together: Zlidnyefker lebende fotografye, oder a kholem in a kholem, eyne kritish-fantastishe ertseylung (The vexatious living photography, a dream in a dream, a critical fantastic story) (Berdichev, 1891), 55 pp., written under the influence of Mendele Moykher-Sforim, Linietski, and Shatskes, and pointedly critical of the Jewish community and the city benefactors; and Kinor hatsevi = di harfe, farsheydene tonish-metrishe gedikhte der yudish-daytshn shprakh (The harp of Tsvi, various tonic metrical poems in the Judeo-German language) (Berdichev, 1891), 68 pp., a pamphlet of couplets and Zion-inspired poems, in the style of poetry somewhat reminiscent of a wedding entertainer.  It includes as well a translation of a poem by Schiller.  He also published in Spektor’s Hoyzfraynd (House friend) and in Varshever yudisher familyen-kalendar (Warsaw Jewish family calendar) (1897/1898).  In the publication Shloyshim (Thirty-day mourning period), put out by Dovid Hurvits Halevi (Odessa, 1905), he published a poem, “Di levaye” (The funeral), concerning the pogroms of 1905 in Russia.  Other biographical details remain unknown.

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 1; N. Prilucki, in Mame-loshn (Mother tongue) 1 (Warsaw, 1924), p. 97; Kh. L. Poznanski, Memuarn fun a bundist (Memoirs of a Bundist) (Warsaw, 1938), p. 10.


NATHAN H. HORNSHTEYN (HORNSTINE) (August 28, 1871-September 14, 1929)
            He was born in Odessa, southern Russia.  He attended religious primary school, studying secular subject matter in a boarding school, high school, and for a short time in university.  After high school he took part in Russian-language school productions.  Later, he left university and (using the pseudonym “Malyuta”) acted with Russian troupes in Odessa and Kherson.  In 1892 he emigrated with his parents to the United States, where they settled in Philadelphia and where he worked as a bookkeeper, and he acted in amateur theater and in 1898 with a professional troupe.  At the same time he continued his studies, and in 1904 he graduated from medical school and was practicing as a doctor.  At this time he was composing plays for the Yiddish theater, including thirty-five theatrical pieces of which eight were staged.  Those produced include: Di zinderin (The [female] sinner), starring Tomashevsky; Ferbotene frukht (Forbidden fruit), with Anshel Schorr; Der prayz fun zind (The price of sin), staged by Kessler in New York.  He died as a result of an automobile accident in Philadelphia.  One may find in the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., the following plays by Hornshteyn: Ir nekome (Her revenge), a drama in four acts; Di gezunkene (The reprobate), a drama in four acts; and Der nayer meshiekh (The new Messiah), a drama in four acts—all written in the period, 1913-1914.

Source: Z. Zilbertsvayg, Leksikon fun yidishn teater (Handbook of the Yiddish theater), vol. 1.
Zaynvl Diamant


            He was born in Brisk (Brest), Lithuania, and later lived in Sevastopol, Crimea, where he worked as a notary.  He graduated from the Zhitomir rabbinical school and wrote pieces for Hebrew-language newspapers.  He was the father of the Russian critic Arkady Gornfeld.  He published in 1867 in Kol mevaser (Herald) a description of the Krymchaks.  He died in Odessa.

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 1, cols. 537-38, 792; Entsiklopediya shel galuyot (Encyclopedia of the Diaspora), vol. 2 (Jerusalem-Tel Aviv, 1954), p. 294.


            He was born in the old city of Jerusalem, into a family that hailed from Poland.  At age thirteen he was already working as a purse-maker, later in a bookbindery.  During WWI he was in Egypt, returning afterward to Jerusalem where he converted to Christianity and lived in a community of local missionaries.  A short time later, he returned to Judaism and wrote in Yiddish: Zikhroynes fun a bal tshuve (Memoirs of a penitent), vol. 1 (Jerusalem, August 1934), 160 pp.  In this book, he described how he was fooled by the missionaries, and in the final chapter he also had complaints about Jewish writers who had not helped him publish the book.  As the author explains, he also composed stories in Yiddish.


YOYSEF (JOSÉ) HORN (b. June 20, 1906)
            He was born in Mezritsh (Międzyrzecz), Podlasie, Shedlets (Siedlce), Poland.  He studied in religious primary school and in Talmud-Torah.  He was active in the Bundist movement from his youth and in school and cultural organizations.  He chaired the Tsisho (Central Jewish School Organization) section in Mezritsh.  In 1936 he emigrated to Argentina where he joined the society for secular Jewish schools and served as secretary-general of Perets House in Buenos Aires.  He was a delegate to both conferences of the World Jewish Culture Congress in New York in 1948 and 1959.  He was a member of the executive of the Argentinian division of the Culture Congress.  He began writing for local publications: Mezritsher vokhnblat (Mezritsh weekly newspaper), Mezritsher tribune (Mezritsh tribune), Mezritsher arbeter shtime (Voice of Mezritsh labor), and Podlyaser tsaytung (Podlasie newspaper).  He later published correspondence pieces, articles, stories, and reportage essays in: Folkstsaytung (People’s newspaper), Yugnt-veker (Youth alarm), and Foroys (Onward)—all in Warsaw.  He contributed in Argentina to: Di prese (The press), a daily newspaper; Argentiner lebn (Argentinian life), a biweekly Bundist periodical; Der shpigl (The mirror), a monthly; Kolonist kooperator (Colonist cooperative), Morgntsaytung (Morning newspaper); Tsiko-bleter (Pages from Tsiko [Tsentrale yidishe kultur-organizatsye (Central Yiddish Cultural Organization)]); and Judaica (Judaica [in Spanish])—all in Buenos Aires.  In 1938 he edited the memory volume, Yankev shimen lyakhovitsky (100 pp.) and the monthly journal Dos naye vort (The new word) in Buenos Aires; in 1944 he was a co-editor of the monthly Nay lebn (New life); in 1945 he was a co-editor of the Bundist biweekly Undzer gedank (Our idea) and editor of the collection Plotsk (Płock), 260 pp.; from 1949 to 1952 he was a member of the editorial collective of the anthology Ineynem (Altogether); in 1952 he edited the collection Mezritsh (640 pp.).  He also wrote for: Di idishe velt (The Jewish world) in Philadelphia; Forverts (Forward), Der veker (The alarm), Unzer tsayt (Our time), Kultur un dertsiung (Culture and education), and Fraye arbeter shtime (Free voice of labor)—all in New York; Foroys (Onward) in Mexico City; and elsewhere.  From 1949 he served on the editorial board of Di idishe tsaytung (The Jewish newspaper) in Buenos Aires, in which he ran a column entitled “Momentn” (Moments).  Among his books: Henrik erlikh un viktor alter, farvos hot di sovetishe regirung zey umgebrakhṭ? (Henryk Erlich and Victor Alter, why did the Soviet regime murder them?) (Buenos Aires, 1943), 32 pp.; Mayn khoreve heym, a idishe shtetl in poyln tsvishn beyde velt-milhomes (My destroyed home, a Jewish town in Poland between the two world wars) (Buenos Aires, 1946), 155 pp.; In undzer dor, erev un nokh treblinka in yidishn lid (In our generation, on the eve and after Treblinka in Yiddish song) (Buenos Aires, 1949), 163 pp.; Arum yidisher literatur un yidishe shrayber (On Yiddish literature and Yiddish writers) (Buenos Aires, 1973), 220 pp.  He also wrote articles for Algemeyne zhurnal (General magazine) in New York.  He was a contributor to volume eight of the Leksikon (Biographical dictionary) [herein being translated] and to the Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) [ditto].

Sources: Sh. Rozhanski, Dos yidishe gedrukte vort un teater in argentine (The published Yiddish word and theater in Argentina) (Buenos Aires, 1941); N. Khanin, A rayze iber tsentral- un dorem-amerike (A trip through Central and South America) (New York, 1942), p. 239; Dr. Y. Shatski, “Prese bay yidn” (Jewish press), in Algemeyne entsiklopedye (General encyclopedia); and Shatski, in Yivo-bleter (New York) 27 (1946), pp. 167-74; A. Glants-Leyeles, in Tog (New York) (November 10, 1946; April 9, 1949); Y. Botoshanski, in Poylishe yidn in dorem-amerike (Polish Jews in South America), anthology (Buenos Aires, 1947); Botoshanski, in Di prese (Buenos Aires) (April 1, 1953);  Kh. Sh. Kazdan, in Foroys (Mexico City) (September 1, 1949); Yidishe nayes (Melbourne) (September 1, 1950); G. Aronson, “Shtet un shtetlekh” (Towns and small towns), in Tsukunft (New York) (March 1951); Y. Leshtshinski, in Forverts (New York) (August 16, 1953); A. Oyerbakh, in Tog-morgn zhurnal (New York) (March 16, 1959); Y. Shmuelovitsh, in Forverts (March 31, 1959).
Zaynvl Diamant

[Additional information from: Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 215.]


ZEV HARING (August 21, 1910-February 26, 1988)
            He also wrote under the name Zigmund Hering.  He was born in Przemyśl, Galicia.  He graduated from a Polish high school, studied in Warsaw University, and in 1934 received his degree as a doctor of jurisprudence.  From his early youth, he was active in the Zionist youth movement, later in the Hitaḥdut (the “union” of young Zionists) in western Galicia.  During the Soviet occupation of eastern Galicia (1939-1941), he organized an illegal emigration to Vilna.  He arrived in Israel in 1940, joined the Jewish Brigade, and took part in fighting on the Italian front.  During the War of Independence with the Arabs, he commanded a tank division in the battles around Jerusalem and the Upper Galilee.  Over the years 1951-1954, he studied at the London School of Economics and Political Science.  From 1954 he was a member of the Vaad Hapoel (Zionist General Council) of the Histadrut and a lecturer in the field of political economy at a Tel Aviv senior high school, and from 1956 until 1960 he was a lecturer in political science at Tel Aviv University.  In 1969 he was elected to the Knesset where he served until 1973.  He visited the United States in 1957 on behalf of Histadrut.  He began writing in Polish, and from 1932 switched to Yiddish and Hebrew.  He contributed to: Dos fraye vort (The free word) in Lemberg, Dos vort (The word) in Warsaw, Dos vort in Munich, and Davar (Word) and Hapoel-hatsair (The young worker) in Tel Aviv, as well as for English-language publications of Mapai (Workers’ party of the land of Israel) and Labor Zionism.  Among his books: Tsvishn khubn un geule (Between destruction and salvation) (Munich, 1948), 96 pp.; Hamahpakha haaḥarona baangliya (The last revolt in England), concerning the economic accomplishments of the British labor government (Tel Aviv, 1957), 162 pp.  He also edited Dos fraye vort (1935-1939).  He was last living in Tel Aviv.

Sources: Forverts (New York) (November 5, 1957); Tog (New York) (November 6, 1957); Idisher kemfer (New York) (November 8, 1957); David Tidhar, in Entsiklopedyah lealutse hayishuv uvonav (Encyclopedia of the pioneers of the yishuv and their children), vol. 6 (Tel Aviv, 1955).

Wednesday 24 February 2016


APOLINARY-MAKSYMILIAN HARTGLAS (April 7, 1883-March 22, 1953)
            He was born in Biała Podlaska, Shedlets (Siedlce) district, Poland; his father was a private lawyer.  He would later became a well-known lawyer himself with a tempestuous political career which began when he was a student and was banned from Warsaw University for taking part in a demonstration against an anti-Semitic performance at a Polish theater.  Later, the Tsarist authorities banned him for a time from the lawyer’s profession.  Under the occupying German authorities during WWI, he was turned over for court martial for defending Polish students against the brutal handling by German gendarmes, and in liberated Poland he was once again excluded from the lawyer’s profession for Zionist activities.  He became renowned for his role in the rehabilitation trial of Rabbi Shapiro of Plock in 1920.  He was one of the leaders of the Zionist faction in the founding Polish Sejm and a deputy to the second Sejm, in which he belonged to the radical opposition in the Jewish Kolo (club of deputies) and for a time the president of Kolo as well.  He was also an established journalist, contributed to various Zionist publications in Polish and Russian, and edited Zionist periodicals in Polish such as Życie Żydowskie (Jewish life) and Tygodnik Żydowski (Jewish week).  He would later turn to writing in Yiddish.  From 1920 he was a regular contributor to: Haynt (Today) in Warsaw, in which he published articles on Zionist as well as general Jewish issues, to the periodical Hoydesh (Month) in 1921, and to other Zionist publications.  In book form: Seym-reder, 1919-1922 (Speeches at the Sejm, 1919-1922) (Warsaw: Yudisher natsyonal-rat in Poyln [Jewish national council in Poland], 1923), 156 pp.  In died in Israel.  There is a street in Tel Aviv named after him.

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 1; Dr. R. Feldshuh, in Yidisher gezelshaftlekher leksikon (Jewish communal handbook) (Warsaw, 1939), pp. 821-22; A. Tsintsinatus, in Letste nayes (Tel Aviv) (April 3, 1953); Y. Grinboym, Pene hador (Of my generation) (Jerusalem, 1957-1960), pp. 208-12.

Tuesday 23 February 2016


ZIGMUNT HART (b. April 20, 1866)
            He was born in Czernowitz, Bukovina.  He graduated from a public school in Galats (Galați), later studying at a Viennese high school.  At age sixteen he became a singer and an actor.  He worked as a member of Avrom Goldfaden’s theatrical troupe.  He emigrated to the United States in 1905 and acted in Yiddish theater.  He was the author of Shimshen hagiber (Samson, the hero), an operetta in three acts (Kishinev, 1894), 48 pp., staged in both Romania and America.  He also translated the dramas: Di blinde fun pariz (The blind woman of Paris) and Di tokhter fun rabiner leo (The daughter of Rabbi Leo), which Segalesco staged in Romania.

Sources: Z. Zilbertsvayg, Leksikon fun yidishn teater (Handbook of the Yiddish theater), vol. 1; Yedies fun yivo (Vilna) 73-74, p. 18.


SHIMEN HORONTSHIK (SZYMON HORONCZYK) (June 13, 1889-September 1939)
            He was born in Vyelun (Wieluń), Kalisz region, Poland, into a poor Hassidic family.  He was orphaned on his father’s side at age eight and until age eleven was raised by his grandfather, an old follower of Kotsker Hassidim, who made a living by registering the felling of trees.  After his grandfather’s death, Horontshik returned to his mother who was leading a poor, labored life; he studied for a time in a synagogue study hall and later at a number of yeshivas.  At age seventeen he became a worker in a lacework factory in Kalisz, where he lived until the outbreak of WWI.  Under the influence there of the writer Hershele, he began to compose poetry, became a member of the local writers’ circle to which Hershele, Perets Opatshinski (incidentally, a relative on his mother’s side), Mendl Zaks, and Osher Shvartsman belonged.  At the time of the bloodbath brought about by the German military in Kalisz (August 1914), Horontshik barely survived (he was the ninth in a group of people whom the Germans were shooting every tenth).  This instance affected him his entire life and continued to terrify him throughout his career.  He later made his way with Hershele to Lodz, but he found no refuge there and returned to Sompolno, Poland, where he married and sustained himself by operating a grocery.  During the war he traveled to Lodz and published in 1916 in Lodzer tageblat (Lodz daily newspaper) his first sketch which attracted attention due to its innovative means of depicting the small town Jewish community.  Over the years 1918-1920, he placed poems in such publications as: Gezangen (Songs), Vegn (Paths), Shveln (Thresholds), Di yetstige tsayt (The present time), and others—all in Lodz—a great number of these appeared in his first book, Feldblumen (Flowers of the field) (Warsaw, 1921), 98 pp.  He later moved entirely to prose writing and published a large number of stories, sketches, and novellas in: Itshe Meyer Vaysenberg’s Zamlbikher (Anthologies), Folkstsaytung (People’s newspaper), Ringen (Links), Der shtrom (The tide), Varshever shriftn (Warsaw writings), Inzer hofenung (Our hope), Haynt (Today), Moment (Moment), Unzer ekspres (Our express), Literarishe bleter (Literary leaves), Foroys (Onward), Vokhnshrift far literatur (Weekly writing for literature), and Dos vort (The word)—all in Warsaw; Yidishe bilder (Jewish images) and Frimorgn (Morning)—in Riga; Lodzer tageblat and Folksblat (People’s newspaper) in Lodz; Tsukunft (Future) in New York); Der shpigl (The mirror) in Buenos Aires; and other serial publications in Argentina, France, and England.  For a lengthy period of time, he lived in Włocławek (in the home of the fable-writer Fishl-Ber Ravitski), and primarily in the picturesque region of the Włocławek suburb of Szpetal where he composed his first long work: Farplonterte vegn, oder tsvishn di khurves fun yidishn lebn (Muddled way, or amid the ruins of Jewish life), with a foreword by Vaysenberg (Warsaw, 1924), 280 pp.  This book provoked a storm among Yiddish writers over his Chapter 46, in which he attacked the circle of Yiddish writers in Warsaw.  This chapter—actually, it was composed and inserted by Waysenberg—was adapted to the general framework of Horontshik’s descriptions of the demoralization of Jewish life in Poland during the German occupation (1915-1918).  These attacks notwithstanding, serious critics recognized his rough writerly talent.  He would later published a great number of works which excelled in their vivid realism.  In his novels, In geroysh fun mashinen, roman (Amid the noise of machines, a novel) (Warsaw, 1928), 394 pp., and 1905, roman (1905, a novel) (Warsaw, 1929), 473 pp., he depicted the years of his youth working with lacemaking machinery in Kalisz.  He describes there the emergence of Jewish small industry and the struggle of the Jewish laborer and the Jewish masses with the banner of the 1905 Revolution in Poland—a second edition of this novel, with a foreword by Yoysef Okrutni, appeared in Buenos Aires in 1953).  He was also the author of the books: Masn, roman (Masses, a novel) (Warsaw, 1929), 400 pp., initially published in Folkstsaytung in Warsaw; Zump, roman (Marsh, a novel) (Warsaw, 1931), 513 pp.; Dos hoyz afn barg, roman (The house on the mountain, a novel) (Warsaw, 1934), 426 pp.; Tsvey veltn, roman (Two worlds, a novel) (Warsaw, 1935), 182 pp.; Zind, roman (Sin, a novel) (Warsaw, 1935), 196 pp.; Dort vu di zhirand falt arayn in yam (There where the Gironde flows into the sea), romantic stories of Belgium and France (Warsaw, 1936), 136 pp.; Shtarke mentshn (Strong people), novellas (Warsaw, 1936), 272 pp.  His biographical novel Bam shvel (At the threshold), published in four parts (Warsaw, 1936), 192 pp., had a major impact; in it he traced a gallery of hundreds of Jewish and Gentile images of Jewish life in Poland, Paris, and elsewhere in Europe in the years between the two world wars.  His final book was: Di printsesin un andere dertseylungen (The princess and other stories) (Warsaw, 1938), 135 pp.
            Horontshik lived in Paris and Berlin for several years; he returned in May 1939 to Warsaw, became an internal contributor to Moment, and began to publish a new novel, entitled A yung vayb (A young wife).  At the beginning of September 1939, when the Germans bombed Warsaw, he and the writer Shmuel Vulman escaped from the burning city with the goal of getting to Vilna.  En route when he heard that the Bolsheviks were coming from the other side of Poland, he committed suicide by cutting his own throat.  Vulman managed to bring his body to be buried in the town of Kaluszyn (according to an obituary by Yisroel Rabon in the first edition of the anthology Untervegns [Pathways] [Vilna, 1940]; later, the Bolsheviks published another edition of this anthology with another four pages stuck in, but without Rabon’s article).  After WWII Horontshik’s writings appeared in various collections; a volume of his Geklibene shriftn (Selected writings), with a foreword by Sh. Lastik, was published in Warsaw in 1950 (110 pp.).

Sign copy of Horontshik’s novel Bam shvel

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 1; B. Grobard, in Tsukunft (New York) (July 1924; April 1929); Grobard, A fertlyorhundert, esey vegn der yidisher literatur in amerike (A quarter century, essay on Yiddish literature in America) (New York, 1935); Perets Markish, in Shtern (Minsk) (March 1927); L. Finkelshteyn, in Literarishe bleter (Warsaw) (May 27, 1927); Finkelshteyn, in Foroys (Warsaw) (January 7, 1938); Arn Tsaytlin, Literarishe bleter (June 17, 1927); R. Merison, in Inzer hofenung (Warsaw) (June 1927); I. M. Vaysenberg, in Inzer hofenung (September 1927); Sh. Mendelson, in Bikher-velt (Warsaw) (May 1928); Y Rapoport, in Literarishe bleter (June 8, 1928); M. Vaykhert, in Di yidishe velt (Vilna) (August 1928); Shmuel Niger, in Bikher-velt (October 1928); Niger, in Tsukunft (June 1931); Ab. Kahan, in Forverts (New York) (March 8, 1931); M. Grosman, Literarishe bleter (February 6, 1935); Grosman, Heymishe geshtaltn (Familiar figures) (Tel Aviv, 1953), p. 108; Shikage (Chicago) (July-August 1935); D. Charney, in Tsukunft (August 1943); yearbook for Davar (Tel Aviv) (1944); M. Ravitsh, Mayn leksikon (My lexicon), vol. 1 (Montreal, 1945), pp. 65-68; Z. Segalovitsh, Tlomatske 13, fun farbrentn nekhtn (13 Tłomackie St., of scorched yesterdays) (Buenos Aires, 1946), pp. 97, 106; Yonas Turkov, Azoy iz es geven (That’s how it was) (Buenos Aires, 1948), p. 26; Y. Y. Trunk, Di yidishe proze in poyln (Yiddish prose in Poland) (Buenos Aires, 1949); Trunk, in Poyln (New York) 7 (1953); Trunk, in Unzer tsayt (New York) (October 1958); Y. Okrutni, in Ilustrirte literarishe bleter (Buenos Aires) (October 1953); Y. Yonasovitsh, in Di naye tsayt (Buenos Aires) (December 3, 1953); B. Mark, Umgekumene shrayber fun di getos un lagern (Murdered writers from the ghettos and camps) (Warsaw, 1954), p. 47; Yankev Glatshteyn, in Idisher kemfer (New York) (July 16, 1954); B. Kutsher, Geven amol varshe (As Warsaw once was) (Paris, 1955), see index; Kh. L. Fuks, in Fun noentn over (New York) 3 (1957), p. 227; Y. Papernikov, Heymishe un noente (Familiar and close) (Tel Aviv, 1958), pp. 222-24; Helen Londinski, in Tsukunft (July-August 1959).
Khayim Leyb Fuks


            He was a pedagogue and a Jewish school and cultural leader in Kiev and Kharkov.  He contributed work to the journal Ratnbildung (Soviet education) in Kiev-Kharkov (1928-1936).  There he published articles on pedagogical issues and book reviews.  He was the author of textbooks for Jewish schools, among them: Literarishe khrestomatye farn 4tn klas (Literary reader for the fourth class), with B. Gutyanski (Kiev-Kharkov, 1936), 191 pp., with illustrations (published in three editions, the last in Kiev in 1941); Khrestomaye far literatur farn 10tn klas mitlshul (Reader for literature for the tenth class of middle school) (Kiev-Kharkov, 1935), 333 pp., with illustrations (published in numerous editions, the last in Kiev in 1940).  After 1948 he disappeared without a trace.

Sources: N. Rubinshteyn, in Dos yidishe bukh in sovetn-farband (The Yiddish book in the Soviet Union) for 1933, 1934, and 1935 (Minsk, 1936), see index; biography of B. Gutyanski, in Leksikon fun der nayer yidisher literatur, vol. 2 (New York, 1958)—see translation at
Khayim-Leyb Fuks


TSVI HOROVITS (b. August 16, 1899)
            He was born near Rozvadov (Rozwadów), eastern Galicia.  He studied in religious primary school and in the Free Jewish High School in Berlin.  In 1939 he left for Ukraine.  During the years of WWII, he lived in Russia.  After the liberation he was in the Bergen-Belsen camp in Germany.  He published stories on the survivors’ press, among them in the anthology Tsoytn (Tufts of hair) (Bergen-Belsen), edited by B. Gutman and A. Rozenfeld.  One of his stories, translated into German as Die Wacholders: Eine jüdische Familiengeschichte (The Wacholders, a Jewish family saga), was published in Göttingen in 1949 (138 pp.).  He was last living in Israel.

Sources: M. Tshemni, in Tsienistishe shtime (Munich) 116 (1949); Loshn un lebn (London) (August 1949); Kiryat sefer (Tel Aviv) (Nisan [=March-April] 1950); Undzer velt (Munich) (May 6, 1950).


NOSN HOROVITS (December 1888-January 1934)
            He was born in Vilna.  Until age seventeen he studied in the Slobodka yeshiva, later leaving for London where from 1907 he published poetry, articles, and translations from English in various periodicals—under his own name as well as the pseudonyms of N. Rokhlin, Y. Funk, and N”ts.  He subsequently became a reporter and proofreader for Idisher ekspres (Jewish express) in London.  In 1911 he published in book form a translation Ferzen—fun’m bavustn perzishn dikhter omar khayam (Verses from the famed Persian poet Omar Khayyam (London: Fridman), 19 pp.  He later brought out: Troymen un gedanken, oyservelte lider mit an-hagdome un bild fun der dikhter (Dreams and thoughts, extraordinary poems with a preface by and a picture of the poet) (London, 1924), 16 pp.—the preface was written by the author’s editorial colleague at Idisher ekspres, Hirsh Spriling; Bayrons hebreishe melodyen (Byron’s Hebrew melodies), translations of twenty-three poems by Byron with a foreword by the author (London, 1925), 16 pp.; Tfile un shire, lider (Prayer and song, poems) (London, 1926), 16 pp.—thirty-three poems with various prayer motifs, among them the poem “Der moyekh vos af golgose” (The head that was at Golgotha), the end of a longer poem entitled “Kristus” (Christ) in which was celebrated the “holy head” that “saved the world and was exalted to the kingdom of Heaven”; Himnen un fantazyes, melodyen bazirt af hebreishe liturgi (Hymns and fantasies, melodies based on Hebrew liturgy) (London, 1927), 16 pp.; Idishe tfiles un piyutim, zeyer vezn, geshikhte un badaytung (Jewish prayers and hymns, their essence, history and significance) (London, 1929), 24 pp.—a brief treatise on the contents and the development of the Jewish liturgy from ancient times to the twentieth century.  He also published in English: Souls in Exile: A Play in Four Acts (London: I. Narodiczky, 1928), 52 pp.; and Sabbath and Other Tales (London: I. Narodiczky, 1926), 36 pp.  He died in Vilna.

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 1; American Jewish Yearbook (1935), p. 292.


            He was born in Stutshin (Szczuczyn), near Torne (Tarnów), western Galicia.  His father, R. Yisroel-Yoysef, was the Riglitser rebbe.  Horovits himself received rabbinic ordination at age twenty-three.  He was an active member of “Tseire agudat yisrael” (Agudat Yisrael youth) in Poland.  During WWII he was a refugee in Shanghai.  From 1946 he was living in the United States where he served as rabbi in the community “Agudat aḥim” (Brotherhood society) in Brooklyn as well as an employee of the United Jewish Appeal.  He published articles and Hassidic tales in the local Galician press from prior to WWII and later in such serials as: Idishe almanakh (Jewish almanac) in Harbin, Ortodoksishe tribune (Orthodox tribune) in New York, and elsewhere.  Among his books: Fun erets-yisroel-oytser (From the treasury of the Land of Israel) (New York, 1949), 192 pp.; Khsides un etik (Hassidism and ethics) (Brooklyn, 1964/1965), 164 pp.  Among his pen names: Naftoli Roptshitser and Harov ben Harov.  He was last living in Brooklyn, New York.

Sources: Kh. Liberman, in Forverts (New York) (May 6, 1949); N. Gordon, in Tog (New York) (June 10, 1949); Dr. H. L. Gordon, in Morgn-zhurnal (New York) (June 31, 1949); Yankev Glatshteyn, in Idisher kemfer (New York) (September 2, 1949); A. Almi, in Dos idishe folk (New York) (November 1949).

[Additional information from: Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 215.]

Monday 22 February 2016


NORBERT HOROVITS (September 23, 1909-November 24, 1983)
            He was born in Czernowitz, Bukovina.  He was a student at local Yiddish theater schools.  After WWI he lived in Poland, acting on the Yiddish stage.  He later moved to Munich, Germany, where he was a cofounder of the local theater ensemble “Miks” (Minkhener yidisher kunst-teater [Munich Yiddish art theater]).  He was the organizer of the first Yiddish radio programs in Munich.  From 1949 he was living in the United States.  A member of the Yiddish actors’ union, he also sang on Yiddish radio broadcasts for WEVD in New York.  In 1952 he published stories in Forverts (Forward) in New York, later also an autobiography and travel narrative.  He contributed to the anthology Fun noentn over (From the recent past) (New York) 1 (1955), pp. 113-82: a monograph entitled “Yidish teater fun der sheyres-hapleyte” (Yiddish theater of the Holocaust survivors).  In the 1950s he published in Forverts a series of articles entitled “Ikh kum fun yener velt” (I come from that world)—about his experiences in Soviet labor camps.  He was living in New York until his death there.

Sources: Dr. N. Sverdlin, in Tog-morgn zhurnal (New York) (August 4, 1955); Who’s Who in World Jewry (New York, 1955); Who’s Who in the East (1957).

[Additional information from: Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 215.]


            He was co-editor with Leon Vashilevski, Dr. Feliks Zaks, and M. Mikhelson of Der arbayter (The worker), Yiddish organ of the Polish Socialist Party (PPS [Polska Partia Socjalistyczna]), which appeared over the years 1898-1906—a total of fifty issues—in London, Cracow, and Warsaw (published in Cracow).  The first number (dated December 1898), 16 pp., was published somewhere in Poland by a secret publisher.  In 1906 the publication was taken to Warsaw where it was transformed into a weekly newspaper.  Horovits also used the name Valetski.

Source: Dr. Y. Shatski, ed., Zamlbukh lekoved dem tsveyhundert un fuftsikstn yoyvl fun der yidisher prese, 1686-1936 (Anthology in honor of the 250th jubilee of the Yiddish press, 1686-1936) (New York, 1937), p. 325.


YITSKHOK HOROVITS (July 23, 1893-March 21, 1961)
            He was born in Yefureni, Romania.  He lived in Jassy until 1909 and then emigrated to the United States.  He worked in a sweatshop and simultaneously studied.  From 1912 he was publishing poetry in Fraye arbeter shtime (Free voice of labor), Forverts (Forward), Di vokh (The week), Di feder (The pen), Di tsvayg (The branch), and Kinder-zhurnal (Children’s magazine)—all in New York.  He edited: Di fraye muze (The free muse) in 1913, the monthly Der vegetaryer (The vegetarian) in 1916, and Di vegetarishe velt (The vegetarian world) in 1921—all in New York.  He contributed to the journal Der naturist un vegetaryer (The naturist and vegetarian) (New York, 1920).  In the 1920s he moved to Los Angeles, where he brought out the journal Der mayrev (The West).  Among his books: Vegn moyshe nadir, kritishe polemik (On Moyshe Nadir, a critical polemic) (Brooklyn: Aleyn, 1919), 32 pp.; Dos kol fun di shtume (“The voice of the dumb”) (New York: Aleyn, 1920), 95 pp.  Concerning vegetarianism: Ven der lerer iz nishto (When there is no teacher) (Vilna: Naye yidishe folkshul, 1928), 16 pp.; Parnose-gever, un ven der lerer iz nishto (The breadwinner, and When there is no teacher), a one-act play (New York, Workmen’s Circle, 1929), 15 pp.; Teg un nekht mit panait istrati (Days and nights with Panait Istrati) (New York, 1940), 172 pp.; Mayn tatns kretshme (My father’s shop) (New York: Matones, 1953), 220 pp.  He translated Khalil Gibran’s Der novi (The Prophet) (Warsaw-New York, 1929), 96 pp.  He used the pseudonyms: Danilo, Veritas, and A. H-ts.  He died in New York.

Source: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 1.

Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), cols. 214-15.


TUVYE HOROVITS (ca. 1892-1941)
            He was born in Madene, Galicia, into a rabbinic family which drew its pedigree from the Dzhikover rabbinic dynasty.  Until WWII he was a rabbi in Sonik (Sanok), one of the ideologues of the Orthodox movement in Poland, also a founder of the Beys-Yankev school movement for girls (with Yiddish as the language of instruction).  He wrote in both Yiddish and Hebrew and contributed pieces to the Orthodox press in Poland, including: Der yud (The Jew), Dos yudishe togblat (The Jewish daily newspaper), and Ortodoksishe yugnt-bleter (Leaves for Orthodox youth)—in Warsaw; Beys-yankev (House of Jacob) in Lodz; Unzer veg (Our way) in Shedlets (Siedlce); and to the Hebrew periodicals, Deglanu (Our banner) and Darkenu (Our path), among others—in Warsaw.  Among his books: Vos vet fort zayn mit di kneses yisroel? (What shall become after all of the Jewish people?) (Warsaw, 1926), 17, 32 pp.  Until the start of the Russo-German war in June 1941, he was in Sonik.  When the Germans approached his town, he fled to Rimanov, and there he and his entire family were murdered by the Germans.

Sources: Biblyografishe yorbikher fun yivo (Bibliographic yearbooks from YIVO) (Warsaw, 1928); information from R. Meyer Shvartsman, Winnipeg, Canada.


BER HOROVITS (July 17, 1895-October 2, 1942)
He was born in the forest village of Majdan, in the Carpathians of eastern Galicia, into a family of village Jews who were quite proud of their pedigree as such.  His father traveled a great deal in Horovits’s youth.  He lived in Romania, Turkey, and Persia, spoke many languages, demonstrated a talent for drawing, and was one of the first Jews in the oil industry.  Horovits studied Jewish subject matter with a tutor at home, while simultaneously attending a Ukrainian public school, and in 1914 graduated from a Polish high school in Stanislawów (Stanislav, Stanisle), in eastern Galicia.  When WWI erupted and the Russian army entered Galicia, Horovits was living in his home village.  Later, when the Austrian military retook Galicia, he was mobilized into the Austrian army.  He took part in numerous battles and moved with his regiment over the entire area of the monarchy, and then for a long time he was sent on a mission to Vienna where he studied medicine in the university and worked as a doctor in a camp for Italian prisoners, learned Italian, and worked in a military hospital in Vienna.  After the war he traveled a great deal through various countries of central and western Europe, became involved in teaching, and the entire time wrote poetry, stories, and tales, and produced translations from other languages into Yiddish.  He debuted in print in 1918 in Shmuel-Yankev Imber’s Nayland (New land) in Vienna, the journal in which such figures as A.-M. Fuks and M. Ravitsh, among others, also published.  He was also close to the journal Kritik (Critic) in Vienna, published in Togblat (Daily Newspaper) in Lemberg, Haynt (Today) and Literarishe bleter (Literary leaves) in Warsaw), and Vilner tog (Vilna day), as well as elsewhere.  Along with Moyshe Zilburg, Mani Leyb, Meylekh Ravitsh, and others, he contributed as well to the anthology Toyt-tsiklus (Death cycle) (Vienna: Der kval, 1920), 15 pp.  In book form, he published: Fun mayn heym in di berg (From my home in the mountains) (Vienna: Der kval, 1919), 60 pp.—this first work by Horovitz was enthusiastically received by Yiddish critics; Vunderlekhe mayses (Wonderful tales), legends and stories (Warsaw: Vandere, 1923), 92 pp., illustrated by the author (these two books were later published together by the publishing house of B. Kletskin [Vilna, 1929], 155 pp.); Reyekh fun erd (Scent of the earth), poetry (Vilna, 1930), 151 pp.; Fun itsik vatnmakher biz itsik gutkind, yidishe motivn in der poylisher poezye (From Itsik Vatnmakher to Itsik Gutkind, Jewish motifs in Polish poetry) (Vienna: Tserata, 1938), 67 pp.  He translated for the Yiddish theater Stefan Zweig’s dramatization of Johnson’s Volpone, Ukrainian folksongs, as well as poetry by Shevchenko and Stefanyk.  He also published articles on Jewish art and painting.
He was one of the most capable poets in Yiddish literature.  He enriched Yiddish poetry with his mountain motifs and with his innovative satirical and military-related poems.  Although he belonged to the group of young Galician poets, he initially joined the group when their best representatives were already in Vienna.  Both through the familiar Galician language and through the familiar Galician landscape—more associated with the village than the town—his poems were Galician through and through.  “A sanguine man by nature,” wrote M. Ravitsh, “Horovitz bothered little to become a full-fledged, professional writer.  He used to read his poems out loud at first, once even reciting [a poem] among friends and only later writing it down.  The first person to note Horovits’s poetic talent was Shmuel-Yankev Imber—actually, even before Horovits wrote his first poem down.  Knowledgeable as he was about the art of painting, he also wrote poems about the artists of the Italian Renaissance.”  A gifted drawer, he acquired a reputation for his caricatures of Yiddish writers, and they adorned the walls of the Warsaw writers’ union.  Just prior to WWII, Horovits was living in Stanislawów.  He lived there under the Soviet occupation, 1939-1940, and was active in the literary scene.  He was murdered by the Nazis at the age of forty-seven.  According to the oral testimony of three Jewish survivors, he died on Hoshana Rabbah, 1942, with 9,000 Jews in Stanislawów.  According to another source, he was murdered by local peasants in his birthplace of Majdan.

Horovits is third from right

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 1 (with bibliography); Z. Zilbertsvayg, Leksikon fun yidishn teater (Handbook of the Yiddish theater), vol. 1; P. Markish, in Shtern (Minsk) (March 1927); A. Mark, in Literarishe bleter (Warsaw) (May 30, 1930); G. Bader, Medina veḥakhameha (The state and its sages) (New York, 1934), pp. 76-77; Z. Segalovitsh, Tlomatske 13, fun farbrentn nekhtn (13 Tłomackie St., of scorched yesterdays) (Buenos Aires, 1946); M. Ravitsh, Mayn leksikon (My lexicon), vol. 1 (Montreal, 1947); R. Oyerbakh, in Eynikeyt (New York) (June 1946); Yidishe shriftn, memorial anthology (Lodz, 1946); M. Naygreshl, Gedank un lebn (Thought and life), collection (New York, January-February 1948); Dr. Sh. Bikl, in Zamlbikher 7 (New York) (1948); B. Heler, Antologye fun umgekumene dikhter (Anthology of dead poets) (Warsaw, 1951); Dr. Y. Tenenboym, Galitsye mayn alte heym (Galicia, my old home) (Buenos Aires, 1952), p. 172; Ber Mark, Umgekumene shrayber fun di getos un lagern (Murdered writers from the ghettos and camps) (Warsaw, 1954); Z. Vaynper, in Yidishe kultur (New York) (December 1954); B. Kutsher, Geven amol varshe (As Warsaw once was) (Paris, 1955), see index; Sh. Meltser, in Al naharot (Jerusalem) (1955-1956), p. 431; Y. Sandel, Umgekumene yidishe kinstler (Murdered Jewish artists) (Warsaw, 1957), pp. 122-26; Kh. L. Fuks, in Fun noentn over 3 (New York) (1957), p. 233; Yoysef-Hilel Leyvi, Gezamlte shriftn (Collected writings), vol. 2 (London, 1958); Y. Papernikov, Heymishe un noente (Familiar and close) (Tel Aviv, 1958), pp. 225-26.