Thursday 31 March 2016


AVROM MORTKHE HERSHBERG (1916-September 10, 1985)
            He was a rabbi in Chicago and other cities in the United States, and from 1963 he was rabbi in Mexico City.  He was president of “Merkaz harabonim” (Center for rabbis) in Latin America.  He was the author of Gaystike shtraln, eseyen un ophandungen vegn aktuele problemen loyt dem gayst fun di toyre (Spiritual beams [of light], essays and treatises on realm problems drawn from realm issues from the Torah), vol. 1 (Mexico City, 1967), 207 pp.  He died in New York.

Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 224.


            He was born in the village of Pomushe (Pamūšis), Shavel (Šiauliai) district, Lithuania.  He was the son of the Hebrew and Yiddish writer MEYER-DOVID HERSH.  At age six he entered a “cheder metukan” (improved religious elementary school) in Shavel, and there he studied Hebrew, grammar, and Tanakh.  Over the years 1891-1895, when his father for the first time moved to South Africa, he remained behind working for room and board with a school teacher and earning a reputation as a child prodigy.  At the same time that he was reading Hebrew books, he was studying some Russian and accounting.  After his father returned to Russia in 1895, he lived in Warsaw, studied Talmud further, and also prepared to attend high school.  In his early youth, he was fascinated by the Ḥibat-Tsiyon (Love of Zion) movement and became active in Zionist youth circles.  In 1900 he entered the sixth class of the Kalisz philological high school, from which he graduated in 1903.  He was already at this time involved in politics and had taken part in the illegal meeting of the “All-Russian Union of Jewish Students” in Voronezh.  In 1904 he entered Warsaw University where he studied mathematics for one year, took part in the student strike, and due to the police atmosphere at the university in late 1904, he left for Switzerland, where he entered the sociology faculty at the University of Geneva.  At that time he was already close to the Jewish socialist movement, and in 1905 he organizationally joined the Bund and participated in Bundist circles of emigrants in Switzerland.
            He began his literary career with a political Zionist article in Hatsfira (The timsirenes) in spring 1899, and from 1906 he was publishing publicist works in Folkstsaytung (People’s newspaper) in Vilna and in legal anthologies of the Bund in Vilna—Di naye tsayt (The new times), Tsayt-fragen (Issues of the times), and the like, in which (under the pen name P. Libman) he wrote about Jewish emigration, the national question for Jews, and on social-political themes in general.  In 1907 he was in Warsaw, giving lectures at the Jewish division of the “University for Everyone,” worked for the Bund, and was a member of its Warsaw committee.  He also contributed, 1907-1908, to the Vilna organ of the Polish Socialist Party (or PPS [Polska Partia Socjalistyczna]): Wiedza (Knowledge).  In 1908 he graduated from the faculty of social science at the University of Geneva.  His doctoral dissertation, entitled Le juif errant d’aujourd’hui (The wandering Jew today), for which he was awarded by the University of Geneva the “Prize in Human Geography,” aroused great interest in European academic circles.  In 1909 he was appointed as a private instructor at the University of Geneva, where he gave lectures on demography and statistics.  From that point forward, more than anything else Hersh specialized in these particular fields.  In his work he used the Marxist approach, and he published his achievements in the field in Swiss and French academic and vocational journals in French and German.  He was a delegate in 1910 to the eighth Bundist conference in Lemberg.  He spent the years 1912-1913 in St. Petersburg, where he served as co-editor of the Bundist weekly newspaper Di tsayt (The times), as well as the initiator of the general Jewish protest strike against the Beilis trial.
            From 1912 he published his writings on Jewish socio-economic issues (under his own name as well as under the pseudonyms: P. Libman, H. Blumberg, Bal-Khloymes, P. L., A Feder, P. Lemanski, Akademikus, Lubomir Shavelski, and L. Sh.) in Tsukunft (Future) in New York, in Bundist and general legal and illegal socialist publications in Yiddish, Russian, and Polish, and he was a member of the editorial board of Otklili Bunda (Echo of the Bund) and Informatsionnyi listok (Informational leaflet), publications of the foreign committee of the Bund in Geneva.  In 1915 he served as a delegate of the Bund to the international socialist conference in Zimmerwald.  In 1927 he became a full professor at the University of Geneva.  After WWI he published correspondence pieces in the Russian daily newspapers, Dni (Days) and Volya rossii (Will of Russia), principally about the negotiations at the League of Nations which had ties to socio-economic issues.  He also contributed work to highly important Geneva, Lausanne, and Parisian periodicals.  His work in Bulletin de l’Institut National Genevois elicited considerable clamor concerning mortality in the neutral countries during WWI.  Professor Hersh penned specialized works in Yiddish for the organ of the Bund, Folkstsaytung, in Warsaw, in which in a refine, folkish Yiddish elucidated difficult socio-economic problems, as well as issues of emigration, sickness, and mortality.
            With the creation of YIVO, Hersh was a frequent contributor to its scholarly publications and a member of its economics-statistics section.  Among the important writings Hersh wrote for YIVO publications were: “Di yidishe bafelkerung fun der frantseyzisher tsofn-afrike (alzhir, tunis un moroko)” (The Jewish population of French North Africa—Algiers, Tunis, Morocco), Yivo-bleter (Pages from YIVO) 2.3 (1931), pp. 234-40; “Shprakhlekhe asimilirtkeyt bay di yidishe studentn fun di varshever hoykhshuln” (Linguistic assimilation of Jewish students in Warsaw senior high schools), Yivo-bleter 4-5, pp. 441-44; “Ekonomishe evolutsye un demografishe evolutsye” (Economic evolution and demographic evolution), Yivo-bleter 8 (1935), pp. 107-37; “Vegn di problemes fun der natirlekhe bafelkerungs-bavegung bay yidn” (On the problems of the natural population migration among Jews), Ekonomishe shriftn (Economic writings) 1 (1928), pp. 249-53 (Vilna); “Geburtikeyt un shtarbikeyt bay der yidisher bafelkerung in varshe” (Birth rate and mortality within the Jewish population in Warsaw), Yivo-bleter 4-3, pp. 193-208; “Shtrikhn tsu der demografye fun der yidisher un nit-yidisher bafelkerung fun der poylisher republik” (Features of the demography of the Jewish and Gentile population in the Polish Republic), Ekonomishe shriftn 2 (1932), pp. 174-200; “Tsu der yidisher farbrekherishkeyt in poyln” (On rates of Jewish criminality in Poland), Yivo-bleter 9 and 10 (1936); “Di demografishe problem bay yidn nokh der tsveyter velt-milkhome” (The demographic problem for Jews after WWII), Yivo-bleter 26 (1945); “Yidishe un nit-yidishe farbrekherishkeyt in poyln in 1932-1937” (Jewish and Gentile rates of criminality in Poland, 1932-1937), Yivo-bleter 20 (1942), pp. 181-98; “A pekl verter un oysdrukn  fun pilvishek” (A group of words and expressions from Pilvishok), Yidishe shprakh (Yiddish language) 4 (1944), pp. 51-54; “Tsu der demografye fun der yidisher bafelkerung in kovner lite erev der tsveyter velt-milkhome” (Concerning the demography of the Jewish population of Kovno, Lithuania, on the eve of WWII), Yivo-bleter 34 (1950), pp. 274-76; and others as well.  With the creation of the Algemeyne yidishe entsiklopedye (General Jewish encyclopedia), Hersh was one of its most prominent contributors.  He wrote shorter and longer entries for the “Alef-beys” volume and the following important pieces for the volume “Yidn” (Jews): “Yidishe demografye” (Jewish demography), vol. “Yidn A” (Paris, 1939), cols. 331-86; “Yidish emigratsye far di letste hundert yor” (Jewish emigration over the last century), “Yidn A,” cols. 441-82; “Di yidn in der shvayts” (Jews in Switzerland), vol. “Yidn D” (New York, 1950), cols. 695-704.  In English publications of the Algemeyne entsiklopedye, he published: “Jewish Migrations During the Last Hundred Years,” in The Jewish People Past and Present, vol. 1 (New York, 1946), pp. 407-30; “Jewish Population Trends in Europe,” “The Jewish Population in Palestine,” in The Jewish People Past and Present, vol. 2 (New York, 1948), pp. 1-25 and 40-50.
            Among his books, in Yiddish: Di yidishe emigratsye (Jewish emigration) (Vilna, 1914), 240 pp.; Di aliya un yeride (Immigration to Israel and emigration from Israel) (Warsaw, n.d., written in 1927), 46 pp.; Farbrekherishkeyt fun yidn un nit-yidn in poyln (Rates of criminality among Jews and Gentiles in Poland) (Vilna: YIVO, 1937), 265 pp. (Yiddish) and 18 pp. (French); Mayn yidishkeyt (My Jewishness), mimeograph (Geneva, 1944), 47 pp.; Af der grenets fun tsaytn (On the border of the times) (Buenos Aires, 1952), 301 pp.  In French: Essai sur les variations periodiques et leur mensuration (Essay on periodic variations and their measurement) (Rome, 1935), 184 pp.; “Bolchévisme” juif et “antisemitisme” polonaise (Jewish “Bolshevism” and Polish “anti-Semitism”) (Geneva, 1918), 16 pp. (The last pamphlet was an answer to an anti-Semitic professor in Lausanne concerning the then widespread view that identified Jews with Bolshevism.); L’inégalité devant la mort d’après les statistiques de la ville de Paris. Effets de la situation sociale sur la mortalité (Inequality before death according to statistics of the city of Paris, effects of the social circumstances concerning mortality) (Paris, 1920), 49 pp.; Des principaux effets demographiques des guerres modernes (Principal demographic effects of world wars) (Rome, 1931), 19 pp.; D’une formule générale de la baisse de la mortalité dans les divers pays d’Europe occidentale (A general formula for the drop in mortality in diverse countries of Western Europe) (Paris, 1937), 40 pp.; Le Juif délinquant; étude comparative sur la criminalité de la population juive et non-juive de la République polonaise (The delinquent Jew, a comparative study of criminality among the Jewish and Gentile populations in the Polish Republic) (Paris, 1938), 108 pp.  In English: “Delinquency among Jews,” an offprint published in The Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology 27.4 (November-December 1936), pp. 515-38 (Chicago).  In Polish: O przestępczości wśród Żydów w Polsce (Crime among Jews in Poland) (Warsaw, 1938), 119 pp.  Among other publications: Mon judaïsme, le Judaïsme vu par un positiviste juif (My Judaism, Judaism as seen by a Jewish positivist) (Geneva, 1941), 44 pp.; Quo Vadis Geneva? Données et réflexiones sur le problème de la population en Suisse et plus particuliérement a Genève (Quo Vadis Geneva? Facts and reflections on the problem of the Swiss population and most particularly that of Geneva) (Geneva, 1941), 62 pp.; La méthode des potentiels-vie appliquée à l’étude du mouvement naturel de la population (Method of the life-potentials applied to the study of natural population migration) (La Hay, 1942), 32 pp.; De la démographie actuelle à la démographie potentielle (From actual to potential demography) (Geneva, 1944), 129 pp.; Le problème démographique juif après la seconde guerre mondiale (The Jewish demographic problem after WWII) (Geneva, 1947), 30 pp.  He also penned a preface to a work by Georges Gliksman, L’aspect economique de la question juive en Pologne (The economic aspect of the Jewish question in Poland) (Paris, 1929).
            During WWII Professor Hersh did a great deal to help Jews in lands under German occupation.  He was the official representative of the Jewish Workers’ Committee in New York and made use of his prominence with the Swiss authorities to ease Swiss neutrality and border regulations and to offer asylum rights to those who succeeded in getting across the Swiss border.  He also did cultural and relief work among the internees in Swiss refugee camps.  He was the founder and for many years served as head of the Jewish Cultural Association and the Jewish Library in Geneva.  During WWII he assisted in transplanting World ORT (Association for the Promotion of Skilled Trades) and OZE (Obschestvo zdravookhraneniia evreev—Society for the Protection of the Health of the Jewish Population) central from Paris to Geneva; he founded the great Jewish Library in Geneva, which grew to be one of the major Jewish libraries in Europe.  In 1945 to honor the thirty years of Hersh’s professorial activities, the University of Geneva dedicated the academic publication, Mélanges d’études economiques et sociales (Collection of economic and social studies), 330 pp., including an appreciation of his personality and a biographical introduction by the dean of the University of Geneva, Claudius Terrier.  In 1947 Hersh made a research trip to Israel and gave a speech in Hebrew, on the radio in Jerusalem, entitled “Hayishuv vehagola” (The settlement and the Diaspora).  He returned from Israel with much affection for the settlement.  “I sensed in the Jewish settlement the great spiritual strengths of our people,” he wrote, “and I truly have gained a great affection for it.”  In 1948 he came to New York as a delegate to the World Jewish Culture Congress.  At the same time he took part as a delegate to a YIVO conference in New York, at which he gave the keynote speech.  Shortly after WWII, when the Bund was being reorganized, Hersh was one of the most active leaders; he took part in the first world conference of the Bund in Brussels, Belgium, in 1947, and he was a member of the “World Coordinating Committee” of the Bund and its representative to the Socialist International.  In 1952 he made a trip to South America (Argentina, Uruguay, and Brazil) on assignment from the Bund, and at the same time gave lectures at universities there.  In 1955 he made a trip to South Africa to see his family there.  In 1954 he became chairman of the international conference for demography and statistics, called by the international statistics commission of the United Nations in Rome.  He had since 1949 been the president of the “World Union for the Scientific Study of Population Movement”; he was also a member of the World Society for Statistics and Demography, the World Statistics Institute, and the National Institute in Geneva.  Aside from his multiple academic activities on an international scale, Hersh wrote a great deal in Yiddish in his last years.  He published his works in: Tsukunft and Unzer tsayt (Our time) in New York; Unzer shtime (Our voice) in Paris; and Lebns-fragn (Issues of the times) in Tel Aviv; among others.  He also wrote poetry and translated for himself alone seven of his favorite poems from world literature.  In 1955 he was awarded the Shaban Prize from the World Jewish Culture Congress for an essay on the links between Israel and the Diaspora.
            In April 1955 Hersh traveled to Montreal to the world conference of the Bund, and he was also the guest lecturer on demography at the University of Montreal.  He was also invited to a meeting of the United Nations Commission on Population.  On the eve of the conference, he became ill and was taken to a hospital.  He read his speech for the opening of the conference onto a recording machine.  On April 23, 1955 he returned to Geneva, entered a hospital there, and then died after an operation.  After his death they had engraved on his gravestone in Hebrew: “Here rests Peysekh-Libman, son of Meyer-Dovid Hersh, who did not find his way in life”; and in French: “Ici repose le Juif errant Liebman Hersch” (Here lies the wandering Jew, [Peysekh] Libman Hersh).

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 1; A. Revutski, in Forverts (New York) (December 1928); Ab. Cahan, in Forverts (October 4, 1931); Tsvien, in Forverts (December 26, 1932); Dr. A. Mukdoni, in Morgn-zhurnal (New York) (December 2, 1932); Shmuel Niger, in Tog (New York) (February 2, 1932; November 19, 1955); Sh. Rozhanski, Dos yidishe gedrukte vort un teater in argentine (The published Yiddish word and theater in Argentina), vol. 1 (Buenos Aires, 1941), p. 84; L. Shusheys, in Di naye tsayt (Buenos Aires) (July 31, 1952); Z. Diamant, in Forverts (December 21, 1952); Diamant, in Yivo-bleter (New York) (1954); Diamant, in Fun noentn over (New York) 4 (1959); G. Aronson, in Der veker (New York) (August 15, 1953); B. Mark, in Folksshtime (Warsaw) (April 15, 1954); R. Abramovitsh, in Forverts (June 15, 1955; Abramovitsh, in Tsukunft (September 1955); M. Mandelman, in Keneder odler (Montreal) (June 30, 1955); Mandelman, in Di shtime (Mexico City) (July 9, 1955); Y. Kharlash, in Unzer tsayt (New York) (June 1955); Kharlash, in Doyres bundistn (Generations of Bundists), vol. 2 (New York, 1956), pp. 32-40; B. Shefner, in Undzer gedank (Melbourne) (July 1955); A. Glants, in Tog-morgn zhurnal (New York) (September 11, 1955); M. Shtrigler, in Idisher kemfer (New York) (September 2, 1955); Dr. E. Sherer, in Unzer tsayt (October and November 1955); Jeanne Hersch (his daughter), in Unzer tsayt (November 1955); Jeanne Hersch, in Foroys (Mexico City) (July 1, 1956); Y. Botoshanski, in Di prese (Buenos Aires) (January 4, 1956); A. Golomb, in Kultur un dertsiung (New York) (March 1956); A. Almi, in Fraye arbeter shtime (New York) (April 6, 1956); P. Shvarts, in Fun noentn over 2 (1956); D. Eynhorn, in Forverts (May 26, 1957); Yedies fun yivo (New York) 57 (June 1957); obituaries in the Yiddish, Hebrew, French, and English press in various periodicals; Yivo-biblyografye (YIVO bibliography), part 1, 1925-1941 (New York, 1943), part 2, 1942-1950 (New York, 1950); Universal Jewish Encyclopedia, vol. 5 (New York, 1941); Who’s Who in World Jewry (New York, 1955); Mélanges d’études economiques et sociales (Geneva, 1945), including a biographical introduction.
Zaynvl Diamant

Wednesday 30 March 2016


            He was the father of BENTSIEN-ZUNDL HERSH and PEYSEKH-LIBMAN HERSH.  In the early 1880s he was living in the village of Pomushe (Pamūšis), Shavel (Šiauliai), later in Shavel, Lithuania.  He was a scholar, a follower of the Jewish Enlightenment, and strong “lover of Zion” (ḥovev tsiyon).  He used to study a chapter of the Mishna on Friday nights with craftsmen.  He published articles and correspondence pieces for: Hamagid (The preacher), Hamelits (The advocate), Hatsfira (The siren), and Haivri (The Jew), among others.  He and his family (aside from Perets-Libman) in 1891 moved to South Africa.  He returned to Russia in 1905 and published in Hatsfira a piece of work on the uprising in the Transvaal and its impact on the local Jews.  After then returning to South Africa, he wrote for the local Yiddish newspapers.  In the magazine Dorem-afrike (South Africa), issues 2 and 3 (1923) in Johannesburg, he published historical notices under the title: “Zikhroynes fun a pyoner” (Memoirs from a pioneer).  He also wrote under the pen name “M. Ben-Ishi.”  He died in South Africa.

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 1 (within the biography of Peysekh-Libman Hersh); Y. M. Sherman, in Dorem afrike (Johannesburg) (March 1952); Professor Libman Hersh, preface to his book Af der grenets fun tsaytn (At the border of the times) (Buenos Aires, 1952), p. 10; Gustav Saron and Louis Holtz, The Jews in South Africa (London: Oxford University Press, 1955), pp. 63, 155, 186, 195.
Zaynvl Diamant


BENTSIEN-ZUNDL HERSH (1883-July 16, 1935)
            He was born in the village of Pomushe (Pamūšis), Shavel (Šiauliai) district, Lithuania.  He was the younger brother of Peysekh-Libman Hersh.  He moved in 1891 with his parents to South Africa.  He began corresponding from South Africa in 1903 for Fraynd (Friend) in St. Petersburg and to write for the Johannesburg Yiddish weekly Hakokhav (The star), edited by Yisroel-Mikhl Troyb.  In 1904 he became a contributor to B. Levitski’s Di yudishe fraye prese (The free Jewish press), which appeared over the course of five months; in 1907 it was renewed under the editorship of Bentsien Hersh but only came out for a few weeks.  On February 25, 1909, he began to publish Di yudishe fon (The Jewish banner), initially twice weekly and gratis, and from 1910 as “an independent weekly newspaper for all Jewish interests in South Africa”; the newspaper was the official organ of the South African Zionist Federation, and Hersh was its editor (in 1912-1913 the newspaper became a daily, later semi-weekly, and it finally ceased publication on August 22, 1913).  He was as well a contributor to Jewish Chronicle in Cape Town, in which he published translations from Sholem-Aleykhem, and at the same time was correspondent and contributor to Yiddish newspapers in other countries.  He befriended and attracted contributions to Di yudishe fon from many local writers.  His last years, Hersh devoted himself to Zionist activities, and he served as honorary chairman of the editorial council of Zionist Record in Johannesburg, in which he wrote under a standing rubric, “Here, There and Everywhere.”  He also placed pieces in Der afrikaner (The African) in Johannesburg, during the years of WWI.  He died in Johannesburg.

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, in Leksikon, vol. 1; Y. M. Sherman, in Dorem afrike (Johannesburg) (September 1948); Y. Sh. Yudelovits, in Dorem afrike (July 1950); L. Feldman, in Dorem afrike (December 1952); Feldman, Yidn in yohanesburg (Jews in Johannesburg) (Johannesburg, 1956), p. 303; Universal Jewish Encyclopedia, vol. 5 (New York, 1941); obituary in American Jewish Yearbook 5697 (Jewish Publication Society, 1936/1937); Gustav Saron and Louis Holtz, The Jews in South Africa (London: Oxford University Press, 1955), see index.
Zaynvl Diamant


            He was a well-known gynecologist in Riga.  He stood at the head of the community hospital for women in childbirth, Linat Hatsedek (Hostel for the poor).  He was active in the new Jewish school, the new state theater, YIVO, and a leader in ORT (Association for the Promotion of Skilled Trades) and OZE (Obschestvo zdravookhraneniia evreev—Society for the Protection of the Health of the Jewish Population).  He authored: Muter un kind, lernbukh far higyene fun der muter un kind (Mother and child, hygiene textbook for mother and child) (Riga, 1938), 192 pp.  He disappeared during the years of WWII.  His name was nowhere to be found—not among the survivors, not among the murdered under the Nazis, and not among the deported to Siberia by the Bolsheviks.

Source: Yahadut latviya (Judaism in Latvia) (Tel Aviv, 1953), pp. 124, 208, 328.


            He lived in Lemberg, Galicia, where he was known to be a follower of the Jewish Enlightenment and a lover of Hebrew and Yiddish literature.  He was a member of the “Shomer Yisrael” (Guardian of Israel) association and a contributor to the group’s organ which bore the same name.  In 1887, several years before his death, he translated into Yiddish the poem by Yehuda-Leyb Gordon, “Kotso shel yud” (The dot of a yud), Gordon added a few verses to the translation.  The translation circulated in manuscript, but was never published.

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 1 (with a bibliography); the diary of Yehuda-Leyb Gordon, in Haavar (Petrograd, 1918), vol. 1, p. 23.


            He was a Satmar Hassid.  He authored: Mirer yeshive in goles (The Mirer Yeshiva in exile) (Brooklyn, 1950), 28 pp.; Sefer bayit neeman (Volume for the home of the faithful) (Jerusalem, 1971/1972), 80 pp.; Malkhes satmar, satmarer kenigraykh in amerike (The royalty of Satmat, the Satmar kingdom in America) (Brooklyn, 1981), 128 pp.

Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 542.


YANKEV-SHIYE HERTSIG (1887-April 13, 1956)
            He was born in Stryj, eastern Galicia.  He graduated from Lemberg University and practiced as a lawyer.  He was a cofounder and chairman of the Labor Zionist Party in Stryj, vice chair of the student organization Emunah (Faith) in Lemberg—it was here for the first time in Galicia that lectures by Avrom Reyzen, Y. L. Perets, and others took place.  He was an officer in the Austrian army during WWI, later settling in Jaslo (Jasło), western Galicia, where during WWII he was on the Aryan side of the city during the Nazi occupation.  He took part in the underground movement in Poland.  In 1946 he moved to Paris, and from there he moved to Canada in 1952.  He began writing poetry in Polish, switching to Yiddish after the WWII.  He published stories in Unzer vort (Our word) in Paris.  He authored the dramas Di pastke (The trap) and Emese mentshn (Real people), among others, which were produced on stage.  He was the editor of a mimeographed weekly bulletin in Yiddish and Polish, entitled Farband fun poylishe yidn in frankraykh (Union of Polish Jews in France) (Paris, 1946-1947).  His works, “Etapn fun milkhome-vanderungen” (Stages in war migrations) and a historical monograph about Jaslo appeared in Yasler yizker-bukh (Jaslo remembrance volume), published in Israel.  A portion of his surviving writings, among them the story “Der khsidishe tants” (The Hassidic dance), in which he describes the martyrdom of Hassidic Jews under the Nazis, was published in Keneder odler (Canadian eagle) in Montreal.  He died in Montreal.

Sources: Keneder odler (Montreal) (May 15, 1956; May 11, 1959).
Khayim Leyb Fuks

Tuesday 29 March 2016


            He was born in Volhynia.  He lived in the middle of the nineteenth and early twentieth century in Volynia, Romania, and Hungary.  He was a biblical expositor and religious leader.  He was the author of Kelalim shebeberakhot (Principles in the prayers) (Vizhnits-Przemyśl, 1913), 79 pp.

Sources: Bet eked sefarim; M. Kosover, in Yuda a. yofe-bukh (Volume for Yuda A. Yofe) (New York, 1958), pp. 70, 78.


            He was born in Germany.  In the latter half of the nineteenth century, he moved to London where he was employed as a Hebrew and German teacher.  He was active in the Ḥibat-Tsiyon (Love of Zion) movement and cofounder of a Ḥibat-Tsiyon Association.  In the early 1890s he moved to the United States and disappeared from Jewish community life.  He was editor of the Yiddish-language weekly newspaper Hamitspe (The watchtower) which appeared in London for several weeks (the first issue was published on June 10, 1887).  He filled out the entire newspaper practically all by himself.  Its language was Germanized Yiddish, but free of Anglicisms.  Also carried in the newspaper were translations of current Hebrew poetry, signed: E. I. Kh.—the initials of Froym Ish-Kishor.

Source: E. R. Malachi, in Shikago (Chicago) (August 1933).


            He was born in Lodz, Poland, into a well-off family.  He studied at Warsaw University, graduated as a lawyer.  In his student years, he was active among the academic youth of the right Labor Zionists in Lodz and Warsaw.  He lived in Lodz until WWII, escaping to Russia, and until 1944 he lived in the Komi Republic.  He returned to Poland in 1946, became a member of the central committee of the right Labor Zionists and the central committee of Jews in Poland, and assisted in carrying out the unification of the right and left Labor Zionists.  In 1949 he left Poland, lived for a time in Paris, and from 1950 was a resident in the state of Israel where he joined the Communists.  He began writing for the publications of the Labor Zionists in Poland: Nasze Hasło (Our catchword), Dos vort (The word), Unzer vort (Our word), and Bafrayung (Liberation)—in Warsaw.  He also contributed to the postwar Labor Zionist Party press in Poland: Dos vort, Unzer vort, Nasze Słowo (Our word), Dror (Freedom), Arbeter tsaytung (Workers’ newspaper), and Arbeter vort (Workers’ word).  He also placed pieces in: Dos naye lebn (The new life) in Lodz and Warsaw; Nay velt (New world), Lemerḥav (Into the open), Al hamishmar (On guard), and Fray-yisroel (Free Israel)—in Israel; Arbeter vort in Paris; and elsewhere.  He was editor of Dos vort and Nasze Słowo, and coeditor of Arbeter vort in Poland.  He published as well under such pen names: Froym Fish and Froym Harlev.

Source: Khayim Leyb Fuks, in Fun noentn over (New York) 3 (1957), p. 276.


            He was born in Dvinsk (Daugavpils), Latvia.  He received a Jewish and a general education.  He graduated from a Russian high school and studied at the University of Riga.  He was chairman of the Left Labor Zionist Party in Latvia.  He was also active in Jewish school curricula.  He contributed to the Riga Yiddish daily newspapers Dos folk (The people) and Frimorgn (Morning); and to Arbeter tsaytung (Workers’ newspaper) in Warsaw; and other serials as well.  In 1937 he moved to Russia, and since that point in time there has been no further information known about him.  His younger brother, SHIMEN HERTSBAKH, was a reporter for Dos folk (1920-1927)—his fate is also unknown.

Sources: M. Gerts, 25 yor yidishe prese in letland (25 years of the Yiddish press in Latvia) (Riga, 1933), pp. 38, 40; Y. Meir, in Yahadut latviya (Judaism in Latvia) (Tel Aviv, 1953), pp. 123, 153, 155, 156.


MEYER HERTS (b. January 12, 1897)
            He was born in Kamionka, Lublin district, Poland, into a Hassidic, rabbinic family which drew its pedigree from R. Shoyel Vol (Saul Wahl).  In his youth he moved with his parents to Radom and there studied in religious primary school, synagogue study hall, the small Kotsker synagogue, and with his father, the ritual slaughterer.  He began writing Hassidic tales in 1913, but they were only published in 1922, in Lodzer tageblat (Lodz daily newspaper), where he would later become a regular contributor.  Until WWII he lived in Radom, Kelts (Kielce), and for a time Lodz.  He also wrote for: Folksblat (People’s newspaper), Nayer folksblat (New people’s newspaper), and Lodzer tageblat in Lodz; Unzer ekspres (Our express) in Warsaw; Tog (Day) in Vilna; Togblat (Daily newspaper) in Lemberg; Dos naye lebn (The new life) in Bialystok; Polyesyer togblat (Polesia daily newspaper) in Brisk (Brest); and Yidishes tageblat (Jewish daily newspaper) in New York.  In all these publications, he wrote Hassidic tales, stories, and sketches of Jewish life in Poland.  He also published several newspaper novels in installments in Lodzer tageblat and Nayer folksblat, among them: In opgrunt (At the precipice, 1926) and Di belaydikte (The insulted, 1928), among others.  He was editor, 1923-1938, of the weeklies: Rademer lebn (Radom life), Rademer-keltser vokhnblat (Radom-Kielce weekly newspaper).  He was killed by the Nazi murderers, precisely when and where remains unknown.  His younger brother, VOLF HERTS, a talented author of fiction and a regular contributor to Rademer-keltser lebn (Radom-Kielce life), was also murdered with his older brother, Meyer.

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 1; Biblyografishe yorbikher fun yivo (Bibliographic yearbooks from YIVO) (Warsaw, 1928).


YANKEV-SHOLEM HERTS (August 6, 1893-April 18, 1992)
            He was born in Dubienka, near the Bug River, Lublin region, Poland.  From childhood he lived in Warsaw, studied in a religious primary school, high school, and with private tutors.  In his early youth he began working, initially in a factory, later as an employee in a manufacturing company.  During WWI he was active in the Bundist youth movement and in the Bund itself.  He was among the creators of a socialist youth movement in Poland and, over the years 1919-1939, was a member of the executive of the central committee of “Tsukunft” (Future), the Bund’s youth movement, a member of the Warsaw committee of the Bund, and from 1929 a representative of the latter on the central committee of the Bund.  During the German occupation of Poland (from September 1939), he left Warsaw and until autumn 1940 he was living in Vilna.  That very year he came to the United States where he was active in the Bundist movement.  He was a member, 1941-1946, to the American representation of the Polish Bund; from 1947 he was a member of the executive bureau of the Bund world coordinating committee.  He began his writing activities in 1919 with articles on contemporary community issues for Sotsyalistisher yugnt-shtime (Socialist voice of youth) in Warsaw, and from that time on he was a regular contributor to the Bundist-socialist Yiddish press.  He was an internal contributor, 1922-1939, and evening editor of Folks-tsaytung (People’s newspaper) in Warsaw, as well as contributor to Yugnt-veker (Youth alarm) and to Unzer tsayt (Our time), the Bundist theoretical monthly magazine also in Warsaw.  From 1941 he was a member of the editorial board of the New York Bundist monthly Unzer tsayt and he contributed as well to: Forverts (Forward), Der veker (The alarm), Gerekhtikeyt (Justice), Tsukunft (Future), Der fraynd (The friend), and Di sotsyalistishe shtime (The socialist voice), among others, in New York.  He authored a number of pamphlets and calls from the central committee of the Bund’s youth group, “Tsukunft,” in Poland.
           In America he devoted himself to research into Jewish history, especially the history of the Jewish socialist movement, and he published the books: Di yidishe tragedye in eyrope (The Jewish tragedy in Europe) (New York 1943), 79 pp., published anonymously; Henrik erlikh un viktor alter, a lebn fun kemfer, a toyt fun martirer  (Henryk Erlich and Viktor Alter, a life of struggle, a death of martyrdom) (New York, 1943), 96 pp.; Di geshikhte fun a yugnt, der kleyner bund-yugnt bund-tsukunft in poyln (The history of a youth, the younger Bund youth, Tsukunft, in Poland) (New York, 1946), 589 pp.; Di yidn un ukrayne, fun di eltste tsaytn biz nokh takh vetat (The Jews of Ukraine, from ancient times until through 1648-1649) (New York, 1949), 256 pp.; 50 yor arbeter-ring in yidishn lebn (Fifty years of the Workmen’s Circle in Jewish life) (New York, 1950), 375 pp. (including a 36-page listing of the Workmen’s Circle leaders, compiled by Yefim Yerushun); Hirsh lekert (Hirsh Lekert) (New York, 1952), 117 pp. (with an 18-page bibliography, compiled by Yefim Yeshurin); Di yidishe sotsyalistishe bavegung in amerike, 70 yor sotsyalistishe tetikeyt, 30 yor yidishe sotsyalistishe farband (The Jewish socialist movement in America, seventy years of socialist activity, thirty years of the Jewish Socialist Union) (New York, 1954), 412 pp.; Di geshikhte fun bund in lodzh (The history of the Bund in Lodz) (New York, 1958), 480 pp.  He co-edited Sotsyalistishe yugnt-shtime (1919-1920) and edited Yugnt-veker (1923-1939).  He was the compiler of Zigelboym-bukh (Volume for [Szmul] Zygielbojm) and wrote a biography of the Szmul-Mortkhe Zygielbojm (New York, 1947), 408 pp.  He compiled, edited, and wrote a great number of biographies for Doyres bundistn (Generations of Bundists), 3 vols. (New York, 1956-1968), 1550 pp.  He also compiled Der bund in bilder (The Bund in pictures) (New York, 1958), 192 pp.  He also co-edited Di geshikhte fun “bund” (The history of the Bund), 5 vols. (New York, 1960-1984).  He published as well under such pen names as: A. B. Ts., A. I. B., Y. Shats, Y. Ernster, Pauper, Natus, A. Glaykher, Bo. Sh-m, Sholem, Fride, Y. Hart, Y. H., A. D. Ker, A. B., and the like.  He died in New York.

Sources: H. Gutgeshtalt, in Yugnt-veker (Warsaw) (July 1, 1939); V. Shulman, in Der veker (New York) (September 1, 1946; September 15, 1949); E. Pat, in Yivo-bleter (New York) 1 (1947); Y. Varshavski, in Forverts (New York) (March 20, 1949); Kh. Liberman, in Forverts (July 18, 20, and 22, 1949); Lea Finkelshteyn, in Kultur un dertsiung (New York) (October, November, December 1949); Dr. A. Mukdoni, in Morgn-zhurnal (New York) (July 3, 1949; November 19, 1950); Mukdoni, in Der veker (September 1, 1954; October 15, 1954; November 15, 1954); Dr. Y. Shatski, in In Jewish Bookland (New York) (September, October 1946; September 1954); H. Rogof, in Forverts (July 16, 1950); Shmuel Niger, in Der fraynd (New York) (July-August 1950); Y. Y. Trunk, in Poyln (New York) 7 (1953), p. 150; M. Ravitsh, in Keneder odler (Montreal) (January 19, 1953); D. Blond, in Unzer tsayt (New York) (May 1, 1953); M. Osherovitsh, in Forverts (July 25, 1954); Y. Kharlash, in Unzer tsayt (October 1954); D. Shub, in Yivo-bleter 39 (1955); P. Shvarts, in Fun noentn over (New York) 2 (1956); Dr. E. Sherer, in Unzer tsayt (January 1957); Dr. Y. Lifshits, in Foroys (Mexico City) (August 1958); E. Novogrudski, in Unzer tsayt (November 1958); P. Shteynvaks, Siluetn fun a dor (Silhouettes of a generation) (Buenos Aires, 1958), pp. 247-49; A. Byalik, in Unzer tsayt (Januatry 1959).
Khayim Leyb Fuks

[Additional information from: Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 224.]


YOYSEF HERTS (HERTZ) (May 4, 1776-May 23, 1828)
            He was born in Fürth, near Nuremberg, Germany.  His father was Herts Eshvegl.  He was by trade an engraver and draftsman, and he was a teacher of calligraphy in the local Talmud-Torah.  He excelled with his vignettes for the five-volumes of the Zirndorf Tanakh edition, “Kirya neemana” (Faithful city), published in Fürth in 1805, for David Ottensoser’s Targum sheni al Megilat Ester, ins daytshe iberzetsṭ tsinekhsṭ fir froyentsimmer (Second translation of the Scroll of Esther, in German translation for use in the women’s chamber) (Sulzbach, 1820), and for Geschichte der Juden (History of the Jews) (Fürth, 1824-1826), as well as for the 1826 translation of the Sulzbach High Holiday prayer book.  Herts was the author of the rhymed Purim play, entitled Ester oder di belonte tugend, ayne posse in fir abshniten yidish-daytsh mundart als baylage tsum shalakhmones an purim (Esther or the rewarded virtue, a farce in four parts, Judeo-German dialect as supplement to Purim treats) (Fürth, 1828), second edition (Fürth, 1854), 22 pp., one of the rare sources of Bavarian Yiddish.  In the German “Preface from the Publisher,” the author admitted that “this small work is utterly trifling,” and that he thought of it “as only an amusing entertainment for my consideration, only through this I urge my dear friends to determine for me if I should hand it over to the printer.”  This bit, though, is characteristic as a remnant of bygone Yiddish literature in Germany and of Bavarian Yiddish, mainly of the specific dialect of the old respected Jewish community of Fürth (southern Germany).  Herts was also the author of the parodies: Der esreg und di tsitrone (The etrog and the citron), Di yoʺk kerts und dos khanike kertsele (The Yom Kippur candle and the little Hanukkah candle), Das lid far der matse (The matzo song)—after F. Schiller’s “Song of the Bell”—and the parody in prose, Dekret dos kenigs der beyde seyder nekht (Decree of the king on both Passover seder nights).

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 1 (with a bibliography); Z. Zilbertsvayg, Leksikon fun yidishn teater (Handbook of Yiddish theater), vol.1 (with a bibliography); Israel Davidson, Parody in Jewish Literature (New York, 1907); Encyclopedia Judaica, vol. 7; Robert M. Copeland and Nathan Suskind, eds., The Language of Herz’s Esther University of Alabama Press, 1976), xiv, 439 pp.

[Additional information from: Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), cols. 223-24.]


YEHUDE-LEYB HERTS (L. HARRISON) (1856-September 1918)
            He lived in Wooster, Massachusetts.  He translated into Yiddish portions of the Tanakh (Hebrew Bible).  He published Biblishe historye (Biblical history), “Genesis or the formation of the chosen people, first volume” (New York, 1913), 12 pp., with a message on the second page, entitled “Brothers and Sisters!” and with “An Explanation” on page three.  He also published Koyheles (Ecclesiastes) (New York, 1916), 67 pp., “in three languages: Hebrew, Yiddish, and English, following the order of the poem, translated, explained, and arranged by L. Harrison,” with an excerpt from the review by G. Zelikovitsh in Tageblat (Daily newspaper).  The small book also included a variety of approbations and, at the end of the English portion, a “Directory of Jewish nobility in America,” meaning those who had helped him publish his translations.  He died in St. Louis, Missouri.


ZALMEN HERTS (1875-April 30, 1938)
            He was born in Stanislav (Stanislavov), eastern Galicia, into a working-class family.  From his youth he was active in the Zionist youth movement, later becoming a business employee, while remaining active in the employees’ union “Haivri” and in the “Tsiyon” (Zion) association in Lemberg.  He later served as director of the Labor Zionist Party in Galicia.  He published in Haivri (The Jew) in Lemberg correspondence pieces and articles about the lives of Jewish workers.  He also contributed to: Lemberger togblat (Lemberg daily newspaper) and Der yudisher arbayter (The Jewish worker), in which among other things he placed a series of articles that would come out as a pamphlet: Di natsyonale goles-politik (National diaspora policy) (Lemberg, 1909), 32 pp.  The pamphlet had special significance as a document on the economic conditions of Jews, as well as a more general look at the relationship between politics and culture in Galicia at that time.  At the time of the war between Ukraine and Poland in 1918, Herts was one of the local Jewish community leaders who signed a proclamation before Lemberg Jews to establish a Jewish self-defense.  He lived thereafter in Germany, France, and Belgium, where he contributed to the Labor Zionist press.  He lived illegally underground during WWII.  He died in Brussels.

Sources: Der yidisher arbeter pinkes (Warsaw, 1928), p. 366; Y. Kener, Kvershnit (Cross-section) (New York, 1947), p. 109; Dr. Y. Tenenboym, Galitsye, mayn alte heym (Galicia, my old home) (Buenos Aires, 1952), see index; Dr. N. M. Gelber, in Pirke galitsiya (Chapters on Galicia) (Tel Aviv, 1957); A. Rays, in Pirke galitsiya, p. 307.
Khayim Leyb Fuks

Monday 28 March 2016


YOYSEF HERNHUT (1913-late 1941)
            He was born in Lublin, Poland, into a well-to-do family.  Until age ten he studied in a religious elementary school.  In 1929 he graduated from the Y. L. Perets School.  For a short time he was (1930) a student in the Vilna Jewish senior high school, but on account of his ill health he had to leave Vilna and return to Lublin.  From his youth he was active as a leader, initially in the socialist children’s union “SKIF,” later in the socialist youth organization “Tsukunft” (Future) in Lublin, where he was also cofounder of the Jewish teacher course and a leader in educational and cultural work of the Bund.  Over the years 1931-1939, he was secretary of the Medem Library.  He began writing as early as his high school years in the Vilna Yiddish press under the pseudonym “Yosipon,” and he was later a regular contributor to the Bundist weekly Unzer shtime (Our voice) in Lublin, in which he published poems, articles, and feature pieces.  He also wrote for: Yugnt-veker (Youth alarm) and Kleyne folks-tsaytung (Little people’s newspaper) in Warsaw; and for the Vilna YIVO publication Yidish far ale (Yiddish for everyone), edited by Noyekh Prylucki, in which he published the linguistic studies: “Flign-shvemlekh” (Flies-mushrooms) 1 (1938), pp. 118-20; “Lubliner gasn” (Lublin streets) 1 (1938), pp. 155-56.  He published in book form: In undzere teg, a zamlung lider (In our days, a collection of poetry) (Lublin: Rekord, 1934), 34 pp., with a woodcut cover by Rivke Berger (murdered by the Nazis); Tsvey folks-mayses (Two folktales) (Warsaw, 1939), 16 pp.  When the Germans took Lublin, Hernhut escaped into western Ukraine, near Volodymyr-Volynsky, where he worked as a teacher in the local Jewish school.  During the German invasion of Russia in 1941, he was in Kemenits, Volhynia, and there he was killed by the Nazis.

Sources: Yivo-biblyografye (YIVO bibliography), part 1, 1925-1941 (New York, 1943); Dos bukh fun Lublin (The book from Lublin) (Paris, 1952), p. 268; Yankev Glatshteyn, in Idisher kemfer (New York) (October 5, 1956); L. Lerer, entry on Lublin, in Entsiklopediya shel galuyot (Encyclopedia of the Diaspora) (Jerusalem, 1957), pp. 462-63; Run, in Entsiklopediya shel galuyot, p. 588; information from Khayim Nisenboym, Montreal, Canada.
Khayim Leyb Fuks


BOREKH HERMANOVITSH (July 7, 1909-January 1955)
            He was known in Israel by the name Barukh Hermon.  He was born in Lublin, Poland.  He received a traditional Jewish education.  He was active in Zionist youth organizations.  During WWII he was in German concentration camps.  After liberation he lived in the Landsberg camp, Germany, where he assumed a leading position in the community life of the surviving Jews.  Between the two world wars, he wrote articles for Haynt (Today) in Warsaw.  He was thereafter a cofounder and later editor of Landsberger lager-tsaytung (Landsberg camp newspaper)—first issue dated October 1945, published in Romanized letters—which later changed its name to Yidish tsaytung (Jewish newspaper).  It switched to Jewish letters and was the second largest publication in the Holocaust survivors’ press.  In 1948 he made aliya to Israel, and there he was active as a journalist for Davar (Word), Hador (The generation), and other Hebrew newspapers; he wrote as well for Yiddish and Hebrew newspapers in other countries.  For a time he was an official in the communications ministry.  He became ill later, flew to Germany to undergo treatment in Bad Nauheim, and he died getting off the airplane at the Munich Airport.  He left behind a wife and two children in Ramat-Gan, Israel.

Source: Obituary in Davar (Tel Aviv) (January 20, 1955).


NOKHUM HERMAN (January 10, 1889-June 1944)
            He was born in Shargorod (Szarogród, Sharhorod), Podolia, into a rabbinic family.  In 1903 he moved to Odessa to study in the yeshiva of Khayim Tshernovits (Chaim Czernowitz), and he quickly became a socialist.  In 1905 during a pogrom, he took an active role in Jewish self-defense.  In 1912 he moved to Paris, studied in the Sorbonne, and was the founder of a Zionist student union and a Hebrew club.  In 1921 he went to Russia to administer relief by the Jewish World Conference for Jewish victims of hunger.  After returning from Russia, he was a member of the Parisian Zionist Committee and a delegate to Zionist congresses.  He was director of the Jewish National Fund for France.  He began his journalistic activities in 1912 with articles in Razsviet (Dawn) and Hatsfira (The siren).  He later switched to Yiddish.  He contributed pieces to Parizer haynt (Paris today) and Haynt (Today) in Warsaw, and from 1921 until his death he was Paris correspondent for Morgn-zhurnal (Morning journal) in New York.  He also placed pieces in Davar (Word) and Haarets (The land) in Tel Aviv, and in Le Temps in Paris (from 1920).  He was the main contributor and editor of La Renaissance Juive and Le Peuple Juif.  When the Germans in 1940 were approaching Paris, he left for Vichy where he secretly led an aid effort for Jews escaping from regions of occupied France.  When the United States joined the war, he had as a correspondent for an American newspaper to leave Vichy; he lived for a while in Cannes, later in Limoges where he administered the illegal transporting of Jews to Switzerland and Italy.  On January 19, 1944 he was arrested by the Gestapo, and one month later he was sent to the camp in Drancy.  On March 10 that same year, he and a large group of Jews were deported to Auschwitz and there killed.  On April 25, 1954 the central headquarters of the Jewish National Fund in Jerusalem opened a library in his name in Noaḥ-Ilan.

Sources: M. Yarblum, in Unzer vort (Paris) (March 10, 1947; March 10, 1948); Y. Fisher, in La Terre Retrouvée (Paris) (February 1946); Rokhl Herman (Nokhum Herman’s wife), in Unzer vort (March 10, 1947; January 19, 1954; January 19, 1955); Rokhl Herman, in Libre Parole (Paris) (February 1946); G. Kohen, in Unzer vort (March 10, 1947); Y. Milner, in Di naye prese (Paris) (March 27, 1947); Borvin-Frenkel, in Unzer shtime (Paris) (November 18, 1955); A. Fogel, in Unzer vort (January 20-21, 1956).
Khayim Leyb Fuks


            He was born in Nyezhin (Nizhyn), Chernigov region, Ukraine.  He studied in religious primary school and in a Russian school.  For a time he worked as an employee in a tobacco company, later becoming a traveling salesman.  He published humorous sketches and satirical poetry in the Friday humor supplement of Gutmorgn (Good morning) in Odessa and Haynt (Today) in Warsaw, as well as elsewhere.  In book form: Di voyazhorn un di koynim (Commercial voyagers and customers), a satirical poem in verse (Pyetrikov, 1909), 53 pp., describing in a popular style of language with entertaining rhymes the bitter fate of Jewish commercial travelers in Russia of yore.  The book contains biographical information, as well as a poem “Tfile levoyazhorn” (Prayer for commercial traveler).  Further information remains unknown.


(NOSN-) DOVID HERMAN (June 1876-May 8, 1937)
            He was born in Warsaw, Poland, into a well-off, Hassidic family.  His father was a businessman in antiques.  He studied in religious primary school and in synagogue study hall, but at age fifteen he interrupted his studies, became a socialist, learned to make boots, and turned his attention to self-study of secular knowledge.  In 1893 he joined a circle of Warsaw followers of the Jewish Enlightenment who assembled around the preacher at the Warsaw synagogue, Yitskhok Dilkov.  This group sent Herman to study in Cracow, where he grew close to Yiddish and the Yiddish theater.  After returning to Warsaw, he studied directing at a drama school, began making public recitations from Polish and Yiddish literature, and on his own wrote in Hebrew and Polish.  When he later became an active leader of the Bund—his party name was Pan—he switched entirely into Yiddish.  From 1906 he was active in the realm of improving Yiddish theater which, through his work over the course of thirty years, he established at the highest artistic level.  In 1903 he organized a drama circle which (1907) staged Perets’s S’brent (It’s burning) and Shvester (Sister), Sholem-Aleykhem’s Mazl tov (Congratulations), and Sholem Asch’s Mitn shtrom (With the current).  He was also involved with Hirshbeyn’s theater (1908) as a director and actor.  For a time he lived in Vienna where he (with Egon Brekher) organized a troupe and staged in German the work of Dovid Pinski, Asch, and Perets.  After returning to Russia, Herman—together with Perets and Dr. A. Mukdoni—founded the first Yiddish drama school in Poland.  Over the years 1907-1917, he was a teacher of the Yiddish language and literature and Jewish history in a Polish Jewish high school in Warsaw.  In later years he directed the finest dramatic works of Yiddish literature, as well as plays by Gentile playwrights.  Under his direction and thanks to his efforts, there was staged in Warsaw for the first time (1920-1921) Der dibek (The dybbuk) by Sh. An-ski, which later became a standard part of the repertoire of the Yiddish and Hebrew stage.  He was also the founder and for a time the director of the revue theater “Azazel” in Warsaw.  He became especially well-known for his interpretation of Perets’s Goldene keyt (Golden chain).  He published articles on Yiddish theatrical issues and Yiddish literature in: Oyfgang (Arise), Folkstsaytung (People’s newspaper), and Vokhnshrift far literatur (Weekly writings on literature), among other serials in Warsaw.  He also adapted and prepared for the stage various works from Yiddish literature, among them Ludvig Levinson’s Di vayberishe kniplekh (The wives’ nest eggs).  He was the author of several plays, discovered after his death in manuscript, among them: Heylike zind (Divine sin), a drama in three acts, which he signed “Ish Khosid” (a Hassidic man); Oy, di kunst, di kunst (Oy, the art, the art), a comedy in three acts; Nekome (Revenge), a drama in three acts, signed “Dovid Sures.”  He translated into Yiddish: Ertsiung (Education), a scene from life in one act (Warsaw, 1904), 24 pp.; Lastmi and Rase (Race) by Jan Fabricius—both dramas of five acts.  He translated into Polish Der nisoyen (The temptation) by Yankev Preger.  In 1931 he moved to the United States—he wife joined him later—to be the director of the New York “Free Jewish People Theater.”  He staged H. Liberman’s Der neyder (The vow) and Kh. Gotesfeld’s Mekhutonim (In-laws).  He rapidly became ill and died.

Sources: Z. Zilbertsvayg, Leksikon fun yidishn teater (Handbook of the Yiddish theater), vol. 1 (with a bibliography); Khayim Leyb Fuks, in Folksblat (Lodz) (March 20, 1921); A. Gurshteyn, in Tsaytshrift (Minsk) 1 (1926); Biblyografishe yorbikher fun yivo (Bibliographic yearbooks from YIVO) (Warsaw, 1928); Avrom Reyzen, Epizodn fun mayn lebn (Episodes from my life), vol. 3 (Vilna, 1935); Y. Klepfish, in Folkstsaytung (Warsaw) (May 14, 1937); Hadoar (New York) (May 14, 1937); Sh. Mendelson, in Folkstsaytung (May 17, 1937); Leye Rotkop, in Shul-vegn (Warsaw) (January 1937); A. Perlmuter, in Shikago (Chicago) (May-June 1937); A. Morevski, N. Mayzil, Yanos Turkov, and Y. Grudberg, in Literarishe bleter (Warsaw) (May 21, 1937); M. Ravitsh, Mayn leksikon (My lexicon), vol. 2 (Montreal, 1947); Y. Vayslits, in Foroys (Mexico City) (October 1, 1951); N. Mayzil, Geven amol a leybn (As life once was) (Buenos Aires, 1951); M. Turkov, Di letste fun a groysn dor (The last of a great generation) (Buenos Aires, 1954); A. Mastboym, in Letste nayes (Tel Aviv) (April 16, 1954); Dr. A. Mukdoni, In varshe un in lodz (In Warsaw and in Lodz), vol. 2 (Buenos Aires, 1955); Ber Y. Rozen, Portretn (Portraits) (Buenos Aires, 1956); Doyres bundistn (Generations of Bundists), vol. 1 (New York, 1956); H. Londinski, Unzer horizont (Our horizon) (New York, 1957); M. Perenson, in Unzer shtime (Paris) (September 21-22, 1957); Kh. Gotesfeld, in Forverts (New York) (June 21, 1959).
Khayim Leyb Fuks


DOVID-MOYSHE (MOSES DAVID) HERMALIN (May 12, 1865-June 19, 1921)
            He was born in Vaslui, Romania, into a commercial family.  Until age twelve he studied in a religious elementary school, thereafter devoting himself to secular education, with a private tutor for Hebrew, Romanian, German, and French.  At age sixteen he left for Bucharest, and in 1885 he moved to the United States where he began writing for Nyu yorker yudishe folkstsaytung (New York Jewish people’s newspaper), founded in June 1886.  He spent a year working as a teacher of Hebrew in Montreal, Canada, and after returning to New York, he turned his attention completely to journalism and was one of the most important contributors, at times co-editor, of various Yiddish-language newspapers, such as: Folks advokat (People’s advocate), Idishe herald (Jewish herald), Varhayt (Truth), and later also Tog (Day).  He wrote novels and treatises on popular philosophy (signing many of these with the initial “H”), and he made quite a number of not so high quality translations and free adaptations of European literature.  From his translations, a series of book were published (almost all from the Hebrew Publishing Co.) of works by Lev Tolstoy (translated or adapted not from the original, as Hermalin knew no Russian), Émile Zola, Guy de Maupassant, Boccaccio, Arthur Conan Doyle, and Jonathan Swift, among others.  For many translated or “reworked” texts, Hermalin changed the titles, following the fashion of the time with popular literature in America, adding to them a more sensational, often as well vulgar, character—Maupassant’s “La Petite Roque” (Little Roque [Little Louise Roque]), for example, he dubbed “Di frukht fun zind” (The fruit of sin).  A few of his original novels and stories were included in Romanen album (Fiction album), comprised of eight novels and stories by Hermalin, A. Tanenboym, Shomer, and A.-D. Fridman, and many others were published separately in book form.  In 1895 he reworked into Yiddish Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar and MacBeth, which were then staged, and from that point he himself wrote and adapted from other writers melodramas and romans à clef for the theater—according to the spirit of the time.  Aside from the abovementioned two dramas by Shakespeare, he also reworked Coriolanus, Goethe’s Faust, Strindberg’s The Father (1904), and Hauptmann’s Elga (“Elga order di geheymnise fun kloyster” [Elga, or the one hidden in the church]) (1907).  He alone wrote the following plays for the stage: Dos kind fun der midber (The child of the wilderness) (1899), Feygele, oder noyt brekht ayzen (Feygele, or hardship can break iron) (1899, in book form 1900), Der idisher gambler (The Jewish gambler) (1900), Der gelt-zak oder libe un gold (The money bag or love and gold) (1900), and Di idn in brazilye oder prints roderigo (The Jews of Brazil or Prince Roderigo) (1901), among others.  His writings in book form include: Der shpanish-amerikanisher krig, a historisher roman (The Spanish-American war, a historical novel) (New York, 1898), 475 pp.; Der terkisher meshiekh, a historisher romantisher shilderung (The Turkish Messiah, a historical romantic depiction), on the life of Shabatai Tsvi (New York, 1898), 64 pp.; Makhmed, a shtudyum fun der ershaynen, lebn un tetigkeyt fun dem musulmenishn gezets-geber un di resultatn fun zayn religyon (Mohammed, a study of the emergence, life, and activity of the Islamic law-giver and the outcome of his religion) (New York, 1898), 64 pp. Yitskhok ber levinzon, zayn byografye, zayne sforim, lebn, shterbn un virkung af zayn dor un zayne nokhfolger (Isaac Baer Levinsohn, his biography, his religious works, life, death, and impact on his generation and those that followed) (New York, 1904), 92 pp.; Yosefus oder der idisher gladiator (Josephus or the Jewish gladiator), a reworking of a novel, Spartacus (New York, 1900); Di rumenishe idn in amerike (Romanian Jews in America) (New York, 1909), 14 pp.; Zhurnalistishe shriftn (Journalistic writings) (New York, 1911), 511 pp.; Der letster blutshturts (The last hemorrhage) (New York), 91 pp.; Di libe, a filozofishe batrakhtung (Love, a philosophical examination) (New York), 61 pp.; Di gotheyt, a filosozofishe ophandlung (The Godhead, a philosophical treatise) (New York), 62 pp.; Fraye libe (Free love) (New York), 122 pp.; Hipnotzmus (Hypnotism) (New York, 1921), 16 pp.; Di heyrate, a realistishes bild fun idishn lebn (The marriage, a realistic image of Jewish life) (New York, 1927), 190 pp.; Yeshua hanotsri, zayn ershaynen, lebn un toyt, algemeyne iberblik vegn der entshteung fun kristentum (Jesus Christ, his emergence, life, and death, a general overview of the rise of Christianity) (New York, 1931), 64 pp.; and many more.  His translations include: Shekspirs oysgeveylte verk mit byografye (Shakespeare’s selected works with biography) (New York, 1908), 160 pp. second edition (1909), 333 pp., third edition (1912), 358 pp.; Émile Zola, Di libes nakht (A night of love [original: Pour une nuit d’amour]) (New York), 92 pp.; Zola, Froyen-libe (Women’s love [original: La Joie de vivre]) (New York, 1902), 91 pp.; Zola, Di menshlekhe bestie (The human beast [original: La Bête humaine]) (New York), 121 pp.; Zola, Lebn un toyt (Life and death) (New York), 88 pp.; Zola, Nantas (Nantas) (New York), 91 pp.; Zola, A galekhs zind (A priest’s sin [original: La Faute de l’Abbé Mouret (The sin of Father Mouret)]) (New York), 99 pp.; Zola, Di parizer damen (The Parisian women) (New York, 1906), 90 pp.; Zola, Di blutige khasene (The bloody wedding) (New York, 1911), 90 pp.; Maupassant, Di frukht fun zind (1911), 86 pp.; Wilhelm Henckel, Tolstoys byografye (Tolstoy’s biography) (1899), 29 pp.; Tolstoy, Ivan der nar (Ivan the fool [original Ivan durak]) (New York), 35 pp.; Tolstoy, Ana Karenina (Anna Karenina) (New York), 189 pp.; Tolstoy, Di kraytser sonata (The Kreutzer Sonata [original: Kreitserova sonata]), 95 pp.; Boccaccio, Madam babeta (Madame Babetta), 90 pp.; Boccaccio, Paskarela (Pasquerella), 88 pp.; Boccaccio, Di tsvey poorlekh (The two pairs), 93 pp.; Boccaccio, Printsesin tsuleyka (Princess Zuleika), 58 pp.; A. Bernshteyn, A rayze in himl (A trip in heaven), “a popular astronomical treatise upon our sun-system” (New York), 95 pp.; and many more.  He died in New York.

Sources: Zalmen Reyze, Leksikon, vol. 1 (with a bibliography); Z. Zilbertsvayg, Leksikon fun yidishn teater (Handbook of the Yiddish theater), vol. 1 (with a bibliography); Shmuel Niger, in Tog (New York) (July 10, 1932); K. Marmor, in Tsen yoriker yubiley fun arbeter-ordn (Ten-year jubilee of the Workers’ Order) (New York, 1940); Elye Shulman, Geshikhte fun der yidisher literatur in amerike (History of Yiddish literature in America) (New York, 1943); M. Dantsis, in Tog (May 10, 1948); Sh. Perlmuter, Yidishe dramaturgn un teater-kompozitorn (Yiddish playwrights and theatrical composers) (New York, 1952), pp. 154-57; Y. Mestl, 70 yor teater-repertuar (Seventy years of theater repertoire) (New York, 1954), see index.
Borekh Tshubinski

Sunday 27 March 2016


            He was born in Grozov, Slutsk region, Byelorussia, into a devout, prominent family.  His father was a ritual slaughterer and a cantor.  He studied in religious elementary school, synagogue study hall, and yeshiva, later pursuing secular subjects and foreign languages.  In 1906 he received rabbinical ordination.  In 1913 he came to the United States, settled in Philadelphia where he studied at Temple University (1915-1925), and graduated with a doctorate in pharmacology.  He was one of the more active Zionist leaders in Philadelphia.  He cofounded local community institutions.  Over the course of many years, he wrote for: Tageblat (Daily newspaper) and Idishe velt (Jewish world), in which he published articles and portions of his work, “Di geshikhte fun khazones bay yidn” (The history of Jewish cantorial arts).  He contributed as well to Philadelphia editions of New York’s Tog (Day), the Hebrew-language Bitsaron (Fortress), the English-language Medical Record, and other English-language Jewish publications in New York.  Among his books in Hebrew: Toldot hanegina vehaḥazanut beyisrael (The history of cantillation and the cantorial arts in Israel) (New York, 1950), 486 pp., which included, among other things, biographies of the most famous cantors among the Jewish people.  He was last living in Philadelphia.

Sources: Y. L. Malamut, Filadelfyer yidishe anshtaltn un zeyere firer (Philadelphia’s Jewish institutions and their leaders) (Philadelphia, 1942), pp. 139-40; Z. Verba, in Hadoar (New York) (September 7, 1951); Y. Tsuzmer, Beikve hador (At the edge of the generation) (New York, 1957).


MOYSHE HERDER (1842-September 11, 1911)
            He was born in Shargorod (Szarogród, Sharhorod), Podolia region, Ukraine, into a rabbinical family.  He was educated by his grandfather, the local rabbi, and later studied secular subjects and languages.  For a time he worked as a private tutor of Hebrew and Yiddish in wealthy homes in the town of Otshakov (Ochakiv).  He subsequently lived in Odessa, where (together with B. Bakal and others) he founded (Shavuot [May 22,] 1881) the “Am-olam” (Eternal people) movement which assisted Russian Jews to emigrate to the United States.  He came to America with Moses Freeman in 1882, worked for years as a farmer in the Carmel colony in New Jersey. And later became a stitcher of book jackets in New York.  Early in 1892 he moved to Philadelphia where he was a teacher and leader in building Jewish educational institutions.  He contributed to such Philadelphia publications as: Der literarisher shtral (The literary beam) in 1898, Di gegnvart (The present), and Di idishe prese (The Jewish press) in 1892-1893, in which he published articles as well as translations of Herbert Spencer’s Dertsiung (Education).  He also wrote for Di idishe velt (The Jewish world) in Philadelphia (1914-1915).  Among his books: Muter un kind, oder der anfang fun kinder ertsiung (Mother and child, or the beginning of child rearing), chats about hygiene (Carmel Colony, New Jersey, 1910), 88 pp.; Kinder-ertsiung (Rearing of children) (Philadelphia, 1908), five parts, each 24 pp.; Shvangershaft, geburt un kinder-ertsiung (Pregnancy, birth, and child rearing) (Philadelphia, 1909), 88 pp., including a poem and a foreword entitled “Tsu di geerte lezerinen” (To [my] dear female readers); Tshuve lapikoyres (Answering the heretic), “an answer to those who disavow God” and with a preface, “Tsu mayne kinder” (To my children) (Philadelphia, 1911), 63 pp.  He also translated from German into Yiddish a work by Knigge entitled Umgang mit menshen (Dealings with people [original: Über den Umgang mit Menschen]) which appeared in 24-page sections (Philadelphia, 1908-1910).  In 1913 he published Velt-klugheyt (World wisdom), a collection of 700 aphorisms by well-known thinkers, 160 pp.  He died in Philadelphia.  His younger brother MEYER HERDER also wrote poetry and sketches which appeared in Philadelphia Yiddish publications.

Sources: Hertz Burgin, Di geshikhte fun der yidisher arbayter-bavegung in amerike, rusland un england (The history of the Jewish labor movement in America, Russia, and England) (New York, 1915), pp. 70-71; D. B. Tirkel, in Der pinkes (from the American division of YIVO) (New York, 1927-1928), p. 261; M. Freeman, 50 yor geshikhte fun yidn in filadelfye (Fifty-year history of Jews in Philadelphia), vol. 1 (1929), pp. 200-1, vol. 2 (1934), p. 10; A. Litvin, in Idisher kemfer (New York) (January 17, 1936); Y. L. Malamut, Filadelfyer yidishe anshtaltn un zeyere firer (Philadelphia’s Jewish institutions and their leaders) (Philadelphia, 1942); A. Menes, In der geshikhte fun der yidisher arbeter-bavegung in amerike (In the history of the Jewish labor movement in America), vol. 2, pp. 207, 208, 212, 231; Y. Tsuzmer, Beikve hador (At the edge of the generation) (New York, 1957), p. 207.
Khayim Leyb Fuks


LEON M. HERBERT (b. November 15, 1889)
           He was born in Lemberg, eastern Galicia.  He studied in religious elementary school, in a Polish public school, and later in a German high school.  In 1903 he came to the United States.  He graduated in 1908 with a medical degree from New York University and later studied literature and classical languages at Columbia University.  He was a practicing medical doctor.  He began writing when quite young and debuted in print in Lemberger togblat (Lemberg daily newspaper) in 1907.  In America he began publishing in Vokhnblat (Weekly newspaper) in New York in 1908.  From 1910 he was writing literary treatises, reviews of theater and musical performances, and articles on medical questions for Tog (Day), Varhayt (Truth), Dos idishe folk (The Jewish people), Idisher kemfer (Jewish fighter), and Fraye arbeter shtime (Free voice of labor), among others—all in New York.  In Dr. Chaim Zhitlowsky’s Dos naye lebn (The new life) (New York) 3-4 (1913), he published a series of articles, “Tsu der shprakhn-frage” (On the language issue).  He also wrote for such Hebrew newspapers as: Hatoran (The duty officer), Hadoar (The mail), Hauma (The nation), Harefua (Medicine), Ḥug ivri (Sphere of Hebrew), and Harofe haivri (The Jewish doctor), among others—in New York.  He contributed poems and translations from the ancient classical poets—Homer’s Iliad, book 1; Sappho’s love poetry, and poems by Horace, Catullus, and Anacreon—in the anthology Shriftn (Writings) 3 (New York, 1914), edited by D. Ignatov.  He published an essay in Fraye arbeter shtime about Charles Baudelaire, illustrated with a number of his poems and Herbert’s translations of them.  He was also the translator of George Bernard Shaw’s play Madam varens profesye (Mrs. Warren’s profession).  Among his books: Gezamlte lider un iberzetsungen (Collected poems and translations) (Tel Aviv, 1960), pp. 191.  He wrote pieces on psychology and medicine in English, German, and Polish scientific periodicals.  He edited the second yearbook of Harofe haivri (New York, 1928) and co-edited the weekly newspaper Dos idishe folk in New York (1920-1930).  He also published under the pen name “L. Reytses.”  He was last living in Phoenix, Arizona.

Sources: Gershon bader arkhiv (Gershon Bader’s archive), YIVO (New York); Biblyografishe yorbikher fun yivo (Bibliographic yearbooks from YIVO) (Warsaw, 1928), see index.
Khayim Leyb Fuks

[Additional information from: Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 223.]


MORTKHE HERBST (b. December 25, 1930)
            He was born in Horodle (Horodło), Lublin region, Poland.  At the age of five, he moved with his parents to Argentina.  He studied in religious primary school, in a Yiddish-Hebrew school, and later in a Hebrew-Yiddish teachers’ seminary in Buenos Aires.  He completed two years at “Midrasha ivrit” (Hebrew college) in Santa Fe.  He was active in the Zionist movement.  He founded and was president of the Hebrew youth movement “Tenuat hanoar haivri beargentina” (Organization of Jewish youth in Argentina).  He debuted in print in 1951 in Di yidishe tsaytung (The Jewish newspaper) and thereafter published essays, stories, and treatises in: Di yidish tsaytung, Mizrakhi-shtime (Voice of Mizrachi), Religyeze shtime (Religious voice), and Yung argentine (Young Argentina).  In book form: Tsientishishe figurn (Zionist figures) (Buenos Aires, 1953), 196 pp., which won the Mortkhe Strigler Prize in 1953; Tsaytmotivn (Contemporary motifs), stories, essays, and articles (Buenos Aires, 1957), 199 pp.; Batrakhtungen fun der noent (Considerations of what is near at hand) (Buenos Aires, 1961), 167 pp.; Af eygene vegn (On one’s own paths) ( Buenos Aires, 1966), 226 pp.; In gayst fun doyres (In the spirit of generations) (Buenos Aires, 1968), 203 pp.; In oysgebenktn land (In a long-for land) (Jerusalem, 1976), 264 pp.  He was last living in Lanús in the province of Buenos Aires.

Sources: Sh. Rozhanski, in Yidishe tsaytung (Buenos Aires) (July 9, 1953); Yunger dor (Young generation) (Buenos Aires, 1953), p. 23; M. Bursuk, in Kolonist-kooperator (Buenos Aires) (March 1955).

[Additional information from: Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 223.]