Thursday 24 March 2016


ALTER-KHAYIM HELER (ALTER CHAIM HELLER) (August 15, 1889-August 27, 1960)
            He was born in Hosht (Hoshcha), Volhynia, and studied in religious elementary school and the Zvihil Yeshiva [in Novohrad-Volyns’kyy].  He later studied humanities in Russia, France, and the United States.  He was a student of Henri Bergson of the Collège de France in Paris.  In 1913 he came to America with the goal of becoming a farmer, and he settled in Milwaukee.  He graduated from the history and philosophy faculty at the University of Chicago.  He was active in the Labor Zionist Party.  As a writer he debuted in Russian with an article “At the Grave of Napoleon” in the Russian serial Volinskaia myslʹ (Volhynian thought) in 1912.  In 1919 he switched to Yiddish and contributed poems, stories, and essays on linguistics to: Fraye arbeter shtime (Free voice of labor), Kundes (Prankster), Tog (Day), Tsayt (Times), Tsukunft (Future), Feder (Pen), Vokhnblat (Weekly newspaper), and Kinder-zhurnal (Children’s magazine)—all in New York; Davar leyeladim (Word for children); among others; and until 1918 in various Russian-language newspapers.  He also published in English: Milwaukee Journal and Milwaukee Leader, among others.  In Feder (1920) in New York, he published a series entitled “Kritishe minyaturn” (Critical miniatures) concerning new Yiddish poets in the United States.  He translated poems by Chinese poets, too.  He also placed pieces in Sh.-Ts. Zetser’s Dos vort (The word) in New York (1922-1923).  He occasionally published under the pen name “Givmhel.”  He died in New Rochelle, New York.

Source: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 1.

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