Wednesday 23 March 2016


MISHA HELMAN (b. November 9, 1900)
            He was born in Groysdorf, Grodno district, Russian Poland.  As a youth he moved with his parents to Lodz.  He received a Jewish and a secular education, graduating from a technical school and a senior teachers’ course of study in Lodz.  Until WWII he worked as a teacher in a Borokhov school in Lodz, where he was also an active leader among the working youth of the left Labor Zionists and literary director of the theater studio “Yab.”  When the Nazis occupied Lodz in 1939, he escaped to Warsaw, and from there in January 1941 he left for Pyetrikov and led a theatrical group in the Pyetrikov ghetto.  When the ghetto was liquidated, he was deported to the Buchenwald concentration camp where he remained until the end of the war.  Over the years 1945-1949, he was the director in Lodz of the Perets School.  From July 1949 he was living in Montreal, Canada, where he worked as a teacher in Jewish public schools, in a Jewish middle school, and also a lecturer in the Jewish teachers’ seminary.  He began publishing poetry and sonnets in the anthology In der shtil (In the silence) (Lodz, 1919), and from then he was contributing poems and articles on theater to: Arbeter-tsaytung (Workers’ newspaper) in Warsaw; and in Lodz to S’feld (The field), Shveln (Thresholds)—a poem entitled “Bunt” (Rebellion) in issue no. 2—Toyz-royt (Red ace), Vegn (Paths), Lodzer tageblat (Lodz daily newspaper), Nayer folksblat (New people’s newspaper), Lodzher arbeter (Lodz laborer), and others.  In 1924 he was co-editor of the Lodz afternoon newspaper Ekstrablat (Extra newspaper).  In book form: A nakht in bloyen (A night in blues), a dramatic mystery (Lodz, 1923), 48 pp.  He also published under the pseudonyms: Helyos, M.-H., Hel., and others.

Sources: Y. Rabon, in S’feld (Lodz) 4 (1923); Kh. L. Fuks, in Lodzer folksblat (Lodz) (April 18, 1923); Fuks, in Fun noentn over (New York) 3 (1957), pp. 219, 236-38, 248, 253, 272; Perets Markish, in Literarishe bleter (Warsaw) 5 (1924)
Khayim Leyb Fuks

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