Wednesday 27 April 2016


BUNEM VARSHAVSKI (June 16, 1893-March 2, 1956)
            He was born in Mlave (Mława), Poland.  He studied in religious elementary school, synagogue study hall, and with private tutors.  In 1911 he arrived at the physics and mathematics department of Liège University in Belgium.  In 1914, following the invasion of the German army into Belgium during WWI, he was interned as a Russian citizen by the Germans into a camp in Germany.  In 1916 he returned to Mlave.  He was active in the local “Hazemir” (The nightingale) drama group and the main library.  In 1919 he moved to Warsaw and served in the Polish military.  In Warsaw he was active in the Bund, in the trade union and cooperative labor movement, and in the statistics division of the Joint Distribution Committee.  From March 1939 he was living in Australia.  He began publishing with short sketches in Hadegel (The banner) in London (1909), and from that point he contributed articles, essays on literature, travel narratives, reportage pieces, and translations to: Di folkstsaytung (The people’s newspaper), Yugnt-veker (Youth alarm), Vokhnshrift (Weekly writing), Foroys (Onward), Literarishe bleter (Literary leaves), and Druker-arbeter (Publisher laborer) in Warsaw; Vilner tog (Vilna day); Unzer tsayt (Our time) and Pinkes mlave (Records of Mlave) in New York; Oyfboy (Construction), Melburner bleter (Melbourne leaves), Unzer gedank (Our idea), Melburner yidishe nayes (Melbourne Jewish news), and Oystralish-yidishe post (Australian Jewish mail) in Melbourne; Unzer shtime (Our voice) in Paris; Davar (Word) and Lebns-fragn (Life issues) in Tel Aviv; Foroys in Mexico City; and Di prese (The press) in Buenos Aires.  He also wrote in Polish and English.  His books include: Di farloyrene basmalke (The lost princess), a story in verse (following R. Nakhmen Braslaver) (Melbourne, 1944), 128 pp.  He wrote in clear verse, particularly fitting for younger readers; his popular pamphlets include (each 64 pp.): Maks nordoy (Max Nordau) (Warsaw, 1935); Leon blum (Léon Blum); Tshingis-khan, der mongolisher velṭ-hersher (Chinggis Khan, the Mongolian ruler of the world) (Warsaw, 1936); Suez kanal (Suez Canal); Oysern-mongolye (Outer Mongolia) (Warsaw, 1936)—using the pseudonyms B. Adelas, Binski, and others, and all published by the Groshn-biblyotek (Penny library) in Warsaw.  He translated Henri Barbusse’s Le feu (The fire) as Dos fayer (Warsaw, 1924), 515 pp., which went through three printings.  He edited: the monthly journal Druker-arbeter in Warsaw (1926-1939); and 50 yor lebn, zamlbukh gevidmet lozer klog (Fifty years of a life, anthology dedicated to Lozer Klog) (Warsaw, 1936), 172 pp.  He co-edited: Tsveyter oystralish-yidisher almanakh (Second Australian Jewish almanac) (Melbourne, 1942), 448 pp.; 10 yor yidishe shul in melburn (Ten years of Jewish school in Melbourne) (Melbourne, 1945), 252 pp.; and Unzer gedank (Melbourne); among others.  He wrote under such pen names as: B. Varski, Simkhe, Firet, Semper, and Idem.  He died in Melbourne.

Sources: Shmuel Niger, in Tsukunft (New York) (October 1924); M. Ravitsh, in Tsukunft (June 1943); Y. Berliner, in Foroys (Mexico City) (October 1945); Kh. Brakazh, in Bleter (Buenos Aires) (May 1946); Dr. L. Zhitnitski, in Di prese (Buenos Aires) (August 26, 1946); Yankev Glatshteyn, in Idisher kemfer (New York) (October 1950); Pinkes mlave (Records of Mlave) (New York, 1950), see index; Y. Rapaport, in Tsukunft (March 1951); R. Federman, in Unzer tsayt (New York) (March 1956); H. Bakhrakh, in Unzer shtime (Paris) (March 28, 1956); E. Shulman, in Unzer shtime (April 7, 1956).
Khayim Leyb Fuks

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