Thursday 21 April 2016


SHMUEL VOLKOVITSH (March 2, 1891-February 13, 1980)
            He was born in Vlotslavek (Włocławek), Poland.  He studied sociology and philosophy in Polish and German universities.  He was living in Berlin, 1914-1915, where he was active in the relief association of German Jewry, as well as among Jewish compatriots from Poland.  He moved to Warsaw in 1916, where he was one of the founders of the Jewish Folkspartey (People’s party), cofounder of Tsisho (Central Jewish School Organization), an active leader among Jewish artisans, and for a time also president of the artisans’ association in Warsaw.  He began his journalistic activities in a journal he helped to create, the weekly Glos zydowski (Jewish voice) in Włocławek (1916) and late in Warsaw; there assembled around this journal a group of nationally-minded Jewish writers in the Polish language.  He later became editor of Dziennik poranny (Morning daily) in Warsaw (1918), in which he fought against the anti-Semitic baiting following the rise of the Polish state and was thus arrested; he was only freed when the Jewish deputies in the Sejm interceded on his behalf.  He was one of the most active contributors to Nasz Przegląd (Our review).  In Yiddish he wrote for Moment (Moment) and Dos folk (The people) in Warsaw, Oyfboy (Construction) in Lodz, and other Yiddish-language publications of the Folkspartey in Poland.  He translated from Yiddish into Polish many works by Sholem Asch, Yoysef Opatoshu, Y. L. Perets, Segalovitsh, and other writers.  He was also the founder of the publishing house “Di biblyotek fun yidishe shraybers” (The library of Yiddish writers), which in 1920 in Warsaw brought out an anthology in Polish of Yiddish prose by twenty-three authors.  When Hitler invaded Poland in 1939, he was among a group of Jewish journalists who were evacuated from Warsaw in an easterly direction.  On September 17, just after the Red Army marched into Poland, he was arrested (with N. Shvalbe and Sh. Vagman) in the town of Kapuchinets (at the border between Poland and Ukraine) and exiled him deep into the country, where until 1941 he performed hard labor, suffering hunger and want.  In 1943 he left Russia with the Polish army.  He traveled across Iran to Israel.  He wrote for Haboker (This morning) and for a number of Polish newspapers in the state of Israel.  He died in Tel Aviv.

Sources: Dr. R. Feldshuh, Yidishe gezelshaftlekher leksikon (Jewish community handbook) (Warsaw, 1939), pp. 891-94; P. Shvarts, Dos iz geven der onheyb (That was the beginning) (New York, 1943); D. Tsharni (Daniel Charney), in Tsukunft (New York) (January 1943); B. Kutsher, Geven amol varshe (As Warsaw once was) (Paris, 1955), p. 41; M. Ravitsh, Mayn leksikon (My lexicon), vol. 3 (Montreal, 1958), p. 474.

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