Sunday 24 April 2016


YANKEV VAKS (JACOB WAKS) (November 23, 1891-February 25, 1956)
            He was born in Bialystok, into a well-to-do family.  He graduated from a Russian high school in Bialystok and studied medicine in Prague.  During the Bialystok pogrom, 1905-1906, he joined the Bundist self-defense.  He was arrested in 1916 by the German occupying authorities and sent to the Apelberg camp.  Until WWII he lived in Bialystok, where he was one of the most prominent Bundists in the city, a member of the Jewish community executive, a Bialystok city councilor, and one of the directors of the city’s health insurance fund.  At the time of the Nazi invasion in 1939, he escaped to Kovno, and from there in 1940 he made his way to Australia where he was a member of the Centre of Jewish Communities in Australia, president of the cultural society Kadima (Onward) in Melbourne, chairman of the relief fund which was used to transport Jews saved from Russian and German camps to Australia, and founder of the Jewish school and Zigelboym Home in Melbourne.  In 1948 he was an Australian delegate to the founding conference of the World Jewish Culture Congress, to the world conference of YIVO, and to the world conference of the Bund—all in New York.  He published articles on social, political, and cultural issues in: Byalistoker veker (Bialystok alarm), 1927-1939; Unzer tsayt (Our time) in New York; and Unzer gedank (Our idea) in Melbourne; among other serials.  He was a co-editor of Byalistoker veker, and editor of Unzer gedank.  He contributed a chapter to the work, Yidishe industryele unternemunger (Jewish industrial undertakings), edited by A. Heler (Warsaw, 1924).  He died in Melbourne.  A Jewish Cultural House was established in his name in Melbourne.

Sources: B. Tabatshinski, in Unzer tsayt (New York) (March 1956); Yankev Glatshteyn, in Tog (New York) (March 2, 1956); E. Shulman, in Unzer shtime (Paris) (March 3, 1956).

No comments:

Post a Comment