Tuesday 26 April 2016


YEKHIEL VORTMAN (1908-August 22, 1942)
            He was born in Apt (Opatów), Kielce district, Poland.  He was orphaned on his father’s side as a youngster.  He studied in religious primary school, synagogue study chamber, public school, and with private tutors.  He was active until 1925 in Hashomer Hatsair (Young guard), later in Communist circles which he quickly left in disappointment.  He worked for a time as a private tutor, later becoming a bookkeeper.  He subsequently lived in Brazil, and from there in early 1931 he returned to Poland and settled in Warsaw.  He wrote poetry, later moving to literary criticism and current events journalism.  He debuted in print in Y. M. Vaysenberg’s (Weissenberg’s) Inzer hofenung (Our hope) in Warsaw, and later contributed stories and essays to: Dos vort (The word), Ekspres (Express), Literarishe bleter (Literary leaves), Vokhnshrift (Weekly writing), and Foroys (Onward), among others—in Warsaw—as well as in the Yiddish press in Brazil.  His books include: Arum unz, bilans-pruv fun a dor (Around us, balance sheet of a generation) (Warsaw, 1938), 41 pp.—a polemic with Jewish writers concerning their insufficiently warm connections to Yiddish and their “neutrality” concerning reproducing a young generation of Yiddish writers.  When the Germans invaded Poland in September 1939, he returned to Apt, and from there he was sent by the Nazis to a labor camp, and for praying in prayer shawl and phylacteries he was horrifically tortured.  In the summer of 1940 he succeeded in escaping from the camp.  He lived until August 1942 in Sandomierz and there he died.

Sources: Literarishe bleter (Warsaw) (May 6, 1938); M. Zaltsman, in Yidishe shriftn (Warsaw) (September 1958); information from Leyzer Trayster in New York and Sh. Mitsmakher in Toronto.
Khayim Leyb Fuks

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