Tuesday 31 May 2016


ILYA VILENKIN (b. April 15, 1879)
            He was born in St. Petersburg, Russia.  From 1900 he was active in the Bund in Minsk, and there he learned to speak and write Yiddish.  He was arrested several times and exiled to Siberia.  After the Russian Revolution in 1917, he was active in the trade union movement.  Subsequent information about him remains unknown.  He published correspondence pieces and contributed to the editing of the underground newspaper of the Bund in Minsk, Der minsker arbayter (The Minsk worker) in 1900, six issues.

Sources: Vladimir Medem, Fun mayn lebn (From my life) (New York, 1923); Y. Sh. H., in Doyres bundistn (Generation of Bundists), vol. 1 (New York, 1956).


ESTER VILENSKA (June 8, 1918-November 8, 1975)
            This was the adopted surname for Novak, born in Vilna.  She graduated from a Tarbut high school in Vilna.  She moved to Israel in 1938.  She received her B. A. in philosophy and sociology in 1970 and her M. A. in history in 1975 from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.  From 1940 she was active and in an administrative capacity in the Communist Party in Israel and editor of its organ, Kol haam (Voice of the people), in Tel Aviv.  She wrote theoretical, political, and socio-economic articles in Hebrew-language books and pamphlets.  She published as well in: Morgn-frayhayt (Morning freedom) in New York; Vokhnblat (Weekly newspaper) in Toronto, and Naye prese (New press) in Paris.  Her books in Yiddish: Der groyser poyerim-oyfshtand in daytshland, forgeyer fun sotsyale revolutsyes (The great peasant uprisings in Germany, forerunner of social revolutions) (Tel Aviv, 1972), 158 pp.; Vos iz forgekumen in mk״i? (What happened to the Israeli Communist Party?) (Tel Aviv, 1973), 30 pp.; Sotsyalistisher internatsyonal un komintern, 1889-1923 (The Socialist International and the Comintern, 1889-1923) (Tel Aviv: Perets Publ., 1975), 152 pp.  She died in Tel Aviv.

Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 246.


LEYB VILSKER (1919-1988)

            He was philologist and bibliographer, born in the town of Shumsk, Ternopol district, Ukraine.  He served in the Red Army from 1940 until the end of WWII.  He graduated from Leningrad University in 1950 in Semitic languages and Hebrew studies.  For several years thereafter he ran the Semitics department of the Saltikov-Shchedrin Leningrad Open Library.  In 1970 he successfully defended his dissertation and became an academician in philological sciences; he published it in 1974 in book form. He published a number of articles in Sovetish heymland (Soviet homeland), some of which were republished abroad, in particular those works concerning Yehuda Halevi.  He was also the author of: Samarityanskii yazik (The Samaritan language) (Moscow: Nauka, 1974), 94 pp.; Antdekte oytsres (Treasures discovered), notices of literary research, vol. 1 (Moscow: Sovetski pisatel, 1981), 59 pp., vol. 2 (1985), 63 pp.

Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 246.  Additional information from: Chaim Beider, Leksikon fun yidishe shrayber in ratn-farband (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers in the Soviet Union), ed. Boris Sandler and Gennady Estraikh (New York: Congress for Jewish Culture, Inc., 2011), p. 133.


            He was born in Ostrovtse (Ostrowiec), Radom district, Poland.  He was a well-known wedding entertainer.  He authored poems for various occasions which were sung as anonymous folksongs, among them: Dos shreklekhe unglik fun kishenev (The frightening sadness from Kishinev) (Warsaw, 1903), 19 pp.; Dos lid fun di yidishe karbones (The poem of the Jewish victims) (Warsaw), 16 pp.  He would have been the author of the folksongs: “Eyvel-yakhid” (Mourning for an only son), “A treyst” (A comfort), and “Di levone” (The moon), as well as of various Purim songs, such as “Dos lid fun di homen tashn” (The song of Hamen’s pockets [Homentaschen pastries]) (Warsaw, 1903), 8 pp.
Khayim Leyb Fuks


            He was the author of a comedy in one act: Botens, kneplakh (Buttons, little buttons) (New York, 1912), 16 pp.

Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), cols. 245-46.


            He was born in Tshenstokhov (Częstochowa), Poland.  He graduated from the Częstochowa Commercial School and Wallenburg’s Technical High School in Warsaw.  He studied mechanical engineering at the Universities of Berlin and Paris, where he lived until the end of WWI.  In early 1919 he returned to Poland and became an active leader in the Bund.  He lectured on literature and history at the Częstochowa cultural office of the Jewish trade unions.  Over the years 1927-1930 he directed the artisans’ school at ORT (Association for the Promotion of Skilled Trades) in Pyetrikov (Pyotrkow), then later returned to Częstochowa.  He was a contributor, 1933-1939, to the Bund’s production cooperative in Warsaw.  He began writing—in Arbeter tsaytung (Workers’ newspaper) in Częstochowa in 1919—articles on literature, and later he would run the weekly portion called “Fun bikher-tish” (From the book table) in which he published reviews of books of Yiddish and Polish literature.  He contributed as well to the weekly newspaper Der proletaryer (The proletarian) in Częstochowa, Tshenstokhover veker (Częstochowa alarm), and Pyetrikover veker (Pyotrkow alarm).  He wrote about Jewish character types in Polish literature in the following Warsaw serials: Folks-tsaytung (People’s newspaper), Shul un lebn (School and life) in 1922; Unzer tsayt (Our time) in 1927-1928; Foroys (Onward), Vokhnshrift far literatur (Weekly writings for literature), Bikher velt (Book world) in 1928 (“Vegn yidish-poylishe iberzetsungen” [On Yiddish-Polish translations], with a partial bibliography of Polish translations of Yiddish literature); Literarishe bleter (Literary leaves) in 1931 (chapters from a work on the topic of “the path of Jewish martyrs pressed in Tsarist military service for many years”).  Also: Yivo-bleter (Pages from YIVO) (Vilna) 4 (1932), pp. 246-57 (“Yidn in y. i. krashevskis verk” [Jews in the work of Józef Ignacy Kraszewski]), among others.  In 1932 he was the editorial secretary for the planned Tshenstokhover pinkes (Records of Częstochowa), for which he wrote a series of articles entitled “Tsu der geshikhte fun yidn in tshenstokhov” (On the history of Jews in Częstochowa), which was partially published in Tshenstokhover tsaytung (Częstochowa newspaper).  His books include: Birgerlekher un arbeter sport (Bourgeois and workers’ sports) (Częstochowa: Kultur, 1925), 44 pp.; Yidishe tipn in der poylisher literatur (Jewish character types in Polish literature) (Warsaw, 1928), 227 pp.  He was confined in the Warsaw Ghetto, where he wrote “Historishe arbetn vegn der kultur-geshikhte fun yidn in poyln in der ershte helft fun 19tn yorhundert” (Historical works on the cultural history of Jews in Poland in the first half of the nineteenth century) as well as a few works of fiction, such as: “In arbets-lager” (In a work camp), a period piece published in Tsvishn lebn un toyt (Between life and death) (Warsaw, 1955), pp. 24-30.[1]  He was killed during the January Aktion (1943) in the Warsaw Ghetto.  He also wrote under the pseudonyms: A. Viltsh, Kh. V., and others.

Sources: Y. Likhtenshteyn, in Lodzher veker (Lodz) (June 22, 1928); N. Veynig, in Bikher-velt (Warsaw) (July 1928); Dr. Y. Shatski, in Yivo-bleter (Vilna) 4 (1932), pp. 60-67; Tshenstokhover yidn (Częstochowa Jews) (New York, 1947), pp. 98-99, 399; B. Mark, ed., Tsvishn lebn un toyt (Between life and death) (Warsaw, 1955), p. 15.
Khayim Leyb Fuks

[1] Translator’s note. This may be an error for an essay by Yitskhok Tsukerman.  See Tsukerman’s entry in this series.


            He was the younger brother of Yikhezkl Viltshinski, born in Tshenstokhov (Częstochowa), Poland.  He studied in religious elementary school, public school, later studying chemistry in Paris at the Sorbonne.  He lived in Germany over the years 1922-1930.  He was in Paris, 1930-1936, active there in the Bund and in Jewish trade unions.  The founder of a theater studio for Jewish workers, he adapted and translated into Yiddish plays from Polish, German, and French.  He was also the director of a children’s theater.  In 1936 he returned to Częstochowa, where he served as secretary of the local porters’ union.  He published articles on theater and art in: Parizer veker (Parisian alarm) and Unzer shtime (Our voice) in Paris; Tshenstokhover veker (Częstochowa alarm), Pyetrikover veker (Pyotrków alarm), and Arbeter-tsaytung (Workers’ newspaper) in Częstochowa; among others.  Among his pen names: A. V., A. Vil., and Tshun.  He died during the Warsaw Ghetto uprising in May 1943.

Sources: Tshenstokhover yidn (Częstochowa Jews) (New York, 1947); M. Libling, Tshenstokhov (New York, 1957).


            He was born in Hungary.  In 1919 he moved to Argentina.  His books include: Erets yehuda, a baytrag tsu der leyzung tsu der idn-frage (The land of Judah, a contribution to the solution of the Jewish question) (Buenos Aires, 1939), 8 pp.; Naye vegn (New paths) (Buenos Aires, 1943), 103 pp.; Hot argentinter yidisher yishev take aza pomen? (Does the Argentinian Jewish community really look like that?) (Buenos Aires: Saadya, 1955), 18 pp.  He died in Jerusalem.

Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 245.


HILEL (HILLEL) VIKHNIN (October 17, 1879-September 13, 1942)
            He was born in Droye (Druja, Druya), Vilna district, into a merchant household.  He studied in religious elementary school and in a public school in Droye, in the yeshiva of Rezhitse (Rēzekne), and later in the Rameyle circle in Vilna.  For one and one-half years he was a Russian teacher in a village near Droye.  In 1904 he moved to the United States and lived in New York until 1909, thereafter settling in Philadelphia.  He began writing in his youth, translating Lev Tolstoy’s Vemes gloybn iz beser? (Whose belief is better?) for the publisher “A. Goselnik and A. Kotik.”  He edited an anthology entitled Der folks-fraynd (The friend of the people) (Vilna, 1901), 33 pp.  After moving to New York, he contributed work (1904-1909) to Forverts (Forward), in which, aside from articles, he published stories and translations from Russian literature.  Over the years 1909-1913, he edited the Philadelphia edition of New York’s Varhayt (Truth), and he was news editor and music critic, 1914-1938, for Di idishe velt (The Jewish world) in Philadelphia.  His books include translations of Tolstoy’s Vemes gloybn iz beser? (Warsaw: 1901), 18 pp.; V. M. Garshin, Di gefalene froy (The fallen woman) (Warsaw, 1901), 23 pp.; N. A. Rubakin, Der zeyde tsayt (Grandfather time [original: Dedushka vremya]) (Warsaw, 1904), 80 pp.; and Rubakin, Di vunderlikhe erfindungen (The wonderful inventions) (Warsaw, 1904), 32 pp.  He translated in abbreviated form the contents of the principal arias of the operas: Carmen, Aida, Faust, and La Traviata (New York, 1908), each 16 pp.  Using the pen name “Ete-Goldes zun” (Ete-Golde’s son), he translated Fransua (François) by Guy de Maupassant.  He died in Philadelphia.

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 1; M. Freeman, 50 yor geshikhte fun yidn in filadelfye (Fifty-year history of Jews in Philadelphia), vol. 2 (1934), p. 258; Y. L. Malamut, Filadelfyer yidishe anshtaltn un zeyere firer (Jewish institutions in Philadelphia and their leaders) (Philadelphia, 1943), pp. 330-31; Y. Khaykin, Yidishe bleter in amerike (Yiddish newspapers in America) (New York, 1946), p. 11; Sh. Slutski, Avrom reyzen-biblyografye (Avrom Reyzen bibliography) (New York, 1956), no. 4523; Kh. Gotesfeld, in Forverts (New York) (December 18, 1958).
Khayim Leyb Fuks



            An author on current events, he was born in Vilna, into a family of a compositor.  He studied in a Jewish workers’ evening school in Vilna and worked in the office of a paper company. For his participation in the labor movement, he was arrested on several occasions and thrown in jail. In 1921 he left for the Soviet Union.  In 1925 he graduated from Moscow’s Communist University of National Minorities of the West, and then was living in Kharkov and working in the head office of the Yevsektsye (Jewish division) of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Ukraine, while also taking up journalism.  From 1926 he was editor of the newspaper Der yidisher poyer (The Jewish farmer) and later of Dos sotsyalistishe dorf (The socialist village).  He also published articles in Emes (Truth) and Der shtern (The star). He fought at the front during WWII, and after demobilization settled in Moscow, publishing jottings, historical treatments, and memoirs in the Moscow journal Sovetish heymland (Soviet homeland).

He wrote several books dedicated to the collectivization of the Jewish village and about cultural work in Jewish regions: e.g., Der dorfrat un di durkhoysike kolektivizatsye (The village council and thorough collectivization) (Moscow-Minsk: Central Publ., 1920), 20 pp.

Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 245; additional information from: Chaim Beider, Leksikon fun yidishe shrayber in ratn-farband (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers in the Soviet Union), ed. Boris Sandler and Gennady Estraikh (New York: Congress for Jewish Culture, Inc., 2011), pp. 140-41.

Monday 30 May 2016


YOYSEF VAYTSMAN (1893-May 1941)
            He was born in Lodz, Poland, into a well-to-do family.  He graduated from a Russian high school.  He studied law at the Universities of Warsaw and Rostov.  He was an officer in the Tsarist army at the Russo-German front during WWI.  He returned to Lodz in 1919, and there he was a prominent lawyer until WWII.  He was an active leader in the Jewish Folkspartey (People’s party) in Russia, vice-chairman of the association of Jewish front-fighters in Russia (together with Joseph Trumpeldor and lawyer Gruzenberg).  Later, he was a member of the central committee of the Folkspartey and vice-president of the central Jewish artisans’ association in Poland, a member of the city council, and vice-president of the Jewish community in Lodz.  He wrote initially for the Russian Jewish press.  From 1919 on, he published in Yiddish in: Moment (Moment) and Dos folk (The people) in Warsaw; Lozher folksblat (Lodz people’s newspaper) and the monthly Oyfboy (Construction) in Lodz (1927-1930), of which he was also co-editor (with Noyekh Prilucki, Lazar Kahan, and M. Balberishski); and Yivo-bleter (Pages from YIVO) (Vilna) 9 (1936), in which he published a piece about a Russian book, a bibliography of the Yiddish press in Russia.  In September 1939, when the Germans were nearing Lodz, he left for Warsaw, and he died there in the ghetto.

Sources: Biblyografishe yorbikher fun yivo (Bibliographic yearbooks from YIVO) (Warsaw, 1928); Der moment, jubilee publication (Warsaw, 1935); Khayim Leyb Fuks, in Fun noentn over (New York) 3 (1957), p. 255.


OYSHER-ZELIG VAYTSMAN (January 18, 1873-September 26, 1943)
            He was born in Vishegrad (Wyszogrod), Plotsk district, Poland, into a commercial household.  He was the brother-in-law of Professor Chaim Weitzman.  He studied in religious elementary schools, a Polish middle school, and graduated from Wallenberg’s Commercial School in Warsaw.  From his youth he was active in the Zionist movement.  Over the years 1909-1914, he lived in the land of Israel.  He was a pioneer in the industrial development of Haifa.  In the summer of 1914 he traveled to Poland as a community emissary, and due to the war he had to remain in Warsaw under German occupation.  He was general secretary of the Zionist Organization in Poland and of its Warsaw committee.  He cofounded the Hashomer Hatsair (Young guard) and Maccabi groups, among others.  In 1919 he returned to Haifa and until his death was one of the most prominent leaders in the settlement.  He served as treasurer of Hebrew University (1924-1929).  He was a member of the management of the Haganah (the Jewish paramilitary group), of the Jewish Archeological Society, and other groups.  He began writing articles for Glos Zydowski (Jewish voice), the first Zionist daily in Poland, in Warsaw in 1906, and he was also its editor.  At the same time, he contributed to: Yudishes tageblat (Jewish daily newspaper), edited by Sh. Y. Yatskan; later, Haynt (Today); Dos idishe folk (The Jewish people); Unzer lebn (Our life); and Hatsfira (The siren)—in Warsaw; and to the Zionist press and periodicals in the Diaspora and in Israel.  He died in Jerusalem.

Sources: Sefer haishim (Biographical dictionary) (Tel Aviv, 1936/1937), pp. 201-2; D. Tidhar, in Entsiklopedyah leḥalutse hayishuv uvonav (Encyclopedia of the pioneers and builders of the yishuv), vol. 3 (Tel Aviv, 1949), p. 1843.


ARN VAYTSMAN (b. April 2, 1884)
            He was born in Belz (Bełz), Bessarabia.  He was an external student in Zhitomir and Odessa, and in 1920 he attended the Tarbut course of study in Kishinev, later opening a school in Belz.  In 1930 he moved to Argentina.  He was a teacher and school director initially in an YIKO (Jewish Cultural Organization) colony of Baron Hirsch, later in Buenos Aires.  He debuted in print with a one-act place entitled Dankbare oremelayt (The thankful poor), which appeared in Penemer un penemlekh (Appearances, big and small) in Buenos Aires in 1933.  From that point forward, he published stories, monologues, and one-act plays in: Idishe tsaytung (Jewish newspaper), Argentiner magazin (Argentinian magazine), Idishe velt (Jewish world), Mizrakhi-shtime (Voice of Mizrachi), and Far shul un heym (For school and home), among others, in Buenos Aires.  Among his books: Di akht likhtlekh, khanike poeme far shul kinder (The eight little candles, a Hanukkah poem for school children) (Buenos Aires, 1944), 30 pp., a second edition appeared in 1945; Shloyme hameylekh un zayn lere, dos lebn un shafn in ṭifn altertum fun klugstn fun ale mentshn (King Solomon and his teachings, the life and work from high antiquity of the wisest of all men) (Buenos Aires, 1946), 56 pp.  In 1949 he made aliya to Israel.  He worked as a state official in the “Training Branch” of the office of the prime minister.  He published his writings in Letste nayes (Latest news) in Tel Aviv.

Sources: Sh. Rozhanski, Dos yidishe gedrukte vort un teater in argentine (The published Yiddish word and theater in Argentina), vol. 1 (Buenos Aires, 1941), p. 174; Idishe tsaytung (Buenos Aires) (September 28, 1944); Idishe velt (Buenos Aires) (November 30, 1944; September 3, 1946); Unzer tsayt (Buenos Aires) (July 6, 1945); Der moment (Montevideo) (July 6, 1945; November 8, 1946).
Zaynvl Diamant



            He was a current events writer, demographer, and sociologist, born in the town of Derazhnya, Podolia (now, Khmel'nyts'ke region), Ukraine. In the latter half of the 1920s, he was a teacher in technical high schools in Kharkov and Kiev; over the years 1928-1931, he was a member of the presidium of the Institute for Jewish Culture in Kiev, leader of the socio-economic section of the Institute, and a member of the editorial board of its publications. He published articles of a sociological and demographic character, primarily in connection with Jewish colonization, in Emes (Truth) in Moscow, Shtern (Star) in Kharkov-Kiev, and Oktyabr (October) in Minsk, among others. As described in the memoirs of those who worked with him in those years, he was a very serious scholar and a fun-loving man. He was one of the finest specialists to address the social-economic conditions of the Jewish shtetl. He was the author of books which were subsequently withdrawn from circulation by the Soviet authorities, among them: Derazhne, dos itstike idishe shtetl, monografye fun a idishe shtetl in ukraine (Derazhnya, the contemporary Jewish town, monograph on a Jewish town in Ukraine), with forewords by A. Larin and the author (Moscow-Leningrad: State Publ., 1929), 119 pp.—a social cross-section of a small Jewish town in the Soviet Union, as well as a picture of the spiritual crisis of the Jewish population there.  Portions of this work, with a postface by the editorial board and with a note by the author, were published in the weekly Vokh (Week) 8-9 (1929) in New York. Under the conditions of the Stalinist totalitarian regime, this was dangerous work, because the Party organs were attentive to what might be characterized as various and sundry “deviations.” Vaytsblit’s articles aroused sharp discussions. And what’s more: they qualified as “Trotskyism,” “leftist deviation,” and “nationalism.” And, he was indeed one of the first victims of the Stalin terror. According to some bits of information, he was arrested in early 1933 and nothing further was ever heard.

He also wrote: Vegn altn un nayem shtetl (On the old and the new [Jewish] town) (Kharkov, 1930), 30 pp.; Di dinamik fun der yidisher bafelkerung in ukraine far di yorn 1897-1926 (The dynamic of the Jewish population in Ukraine for the years 1897-1926), with an introduction by the “Presidium of the Institute for Jewish Culture” which proclaims the importance of Vaytsnlit’s work (Kharkov: Literatur un kunst, 1930), 190 pp., including a “list of 350 settlement points in the Ukrainian S.S.R.” indicating population figures for 1897, 1920, 1923, and 1926; Agrarizatsye oder industryalitatsye, di vegn tsu gezuntmakhn di yidishe oremshaft (Agrarianization or industrialization, the ways to cure Jewish poverty) (Kharkov: Ukrainian State Publishers, 1930), 141 pp., with a foreword from Motl Kiper and an introduction by the author who points out that “after the Revolution the Jewish population in the old Jewish colonies decreased by 5%, while the general village [population] grew overall by 50%,” and thus “one must refuse to canvass on behalf of urban Jewish poverty so as to settle them on the land.”  In another place the author notes that “there are no déclassé [elements] among the Jews who would be qualified for Birobidzhan.”

Sources: A. Tshemerinski, in Emes (Moscow) (October 6, 1929); Vokh (New York) 8-9 (1929); R. Dunyets, In kamf af tsvey frontn (In battle on two fronts) (Minsk, 1932), p. 66; oral information from Al. Pomerants in New York.

Khayim Leyb Fuks

[Additional information from: Chaim Beider, Leksikon fun yidishe shrayber in ratn-farband (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers in the Soviet Union), ed. Boris Sandler and Gennady Estraikh (New York: Congress for Jewish Culture, Inc., 2011), p. 140.]

Sunday 29 May 2016


AVROM VAYTS (WEITZ, WAJC) (1908-June 24, 1980)
            He was born in Lask (Łask), near Lodz, Poland.  He studied in religious primary school, a Tachkemoni high school, and with private tutors.  While still a youth, he became a laborer.  In 1928 he left Poland, lived for a time in Berlin, Liège, Antwerp, and Brussels, and later settled in Paris, where until the German occupation he worked in tailoring.  He served in the French army, 1939-1940, later spending four years in German captivity and in concentration camps.  In the summer of 1945 he returned to Paris.  He debuted in print with a story entitled “Di lebedike statue’ (The living statue) which appeared in Nayer folksblat (New people’s newspaper) in Lodz in 1927.  He later contributed to Naye prese (New press) in Paris.  He published stories, novels—such as In lateynishn kvartal (In the Latin Quarter), Ven der boym hot geblit (When the tree bloomed), and Di letste geto (The last ghetto)—sketches, tales, reportage pieces, and treatises about literature and art, which appeared in: Naye prese, Unzer vort (Our word), Parizer shriftn (Parisian writings), Oyfsnay (Afresh), Unzer eynikeyt (Our unity), and Unzer shtime (Our voice)—in Paris; Loshn un lebn (Language and life), Yidishe shriftn (Yiddish writings), and Di idishe shtime (The Jewish voice)—in London; Der tog (The day), Forverts (Forward), Tsukunft (Future), Yidishe kultur (Jewish culture), and Unzer tsayt (Our time)—in New York; Kol yisrael (Voice of Israel), Yisroel-shtime (Israel’s voice), Hatsofe (The spectator)—in Israel; Ilustrirte literarishe bleter (Illustrated literary leaves) in Buenos Aires; Dorem-afrike (South Africa) in Johannesburg; Belgishe bleter (Belgian pages) in Brussels; Unzer fraynd (Our friend) in Brazil; Di post (The mail) and Oyfboy (Construction) in Melbourne; and elsewhere.  He edited the literary supplement to the weekly newspaper Arbeter-vort (Workers’ word) in Paris (1954-1955), and he co-edited the literary anthology Parizer almanakh (Parisian almanac) (1955).  His books would include: Oysyes in blut, dertseylungen (Letters in blood, stories), stories of destruction and pain (Paris, 1948), 271 pp.; A nayer tog geyt oyf, noveln (A new day rises, stories) (Paris, 1952), 202 pp.; Der bahaltener yid (The hidden Jew), stories from Jewish sorrow and self-sacrifice (Paris, 1954), 191 pp.; Di letste geto (Buenos Aires: Yidbukh, 1961), 347 pp.; Der karshnboym, noveln (The cherry tree, stories) (Paris, 1961), 59 pp.; Bal-shem-tov motivn un andere dertseylungen (Themes of the Bal-Shem-Tov and others stories) (Paris, 1977), 237 pp.  He died in Paris.

Sources: M. Dluzhnovski, in Fraye arbeter shtime (New York) (January 1946); American Hebrew (New York) (October 4, 1946); Idisher kemfer (New York) (August 29, 1947); M. Litvin, in Di naye prese (Paris) (February 18, 1948); M. Goldin, in Oyfsnay (Paris) (April 1948); Sh. Tenenboym, in Di shtime (Mexico City) (August 7, 11, and 21, 1948); M. Ravitsh, in Keneder odler (Montreal) (October 11, 1949); A. Leyeles, in Der tog (New York) (November 8, 1949); Khayim Leyb Fuks, in Arbeter vort (Paris) (May 28, 1952; May 27, 1958); Fuks, in Fun noentn over (New York) 3 (1957); N. Gris, in Nayvelt (Tel Aviv) (June 12, 1952); L. Domankevitsh, in Unzer vort (Paris) (October 20, 1954); G. Vaysman, in Lebns-fragn (Tel Aviv) (July 1956).
Khayim Leyb Fuks

[Additional information from: Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 245.]


            He was born in Novaia Ushitsa (Nova Ushytsya), Podolia district, Ukraine.  He worked as a cantor in various cities in Russia of the past, and later, after 1914, he was a cantor in New York, Philadelphia, and elsewhere.  He served as secretary of the American Cantors’ Union.  He was the author of such cantorial works as: “Tefilat yehoshua” (Joshua’s prayer), “Shira ḥadasha” (New song), “Minḥat yehoshua” (Joshua gift), and “Rinat yehoshua” (Joshua’s exultation).  He published articles on Jewish liturgical music in: Di idishe velt (The Jewish world) in Philadelphia; Morgn-zhurnal (Morning journal) and Hadoar (The mail) in New York; Di shul- un khazonim-velt (The synagogue and cantors’ world) in Warsaw; among others.  He chaired the editorial collective for the anthology Khazones (Cantorial art) (New York, 1937), 272 pp. in Yiddish and 112 pp. in English, in which he published an article entitled “40 yor khazones in amerike” (Forty years of the cantorial art in America).  He also composed melodies to the poetry of Yiddish writers, among them Leyzer Shindler’s poems, to be found in his book Yidish un khsidish (Yiddish and Hassidic) (New York, 1940), many of which were sung.

Sources: E. Zaludkovski, Kultur-treger fun der yidisher liturgye (Culture bearers of the Jewish liturgy) (Vilna, 1930), pp. 279-81; Y. Beler, in Khazones, zamlbukh (Cantorial art, anthology) (New York, 1937), p. 66; Y. Tsuzmer, Beikve hador (At the edge of the generation) (New York, 1957), see index.


PERL VAYSENBERG-AKSELROD (November 1, 1914-September 2, 2008)
            She was born in Zhelekhov (Żelichów), Poland, the daughter of Y. M. Vaysenberg (Weissenberg) and the wife of Zelik Akselrod.  From 1920 she was in Warsaw.  In late 1939 she escaped to Byelorussia.  After the war she returned to Poland, then German, Switzerland, and six years in Israel.  In 1954 she moved to Canada.  She debuted in print in 1938 in both Haynt (Today) and Folks-tsaytung (People’s newspaper) in Warsaw.  In 1940 she worked for Byalistoker shtern (Bialystok star).  She wrote articles, memoirs, stories, and poems in: Nayvelt (New world), Lebns-fragn (Life issues), Goldene keyt (Golden chain), and Dos vort (The word)—in Tel Aviv; Tsukunft (Future), Svive (Environs), and Morgn-frayhayt (Morning freedom)—in New York; Ilustrirte literarishe bleter (Illustrated literary leaves)—in Buenos Aires; Folks-shtime (Voice of the people) in Warsaw; and Keneder odler (Canadian eagle) in Montreal.  He edited Dos naye yidishe vort (The new Yiddish word) in Winnepeg.  Her long story “Di vakh fun zibn” (The guard of seven) was translated into Hebrew as “Mishmar hashiva,” Shevatim (Tribes) (Tel Aviv, 1952/1953), pp. 177-235.  She was the author of: Y. m. vaysenberg, zayn lebn un shafn, 1878-1938 (Y. M. Weissenberg, his life and work, 1878-1938) (Montreal, 1986), 433 pp.  She died in Montreal.

Source: Y. Rapoport, in Heymish (Tel Aviv) (May 15, 1960).

Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), cols. 244-45.


SHMUEL (SHEMUEL) VAYSENBERG (December 14, 1867-October 31, 1928)
            He was born in Yelisavetgrad (Kirovohrad), southern Russia, to a father who worked as a miller.  He studied in religious elementary school, later in a senior high school, and from 1884 he was studying first in a technical college in Karlsruhe and later in Heidelberg, Germany, where in 1890 he graduated from the medical faculty as a doctor.  He practiced medicine for a certain amount of time thereafter in his hometown, but then turned all of his attentions to the study of Jewish anthropology and ethnography, and to that end he traveled, 1908-1911, to Turkey, Egypt, Israel, Syria, Turkestan, the Caucasus, and the Crimea.  Beginning in 1895 he published in Russian and German periodicals a series of anthropological and ethnographic studies, such as [titles translated into English]: “Jewish Folksongs and Jewish Sayings,” “Children’s Joy and Children’s Suffering among Jews in Southern Russia,” “Dishes and Pastries of the Jews of Southern Russia,” “Illness and Death among the Jews of Southern Russia,” “The Karaites in Crimea,” “The Jewish Character,” “The Land of Israel and the Customs and Beliefs of Contemporary Jews,” “The Yemenite Jews,” “Old Jewish Gravestones in Crimea,” “Jewish Art,” “The Problem of the Jewish Race,” “Jews in the Caucasus,” “Armenians and Jews,” “Jews of Spanish Origin,” “The Surnames of the Karaites and Crimean Jews,” “The Jews of Turkestan,” “The Kurdestan Jews,” and many others.  His published books include: Die südrussischen Juden, eine anthropometrische Studie mit Berücksichtigung der allgemeinen Entwickelungsgesetze (The southern Russian Jews, an anthropometric study with regard to the general laws of development) (Braunschweig, 1895), 126 pp., in German; Das Volkstum der Menschen (The national character of people) (Stuttgart, 1911), in German.  He wrote nothing in Yiddish himself.  The following were translated into Yiddish from manuscripts of his: “Di rusishe yidn in der tsayt fun milkhome un revolutsye” (Russian Jews at the time of war and revolution), Bleter far yidisher demografye, statistik un ekonomye (Jewish demography, statistics, and economics), vol. 1 (Vilna) (1923), pp. 17-20; “Khasenes bay yidn in yelisavetgrad far di yorn 1901-1924” (Weddings among Jewish in Yelisavetgrad for the years, 1901-1924), Bleter far yidisher demografye, statistik un ekonomye, vol. 3 (1925), pp. 78-80; “Di tsunemenishn fun di yidn in yelisavetgrader krayz” (The nicknames for Jews in the Yelisavetgrad region), in Landoy bukh (Landoy volume), philological writings, vol. 1 (Vilna, 1926), pp. 79-90; “Di yidishe familyen-nemen in ukraine” (Jewish family names in Ukraine), Filologishe shriftn (Philological writings) 3 (1929), pp. 313-66, in Vilna.  He died in Yelisavetgrad.

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 1; Literarishe bleter (Warsaw) (January 11, 1929); S. Wininger, Grosse Jüdische National Biographie (Great Jewish national biography), vol. 6.


           He was born in Zhelekhov (Żelichów), Shedlets (Siedlce) district, Poland, to a father who worked as a tanner.  He studied in religious primary schools.  From his earliest youth, he was a laborer, initially twisting rope and later as a box maker.  He was already known in his town while quite young as the author of songs mocking the rich.  He had a difficult life from childhood on and suffered from want all the years of his life.  He began writing in 1904 when he published the stories “Der kitel” (The white robe [worn by men on the High Holidays]) and “Dor hoylekh vedor bo” (A generation goes and a generation comes) in Y. L. Perets’s revived Yudishe biblyotek (Jewish library)—Perets became a close friend of Weissenberg’s; these stories drew the attention of literary circles in Warsaw, and he would later join the group Virklekhkeyt (Reality) there in 1925.  His story “Di meshugener in dorf” (The crazy man in the village)—initially published in Avrom Reyzen’s Dos yudishe vort (The Yiddish word) in Cracow (1905); later published separately in Vilna by “Di velt” (The world) in 1907, 24 pp.; and included in the volume Kine un tayve (Jealousy and lust) in Warsaw (1911)—had even greater success.  But a huge impression was made by his novella Shtender (The pulpit)—first published as a supplement to the daily newspaper Der veg (The way) in Warsaw (1906), later separately in Warsaw by “Progres” (Progress) in 1910, 76 pp.; and then it was republished in Warsaw in 1909 and in 1911 and in Moscow in 1933, 189 pp.; later still it was included in Weissenberg’s Geklibene shriftn (Selected writings) (Warsaw, 1950).  He took the material for this work—as for many other works of his—from the surroundings in which he was raised.  Numerous leather workers had lived in Żelichów for generations, and they stamped their seal on all life there.  Weissenberg brought this group of people to the fore in his work A shtetl (A town) with the background of the events of the revolutionary year of 1905, when the old way of life was broken and new types pf personages were emerging on his canvas.  Perets, to whom he brought the manuscript, marked it as a great event in Yiddish literature.  He then left his work as a tanner and turned his full attention to writing.  He published in a variety of Yiddish newspapers, magazine, and anthologies, and he wrote his best work there until WWI.  His stories from that era excelled in their flexible energy and simultaneously possessed an exquisitely profound, hidden lyricism.  And, thus, he wrote his well-known stories at the time, among them: “A tate mit bonim” (A father and sons), initially published in Di literarishe monatshriftn (Monthly literary writings) in Vilna (1908); “Khanele” (Little Hannah); “A vald-meydl” (A forest girl); “A shlekhte froy” (An evil woman).  Among his books written at this time: Shriftn (Writings), three short volumes (Warsaw: Velt-biblyotek, 1909/1910); Kine un tayve un andere dertseylungen (“Jealousy and lust” and others stories) (Warsaw: Progress, 1911), 174 pp.; Geklibene shriftn, one volume (Vilna: Shreberk, 1911), 222 pp.; Ertseylungen un bilder (Stories and images) (Warsaw: A. Gitlin, 1912), 160 pp.; and Shriftn (Warsaw: Bikher far ale, 1914), 156 pp.  In these volumes, aside from those already noted, he included the following stories: “A pomnik” (A monument), “Di bobeshis ophitn” (Grandma’s observance), “Khayim-arn” (Chaim-Aron), “A ganeyve” (A thievery), “Der lerer grinshteyn” (Teacher Grinshteyn), “Kleydele” (The little dress), “Der oremer yung” (The poor youngster), “Zumer-tog” (Summer day), “Khoyv” (Duty), “Fun fayer un vaser” (From fire and water), “A dertrunkener” (The drowned one), “Tsum eydem af kest” (Before boarding with the in-laws), “Der bal-tshuve” (The penitent), “Nit bashert” (Undestined), “Dray shvesterlekh” (The little sisters), “In der shtil” (Quietly), and “Shmerl un berl” (Shmerl and Berl), among others; the dramatic work, Kasper (Casper), a play in three acts, which was published separately (Warsaw: Progres, 1910), 85 pp.—appeared earlier in Di yugend shtime (The voice of youth); Kine un tayve, a drama in three acts—published earlier in Teater-velt (Theater world) 6.17 (1908-1909); and his first dramatic works, Dvorele and R. yoyel (Joel), in which he evinced significant dramatic talent—Bal-Makhshoves predicted at the time that Weissenberg would have a great career as a playwright.
            With these writings—which were subsequently republished at various times—the first phase of Weissenberg’s work came to a close with the advent of WWI.  The second phase began after Perets’s death, which was for Weissenberg personally an immense moral loss.  He believed that the standing of Yiddish literature had declined, while journalism had begun to assume the place of honor.  He first published several pamphlets with the goal of “making the Yiddish press distinctive and creating a distinctive tribune for artists.”  At that time he began to publish his Yudishe zamlbikher (Yiddish anthologies), which he first brought out together with Dr. B. Tsipor (four issues) (Warsaw, 1918-1919) and later by himself (Warsaw, 1920).  Young writers assembled around him, and he highlighted and published their works in these “anthologies.”  He published his own “In tog fun gerikht” (On the day of judgment) here—a political satire on Polish-Jewish relations in verse—as well as critical and current-events articles.  He also brought out the polemical magazines: Der shtrom (The current), a weekly for literature, criticism, theater, film, humor, and satire (Warsaw, 1924), five numbers; Kritik (Critic) with Y. Rapaport and Inzer hofenung (Our hope) in Warsaw (1932).  In his magazines, he featured such important writers as: Oyzer Varshavski, Y. M. Papernikov, Yekhiel Lerer, and Shimen Horontshik.  Horontshik’s first novel included—thanks to Weissenberg—a chapter concerned with the Warsaw literary scene which at the time aroused consider bad blood and brought about Weissenberg’s provisional withdrawal from membership in the literary association.  His periodicals also, however, became a platform to combat the “Lithuanians,” whom he accused of seizing important positions in Warsaw’s Jewish community and literary world [that is, in the heart of the Polish Yiddish world—JAF].  He even tried to impose on his writers a distinctive [Polish] Yiddish spelling.  Belonging to this era was his novel Der moderner shed (The modern demon) (Warsaw, 1930), 270 pp., new edition (Warsaw, 1938)—a work that depicted the Yiddish literary scene in Warsaw.  While he was devoting his best efforts to community quarrels, he did not, nonetheless, cease writing.  And, the stories from the first period of his work were regularly reprinted as well.  Subsequent editions of his work in book form include: A shlekhte froy un andere ertseylungen (An evil woman and others stories) (Warsaw: Di tsayt, 1921), 160 pp.; Geklibene verk (Selected works), volumes 1-5 (Warsaw, 1930-1931; Kiev, 1930); Geklibene verk, volume 6 (Goyroles vos lakht [Fates that laugh]) (Warsaw, 1930-1931).  Around 1930 he completed his autobiographical novel, Der ibergang fun kindheyt tsu dervaksung, roman (The passage from childhood to adolescence, a novel) (Warsaw: Kultur-lige, 1930), 215 pp.  In 1932 he published the pamphlets: Kunst un subyektivitet (Art and subjectivity) and Di velt a troym (The world, a dream).  He also wrote a work that was supposed to appear in ten volumes, entitled In der tifer eybikeyt (In deep eternity), of which only one volume was published (Warsaw, 1936), 32 pp., packed with mysterious allusions.  In 1938 he published a booklet entitled Far yugnt (For youth) in Warsaw (56 pp.).  Prior to his death, he prepared a volume, Dertseylungen fun mayn ershtn period shraybn (Stories from my first period of writing), which appeared in print at the time of his shloyshim (thirty-day mark following his death) (Warsaw, 1938), 167 pp.  The following works were published posthumously: Geklibene verk (New York: L. M. Shtayn-folks-biblyotek, 1954), 311 pp.; Geklibene shriftn (Warsaw: Yidish bukh, 1950), 107 pp., with an introduction by D. Sfard; Geklibene verk, vol. 1 (Chicago, 1959), 355 pp., with a foreword by Weissenberg’s daughter Pearl who was living in Canada.  He also translated into Yiddish Toyznt un eyn nakht (1001 [Arabian] nights).  Portions of his work have been translated into Hebrew, English, Polish, Russian, German, French, and Spanish.  In the 1930s the Warsaw community awarded him the first prize for literature, but he refused to accept it.  He spent his entire life in Warsaw and Lodz, with the exception of his visits to Ukraine after WWI and, to promote his publications, to the United States in 1923.  He died in Legionowo, near Warsaw.  His funeral was arranged by the Warsaw Jewish community and was turned into a popular demonstration.  After WWII a stone was place at his grave at the Gensia Cemetery, at the expense of the Polish state.

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 1 (with a bibliography); Z. Zilbertsvayg, Leksikon fun yidishn teater (Handbook of the Yiddish theater), vol. 1; Bal-Makhshoves, Geklibene shriftn (Selected writings), vol. 1 (Warsaw, 1929), pp. 203-12; Avrom Reyzen, Epizodn fun mayn lebn (Episodes from my life), vol. 1 (Vilna, 1929) and vol. 3 (Vilna, 1935); M. Litvakov, Geklibene verk (Selected works) (Kiev, 1930); Shmuel Niger, in Tsukunft (New York) (July 1930; April 1949); Niger, in Tog (New York) (September 19, 1931); Niger, in Draysik yor keneder odler, yubiley oysgabe (Thirty years of Keneder odler, jubilee publication) (Montreal, 1938); Niger, Habikoret uveayoteha (Inquiry and its problems) (Jerusalem, 1957), pp. 349-50; D. Bergelson, in Forpost (Birobidzhan) 2 (1937); Y. Kharlash, in Foroys (Johannesburg) (September 1938); A. A. Roback, The Story of Yiddish Literature (New York, 1940), pp. 223-27; M. Ravitsh, Mayn leksikon (My lexicon), vol. 1 (Montreal, 1947), pp. 80-85; Y. Rapaport, Heldn un korbones fun der ibergang-tsayt (Heroes and victims from the transition period) (Melbourne, 1949); Rapaport, Oysgerisene bleter (Random leaves) (Melbourne, 1957); Zhelikhover bulletin (Żelichów bulletin) (Chicago, 1950); B. Mark, in Yidishe shriftn (Warsaw) (October 1951); Dov Sadan, Kaarat egozim o elef bediha ubediha, asufat humor beyisrael (A bowl of nuts or one thousand and one jokes, an anthology of humor in Israel) (Tel Aviv, 1953); Zhelikover yoyvl-bukh (Żelichów jubilee volume) (Chicago, 1954); Y. Freylikh, in Undzer veg (New York) (October 1954); Yankev Glatshteyn, in Idisher kemfer (November 26, 1954); Khayim Leyb Fuks, in Kultur un dertsiung (New York) (December 14, 1954); B. Y. Byalostotski, in Di goldene keyt (Tel Aviv) (Tel Aviv) 21 (1955); Byalostotski, Kholem un vor, eseyen (Dream and reality, essays) (New York, 1956), pp. 363-73; Y. Shtark, Portretn (Portraits) (Buenos Aires, 1956), pp. 95-112; Perl Vaysenberg (Pearl Weissenberg), in Yidishe shriftn (June 1957); Perl Vaysenberg, in Morgn frayhayt (New York) (September 29, 1957); D. Eynhorn, in Forverts (New York) (July 14, 1957); B. Mark and Froym Kaganovski, in Yidishe shriftn (August 1958); A. Kvaterko, in Morgn frayhayt (August 31, 1958); L. Domankevitsh, in Unzer vort (Paris) (September 6, 1958); Y. Goldkorn, in Fraye arbeter shtime (New York) (November 1, 1958); Y. M. Papernikov, Heymishe un noente (Familiar and close) (Tel Aviv, 1958), pp. 142-45; Helen Londinski, in Tsukunft (July-August 1959).

Friday 27 May 2016


SHLOYME VAYSMAN (SHLOIME WISEMAN) (March 10, 1899-April 8, 1985)
            He was born in Russia.  In 1913 he moved to Canada.  He graduated from McGill University in Montreal in 1920, and there he entered a four-year course in pedagogy.  He was a teacher at and director of the first Jewish public school in Montreal.  He lectured at the Jewish teachers’ seminary and in Hebrew at George Williams College in Montreal.  He was a member of the Canadian Jewish Congress and of the YIVO Committee in Canada.  He was an essayist, pedagogue, and translator.  He wrote for the most part on pedagogical issues in the Jewish, Hebrew, and English-language press.  His work appeared in: Keneder odler (Canadian eagle) in Montreal; the anthology Hemshekh (Continuation) in 1927; Der idisher arbeyter (The Jewish worker) and Idisher kemfer (Jewish fighter), among others, in New York.  He compiled the literary reader Dos vort (The word) (New York, 1931), 2 volumes, 900 pp., second improved edition (New York, 1938).  He edited and included his own survey of over thirty years of educational work in Canada in The People’s Schools of Montreal: Thirtieth Anniversary, 1914-1944, a Survey (Montreal, 1944), 19 pp. Yiddish and 20 pp. English.  Together with M. Khosid, he compiled Y. Y. Segal’s Letste lider (Final poems) (Montreal, 1955), 332 pp.  He also published a book entitled Mesaprim amerikayim (American novellas) (Tel Aviv: M. Nyuman, 1956), 545 pp., an anthology of the work of twenty-eight American prose artists whom he himself translated into Hebrew, including his own introduction to American literature.  In 1961 there was published in Montreal: Shloyme vaysman-bukh (Shloyme Vaysman volume), 384 pp. in Yiddish, 80 pp. in English.  He died in Montreal.

Sources: Biblyografishe yorbikher fun yivo (Bibliographic yearbooks from YIVO), vol. 1 (Warsaw, 1928); Dr. A. Mukdoni, in Morgn-zhurnal (New York) (December 4, 1931); Sh. Belkin, Di poyle tsien bavegung in kanade (The Labor Zionist movement in Canada) (Montreal, 1956), see index; Y. Rabinovitsh, in Keneder odler (Montreal) (November 2, 1959); Who’s Who in World Jewry (New York, 1955), p. 823.

[Additional information from: Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 244.]


RUVN VAYSMAN (REUBEN WEISSMAN) (February 25, 1855-February 24, 1936)
            He was born in Odessa, southern Russia, to a father who was a ritual slaughterer.  Until age thirteen he studied in a Russian public school, while at the same time in the Odessa yeshiva.  He later studied as well in the Volozhin and Kishinev yeshivas.  He was orphaned on his father’s side in his youth and had to discontinue his studies to feed his family.  For a time he worked as a copyist for a lawyer, later as a bookbinder.  In 1877 he became a prompter for A. Goldfaden’s Yiddish theater.  At that time he began to write, and his first effort was a rewriting of the Hebrew novel Tsadek venosi (Saintly man and prince) into a drama in five acts entitled Di nekome (The revenge) which was later staged under the title Don yitskhok abarbanel (Don Isaac Abarbanel).  In 1882 he moved to the United States, and there over the course of thirty-eight years he worked as a prompter in the most prominent of Yiddish theaters.  He was the first president of the actors’ union and founder of the “Jewish Theatrical Alliance.”  He was also the author of a series of his own and adapted plays, such as: Moyshe rabeyne oder kries yam-suf (Our teacher Moses, or the parting of the Sea of Reeds); Di gemakhte meshugene (The contrived crazy woman); Amnon un tamar (Amnon and Tamar), dramatized following Mapu’s novel Aaves tsien (Love of Zion); Sore oder tsurik fun sing-sing (Sarah or the return from Sing-Sing); Lebn far lebn (Life for life); Der rusish-terkisher krig (The Russo-Turkish war); A mentsh mit tsvey penemer (A man with two faces); Der goylem oder man un vayb (The golem, or man and wife), following Zhenit'ba Belugina (Belugin’s marriage) by Alexander Ostrovsky; Di sheyne yudin (The pretty Jewish girls), translated from Shakespeare’s Shylock [= The Merchant of Venice].  He also published stories in: Nyu yorker ilustrirte tsaytung (New York illustrated newspaper) in 1888; Nyu yorker folkstsaytung (New York people’s newspaper) in 1888; Folks-advokat (Advocate for the people) for which he also translated stories from Hebrew literature; Teater-blat (Theater newspaper) in Philadelphia in 1898; and elsewhere.  He placed chapters from his “Zikhroynes vegn yidishn teater” (Memoirs of the Yiddish theater) in: Yidishes tageblat (Jewish daily newspaper) and Morgn-zhurnal (Morning journal) in New York.  He was a member of the editorial collective for Z. Zilbertsvayg’s handbook of the Yiddish theater.  He died in New York.  His daughter, Dora Vaysman [Weissman, 1881-1974], assumed an important place on the Yiddish stage.  Her husband, Anshel Shor [1871-1942], was a theatrical director and a playwright.

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 1; Z. Zilbertsvayg, Leksikon fun yidishn teater (Handbook of the Yiddish theater), vol. pp. 701-2; Zilbertsvayg, Vos der aktyor dertseylt (What the actor recounts) (Vilna, 1928), pp. 16-17; Kh. Ehrenraykh, in Forverts (New York) (February 8, 1935); Y, Kirshboym, in Morgn-zhurnal (New York) (December 8, 1935); K. Marmor, Der onhoyb fun der yidisher literatur in amerike (The beginning of Yiddish literature in America) (New York, 1944), pp. 35-36; Sh. Perlmuter, Yidishe dramaturgn un teater-kompozitorn (Yiddish playwrights and theatrical composers) (New York, 1952), pp. 87-89; Y. Mestl, 70 yor teater-repertuar (Seventy years of theater repertoire) (New York, 1954), pp. 20, 47; Y. Tsuzmer, Beikve hador (At the edge of the generation) (New York, 1957), p. 208; American Jewish Year Book (1937), p. 447.


NOKHUM VAYSMAN (NOCHEM WEISMAN) (August 1894-December 31, 1944)
            He was born in a village near Foltichen (Fălticeni), Romania, to a father who made rustic sandals.  He studied in a public school of the Romanian Jewish community, in a state high school, and in a teachers’ seminary.  He began writing, in Bucharest, poems and stories drawn from Jewish life, and they were published in the Romanian weekly Egalitatea (Equality).  In 1917 he began to write poems in Yiddish (some of these were published in Romanized form in Egalitatea).  He served until 1919 in the Romanian army.  He settled afterward in Kishinev, where he worked as a teacher of Romanian language, literature, and history in the local Tarbut high school.  At the same he published poetry in the newspapers, Besaraber lebn (Bessarabian life) and Der id (The Jew).  He moved to the United States in 1920 and worked as a teacher in a Workmen’s Circle school and later in schools of the International Workers’ Order.  He published poems and stories in Frayhayt (Freedom) in New York, and he wrote a great deal for children.  Among his books: Di balade fun a “kinder-kemp” (Ballad of a children’s camp), with a foreword by Yankev Levin, illustrated by Y. Zeldin, Moyshe Zolotaryov, Yehude Gotberg, and Nokhum Vaysman (New York, 1926), 69 pp.; Lidelekh mayne (My little poems), illustrated (New York, 1940), 39 pp.; Dos meydl mitn roytn kleydele (The girl with the little red dress), illustrated (New York, 1940), 40 pp.; Di balade fun meyer Levin (The ballad of Meyer Levin), illustrated (New York, 1940), 80 pp.; Geklibene lider (Selected poems) (New York, 1950), 190 pp.

Sources: M. Olgin in Der hamer (New York) (December 1930); D. Kurland and S. Rokhkind, Di haynttsaytike proletarishe yidishe dikhtung in amerike (Contemporary proletarian Jewish poetry in America) (Minsk, 1932), pp. 115-20; A. Pomerants, in Proletpen (Proletarian pen) (Kiev, 1935), p. 205; Yidishe kultur (New York) (August-September 1944; January 1945; May 1945); Yudl Mark, “Yidishe kinder-literatur in amerike” (Yiddish children’s literature in America), Yorbukh (Reabook) (New York, 1944/1945).
Alexander Pomerants


MOYSHE VAYSMAN (August 20, 1885-January 11, 1971)
            He was born in Semyatitsh (Siemiatycze), Grodno district, Byelorussia, into a poor family.  He studied in religious elementary school and synagogue study hall.  At age twelve he became a worker in a cigarette-paper factory, later joining the Bund and being arrested.  He moved to the United States in 1913 and worked in a barbershop in Chicago.  From 1922 he was living in Los Angeles, California.  He published his first correspondence piece in Folkstsaytung (People’s newspaper) in Vilna (1906).  Subsequently, in America, he contributed (using the pseudonym “Ben-Khayim”) articles, stories, and tales to: Di yidishe arbayter velt (The Jewish worker’s world) and Der idisher kuryer (The Jewish courier) in Chicago; Di tsayt (The times), Der teglekher shtern (The daily star), Zunland (Sun land), Kalifornyer idishe shtime (California Jewish voice), Folks-tsaytung (People’s newspaper), Idisher byuletin (Jewish bulletin), and Idisher biznesman (Jewish businessman)—in Los Angeles; Idisher zhurnal (Jewish journal) in Toronto; Fraye arbeter shtime (Free voice of labor), Kinder-zhurnal (Children’s magazine), Yidishe shprakh (Yiddish language), Nyu yorker vokhblat (New York weekly newspaper), Tog (Day), Tog-morgn zhurnal (Day morning journal), and Byalistoker shtime (Voice of Bialystok)—in New York; and Heymish (Familiar) in Tel Aviv.  He authored the following books: Fun brisk biz semyatitsh (From Brisk [Brest] to Siemiatycze) (Ontario, California, 1952), 136 pp.; Fun nekhtn un haynt (Of yesterday and today) (Ontario, 1955), 156 pp., a volume of memoirs about the first Russian Revolution (1905) and about the Jewish labor movement and the people who were active on the Jewish street at that time.  In the latter book he included some of his literary work and several of his articles about Yiddish writers.  He also wrote: A halber yorhundert in amerike (A half-century in America) (Tel Aviv: Perets Publ., 1960), 212 pp.  He died in Los Angeles.

Sources: G. Aronson, in Tsukunft (New York) (May 1953); D. Naymark, in Forverts (New York) (October 11, 1953); A. Kheyt, in Byalistoker shtime (New York) (Passover issue, 1953).

[Additional information from: Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 244.]


MORTKHE VAYSMAN-KHAYES (January 17, 1831-March 3, 1914)
            He was born in Torne (Tarnov, Tarnów), eastern Galicia.  He studied in Brody, Lemberg, and Vienna.  He owned a lithography shop.  He began writing Hebrew poetry in 1846 and published some of his work in subsequent years in his own journal, Magid mishne (Lemberg, 1872).  He published in Hebrew a collection of proverbs and aphorisms from the Talmud and Midrash in rhymed verses, humorous poetry, and epigrams.  He brought out and edited the Yiddish weekly Viener yudishe tsaytung (Viennese Jewish newspaper), 1874-1877, in which he published in his own translation of portions of his life-work, Divre ḥakhamim veḥidotam (Words of the sages and their intricacies) (Vienna, 1889-1892), six volumes, each 80 pp.  He also published under the pen name Moaḥ.  He was run over by a tramway and died in Vienna.

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 1; Gershon Bader, Medina veḥakhameha (The state and its sages) (New York, 1934), pp. 91-92; Dov Sadan, Kaarat egozim o elef bediha ubediha, asufat humor beyisrael (A bowl of nuts or one thousand and one jokes, an anthology of humor in Israel) (Tel Aviv, 1953), see index; Bet eked sefarim.

Thursday 26 May 2016


            He was born in Zhurin (Zurin), Podolia district, Ukraine.  After 1913, when his father departed for the United States, he was raised by his grandfather in Miastovka.  He studied in religious elementary school, graduating from a “Bet-sefer amami” (Jewish public school).  In 1921 he moved to the United States, for a time studied in Trenton, New Jersey, later settling in New York.  He debuted in print in 1926 with a translation of a poem by S. Yesenin in Kamf (Struggle) in Canada, and from that point in time on he contributed poetry and articles in many different periodical publications, principal among them: Inzikh (Introspective), Kern (Turn), and Epokhe (Epoch)—all in New York.  He edited: Inzikh (1934-1936), for three months he was part of a rotating editorial board with B. Alkvit, Yankev Glatshteyn, and A. Leyeles; Epokhe, a monthly in New York (1943-1947), with L. Faynberg.  His books include: Yung-groz (Young grass), poems (New York, 1928), 62 pp.; and Paraleln (Parallels), poems (New York, 1931), 62 pp.

Sources: A. Leyeles, in Inzikh (New York) (April 1940); Hemshekh antologye fun amerikaner-yidisher dikhtung, 1918-1943 (Continuation anthology of American Yiddish poetry, 1918-1943) (New York, 1945), pp. 245-69.


            He was born in Bukovina.  He received both a Jewish and a general education.  In 1906 he studied at the technical senior high school in Vienna.  At the same time, he was an active Jewish cultural leader.  He chaired the Viennese Jewish student association, “Jewish culture.”  He was a member of the organizing committee for the Czernowitz Yiddish Language Conference in 1908, and he opened the preconference on August 29.  He lived in Vienna until the early years of the twentieth century and later traveled to a number of countries.  He published articles on Yiddish literature in Lemberger togblat (Lemberg daily newspaper), Moyshe Frostig’s Kalenders (Calendars), Der yudisher arbayter (The Jewish worker), and Avrom Reyzen’s Eyropeishe literatur (European literature).  Further information about him remains unknown.

Sources: Di ershte yidishe shprakh-konferents (The first Yiddish language conference) (Vilna, 1931), pp. 61, 63; M. Naygreshl, in Fun noentn over (New York) 1 (1955), p. 256.


Z. VAYSMAN (b. ca. 1875)
            He was born in Byelorussia.  Until the Bolshevik Revolution, he was active in Jewish community life in Byelorussia and Ukraine.  From 1925 he was a teacher of higher mathematics in an “Arbfak” (Workers’ faculty) and in the Jewish Cooperative Technicum in Kiev.  He also served as the bookkeeper for the publishing house of “Kultur-lige” (Culture league) in Kiev.  He published articles in the Communist Yiddish press in Russia.  He translated from Russian into Yiddish the following textbooks for the schoolroom: K. P. Lebedyntsev, Algebraishe oyfgabes (Algebra assignments]), part 1 (Kiev, 1925), 120 pp., second enlarged edition (Kiev, 1926), 138 pp.; Y. Polonski, Bli fun geviksn, a kapitl byologye (Plants in bloom, a chapter in biology) (Kiev, 1927), 82 pp., with 5 pp. of glossary of floral terminology in Yiddish, Russian, and Latin; Y. L. Hurvits, Onfang-yedies fun geometrye, lernbukh far der mitlshul dos finftn lernyor  (Beginning information for geometry, textbook for middle school, fifth school year) (Moscow, 1933), 77 pp. plus 2 pp.; Hurvits, Sistematisher kurs fun geometrye, lernbukh far der mitlshul, ershter teyl, planimetrye, 6tn-8tn lernyor (Systematic course in geometry, textbook for middle school, part one, planimetrics, 6th-8th school years) (Moscow, 1933), 203 pp. plus 5 pp.; Hurvits, Sistematisher kurs fun geometrye, lernbukh far der mitlshul, tsveyter teyl, stereometrye, 8tn-9tn lernyor (Systematic course in geometry, textbook for middle school, part two, stereometrics, 8th-9th school years) (Moscow, 1934), 156 pp. plus 4 pp., which appeared in numerous editions until 1937; N. Rivkin, Zamlung oyfgabes af trigonometrye, far der mitlshul, 6tn-8tn lernyor (Collection of assignments for trigonometry, for middle school, 6th-8th school years) (Moscow, 1933), 140 pp.; Rivkin, Zamlung oyfgabes af trigonometrye, mit a tsugob oyfgabes af stereomeṭrye, vos fodern dem onvend fun trigonometrye, far der mitlshul, 8tn-9tn lernyor (Collection of assignments for trigonometry, with the addition of assignments in stereometrics, which necessitate the application of trigonometry, for middle school, 8th-9th school years) (Moscow, 1934), 117 pp.; Rivkin Gradlinike trigonometrye, lernbukh farn 9tn un 10tn klas fun der mitlshul (Rectilinear trigonometry, textbook for the 9th and 10th classes of middle school) (Moscow, 1934), last edition (Moscow, 1940), 106 pp. with 2 pp. of diagrams; A. Kiselyov, Algebre, lernbukh farn 6tn un 7tn klas fun der mitlshul (Algebra, textbook for the sixth and seventh classes of middle school), part 1 (Kiev-Kharkov, 1936), 143 pp.; Kiselyov, Geometrye (Geometry), edited by Professor N. A. Glagolyov (Moscow, 1935), 143 pp. plus five diagrams, last edition (1940).  There has been no news of his fate since WWII.

Sources: Biblyografishe yorbikher fun yivo (Bibliographic yearbooks from YIVO), vol. 1 (Warsaw, 1928), p. 356; N. Rubinshteyn, Dos yidishe bukh in sovetn-farband in 1934 (The Yiddish book in the Soviet Union in 1934) (Minsk, 1936), see index; information from Y. Birnboym in New York.
Khayim Leyb Fuks


GAVRIEL VAYSMAN (August 17, 1900-1988)
            He was born in Radom, Poland, and studied there in the religious elementary school.  In 1916, under Austrian occupation, he went to work in Vienna.  Later, during the German occupation, he was a railway official in Radom.  He served on the city council and was one of the Jewish community leaders elected by the left Labor Zionists.  During WWII, he and his wife and daughter were deported to Komi in Soviet Russia.  He returned to Poland in 1946.  In 1949 he moved with his family to the state of Israel.  He began writing—on Jewish folklore—in Radom in 1926.  He contributed to such local publications as: Naye vintn (New winds), Shtaplen (Rungs), Tribune (Tribune), and Radomer-keltser lebn (Life in Radom and Kielce).  He edited the local monthly journal Dos literarishe radom (Literary Radom), and he contributed to a series of YIVO publications.  He published articles and treatises in: Moment (Moment), Hoyzfraynd (House friend), Arbeter-tsaytung (Workers’ newspaper), Yidish far ale (Yiddish for everyone), and Literarishe bleter (Literary leaves)—all in Warsaw; the first volume of Yidisher folklor (Jewish folklore) (Warsaw, 1938); Oyfsnay (Afresh) and Tsukunft (Future) in New York; Zidamerike (South America) in Buenos Aires; and the anthology Tshile (Chile) in Santiago.  He published children’s stories in: Kinder-fraynd (Children’s friend) and Kinder-velt (Children’s world) in Warsaw; Grininke beymelekh (Little green trees) in Vilna; and Kinder-zhurnal (Children magazine) in New York; among others.  After WWII he placed work in: Dos naye lebn (The new life), Yidishe shriftn (Yiddish writings), and Arbeter-tsaytung—in Warsaw-Lodz; Arbeter-vort (Workers’ word), Tsienistishe shtime (Zionist voice) in Paris; Naye velt (New world) and Letste nayes (Latest news) in Tel Aviv; and Dos yidishe vort (The Yiddish word) in Chile; as well as elsewhere.  He was a regular contributor to the monthly Lebns-fragn (Life issues), brought out by the Bund in Tel Aviv, for over thirty years, serving as editor for literature and art.  He assisted in the preparation for publication of E. Faynzilberg’s book, Af di khurves fun mayn heym, khurbn shedlets (On the destruction of my home, the Holocaust in Shedlets) (Tel Aviv, 1952).  He also edited: In shotn fun treblinke (In the shadow of Treblinka) by Sh. Polyakevitsh (Polakiewicz) (Tel Aviv, 1957), 167 pp.; Pinkes sokhatshev (Records of Sokhatshev [Sochaczew]) (Jerusalem, 1962), 843 pp.; Tsu a nay lebn (Toward a new life) by Tsvi Etkes (Tel Aviv, 1965), 260 pp.; In undzere teg (In our days) by Chawa Slucka-Kestin (Tel Aviv, 1966), 374 pp.  His own books include: Vegn mazl un shlimazl (On good luck and bad) (Radom: Aleyn, 1938), 64 pp.; Radomer folklor (Radom folklore) (Radom: Tsuker, 1939); Pen profiln, eseyen (Pen profiles, essays) (Tel Aviv: Fraynd, 1978), 240 pp.; Yisroel kinstler, eseyen (Israeli artists, essays) (Tel Aviv: Fraynd, 1979), 240 pp.  He used such pen names as: Hol, Olburg, Mangvays, B. Mandel, and Dr. L. Valter.  He died in Ramat Gan, Israel.

Sources: Y. Mastboym, in Arbeter-tsaytung (Warsaw) (August 5, 1932); M. D. Giser, in Dos yidishe vort (Santiago de Chile) (October 31, 1946); Sh. Ernst, in Loshn un lebn (London) (July 1950); Ernst, in Keneder odler (Montreal) (August 28, 1954).

[Additional information from: Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 244.]