Tuesday 31 May 2016


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

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