Sunday 22 May 2016


YISROEL VAYNSHTEYN (December 27, 1891-1942)
            He was born in Kishinev, Bessarabia.  He studied in religious primary school, later as well secular subjects.  In 1909 he arrived at the yeshiva of Dr. Chaim Tcherniwitz (Rav Tsair, or “young rabbi”) in Odessa, later becoming a teacher in a Bessarabian Jewish village community.  He published for the first time in 1914, poetry in Hatsfira (The siren).  Later, after the Romanians occupied Bessarabia, he became editor of the first Yiddish daily newspaper in Bessarabia: Dos besaraber lebn (The Bessarabia life) in Kishnev (1918), for which he wrote articles, features, and humorous sketches.  He contributed as well to the anthologies: Hofenung (Hope) and Kultur (Culture)—in Czernowitz.  From 1920 he was the Romanian correspondent for the Forverts (Forward) in New York.  He edited the dailies Der morgn (The morning), Der yid (The Jew), and Unzer tsayt (Our time)—in Kishinev (the last of these ceased publication at the order of the Romanian authorities in 1938); Tsayt-fragn (Issues of the day), Tsayt problemen (Problems of the day), and Aktuele problemen (Timely problems)—monthlies which the editors of Unzer tsayt brought out between 1938 and late 1939.  In the latter year, he also published critical treatises dealing with Y. L. Perets, Hillel Tsyatlin, and other writers.  In Forverts he published descriptions of the pogroms in Ukraine and of Jewish life in Bessarabia.  His books include: Shmeykhlendik, humoreskn, parodyen un sharzhn (Smiling: humorous sketches, parodies, and caricatures) (Kishinev, 1930), 158 pp.; Af der fur (On the wagon) (Kishinev, 1933).  Among his pseudonyms: Izi, Yudl Melamed, Ekaf, A Korev.  In October 1941 he and the last members of the Kishinev ghetto were deported to Transnistria, where he died in the winter of 1942.  According to K. A. Bartini, who was deported with Vaynshteyn, he was arrested in July 1942 by the Soviet authorities, sent to camps in Irkutsk, Siberia; there he died at the end of the year.

Sources: M. Y. Shaykevitsh, in Literarishe bleter (Warsaw) (February 11, 1927); Shmuel Niger, in Literarishe bleter (April 29, 1927); Y. Korn, Keshenev: 200 yor yidish lebn in der hoyptshtot fun besarabye (Kishinev: 200 years of Jewish life in the capital city of Bessarabia) (Buenos Aires, 1950), see index; E. Davidzon, Seḥok pinu (Laughter of our mouth) (Tel Aviv, 1950/1951), p. 407.
Borekh Tshubinski

[Additional information from: Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 241.]

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