Thursday 30 June 2016


SHAKHNE-FROYM ZAGAN (1890/1891-1942/1943)
            He was born in Cracow.  His father was a follower of the Jewish Enlightenment and wished that his sons would pursue their studies, but Shakhne at age thirteen left school to work in a furrier’s workshop.  As an energetic and vivacious young man, he joined the Labor Zionist youth movement, and within two or three years he was playing a leading role in it.  Over the period 1908-1909, to be sure, he turned to his studies and prepared to sit for the examinations and then enter senior high school, but the propaganda movement for the submission of Yiddish as a mother tongue among the Jews of Austria-Hungary during the census of 1910 pried him loose once again from studying, and he became a traveling propagandist through the Jewish communities of western Galicia.  From that point forward—aside from a short time when he was a student auditor at the Cracow People’s University named for Adam Mickiewicz—he spent his entire life together with his party.  In 1911 he was selected onto the central committee of the Labor Zionist youth association, and he began writing for Di yudishe arbayter-yugend (Jewish working youth).  In 1913 he became chairman of the committee of the Labor Zionists in Cracow.  He spent 1914-1917 at the Russo-Austrian war front and as a Russian prisoner of war.  After the Russian Revolution of March 1917, he worked in the Odessa Labor Zionist organization and wrote for the local Yiddish daily newspaper Unzer lebn (Our life), published by the Labor Zionists in Ukraine.  He left Russia in 1919, spent a short time in Vienna, then moved on to Poland, worked initially with the western Galician district committee and later (1920) with central committee of the Party, served as a delegate to the fifth world congress of the Labor Zionists in Vienna, and joined the association’s main office (with Nir-Rafalkes, Khanin, and others).  At the end of 1921 he moved to Warsaw, worked for the publishing house “Arbeter-heym” (Workers’ home) and at the center of Jewish artisanal employees, and from that point he worked for the Labor Zionist Party, taking part in all of its international conferences, linking up with its left wing, and later representing the Left Labor Zionists on the Greater Zionist Action Committee.  He also contributed to the stewardship of the secular Yiddish schools in Poland and was a member—later, vice-chairman—of Tsisho (Central Jewish School Organization).  In the 1930s he contributed to the left Labor Zionist weekly: Arbayter-tsaytung (Workers’ newspaper), from 1935 to 1939 (with two brief interruptions) as editor-in-chief.
            When the Nazis seized Warsaw in 1939, Zagan remained in the city to work for the Party.  He helped manage the escape work among the victims, contributed to organizing the Joint Distribution Committee’s “kitchens” for the Jewish population, forged an illegal association with the Polish Socialist Party, with Sonye Novogrudski led the secular Yiddish school curriculum in the Warsaw Ghetto, remained an active leader of the Jewish Cultural Organization, was a member of the Jewish National Committee in the ghetto, was a leader in the Workers’ Council which called for armed uprising in 1942, edited (with Yoysef Levartovski, Yoysef Sak, and others) the illegal publication Der ruf (The Call), and was also one of the creators of the Jewish Anti-Fascist Bloc in the ghetto.  During the Great Aktion in the Warsaw Ghetto, the Nazis in early August 1942 deported Zagan with his wife and two children to Treblinka where they were all murdered.  His death became known in June 1943.

Sources: L. Shmueli, in Nayvelt (Tel Aviv) 24 (June 4, 1943); Y. Kener, in Forverts (New York) (June 7, 1943; Kener, in Kvershnit (Cross-section) (New York, 1947), pp. 224-27; Sh. Gurin, in Nayvelt 25 (June 17, 1943); Sh. M. (Sh. Mendelson), in Unzer tsayt (New York) (July 1943); Kh. Sh. Kazdan and L. Shpizman, in Tsukunft (New York) (August 1943); M. Mozes, Der poylisher yid (The Polish Jew), yearbook (New York, 1944); L. Shpizman, Getos in oyfshtand (Ghettos in resistance) (New York, 1944), p. 77; Zerubavel, Barg-khurbn (Mountain of destruction) (Buenos Aires, 1946), p. 126; B. Goldshteyn, Finf yor in varshever geto (Five years on the Warsaw Ghetto) (New York, 1947), p. 265; Yanos Turkov, Azoy iz es geven (That’s how it was) (Buenos Aires, 1948), see index; Sefer milḥamot hagetaot (The fighting ghettos) (Tel Aviv, 1954), p. 726; Ber Mark, Umgekumene shrayber fun di getos un lagern (Murdered writers from the ghettos and camps) (Warsaw, 1954); Y. H. Levi, Gezamlte shriftn (Collected writings), vol. 2 (London, 1958).
Yitskhok Kharlash

Wednesday 29 June 2016


SHMUEL ZABLUDOVSKI (ca. 1898-July 1, 1971)
            He was born in Bialystok, the son of Khayim-Tsvi Zabludovski.  In 1933 he immigrated to Mexico City where he graduated from dental school.  He was a teacher in the Y. L. Perets School.  He began writing poetry and skits for newspapers in Bialystok and Vilna, later publishing many articles in Di shtime (The voice) in Mexico City.  In book form: Tsen kinder-forshtelungen (Ten children’s perfomances), with Velye Zabludovski (Mexico City: Perets-shul, 1972), 140 pp.  He prepared for publication: Khurbn sukhovalye (The destruction of Suchowola) by Symcha Lazar (Mexico City, 1947).  He died in Mexico City.

Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), cols. 253-54.


NOYEKH ZABLUDOVSKI (July 4, 1958-April 18, 1934)
            He was born in Bialystok, Russian Poland, into a merchant household.  He studied in religious elementary school.  He early on became acquainted with the Jewish Enlightenment movement.  He lived in Ukraine, 1884-1894, and thereafter returned to Bialystok.  He was a cofounder of the society “Jewish Art” and librarian of the Jewish community and YIVO.  He lived in Minsk during WWI, and after the March 1917 Revolution he was editorial secretary of Der yud (The Jew).  In late 1918 he returned to Bialystok, where he was active in the Zionist movement and edited several issues of the Zionist election newspaper, Unzer frayhayt (Our freedom).  From 1879 he was publishing articles, features, and correspondence pieces in Hatsfira (The siren), Hamelits (The advocate)—among other pieces here, the series “Meri rosi haketana” (Little Mary Rosie)—the weekly Di yudishe folkstsaytung (The Jewish people’s newspaper)—a series of letters from Lithuania under the pen name “Halitai” (The Lithuanian)—and Tog (Day) in St. Petersburg (edited by L. Rabinovitsh).  He was also the Bialystok correspondent to Fraynd (Friend), internal contributor to Dos naye lebn (The new life) in Bialystok, and a correspondent to Moment (Moment) in Warsaw.  He also placed work in the following Bialystok publications: Hayntige tsayt (Present times), Byalistoker vort (Bialystok word), Byalistoker tageblat (Bialystok daily newspaper), Byalistoker shtime (Voice of Bialystok), and Unzer lebn (Our life), among others—in which he published, in addition to articles and features, material about the Jewish past in Bialystok.  He edited several issues of a newspaper that Jewish soldiers, 1916-1917, at their own expense published at the Minsk front.  His writings would include: A shenere parnose (A nicer living), a one-act play (Bialystok, 1918), 24 pp.; Farbiterte hertser (Embittered hearts), a one-act play (Warsaw, 1923), 29 pp.; An ekspropryatsye (An expropriation), a one-act play (Warsaw, 1923), 33 pp.; Eydims doktoyrim (The son-in-law’s doctors), a comedy about life during the war, three acts (Bialystok, 1924), 65 pp.  He also wrote the four-act comedy Dos umgerikhte glik (Unexpected happiness).  His one-act plays were staged by the drama section of the Bialystok group “Jewish Art.”  Among his pseudonyms: Zavdi, Naki, Zev Vakhludski, Yikhezkl Sbudnov, Myudad, Lo-Safra, Y. L. Berz, Yitskhok Elknzon, Kh. Y. Shevna, Avi-Shem, N. Barash, and Bar-Nash, among others.

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 1; Z. Zilbertsvayg, Leksikon fun yidishn teater (Handbook of the Yiddish theater), vol. 1; Literarishe bleter (Warsaw) 18 (1934); A. Sh. Hershberg, in Pinkes byalistok (New York) 2 (1949), p. 418,


            He was born in Bialystok, the son of Noyekh Zabludovski.  He studied in religious primary schools, later the Bialystok Commercial School and the Kiev Polytechnic.  During the first German occupation (1915), he was in a German prison camp.  He was a teacher for many years at the “M. Bazin Workers’ School,” a teacher of young boys in the artisans’ school, and for girls at ORT (Association for the Promotion of Skilled Trades).  He was a builder of the Bialystok Culture League and a contributor to Byalistoker almanakh (Bialystok almanac) and Dos naye lebn (The new life), in which he published articles of a popular science character.  In book form he published: Geometrye, elementarer kurs far der shule un tsum aleynlernen (Geometry, elementary course for school and self-study), part 1 (Bialystok, 1919); Fizike, far fakh-shules, fakh-kursn, mitlshules un aleynlerners (Physics for trade schools, vocational courses, middle schools, and self-study) (Bialystok, 1928), 149 pp.; Praktishe aritmetike, derklerungen un onvayzungen tsum praktishn- un fakhrekhenen (Practical arithmetic, explanations and instructions for practical and vocational calculation) (Bialystok, 1939), 146 pp.  At the time of the Nazi occupation, he continued his educational activities in the teaching workshops within the Bialystok ghetto.  He died in the ghetto.

Sources: Literarishe bleter (Warsaw) (April 6, 1928); jubilee issue of Dos naye lebn (Bialystok) (April 4, 1929); Byalistoker almanakh (Bialystok almanac) (Bialystok, 1931); Byalistoker leksikon (Bialystok handbook) (Bialystok, 1935); Undzer lebn (Bialystok) (August 1, 1938); Pinkes byalistok (New York) 1 (1949), p. 418; D. Klementinovski, in Lerer yizker-bukh (Remembrance volume for teachers) (New York, 1959), pp. 156-57.
Yankev Kahan

Tuesday 28 June 2016


            He was born in Bialystok, Russian Poland.  He was the son of Noyekh Zabludovski.  He studied in religious elementary schools, later graduating from the Bialystok Commercial School and the Polytechnic in Kiev.  He later became a technology and mathematics teacher in the Bialystok artisanal school.  He published in 1928 in Bialystok a textbook in Yiddish, Elektrotekhnik (Electrical technology) and translated into Yiddish Der kamf mit der natur (The struggle with nature [original: Gory i li︠u︡di (Mountains and men)]) by M. Il’in (Warsaw, 1937), 56 pp.  He was killed in the Bialystok ghetto during an extermination Aktion.

Sources: Byalistoker leksikon (Bialystok handbook) (Bialystok, 1935); Byalistoker shtime (New York) (1945); A. Sh. Hershberg, in Pinkes byalistok (New York) 1 (1949), p. 418.
Yankev Kahan


            He was born in Nezabudka-Michałów, Poland.  He studied in a “cheder metukan” (improved religious primary school) in Bialystok, where his family moved in 1899.  In 1925 he immigrated to Mexico City.  He published memoirs, rhymed verse, and descriptions of immigrant life in local Yiddish publications.  He was a regular contributor to Byalistoker lebn (Bialystok life), organ of the Bialystokers in America.  In book form: Fargangene yorn, zikhroynes (Bygone years, memoirs) (Mexico City, 1969), 399 pp.  He died in Mexico City.

Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 253.


            He was born in Zabludove (Zabłudów), near Bialystok, Russian Poland.  From 1897 he was a Hebrew teacher in Bialystok.  In 1914 he published Ḥidot veshealot (Puzzles and questions), and he published puzzles in various Hebrew magazines.  From 1925 he was publishing his puzzles in the Bialystok serials Dos naye lebn (The new life) and Unzer lebn (Our life).  For a time he was the secretary to Y. L. Perets.  He was a member of the Warsaw Hebrew literary and journalists’ association.  He devoted his time to collecting material from old Jewish sources in the Bialystok region.  He was killed in the liquidation of the Bialystok ghetto under the Nazi occupation.

Sources: Byalistoker leksikon (Bialystok handbook) (Bialystok, 1935); Unzer lebn (Bialystok) (September 24, 1937); A. Sh. Hershberg, in Pinkes byalistok (New York) 1 (1949); Ber Mark, Der oyfshtand in byalistoker geto (The uprising in the Bialystok ghetto) (Warsaw, 1950), pp. 49, 141; Mark, Umgekumene shrayber fun di getos un lagern (Murdered writers from the ghettos and camps) (Warsaw, 1954).
Yankev Kahan


            He was born in Slonim, Grodno district, Byelorussia, to wealthy parents.  Until age seventeen he studied Talmud with local teachers and foreign languages with private tutors, later attending a commercial school.  He published articles, bibliographical reports, feature pieces, humorous sketches, and stories initially in: Hamelits (The advocate), Hatsfira (The siren), Hamagid (The preacher), and Otsar hasifrut (Treasure of literature); and from 1904 in: Haynt (Today), Moment (Moment), Roman-tsaytung (Fiction newspaper), Der shtral (The beam [of light]), Der humorist (The humorist), Lodzer tageblat (Lodz daily newspaper), and Dos naye lebn (The new life), among others.  He reworked and translated dramas and one-act plays for amateur troupes.  While living in Rovno, he contributed to the local Russian newspaper Volin (Volhynia) and later to the Vilna Russian paper, Severo-zapadnii krai (Northwestern rim).  From 1920 he was an elected vice-mayor of Slonim, where he was also chairman of the Jewish community council and of the Zionist Organization.  He was also the actual editor of the Slonim weekly newspaper, Unzer zhurnal (Our journal) (1923-1924).  He wrote under such pseudonyms as: Ben-Amram, Ben-Tsvi, M. Hirshenzon, Raytseszon, Iktsol Baz, and Emze.  His books would include: Ezra betsara, sipur yesodato beemet (Help in trouble, a story based on reality), a translation concerning Musar (Warsaw, 1893), 48 pp.; Hayitshari (The determined one), with Yosef Mazal, concerning Ts. H. Maslanski, including poetry (Manchester, England, 1896), 71 pp.; Hashoge bezahav (The golden touch), “based on mythology” (Berdichev, 1901), 32 pp. [by Nathaniel Hawthorne]; Otsar ha-psevdonimim, leksikon katsar shel psevdonime hasofrim haivrim (Treasury of pen names, short handbook of pseudonyms of Jewish writers), a listing of the pen names of Hebrew and Yiddish authors (Berdichev, 1902), 32 pp.; Tsekrigt (Embattled), a monologue (London, 1903); Freylekher tashnbukh (Happy pocketbook) (London, 1903); Di akhsanye mit di vantsn (The inn with the bedbugs) (Warsaw, 1906).  Other plays include: Arkhitektor pampushkin (Architect Pampushkin), Di shponke iz shuldok (The cuff link is guilty), and Der man af der probe (The man on trial); reworked one-act plays: A guter retsept (A good prescription), Freylin margarita (Miss Margarita), Dos khanike-lempl (The little Hanukkah menorah) for children, and Der yubilyar on shikh (The shoeless honoree).  He Judaized the dramas: Gitele reb sores (Gitele, Sarah’s daughter), after Jalmar Bergström; Eynzame (Lonely [original: Einsame Menschen (Lonely people)]), after Gerhardt Hauptmann; and Der vorem fun tsveyfl (The worm of doubt), after August Strindberg’s Fadren (Father).  He also translated: Fir zeyere (Their four [original: Ich czworo]) by Gabriela Zapolska; Doktor keri (Doctor Kerry) by Henry James; and Di ere (Honor [original: Die Ehre]) by Hermann Sudermann.

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 1; Z. Zilbertsvayg, Leksikon fun yidishn teater (Handbook of the Yiddish theater), vol. 1; E. R. Malachi, in Hadoar (New York) (May 6, 1932); E. Davidzon, Seḥok pinu (Our mouth’s laughter) (Ḥolon, 1971/1972), p. 353; Ḥ. Orlan, in Hadoar (Adar 5 [= March 4], 1960).
Aleksander Pomerants


            He was born in Velizh, Vitebsk district, Byelorussia.  In the 1880s he contributed articles and feature pieces to the Russian Jewish and Hebrew press, such as St. Petersburg’s Razsvet (Dawn) and Hayom (Today).  In the latter he also published (1886-1887) “The History of the City of Vitebsk” on the basis of community records and archival materials.  His publications include: Ahavat tsadikim (Love of sages) (Vitebsk [Warsaw?], 1882), a Hebrew-language story; and Di shvere tsayt (The hard times), “a novel in four parts from recent times for the Jews in Russia,” a novel in Yiddish (Warsaw, 1887), part 1, 60 pp., part 2 58 pp., part 3, 56 pp., part 4, 61 pp., in which he describes the course of the pogroms in Russia in the 1880s.  A second edition in one volume appeared in Warsaw in 1901.

Source: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 1.


NOSN (NATAN) ZABARE (December 27, 1908-February 19, 1975)

            He was a prose author, born in the town of Rogatshev (Rahachow), Volhynia, Ukraine, into a family of tradesmen.  He studied in religious elementary school, graduated from a Ukrainian school, and until 1931 worked in construction, later serving in the army in a radio battalion.  During the years of the revolution, he moved to Kiev.  In the early 1930s he was a government-supported research student at the Institute for Jewish Culture in the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences in Kiev. His literary activities began with a story entitled “A geshvir” (An ulcer) which was published in 1930 in the Kharkov journal Prolit (Proletarian literature). Two years later, his first book appeared in print, Radyo-roman (Radio novel), a work about the education of radioman in the Red Army, about the path of a young man to mastering the specialty of the radio as a profession. The young writer was attempting to find his own style, and he chose to recount his protagonists, using the form of a diary, on the backdrop of which was depicted the problem of a “triangle” that was “as old as the world” (a love-collision among two boys and a girl). His second novel was Nilovke, roman (Nilovke, a novel), an attempt to create his own “Tuneyadevke” [lit., “idlers’ town,” a fictitious place appearing in classical Yiddish fiction], a type of a renowned Jewish town in the years of Soviet industrialization. He continued this effort in the novel Fun land tsu land (From country to country) of 1938, in which the main protagonists bear the same names as in Mendele Moykher-Sforim’s Masoes benyomin hashlishi (The travels of Benjamin the Third): Benyomin and Senderl. Finally, there is his Der foter, roman (The father, a novel) of 1940 which completed his Nilovke cycle, in which converge virtually all of the lines of his earlier works and in which there emerges the past and the perspectives of Nilovke, the fate of its various generations—the parents and the children. Der foter was also an advance for the writer in the sense of his language and style.

            With the outbreak of the Nazi-Soviet war, he was mobilized and took part in battles.  After WWII he was with the Red Army in Germany and in contact with Jewish people in the British and American zones, rekindling his interest in things Jewish.  At a meeting of the Jewish writers section of the Soviet Ukrainian writers’ union in Kiev, Zabare spoke about a publication that confronted Soviet Yiddish literature: “To explain to the people about the wonderful, historical feat accomplished by the Soviet Army which liberated Europe from the fascist yoke.”  He added that this was “really the theme of my new book that I’m about to finish.”

He survived the years 1948-1952 during the extermination of Yiddish writers under Stalin, though he was arrested on May 13, 1950 and charged with handing American officials information about the state of Jewry in the Soviet Union and generally for directing Zionist and anti-Soviet propaganda. He was sentenced to ten years of deportation to a camp in the North. He was rehabilitated and returned from the gulag on April 27, 1956. He returned to activity in Kiev, where he lived and worked over the course of many years. An entirely new period opened up for him in his postwar writings. He participated in the war as a journalist and fighter (and also after the war, for a certain period of time, he wrote for a Berlin newspaper), and he published in a front newspaper and the German press a series of articles and reportage pieces about contemporary Russian literature, artists, and composers. Some of this material later was included in a special German collection (published in Berlin) about literature, music, theater, and art. The experience of his Berlin period was later reflected in his novel Haynt vert geboyrn a velt (Today a world is being born), which was dedicated to the last day of the war.

            He once again began publishing in 1961 in Sovetish heymland (Soviet homeland): Haynt vert geboyrn a velt, 1965: 3 (pp. 3-88); A poshete mame (A simple mother), 1967: 9, 10, 11, in which he narrated the lives of Jewish heroes of the October Revolution; the historical story “Af gekreytste vegn” (On crossed roads), in which he described the literary circles of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries (Lesya Ukrainka [1871-1913], Ivan Kotliarevsky [1769-1838], Mordechai Zev Feierberg [1874-1899], and Moyshe Olgin [1877-1939], among others). These historical novels and stories concerning the recent and distant past prepared the author for his final stage of creative writing, when he was writing novels of historical epics (also in Sovetish heymland): S’iz nokh groys der tog (The day is longer still), 1972: 9, 10; Unter der heyser zun fun provans (Under the hot sun of Provence), 1973: 9, 10; In mitn heln batog (In the middle of a bright day), 1975: 1, 2, 3; 1977: 7. All of these were united under the title Gilgl hakhoyzer, roman (Man’s fate, a novel). His fundamental idea consisted of sort of parallel fate between various epochs in general and Jewish history, a parallelism in which the attack of everything evil received, ultimately, “an inevitable historical defeat.” There should have been his fourth work in this cycle, but a heart attack wrenched the pen from his hand—and he died in Kiev.

            His books include: Radyo-roman (Kharkov-Kiev, 1932), 220 pp.; Khevre (The gang), children’s stories (Minsk: Byelorussian State Publishers, 1933), 21 pp.; Nilovke, roman (Moscow: Emes, 1935), 109 pp.; Mentshn un tsaytn, noveln un fartsaykhenungen (Men and times, stories and jottings) (Kiev: Ukrainian State Publishers for National Minorities, 1935), 22 pp.; Fun land tsu land (Kiev: Ukrainian State Publishers for National Minorities, 1938), 300 pp.; Der foter, roman (Kiev: Ukrainian State Publishers for National Minorities, 1940), 518 pp.; Gilgl hakhoyzer, roman (Moscow: Sovetski pisatel, 1979), 469 pp.

Sources: Kh. Lutsker, in Shtern (Kharkov) 280 (1935); M. May, in Sovetishe literatur (Kiev) (June 1939), p. 107; L. Brovarnik, in Sovetishe literatur (June 1939), p. 131; M. Dublyet, in Shtern (Minsk) (July 1939); A. Kushnirov, in Naye prese (Paris) (July 27, 1945); A. Emkin, in Eynikeyt (Moscow) (June 26, 1947); N. Mayzil, Dos yidishe shafn un der yidisher arbeter in sovetn-farband (Jewish creation and the Jewish worker in the Soviet Union) (New York, 1959), see index.

Borekh Tshubinsk

[Additional information from: Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 253; and 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. 148-49.]

Monday 27 June 2016


            He was born in Holoskov (Holoskove), Podolia district, Ukraine.  From 1891 he was living in London, and there he wrote for Hatsofe levet yisrael (The spectator to the House of Israel), a monthly periodical and organ of the London association of “Maḥzike hadat” (Supporters of the faith) which had begun publication in 1887.  He also published impressions of London Jewish life in: Der yudisher ekspres (The Jewish express), initially a weekly in London and Lodz (first published in 1896), later (beginning in 1899) a daily in London; Der yudisher telefon (The Jewish telephone), a weekly (for the entirety of its fourteen years of existence); Der londoner yud (The London Jew); Di post (The mail); Di tsayt (The times); Der yudisher zhurnal (The Jewish journal); Hayisroeli (The Jew); Abend nayes (Evening news); and in Hebrew, Hadegel (The banner) and Hayehudi (The Jew).  His story “Libe un fanatizmus” (Love and fanaticism) was translated into Hebrew and published in book form under the title Ahava veadikut.  In Yiddish he wrote: Got, mensh un velt, oder der oytser fun gedanken (God, man, and the world, or a treasury of ideas) (London: R. Mazin and Co., 1910), a collection of adapted aphorisms from great poets and thinkers.  He also wrote under the pen name “Oyzer.”

Source: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 1


MEYER VSHEBOR (b. July 18, 1915)
            He was born in Ostrów-Mazowiecka (Ostrov-Mazovyetsk), Poland.  He graduated from a Tarbut high school in Bialystok.  In 1931 he immigrated with his parents to Uruguay.  There he graduated from the law faculty at the University of Montevideo.  From 1936 he was a practicing lawyer.  He was at the same time active in Zionist affairs.  He served as a counselor for many economic and cultural institutions Uruguay.  He began publishing articles in 1935 in Folksblat (People’s newspaper) in Montevideo, for which he remained a regular contributor.  He wrote daily on general political and specifically Jewish issues.  He contributed as well to: the daily newspaper Haynt (Today) and to the literary publication Do (Here)—in Montevideo; Brazilyaner yidishe tsaytung (Brazilian Jewish newspaper); Idisher zhurnal (Jewish journal) in Toronto; and elsewhere.  He also wrote for Spanish-language Jewish periodicals.  He translated from Hebrew into Spanish Vladimir Zhabotinsky’s pamphlet Ekronot harayon habetari (Principles of the Betar idea).

Sources: Y. Botoshanski, in Di prese (Buenos Aires) (May 6, 1951); Y. Vaynshenker, Boyers un mitboyers fun yidishn yishev in urugvay (Founders and builders of the Jewish community in Uruguay) (Montevideo, 1957), p. 101.


DAVID VARDI (July 1893-August 9, 1973)
            David Vardi was his Hebraized name of Dovid Rozenfeld.  He was born in Volotshisk (Volochysk), Volhynia, Ukraine.  He moved to Israel in 1910, where he graduated from a Hebrew high school in Tel Aviv and became a Hebrew actor.  He returned home in 1912.  During WWI he was in Odessa for a time, and then moved to Moscow where he was in 1917 one of the founders and stage actor of Habima.  In 1924 he moved to the United States, and there with his wife Yoyelis, he gave lessons, performed imitations, and gave theatrical performances in Hebrew and in Yiddish.  In 1933 he departed with a tour through Europe and South Africa, and in 1935 he decided to return to Habima in Tel Aviv.  In 1948 he made a tour with Habima to the United States.  He played in New York, 1959-1960, in the English-language play by Paddy Chayefsky, The Tenth Man.  He published feature pieces, travel narratives, and articles on theatrical issues in: Unzer lebn (Our life) in Odessa; Unzer veg (Our way) in Riga; Afrikaner idishe tsaytung (African Jewish newspaper) in Johannesburg; Idishe shtime (Jewish voice) in Kovno; and Davar (Word), Haarets (The land), Doar hayom (Today’s mail), Haolam (The world), Haboker (This morning), Moznaim (Scales), Hapoel hatsair (Young worker), Sikot (Clips), and Measef hasofrim (Organ of scribes)—in Tel Aviv.  He was last preparing a second part of his Bederekh hilukhi (On the way forward)—a diary that he kept in Hebrew and in Yiddish from 1915 (he published the first part in 1947 in Hebrew).  He died in Tel Aviv.

Sources: M. Kitay, in Literarishe bleter (Warsaw) (January 14, 1938); R. Ben-Ari, Habima (Chicago, 1941), pp. 401 (material concerning Vardi is spread throughout this book); D. Tidhar, in Entsiklopedyah leḥalutse hayishuv uvonav (Encyclopedia of the pioneers and builders of the yishuv), vol. 3 (Tel Aviv, 1949), see index; Sefer haishim (Biographical dictionary) (Tel Aviv, 1936/1937), p. 208; Shimon Gan, in Omer (Tel Aviv) (June 15, 1956); Ofra Aligun and Ḥananya Raykhman, in Davar hashavua (Tel Aviv) (Tevet 12 [= December 27], 1955); M. Yafe, in Folk un tsien (Jerusalem) 9 (March 3, 1958); Kh. Ehrenraykh, in Forverts (New York) (October 5, 1959).


            He was born in Lublin, Poland, into a poor family.  He was a well-known wedding entertainer in Lublin and environs.  He was the author of the humorous pamphlets: Komishe forshtelungen, tipn un geshtaltn, mit lider (Comic presentations, types and images, with songs) (Warsaw, 1904), 19 pp.; Mayn profesye (My profession) (Warsaw, 1904), 20 pp.  Further details about him remain unknown.  He may be the same person as the author of the booklet Der badkhn fun lublin (The wedding entertainer from Lublin).
Khayim Leyb Fuks


YISROEL VESHER-RAYKHMAN (August 23, 1887-August 16, 1947)
            He was born in Khoroshtsh, between Trok (Trakai) and Grodno in Russian Poland, into a merchant household.  He studied in a “cheder metukan” (improved religious elementary school) and later acquired secular knowledge through self-study.  He moved to Warsaw in 1903 and became a office clerk in the laundry line of work, worked for the illegal trade union movement, joined the Bund, and until 1906 was a member of its Warsaw committee.  In 1906 he moved over to Labor Zionism, where he was one of the principal leaders and for many years a member of its central committee, and from 1920 a member of the world union of the Labor Zionist Party.  He was a cofounder of Hazemir (The nightingale) in Warsaw and of the Jewish Literature Society (1910).  During the German occupation of Warsaw (1915-1918), he cofounded the Workers’ Home, the administration of the “People’s Relief” Committee, and the Dinezon-Raykhman Committee for Jewish Children’s Homes from which later arose Tsisho (Central Jewish School Organization) in Poland, and he was among the founders of the last of these.  In 1923 he came to Israel on an assignment from the world association of the left Labor Zionists and remained there.  A man of deep ethical character, he did not wish to live by community activity alone and thus performed hard physical labor building streets and highways.  In 1936 he switched to Mapai (Mifleget poale erets yisrael, or Workers’ party of the land of Israel) and thereafter was a member of the workers’ council and the city council of Tel Aviv, as well as a member of Asefat Hanivḥarim (Assembly of Representatives).  He was one of the founders of the Labor Zionist press in Russia and in Poland.  He contributed articles to the general Labor Zionist periodical Dos yudishe arbayter vort (The word of Jewish labor) in 1906; and later to: Arbeter-vort (Word of labor), Arbeter-velt (World of labor), Dos lebn (The life), Naye velt (New world), Arbeter-blat (Workers’ newspaper), Unzer tsaytung (Our newspaper), and mainly to Arbeter-tsaytung (Workers’ newspaper) in Warsaw; also to Nay-velt (New world) and Davar (Word), among others, in Tel Aviv.  He died in Tel Aviv.

Sources: Z. Nir, in Yidisher arbeter pinkes, tsu der geshikhte fun der poyle-tsien bavegung (Jewish workers’ records, toward a history of the Labor Zionist movement) (Warsaw, 1927), see index; Binyumin, in Arbeter-tsaytung (Warsaw), jubilee number, 1918-1928 (January 11, 1929); Onhoyb (Jerusalem) (1928); Davar (Tel Aviv) August 17, 1947); Iḥud olami (Tel Aviv) (November 1947); Sefer haishim (Biographical dictionary) (Tel Aviv, 1936/1937); D. Tidhar, in Entsiklopedyah leḥalutse hayishuv uvonav (Encyclopedia of the pioneers and builders of the yishuv), vol. 4 (Tel Aviv, 1950), pp. 2029-30; Nir, Pirke ḥayim (Chapter of life) (Tel Aviv, 1958), see index.
Khayim Leyb Fuks


            He was born in Sosev, eastern Galicia, into a well-to-do family.  He studied in religious primary school, in a yeshiva, and in a high school.  He was a cofounder of the religious Zionist youth movement “Bnei Akiva” and of “Tora veavoda” (Torah and labor) in Poland, of which he assumed the position of general secretary.  He traveled around giving speeches to the Jewish population centers in the world.  From 1935 he was living in Israel, where he continued his education and graduated from Hebrew University in Jerusalem.  For a time he worked as a teacher and took up leading positions in the Jewish community.  He represented the Mizrachi party in Vaad Haleumi (Zionist National Council).  He was a Knesset deputy, a member of Vaad Hapoel (Zionist General Council) of the Mizrachi World Association, a representative of “Hapoel hamizraḥi” (Mizrachi workers [religious labor party]), and a member of the Jewish Agency, among other such posts.  He was the director of the Rabbi Kook Institute and editor of many of its publications.  He began his writing activities in the Yiddish and Hebrew publications of the “Tora veavoda” movement in Poland.  He contributed to: Hamizraḥi (The Mizrachi), Dos idishe lebn (Jewish life), and Mizrakhi-veg (The way of Mizrachi)—in Poland; Unzer veg (Our way) in Paris; and in the Yiddish and Hebrew Mizrachi press in a number of different countries.  He also placed work in Hatsofe (The spectator), Sinai (Sinai), and in publications of Mizrachi in Israel.  He was the author of: Toldot hakehila haashkenazit beerets-yisrael (History of the Ashkenazi community in Israel) (Jerusalem: Mossad Harav Kook, 1939), 48 pp.; Haḥasidut veerets-yisrael (Hassidism in Israel) (Jerusalem, 1940), 163 pp., enlarged edition (Jerusalem, 1957), 564 pp.; Mimaynot hafolklor haḥasidi (From the sources of Hassidic folklore) (Jerusalem, 1946), 84 pp., translated into Yiddish by R. Rubinshteyn as Di kvaln fun khsidishn folklor (The sources of Hassidic folklore), with a preface by Yisroel Efroykin (Paris, 1949), 158 pp.; Rishonim veaḥaronim (The early and the later rabbis) (Tel Aviv, 1957), 427 pp.  He edited the periodical publications: Bamishor (In righteousness), Areshet (Expression), and Emuna (Faith); of the four-volume Entsiklopediya shel hatsiyonut hadatit (Encyclopedia of religious Zionism), vol. 1, alef-gimel (Jerusalem, 1958), 670 pp. and 145 pp.; coeditor of the journal Sinai in Jerusalem and (with Naftali Ben-Menaḥem) the yearbook dedicated to Jewish booklore, Areshet (Jerusalem, 1949).  He often took Rafael as his surname.  He died in Israel.

Sources: D. Tidhar, in Entsiklopedyah lealutse hayishuv uvonav (Encyclopedia of the pioneers and builders of the yishuv), vol. 1 (Tel Aviv, 1947), p. 603; A. Zilbershteyn, in Hadoar (New York) (December 17, 1948); Y. Efroykin, introduction to Di kvaln fun khsidishn folklor (The sources of Hassidic folklore) (Paris, 1949); Y. Boaz, in Letste nayes (Tel Aviv) (August 14, 1953); Rabbi A. B. Shurin, in Forverts (New York) (December 6, 1958); Sh. Ernst, in Der amerikaner (New York) (January 7, 1959); M. Unger, in Tog-morgn zhurnal (New York) (January 30, 1959); N. Gordon, in Tog-morgn zhurnal (February 5, 1959).
Khayim Leyb Fuks

Sunday 26 June 2016


SHMUEL VERSES (b. June 1915)
            He was born in Vilna.  He studied in religious primary school, later at a Tarbut high school and over the years 1923-1932 at the Jewish senior technical school.  In 1933 he entered Vilna University, but due to financial difficulties he was forced to interrupt his studies.  He worked, 1929-1934, as a volunteer at YIVO.  He published reportage pieces in Vilner tog (Vilna day) and placed several stories in Vokhnshrift (Weekly writing) in Warsaw.  He won an award for his autobiography in a YIVO competition in 1932 (under the pen name “Shin Motls”).  In 1936 he moved to Israel and studied at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.  He won another prize in 1938 for a work of his on Hebrew literature.  He wrote his doctorate under the supervision of Professor Sh. Asaf: “Meḥkarim basifrut hamusar shel hayehudim besefarad” (Research into the Musar literature of Sefardi Jews), from the beginning of the thirteenth century until the end of fifteenth century.  On the twentieth anniversary of Vilner tog, he published in the newspaper: “Di obheybn fun der hebreisher prese in vilne (The beginnings of the Hebrew press in Vilna).  A second work, “Yankev-shmuel bik, der blondzhendiker maskl” (Yankev-Shmuel Bik, the rambling follower of the Jewish Enlightenment), appeared in Yivo-bleter (Pages from YIVO) (Vilna) 13 (1938), pp. 505-36.  He served as a lecturer at the Hebrew University.  He contributed to scholarly periodicals in Israel.  He served as one of the editors of the three-volume Pinkas vilna (Records of Vilna) published in Tel Aviv.
Leyzer Ran


SHLOYME VERMEL (July 3, 1860-1940)
            He was born in Shklov (Szkłów), Mohilev district, Byelorussia.  He studied in religious elementary school and in high schools in Bobruisk, Mohilev district, and in Moscow.  In 1886 he graduated from the medical faculty of Moscow University.  During the Russo-Japanese War (1904), he served as a military doctor on the Manchurian front.  In WWI he worked in a clinic for the mentally ill in Kazan.  His journalistic activities began in 1882 with the weekly publication Voskhod (Sunrise), and from that point he was a frequent contributor to a variety of Russian Jewish newspapers.  A man with a positive attitude toward Yiddish, he propagandized in the Russian Jewish pedagogical journal Evreiskaia shkola (The Jewish school) in St. Petersburg (1904-1905), which he edited, for the Jewish public school as an instrument of ethnic education.  He published a number of books in Russian, among them a biography of Yitskhok-Ber Levinzon in 1901.  In Yiddish he wrote the pamphlet: A gut vort tsu di eltern un kinder (A good word for parents and children), about elementary education (Vilna, 1904), 23 pp.  He translated from French into Yiddish: Y. M. Pines’s Di geshikhte fun der yidisher literatur (The history of Yiddish literature) (Moscow, 1913), adding several of his own chapters and an introduction on Yiddish and Yiddish literature.  After the Bolsheviks seized power in Russia, he withdrew from active Jewish community work and dedicated himself solely to medicine.  Subsequent information about him remains largely unknown.

Source: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 1.


AVROM VERMONT (December 16, 1868-December 6, 1916)
            His family name was originally Grinberg.  He was born in Galats (Galați), Romania, to a father who worked as a ritual slaughterer.  He left home very early, lived cut off from Jews, traveled extensively through the Balkan countries, got to know the Orient well, even knew the Turkish language, and lived for a while in Israel and later in London where he published stories about the gypsy life in Yekhiel Bril’s weekly, Hashulamis (The Shulamite).  In 1890s he moved to Argentina and settled in Buenos Aires where the Jewish community had only just begun to develop.  In 1898 he contributed to the first issue of Vider kol (Echo), the first Yiddish newspaper in Argentina, founded by Mikhl Hacohen Sinai, with a piece entitled “Di naye aseres-hadibres” (The new Ten Commandments).  That same year he established his own weekly, Di folks-shtime (Voice of the people), the only Yiddish newspaper from the pioneer era in Argentina that lasted for sixteen years.  He was a sensationalist writer and in his newspaper the problem of pimps was a regular feature.  In the unending controversies that occupied many years between Vermont and other Argentinian Yiddish writers of the time, he is often depicted as possibly the only person in the contemporary Jewish underworld of Buenos Aires.  Particularly distinguished among his opponents was Z. Levin, the editor-publisher of the humorous weekly Di poyk (The drum), ca. 1900, which issued a pamphlet entitled Vermont afn himl (Vermont in heaven), and also wrote a three-act comedy Vermont af der katre (Vermont on the Katra River), which was even staged by amateurs (it was, incidentally, one of the first Yiddish presentations in Argentina).  Mikhl Hacohen Sinai also characterized Di folks-shtime as a libelous newspaper.  A number of older Buenos Aires institutions, though, aroused Vermont’s respect, labeling him the defender of immigrants and wronged colonists in their struggle with YIKO (Jewish Cultural Organization).  In the history of the Yiddish press in Argentina, he was considered one of its most important pioneers.  He died in Buenos Aires.

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 1; Y. Botoshanski, in Tsukunft (New York) (August 1931); Botoshanski, in Algemeyne entsiklopedye (General encyclopedia), “Yidn H” (New York, 1957), p. 376; M. Horovits, in Yivo-shriftn (Argentina) 5 (1952); Mikhl Hacohen Sinai, in Yizker-bukh tshy”z, yidishe kehile in buenos ayres (Remembrance volume 1956/1957, the Jewish community of Buenos Aires), pp. 133-35, 138; Sh. Rozhanski, Dos yidishe gedrukte vort un teater in argentine (The published Yiddish word and theater in Argentina), vol. 1 (Buenos Aires, 1941), see index.
Borekh Tshubinski


SHMUEL VERITE (b. January 10, 1901)

            A prose author and writer on current events, he was born in the colony of Dombraveni, Bessarabia (Moldova), into a family of tobacco planters. Although some believe “Shmuel Verite” to be a pen name for S. Vaysblat, Khone Shmeruk (in a letter of March 11, 1982, to Berl Kagan), had a letter from “S. Verite” himself (dated 1977). In 1920 he graduated from a Romanian middle school, and one year later entered university in the city of Jassy (Iași). Soon thereafter, the university was closed down, and he chose to emigrate to the Soviet Union. In 1923 he crossed the border river Dniester and reached Kharkov. The Commissariat of Education in Ukraine sent him to work in Kremenchuk, Poltava district, where he became director of the Yiddish Club and began contributing in the press. He was active among Jewish Communist youth and in the anti-religious movement in Soviet Russia. In 1924 he published in the Moscow newspaper Emes (Truth) a series of jottings about Bessarabia. That same year, in the Kharkov newspaper Der shtern (The star), he published a cycle of notes about Jewish life in Kishenev (Chisinau). From that point in time forward, he was a regular correspondent for an array of publications. In 1929 he became a member of the editorial board of Der shtern in Kharkov. Over the years 1933-1935, he lived in Odessa where he worked as a special correspondent for Odeser arbeter (Odessa laborer). From 1936 to 1939, he was the secretary of account for the urban newspaper Krementshuger arbeter (Kremenchuk laborer). On the eve of WWII, he was living in the Jewish ethnic district in Nay-Zlatopol (Zlatopil'), Zaporiz'ka, Ukraine. He was at the front during the war. After the war, he settled in Zaporizhzhya and published work in Moscow’s newspaper Eynikeyt (Unity). Perets Markish included a story of his in the anthology Heymland (Homeland) (Moscow: Emes, 1943) which he compiled and edited. When the journal Sovetish heymland (Soviet homeland) commenced publication in Moscow in 1961, he composed a series of new stories and placed them there.

            He authored the booklets: Unter der boyarisher hershaft (Under the rule of the Boyars) (Kharkov: State Publ., 1930), 51 pp., in which he depicted the economic condition of Jewish laborers, farmers, office workers, and craftsmen under the Tsarist regime in Bessarabia; Mir, ḳrigerishe apiḳoṛsim, anṭireligyeze shmuesn (We pugnacious heretics, anti-religious discussions) (Kharkov: Ukrainian State Publishers for National Minorities, 1932), 73 pp.; Pravozhitelstvo (The right [in Tsarist times] to live outside the Pale of Settlement), a play (Kiev, 1939); Besaraber erd (Bessarabian soil), stories (Kiev: Ukrainian State Publishers for National Minorities, 1941), 58 pp.; and Ven di erd hot gebrent (When the earth burned), from the life of the tobacco planters in a Bessarabian Jewish colony (Moscow: Emes, 1946), 70 pp. He translated from Russian into Yiddish several books of Communist Party materials, among them: 17tn konferents (Seventeenth conference), together with Kh. Futman and Y. Shapiro (Kharkov-Kiev, 1932), 208 pp.  The journal Nay-lebn (New Life) in 1949 reissued several items by Verite, such as: “Di brokhe fun der erd” (The blessing of the earth) and “Broyt” (Bread).

Sources: Biblyografishe yorbikher fun yivo (Bibliographic yearbooks from YIVO), vol. 1 (Warsaw, 1928), p. 238; N. Rubinshteyn, Dos yidishe bukh in sovetn-farband in 1934 (The Yiddish book in the Soviet Union in 1932) (Minsk, 1935), pp. 11, 328; M. L. in Oyfboy (Riga) 10 (May 1941); N. Mayzil, Dos yidishe shafn un der yidisher arbeter in sovetn-farband (Jewish creation and the Jewish worker in the Soviet Union) (New York, 1959), p. 128.

Khayim Leb Fuks

[Additional information from: Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 252; and 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. 146-47.]


            She was a rabbi’s wife.  She came from Marmației.  She lived for several years in Israel, later in Philadelphia.  She published Mayn rayze keyn medines yisroel (My trip to Israel) (Jerusalem, 1954?), 199 pp.

Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 251.


            He was born in Grodno, Russian Poland.  In his youth he worked in his father’s shoemaking workshop.  For many years he was a contributor to the daily newspaper Grodner moment (Grodno moment) and to other serials, in which he published poetry and articles.  He was killed by a Nazi bomb at the time of the occupation of Grodno.

Sources: Grodner oplangen (Buenos Aires) 1 (1948), p. 13, 3-4 (1950), p. 51, 8-9 (1955), p. 4.


DOVID VERTHEYM (November 30, 1898-April 10, 1953)
            He was born in Bender, Bessarabia, into a rabbinic family.  He received both a Jewish and a secular education.  He studied in a yeshiva and in the Universities of Odessa and Berlin.  In his youth he joined the “Tseire Tsiyon” (Youth Zionists).  In 1922 he left Russia and lived for a short time in Berlin, and in 1923 came to the United States where he became active in the Zionist labor movement.  He was member, 1924-1925, of the central committee of Tseire Tsiyon in America.  He assisted with the unification of Tseire Tsiyon and Labor Zionists, and he was a member of the Zionist action committee and of the American Jewish Congress.  He was also active in HIAS (Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society) and the Joint Distribution Committee.  He traveled with talks on Zionist issues through the American hinterland as well as abroad.  In 1949-1950 he was living in Israel.  His writing activities began with articles for the serial press of his party in Russia and Romania.  He contributed, 1950-1953, to Der idisher kemfer (The Jewish fighter) in New York, of which he was editorial secretary for twelve years.  He authored the pamphlet: Der revizyonizm, zayn geshikhte, zayne maysim-toyvin (Revisionism, its history and its good deeds) (New York, 1934), 19 pp.  He died in Havana, Cuba, where he was on a community assignment.

Sources: Pinkhes Even-Donz, in Folksblat (Montevideo) (April 15, 1953); obituary notice in Hadoar (New York) (April 17, 1953); A. Hemlin, in Idisher kemfer (New York) (April 24, 1953); Sh. Sokol, in Idisher kemfer (April 30, 1954).


A. V. VERTHEYM (b. 1902)
            He was born in Radom, Poland, into a family of cake bakers.  He studied in religious primary schools and in a yeshiva.  He worked as a private Hebrew teacher.  Over the years 1928-1931, he published poetry in Vaysenberg’s Inzer hofenung (Our hope) in Warsaw, Radomer tsaytung (Radom newspaper), and elsewhere.  He translated into Yiddish chapters of Natan Bistritsky’s novel Yamim velelot (Days and nights).  From the 1930s he was living in Tel Aviv.
Binyumin Elis


ARN (ARON) VERGELIS (May 7, 1918-April 7, 1999)

           He was a poet, prose writer, journalist, and playwright, born in the town of Lyubar, Zhytomyr district, Ukraine. In 1928 he moved with his parents to Birobidzhan, where he graduated from a ten-year Yiddish school. He was a student in the Yiddish division in the literature and philology department at the Moscow Pedagogical Institute.  He debuted in print in 1936 with a poem in issue 2 of Forpost (Outpost) in Birobidzhan.  From that point in time on, he published poetry as well in Birobidzhaner shtern (Birobidzhan star) and in Emes (Truth) in Moscow.  During WWII he was a parachutist in the Soviet Army and a company commander.  He was wounded on several occasions. The Moscow newspapers had even listed him among the dead, but in 1945 he returned to Moscow. After demobilization, he settled in Moscow, was editor of the Yiddish radio transmission of the All-Soviet Radio Committee, and deputy to the editor-in-chief of the anthology Heymland (Homeland).

            His first collection, Bam kval, lider (By the spring, poems), appeared in 1940, and his second, Birobidzhaner dor (Birobidzhan generation), in 1948. After the arrest in 1948 of the Moscow Yiddish writers, Vergelis left for Birobidzhan, and he worked there for several years for a factory newspaper, from time to time publishing items in Birobidzhaner shtern. From 1955 he was back in Moscow. In the 1950s, he prepared, for publication for the Russian-language publishers in Moscow, the works of Sholem-Aleichem, selections from Dovid Bergelson (Moscow, 1957), writings by Osher Shvartsman, a volume of poetry by Arn Kushnirov (Moscow, 1956), a collection of poems by Izi Kharik (Moscow, 1958), a volume of poems and children’s poetry by Itsik Fefer (Moscow, 1958), and others. In 1956 he published in Moscow a volume of poems in Russian: Zhazhda, stikhi i poemy (Thirst, verse and poems) (Moscow: Sovetskii pisatel'), 120 pp.

            Beginning in 1961 and through its last issue (December 1991), he was chief editor of the journal Sovetish heymland (Soviet homeland) in Moscow, and thereafter with its successor, Di yidishe gas (The Yiddish street). Over the course of many years, he was an influential figure in Soviet Yiddish literature. His work played an important role at various stages: Until WWII he was considered a lyrical poet who embodied the genesis of a new taiga region and the feats of its first builders. This was a decidedly new page in the history of Soviet Yiddish literature—a page about how nature and mankind living within it become one, and one is hard-pressed to separate them. Everything with the richness of nature from Far Eastern regions lives, sparkles, and rushes forth in Vergelis’s poems about Birobidzhan. The second stage of his creative work is marked by the theme of heroism. It dominates his writing for the war years. In the 1950s the poet embodied the complicated problems of the postwar era. In the 1960s and 1970s, his poetry excelled with a marked socio-political character and purposiveness. And, finally, the last period was characterized by a new direction in his lyric poetry and was embodied in two cycles: “Lider fun der yidisher gas” (Poetry of the Jewish street) and “Bibl-lider” (Bible poetry). Aside from his poetic, prose, and journalistic writings, which appeared in separate publications, Vergelis wrote a large number of articles and dramatic works, two of which were staged by the Moscow Yiddish Drama Ensemble. With the passing of Arn Vergelis, this was indeed the last period of Soviet Yiddish literature. He died in Moscow.

His books would include: Bam kval, lider (Moscow: Emes, 1940), 95 pp.; Birobidzhaner dor, poetry (Moscow: Emes, 1948), 169 pp.; Azoy lebn mir, dokumentale noveln, fartsaykhenungen reportazh (How we live: Documented novellas, jottings, reportage pieces) (Moscow: Sovetski pisatel, 1964), 485 pp.; Oyg af oyg, lider un poemes (Eye to eye, poetry) (New York: IKUF, 1969), 329 pp.; Fun alef biz tof, lider un gezangen (From A to Z, poems and songs) (Moscow: Sovetski pisatel, 1970), 358 pp.; Raizes (Travels) (Moscow: Sovetski pisatel, 1976), 454 pp.; Di tsayt (The times) (Moscow: Sovetski pisatel, 1981), 477 pp.; Di hiter bay di toyern (The guardian at the gates) (Moscow, 1987); Tsoybergang (The magic way), poems (Moscow, 1984); Leyenbukh far shiler fun der onfang-shul (Reader for students in elementary school) (Khabarovsk: Khabarovsker bikher-farlag, 1989), 199 pp.; Lider un romansn af di verter fun arn vergelis (Poems and romances with the words from Arn Vergelis) (Moscow: Sov Kompozitor, 1987), 109 pp. He edited: Horizontn (Horizons) (Moscow: Sovetski pisatel, 1965), 533 pp. He also published a cycle of poems: “Fun smolensk biz berlin” (From Smolensk to Berlin).

            He also wrote reportage pieces, stories, and a monograph entitled Birobidzhan in der yidisher literatur (Birobidzhan in Yiddish literature).  He compiled the final volume of Oysgeveylte verk (Selected works) by Sholem-Aleichem (Moscow, 1959), 374 pp., which appeared on the 100th anniversary of the author’s birth.  His work was also included in: Komyug, literarish-kinstlerisher zamlbukh ([Jewish] Communist Youth, literary-artistic anthology) (Moscow: Emes, 1938); the anthology Osher shvartsman, zamlung gevidmet dem tsvantsik yortog fun zayn heldishn toyt (Osher Shvartsman, collection dedicated to the twentieth anniversary of his heroic death) (Moscow: Emes, 1940).

Sources: Sh. Klitenik, in Forpost (Birobidzhan) (1936); M. Natovitsh, in Eynikeyt (Moscow) (February 24, 1945); A. Kushnirov, in Eynikeyt (December 18, 1945); N. Mayzil, in Ikuf (Buenos Aires) 43 (1946); Y. Dobrushin, in Eynikeyt (April 27, 1946); Y. M. Kudish, in In dinst fun folk (In service to the people), (New York, 1947), pp. 382-84; I. Fefer, in Folks-shtime (Lodz) 2 (1949); N. Y. Gotlib, in Tsukunft (New York) (May 1951); A. Bik, Vort un tsayt (Word and time) (Buenos Aires, 1951); Yankev Glatshteyn, in Tog-morgn zhurnal (New York) (October 21, 1955); Morgn-frayhayt (New York) (November 6, 1955); G. Kenig, in Morgn-frayhayt (October 21, 1956); Dr. Kh. Shoshkes, in Tog-morgn zhurnal (November 14, 1956); B. Kh. in Hapoel hatsair (Tel Aviv) (Tevet 12 [= December 27], 1955); Y. Gilboa, in Bitsaron (New York) (Kislev [= November-December] 1957); N. Mayzil, Dos yidishe shafn un der yidisher arbeter in sovetn-farband (Jewish creation and the Jewish worker in the Soviet Union) (New York, 1959), see index; Tsvi Efraim, in Der yidisher zhurnal (Toronto) (September 18, 1959); Y. Tsang, “Vi halt es mit idish in sovetn-farband?” (How is Yiddish doing in the Soviet Union?), Tog-morgn zhurnal (October 28, 1959); A. Vergelis, “Ofener briv tsu b. ts. goldberg” (An open letter to B. Ts. Goldberg), Morgn-frayhayt (November 30, 1959); B. Ts. Goldberg, “An entfer” (An answer), Tog-morgn zhurnal (December 30-31, 1959); B. Y. Byalostotski, in Kultur un dertsiung (New York) (December 1959).

Binyumin Elis

[Additional information from: Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 251; and 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. 145-46.]

Friday 24 June 2016


SHIFRE VERBER (SHIFRA, SHYFRA WERBER) (March 3, 1908-September 15, 1997)
            She was born in Vilna.  She received a secular Jewish education at home and in school.  She graduated from a Jewish senior high school in Vilna.  In 1926 she moved to Belgium and studied at Brussels University.  She was active in Jewish cultural and social life and in labor institutions of the left Labor Zionists.  She survived the years of the German occupation underground in Belgium.  She worked as a Jewish teacher and helped save Jewish children from death.  In 1948 she was delegate from Belgium to the founding conference of the World Jewish Culture Congress in New York.  From 1954 she was living in Israel.  She began writing for Kinder zhurnal (Children’s magazine) in Vilna (1925-1926), published by the students in her high school.  Later, in Belgium, she contributed to the illegal workers’ newspaper Unzer vort (Our word) in Brussels.  She also placed subsequent poems, children’s tales, stories, and articles in: Unzer vort and Hant in hant (Hand in hand) in Brussels (1945); Far unzere kinder (For our children) and Arbeter-vort (Workers’ word) in Paris; Argentiner beymelekh (Little Argentinian trees) and Hundert lider (One hundred poems) in Buenos Aires; Tsukunft (Future), Bleter fun yidisher dertsiung (Pages from Jewish education), and Unzer veg (Our way) in New York; and Heym (Home), Nayvelt (New world), and Di goldene keyt (The golden chain), among other serials, in Israel.  Her books would include: Niseles trer (Nisele’s tear), a children’s poem, with a foreword by F. Blank and illustrations by the painter Benn (Brussels, 1950), 47 pp.; Vund in bli, lider (Wound in bloom, poetry) (Tel Aviv: Perets Publ., 1968), 94 pp.; Af groz un leym, lider (On grass and lime, poetry) (Tel Aviv: Perets Publ., 1976), 103 pp.; Zikorn in shpign, lider (Memory in the mirror, poetry) (Tel Aviv: Perets Publ., 1984), 120 pp.  She also wrote under the name: Sh. T-ki.  She died in Kfar Sava, Israel.

Sources: D. B. Malkin, in Unzer vort (Paris) (June 7, 1951); A. Ribo, in Unzer vort (Brussels) (October 12, 1951); H. Abramovitsh, in Lebn (Buenos Aires) (March 1952); G. Gaysman, in Nayvelt (Tel Aviv) (April 14, 1953); Yankev Glatshteyn, in Idisher kemfer (New York) (May 22, 1955); M. Ravitsh, Mayn leksikon (My lexicon), vol. 3 (Montreal, 1958), p. 475.

[Additional information from: Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 251.]


FISHL VERBER (September 1897-October 27, 1957)
            He was born in Khorostkov (Khorostkiv), eastern Galicia.  Until age fourteen he studied with local elementary school teachers, later in a yeshiva in Chortkov (Chortkiv).  At age seventeen he moved to Czernowitz where he turned his attention to secular subjects.  Duty to military service, he had to interrupt his studies, but later through self-study he acquired considerably more knowledge.  He was a leader in Hitaḥdut (“union” of young Zionists), and later in the united Hitaḥdut Labor Zionist party in eastern Galicia.  Over the years 1926-1934, he was general secretary of the party.  He was also active in the Palestina-Amt (Palestine office) and the Merkaz Heḥaluts (The pioneer center) in Lemberg.  He began writing in 1926 for Folk un land (People and country) in Warsaw and Lodz, and later for the weekly Dos fraye vort (The free word), of which he was also editor.  He made aliya to Israel in 1934.  He was a member of the workers’ council in Rishon Lezion, later in Petaḥ Tikva until the end of 1948.  He also published articles in Hapoel hatsair (Youth Zionist).  He was active at the Agricultural Center.  He died in Ramatayim, Israel.
Zaynvl Diamant


AVROM-DOV VERBNER (b. July 3, 1910)
            He was born in Stanislav (Stanislavov), eastern Galicia.  He studied in religious primary school and synagogue study hall.  He later graduated from the state teachers’ seminary in Lemberg.  He was active in the Hitaḥdut (Unity) Labor Zionists in eastern Galicia.  He began writing poetry in Hebrew in his student years, later also writing in Yiddish.  He debuted in print was a poem in Hasolel (The paver) in Lemberg (1933), and thereafter he published poetry, stories, and feature pieces in: Dos fraye vort (The free word) and Der morgn (The morning) in Lemberg—in the latter he published serially, 1936-1937, a novel about Jewish life in Galicia, entitled Yortsayt (Death anniversary); and Oyfgang (Arise) in Sighet-Marmației.  He also contributed to Gazit (Hewn stone) in Tel Aviv and to the Polish Jewish publications, Jutrzenka (Dawn) and Chwila (Moment), both in Lemberg.  His books include: Zevaot (Horrors), poetry (Lemberg, 1935), 96 pp.; Ven zingt a kholets (When a pioneer sings), poems on national and Israeli motifs (Lemberg, 1939), 64 pp.  Until WWII he was a teacher in a state school for Jewish children in Lemberg, later living for a time under the Bolsheviks.  There has been no information about him since 1941.

Sources: Gershom Bader arkhiv (YIVO: New York); Zalmen Reyzen, in Keneder odler yoyvl-bukh (Kender odler jubilee volume) (Montreal, 1938); Dov Sadan, preface to the Hebrew translation of Berish Vaynshteyn’s Reyshe (Rzeszów) (Tel Aviv, 1957), p. 9.


            He was born in Grodno, Russian Poland.  He published articles and images in Yugnt-veker (Youth alarm) in Warsaw (1926-1927).  He collected for YIVO hundreds of Yiddish folksongs and folk tales, popular jokes, folk remedies, and the like, of which several dozen were published in the YIVO publication Yidishe folklor (Yiddish folklore), edited by Y. L. Kahan (Vilna, 1938).  Among the materials salvaged from the Vilna ethnographic commission at YIVO in New York are several dozen of the folk tales and songs he collected; two of the tales were republished in the journal Yidisher folklor, brought out by the Y. L. Kahan Folklore Club at YIVO, January 1954-June 1955.  In 1933 he attended the folklore course, directed by Kahan at YIVO in Vilna.

Source: Y. L. Kahan, Shtudyes vegn yidisher folksshafung (Studies of Jewish folk creation) (New York: YIVO, 1952), pp. 280-81.
Leyzer Ran


ELYE VERBLOYN (ELIE VERBLUN) (July 22, 1908-November 3, 1982)
            He was born in Vilna.  At age seven he was left an orphan on his father’s side, and together with his mother and older brother they made their way for a year on foot from Vilna to Kovno.  They sustained themselves by begging.  He spent five years in Kovno in an orphanage, while at the same time studying in a Hebrew public school.  At age thirteen he was fending for himself.  He was a leader in the Jewish Scouts (“Vanderfoygl”) organization in 1924.  In 1930 he moved to Uruguay and from there to Argentina, and in 1931 he returned to Montevideo, Uruguay, where he had a difficult life, delivering newspapers for twelve years.  He went on to become the YIVO librarian in Montevideo.  He began writing at age sixteen with his poem “Flamen” (Blaze), published in a hectographically produced children’s magazine in his Kovno public school.  He later published his poems in: Di prese (The press), Di idishe tsaytung (The Jewish newspaper), and Der shpigl (The mirror)—in Buenos Aires; Unzer fraynt (Our friend), Folksblat (People’s newspaper), and Umophengike yidishe tribune (Independent Jewish tribune)—in Montevideo; Zayn (To be) and Tsukunft (Future), among others—in New York.  His books would include: Mayne kleyne lider (My little poems) (1932), 30 pp.; Der letster mentsh (The last man), lyrical poems (published by Ikh, 1936), 35 pp.; Di shvartse toyz, balade (The black ace, ballads) (1938), 36 pp.; Di shlakht farn mentsh (The battle for man) (1944), 58 pp.; Heyliker ash un andere poemen un lider (Sacred ashes and other poems) (1945), 80 pp.; Alemens velt, 101 lider (Everyone’s world, 101 poems), published by the Jewish writers’ and journalists’ union (1957), 128 pp.; Mayses fun montevideo (Stories of Montevideo) (1959), 139 pp.; Lirisher togbukh (Lyrical diary), poems (Montevideo: Verbe, 1960), 142 pp.—all published in Montevideo; and In langn tog, lirisher togbukh 2 (On a long day, lyrical diary, vol. 2) (Tel Aviv: Verbe, 1980), 154 pp.  He edited: a journal Bleter far kunst un literatur (Pages for art and literature) with the artist Refuel Mandeltsvayg in 1950; and the monthly Do (Here) with Sh. Grinberg in 1959—both in Montevideo.  He published poetry in: Heymish (Familiar) in Tel Aviv; and in Yerusholaimer almanakh (Jerusalem almanac).  He also used the pen name Elyohu Bokher.  From 1962 he was living in Israel.  He died in Tel Aviv.

Sources: Antologye fun der yidisher literatur in argentine (Anthology of Jewish literature in Argentina) (Buenos Aires, 1944), p. 353; 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; Y. Glants, in Yidishe velt (Mexico City) (January 1946); Y. Botoshanski, Mame yidish (Mother Yiddish) (Buenos Aires, 1949), p. 256; Botoshanski, in Di prese (Buenos Aires) (November 29, 1957); L. Ran, in 25 yor yung vilne (Twenty-five years of Young Vilna), anthology (New York, 1955); Y. Vaynshenker, Boyers un mitboyers fun yidishn yishev in urugvay (Founders and builders of the Jewish community in Uruguay) (Montevideo, 1957), p. 100; Y. Tsudiker, in Der shpigl (Buenos Aires) (September 1957); Isakson, in Di naye tsayt (Buenos Aires) (January 28, 1958); Y. L. Gruzman, in Der shpigl (March 1959), Sh. A., in Omer (Tel Aviv) (Iyar 21 [= May 29], 1959).
Yankev Kahan and Leyzer Ran

[Additional information from: Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 251.]