Friday 10 June 2016


AKIVE VINIK (AKIVA WINIK) (1904-August 7, 1955)
            He was born in Khelm (Chelm), Poland.  He graduated from the Jewish teachers’ seminary in Vilna, and he worked as a teacher in the secular Yiddish schools.  He was an active leader among the Labor Zionists and a founder of the Borochov Library in Chelm.  During the Polish-Soviet War of 1920, he spent fourteen weeks in a Polish prison.  In 1933 he moved to Johannesburg, South Africa, where he worked as a teacher in various Hebrew and Yiddish schools and a community leader.  He began writing in Unzer shtime (Our voice) in Chelm in 1925, and from that point forward he contributed articles on cultural issues and literary matters to: Arbeter tsaytung (Workers’ newspaper) and Literarishe bleter (Literary leaves) in Warsaw; Vilner tog (Vilna day); Der tog (The day) in New York; Afrikaner idishe tsaytung (African Jewish newspaper), Unzer veg (Our path), Foroys (Onward), Yidishe post (Jewish mail), Dorem-afrike (South Africa), and Dorem-afrikaner almanakh (South African almanac) in Johannesburg.  In Yizker-bukh—khelm (Remembrance volume for Chelm) (Johannesburg, 1954), 732 pp. and 25 pp.—he served on the editorial board—he published several pieces: “Yidishe gezelshaftn un organizatsyes in dorem-afrike” (Jewish associations and institutions in South Africa), “Dos yidishe lebn un shafn in khelm” (Jewish life and works in Chelm), and “Dr. yitskhok shiper, deputat fun khelm in poylishn seym” (Dr. Yitskhok Shiper, deputy from Chelm to the Polish Sejm).  He also published under the pen names: Ben Haam and Evik, among others.  He died in Johannesburg.
            His older brother, NOKHUM VINIK, a community leader and a member of the “Board of Deputies” in Johannesburg, published in Yizker-bukh—khelm (of which he was also a member of the editorial board): “Der bund in khelm un zayn sotsyal-revolutsyonere arbet” (The Bund in Chelm and its social revolutionary work), pp. 129-48.

Sources: Dorem-afrikaner almanakh (South African almanac) (Johannesburg, 1945); Yizker-bukh—khelm (Remembrance volume for Chelm) (Johannesburg, 1954), see index; Dorem-afrike (Johannesburg) (August 1955); H. Shishler, in Nayvelt (Tel Aviv) (September 16, 1955).

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