BEN-TSIEN VEKSHTEYN (b. March 3, 1868)
He was born in Ilinits (Ilintsy), Kiev district, Ukraine. In 1885 he moved to London and became a laborer. In 1886 he moved on to New York where he was active in the Jewish labor movement. He later returned to Russia, but in 1895 once again went back to America and until 1924 was a leader in the Jewish bakers’ union in New York. For a certain period of time, he was secretary of the United Hebrew Trades. He began writing in his youth (also using the pen names Ben-Tsien and Even Mishkhazes) in: Hashaḥar (The dawn), Hamelits (The advocate), and Yudishes folksblat (Jewish people’s newspaper). In America he published in: Di idishe arbayter velt (The world of Jewish labor) in Chicago—among other things he wrote a series of articles entitled “Di drame in ale tsaytn un bay ale felker” (Drama in all times and with all peoples). He contributed as well to: the daily newspaper Di velt (The world), edited by K. Marmor, Fraye arbeter shtime (Free voice of labor), and Der kundes (The prankster), among others—all in New York. He was editor (1911-1912) of Der idisher beker (The Jewish baker) in New York. He authored the theatrical works: Der kemfer (The fighter); Kriminele operatsyon (Criminal operation); A ganef oys noyt (A thief no longer in need)—a play in four acts (New York, 1914), 85 pp.; and Korbones fun frayer libe (Victims of free love) (New York, 1916), 84 pp.
Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 1; Z. Zilbertsvayg, Leksikon fun yidishn teater (Handbook of the Yiddish theater), vol. 1; H. Burgin, Di geshikhte fun der idisher arbayter bavegung in amerike, rusland un england (The history of the Jewish labor movement in America, Russia, and England) (New York, 1915), p. 431; Max Hirszberg, The Jewish Community Blue Book of Newark (1924), pp. 710-11.