Thursday 9 June 2016


MORIS VINTSHEVSKI (MORRIS WINCHEVSKY) (August 9, 1856-March 18, 1932)
            The pen name of Lipe Bentsien Novakhovits, he was born in the town of Yanove (Jonava), Kovno district, Lithuania.  His grandfather, Yitskhok Novakhovits, was murdered for taking part in the Polish uprising of 1831, and he was called “Der kodesh” (The martyr) in his family.  His grandmother Tsile was an extremely pious woman and left an immense impression on Lipe Bentsien.  His father, Zisl Novakhovits, was a great scholar, but he had no desire to become a rabbi; he associated with craftsmen and ordinary Jews, lived “from what he had.”  And, his mother Golde-Hadase had to operate a small shop in order to feed her children (eleven births, of whom only three survived, Lipe Bentsien and two sisters).  In 1862 his family moved to Kovno.  Lipe Bentsien at age five began attending religious primary school, initially in Jonava and later in Kovno, and a bit later his father took him out of school and taught him Tanakh and Hebrew grammar one-on-one.  At age eleven he entered the state Russian high school, studied there for two years, learned to read and write Russian well, and took up imitating Ivan Krylov’s fables.  He also began to give lessons (fifteen kopeks per class), so as to amass a little money and be able to attend high school.  Nothing came of this plan, and he left to live with an uncle in Vilna (1870) to prepare to enter the rabbinical seminary there.  Nothing came of this either, and when his father summoned him six months later to return to Kovno, where he would be certain to get “an easy position in a business,” he gladly returned home.  In the half year he spent in Vilna, he was able to master German via Mendelssohn’s translation and commentary on the Tanakh, acquainted himself with Russian literature, and began to read Hamagid (The preacher).  The nearly three years (from later 1870 until September 1873) thereafter were for Winchevsky years of internal struggle, but ultimately not much of an accomplishment.  In the end, thanks to his father’s acquaintance with the Kovno Jewish banker Sh. Faynberg, he received a position (in September 1873) in the latter’s newly opened banking office in the Great Russian city of Oriol, where he lived for just shy of two years, and in this period he came to know the writings of the famous Russian socialist writers: Chernyshevsky, Lavrov, Bakunin, Pisarev, and Dobrolyubov, among others; the revolutionary poetry of Nekrasov; something of the scientific socialism of Karl Marx—and he became a socialist.  At that time, Winchevsky also began his own writerly path with the Hebrew-language social satire “Tahepukhot haitim” (The upheavals of the times), published in Hamagid from September 8, 1874 (a correspondence piece of his appeared even earlier in this same periodical: July 30, 1873).  In August 1875 Faynberg’s bank in Oriol closed down, and Winchevsky again returned to Kovno where he landed a position in the office of Faynberg’s central bank, and at the same he continued his literary activities in Hebrew: he published feature pieces and a series of couplets and satires in Hamagid; he translated Schiller’s “Die Kindsmörderin” (The child murderess) from German into Hebrew, as well as Yakhontov’s “Mysl’” (Thought) and Nekrasov’s “Ogorodnik” (The market-gardener) from Russian into Hebrew.  In late 1876 Arn Liberman’s socialist call “El shlome baḥure yisrael” (To Jewish youth) came to his attention, and he launched a correspondence with Liberman who informed about the publication of his socialist organ Haemet (The truth).  Winchevsky had already begun to write in Kovno his socialist poem “Shomer ma milayla” (Watchman, what of the night?) for Liberman’s organ, but in the meantime (1877) he left for Königsberg where he worked in the local office of Faynberg’s bank and where he was soon to join a new and (for that time period) violent circle.  At the beginning of September 1877, Winchevsky met Elyohu-Volf Rabinovitsh, a student at the University of Königsberg, a socialist who was older than he was and who would have a great influence on him.  Winchevsky continued reading the German socialist press and literature, the works of Ferdinand Lassalle, Marx, Johann Most, and Johann Jacoby; and at the same time he was receiving Liberman’s Haemet.  He sent the journal his socialist poem, “Lemi ani amal?” (For whom do I toil?), took up canvassing for subscribers to the journal, and amplified his correspondence with Liberman who had thus far not published Winchevsky’s poem, because Haemet was soon banned and Liberman himself imprisoned in an Austrian jail.  Meanwhile, Winchevsky came into contact in Königsberg with M. L. Radkinzon’s Hebrew weekly newspaper Hakol (The voice) and with its Yiddish supplement Kol laam (The people’s voice), began to make use of both newspapers for socialist propaganda, and when Radkinzon, because of his success among the socialist student groups in Königsberg, decided to published the Hebrew socialist monthly Asefat ḥakhamim (Assembly of the wise), the twenty-one-year-old Winchevsky became its editor, and there for the first time he emerged with two of his pseudonyms which were to make him very famous: “Ben Nets” (Son of a hawk) and “Yogli Ish haruaḥ” (Yogli, the man of spirit)—later, in Yiddish, “Der meshugener filozof” (The crazy philosopher); the first of these, Ben Nets, signified the initial letters of his original first and last names, Bentsien Novakhovits—in Hamagid, by the way, he signed his work with his full name—and the latter, “Yogli Ish haruaḥ,” he started using to sign a series of features entitled “Ḥezyonot” (Fantasies).  In Asefat ḥakhamim he published: the socialist poems, “Shomer ma milayla,” “Lemi ani amal?,” “Haganav” (The thief), and “Hav-hav” (Give, give), which caused quite a stir at the time; his “Ḥezyonot” and “Likutim” (Collections) which were ultimately the cause of the journal’s being closed down in Russia; current events articles, book reviews, and even a novel in installments (Panim ḥadashot [Newcomer]), a sort of imitation of Chernyshevsky’s Chto delat׳ (What is to be done?).  In this same period, he contributed pieces to the German-language Königsberger Freie Presse (Königsberg free press) and to the social democratic Vorwärts (Forward) in Berlin.  In the Yiddish Kol laam (October 26, 1877), he published his first feature piece in Yiddish, “Der grende-firer” (The man in complete charge), which he signed “Ben-kovne” (Man of Kovno); the feature contained in it a short poem, “Beryes in reydn” (Skillful speaker), which is considered Winchevsky’s first poem in Yiddish.  In September-October 1878, he published in Hakol a series of socialist assessments of the German parliament, entitled “Bet nivḥare haam beashkenaz” (The parliament of the German people).  He was at this time arrested (on November 8, 1878, eighteen days later the emergency law against socialists went into effect in Germany), not for his latest series of articles but because of his personal letters that were found with Liberman when the latter was arrested in Vienna.  Winchevsky remained in jail in Königsberg until March 16, 1879 when the older Faynberg arranged his release on bail.  On March 18 he was already on board the ship that brought him to Copenhagen.  From there he proceeded to London, visiting Paris en route.  While in transit, he wrote correspondence pieces for Hakol (signed “Al haavanim” [On the stones]).  In Kol haam in 1879 he published his features, “Ven ikh volt rotshild geven” (If I were Rothschild) and “A hesped af r. feytele di ofene hant” (A eulogy for Feytele’s open hand).  He received from Radkinzon some money for correspondence pieces, but Faynberg gave him a little money with which he was able to get by at first.  In London he befriended Johann Most and soon moved to Paris, becoming acquainted there with Pyotr Lavrov and socialists of that era.  He was unable, though, in Paris to settle down, and soon thereafter (September 1879) he returned to London where he remained for a full fifteen years and where he became Morris Winchevsky—grandfather of Yiddish socialist literature.  From time to time thereafter he published a variety of items in Hebrew in: Haḥoze (The visionary) and Haḥavatselet (The daffodil) in 1880; Hayom (Today) in 1886; Harkavy’s Yudish-amerikanisher folks-kalendar (Jewish American people’s calendar) in 1896-1897; Hadevora (The bee); Hamodia labokerim (Herald of the morning); Shovelim (Trails) in 1909; Haolam (The world) in 1910; Hitaḥdut (Unity) in 1912; Hatoran (The duty officer) in 1920; Luaḥ aḥiasef in 1921; Sefer hayovel shel hadoar (Jubilee volume for Hadoar [The mail]) in 1927; and the like.
            In London Winchevsky became a member of the German “Communist Workers’ Educational Association,” and when Arn Liberman appeared once again in London in 1880, after spending two years in prison in Austria and Germany, he helped him found the “Jewish Workers’ Benefit and Educational Association,” for which Liberman wrote their historic bylaws.  In 1884 Elyohu-Volf Rabinovitsh, Winchevsky’s friend from Königsberg, came up with the idea of establishing in London his own Yiddish publishing house, where one might published a weekly newspaper in Yiddish, and with that goal lured a Yiddish typesetter, and Winchevsky then needed to become editor of this newspaper.  On July 25, 1884 the first issue of this newspaper, Der poylisher idl (The little Polish Jew), appeared with the motto: “Yegia kapekha ki tokhel, ashrekha vetov lakh” (When you eat from the labor of your hands, you are praiseworthy and it is well with you) (Psalms 128).  The title of the newspaper was intended to show the wealthy Jews that, here among the simple folk, no one was ashamed of being a “little Polish Jew”; however, the opposite impression resulted even among his own circle, and from issue sixteen (November 7, 1884), the title was changed to Di tsukunft (The future), with a subtitle: “Formals der poylisher idl” (Formerly, Der poylisher idl), and with issue twenty-six the subtitle disappeared.  As editor of the newspaper, he signed his name most often as Ben Nets (his personal name at the time was Leopold Benedikt; Seligmans Bank where he worked changed his name from Lipe Bentsien to this, so that it would sound more English).  Winchevsky contributed editorials, historical descriptions, stories, feature pieces—short and often serialized—novels in installments, translations, adaptations from other languages, and poetry—that series of social poems with which he recorded the first, classic chapter in the book of proletarian poetry in Yiddish.  These were: “Tsvey geselekh” (Two alleyways) and “Dos lid funem hemd” (The song of the shirt) in issue 6—for that time and for the state of poetry in Yiddish at that time, the latter was a masterful translation of Thomas Hood’s “Song of the Shirt”—“London baynakht” (London at night) in issue 8—a Yiddish imitation of the popular song by the Russian poet I. P. Miatlev; “A khodesh on arbet” (A month without work) in issue 15—a poem which just like a thunderclap spread through the workshops and houses of London Jewish laborers; “Orem meydele” (Poor girl) in issue 19; “An oremer yoseml” (A poor little orphan) in issue 26 (later named “Der yoseml” [The little orphan]); “A meydele in der siti” (A little girl in the city); among others.  Eleven of these first poems were included in his first poetry collection: Ben nets’s folks-gedikhte (Ben Nets’s folk poetry) (London, 1885), 32 pp.  One Sunday after midday in the summer of 1884, Winchevsky read aloud before his two friends, the cobbler Volf Ves and the carpenter Sh. Hilelson, a manuscript that he had written already in 1879, but neither he nor any of his friends had had the necessary four pounds sterling to publish it then.  This was the text of the first social democratic pamphlet in Yiddish: Yehi or! (Let there be light!), “a conversation on the world turned upside down with his friend Hyman, by Morris Winchevsky.”  The language of the pamphlet was straightforward and clear, the Yiddish pure, tidy—a rarity for that time—and published by the fund which both workingmen, Winchevsky’s friends, began on that very Sunday during the daytime to create among themselves and then among other Jewish laborers.  In 1888 one could no longer find the pamphlet anywhere in the book market; a second edition came out in Newark, New Jersey, in 1890, together with a poem, “Di sek gekrogn” (The bags received), by B. Faygenboym.  According to Y. Botoshanski (Di prese [The press], Buenos Aires, September 5, 1926), the pamphlet was also published in Romanian in 1900.  In June 1885 Di tsukunft (the continuation of Der poylisher idl) closed down.  In July 1885 Ves and Hilelson, together with Winchevsky, established the monthly magazine Arbayter fraynd (Friend of labor), to which Winchevsky contributed (unable as he was to become editor because of his position with the Seligmans) until April 1891, when the journal was taken over by the anarchists.  At that time, he was already writing poetry and prose in English, and his works were published (also under the pen name “Jim from Bethnal Green”) in the weekly Justice and the monthly To-day—both organs of Henry Hyndman’s Social Democratic Federation—and in The Commonweal, organ of William Morris’s Socialist League, among others.  In September 1886 Winchevsky published his first dramatic work, Der mirer ile (The prodigy from Mir), a comedy in three acts, and in Arbayter fraynd (1886-1890) he published (also using such pen names as “Yankele Troshke,” “V. Pariz,” and “Filadelfye”) more poems from his cycle “Kinder fun folk (Londoner siluetn)” (Children of the people, London silhouettes) which was published in Der poylisher idl / Di tsukunft, as well as portions of his “Kampf-lider” (Fighting poems): “Di marselyeze” (The Marseillaise), “In regn un vint” (In rain and wind), “A bezim un a ker” (A broom and a gesture), “Der frayhayts-gayst” (The spirit of freedom), “Tsu mayne brider” (To my brothers), and “A treyst-gezang” (A song of consolation), among others.  In 1889 in Arbayter fraynd, he began his Tseshlogene gedanken fun a meshugenem filozof (The battered ideas of a crazy philosopher), which he labeled “a denker mit a trer in oyg” (a thinker with a tear in his eye).  This was a wonderful mixture of playful social satire combined with heartfelt romanticism, which elevated Winchevsky’s prose to a significant height in Yiddish literature.  In 1890 he published in Arbayter fraynd, among other items, the parody “Di kalakotke” (The rattle) and the story “Grishkes roman” (Grishka’s romance), which was later (1893) published in English in the London Sun, and later still (1908) in Chicago it appeared in Winchevsky’s English-language anthology Stories of the Struggle.  He was also very popular in the International Workers’ Educational Club on Berner Street in London.  When this Club was taken over in April 1891 by anarchists, Winchevsky along with other social democrats and social revolutionaries seceded from the Club just as they did from Arbater fraynd and—with B. Faygenboym, his brother-in-law K. Galop, and M. Baranov—began to publish the monthly magazine Di fraye velt (The free world, May 1891-November 1892); he published many poems there—among them poems by Galop, such as “Mayne folkslider” (My folksongs), the famous “Dray shvester” (Three sisters), and “An edelshtadt” (An Edelshtadt)—and he also began to publish “Khayim barburims verterbukh” (Khayim Barburim’s dictionary) which was continued later in Emes (Truth) in Boston (1895).  Winchevsky also worked with the socialist association “Proletariat” and later (1892) with the Socialist Workers’ Association, which following the closing of Di fraye velt brought out Der veker (The alarm), in which he published his celebrated poem “A kampf-gezang” (“Wrapped in the banner, the red one…).  In 1894 he composed the pamphlet Der alef beys fun treyd yunyonizmus oder a tnoim nokh der khasene (The ABCs of trade unionism, or an engagement party after the wedding), published by the Independent Tailors’, Machinists’, and Pressers’ Union in London.  The pamphlet was written in the fictional style of Yehi or.  In that same year he published in New York’s Tsukunft (April and June) articles on the writings of Henrik Ibsen, and he translated Ibsen’s Nora, oder a lyalkes hoyz (Nora, or a doll’s house [original: Et dukkehjem])—staged by Jacob P. Adler in October 1894.  At that time the “Yehi or” group on Delancey Street in New York began to publish Morris vintshevskis lider un gedikhte (Morris Winchevsky’s poetry), an edition of “all the poetry that was published in the last ten years and much that has never as yet been published,” in “four parts” (published December 1894, only part 1).
            On October 13, 1894, Winchevsky arrived in New York (his wife, Rivka Harris, whom he married in London in 1885, and their two children, a boy and a girl, remained in London and made the crossing to join him in New York one year later), and threw himself right into the “movement” as if he were a local.  He even became a disputant in the internal friction then current in the ranks of the Jewish sectors of the Socialist Labor Party (S.L.P.).  Two days after his arrival in New York, the first issue of the daily Abend blat (Evening newspaper), published by the “Publishing Association” of the weekly Arbayter tsaytung (Workers’ newspaper), appeared.  Winchevsky began writing for the newspaper, and in the internal factional struggle in the Association, he sided with Ab. Cahan—he also believed that the editor of Abend blat should be Cahan and not Philip Krantz.  Meanwhile, the Boston Jewish section of the S.L.P. was working strenuously to for its long planned effort to bring out its own newspaper that would stand above the factionalized fight in the party, and it proposed to Winchevsky that he become editor of the new paper; on May 3, 1895 the first issue of Der emes (The truth) was published: “a weekly family newspaper for literature and enlightenment, published by the Jewish section of the S.L.P. in Boston, edited by M. Vintshevski [Winchevsky].”  Der emes was published until January 17, 1896, and in it Winchevsky consolidated the entire opposition of the party at that time; his article “Foyl oder tsugefoylt” (Lazy or slacker) (August 19, 1895) was the first shot from the “opposition.”  The party decided accordingly in the middle of January 1896 that Winchevsky must not serve as editor.  Winchevsky bid his readers adieu with an article entitled “Es lebe der emes!” (The truth lives!) in the final issue of Der emes.  He began to work initially for Abend blat in August 1896.  In the subsequent intensified struggle between the “opposition” and the self-styled “clique,” Winchevsky sided with Louis Miller and Abraham Cahan; with Miller he left the party (January 1897) and with Cahan and M. Zametkin, among others, he crossed the country collecting money to fund Forverts (Forward), as one of the main colleagues in the new daily newspaper from its very first number (April 12, 1897), and in it he remained even after Cahan’s resignation from the editorial position several months later in 1897.  At the end of July 1897, he joined Eugene V. Debs’s Social Democracy of America (S.D.A.) and in June 1898 its successor, Social Democratic Party (S.D.P.); he supported a unification of the party with the second opposition (the Kangaroos), and when the S.D.P. split over this question into the Chicago executive and the Springfield [Mass.] executive (which had united with the Kangaroos) and the Forverts went with Chicago, Winchevsky after three years of energetic cooperation left the newspaper (late April 1900), wrote for the organ of the Kangaroos, Der sotsyal-demokrat (The social democrat), and joined the united Socialist Party (S.P.) of Debs (August 1901).  At the beginning of 1902 the monthly Tsukunft was revived, and Winchevsky became its editor, but inasmuch as he had to move to St. Paul, Minnesota (because of his position in a coal miners’ association) in March 1903, he declined the editorial position on the magazine.  Over the subsequent few years, he opposed the politics of the Forverts and its editor, Cahan, and when Louis Miller became editor in November 1905 of the newly founded daily Varhayt (Truth) in New York, Winchevsky joined him to write, but at the time of the gubernatorial election in autumn 1906, when the newspaper campaigned on behalf of the Hearst candidate, Winchevsky quit Varhayt.  In 1906 Winchevsky’s fiftieth birthday was celebrated in New York and in Vilna by the Bund with which he had come to feet the closest ideological relationship since 1901—at the time (January 1906), he published in Vilna’s Folkstsaytung (People’s newspaper) his “Lid fun dem loynshklaf” (Poem of the wage slave).  Between 1906 and 1909, he published in Tsukunft twenty-six chapters of his reminiscences under the title “Zhurnalistishe derfarungen” (Journalistic experiences) covering the period 1875-1880; he described his reminiscences concerning his activity with the London weekly Der poylisher idl in Di naye velt (The new world) (New York, 1909); his memories of the work with Arbayter fraynd in London appeared in Dos naye lebn (The new life) (New York, 1910).  Between 1907 and the end of 1909, he once again became editor of Tsukunft.  In 1909, just after the death of his friend Yankev Gordin, he put into writing his stunning and highly original book: A tog mit yankev gordin (A day with Yankev Gordin).  In his socialist political activities in those years, he displayed a stark inclination toward the Jewish people.  He was a Jewish socialist of the Bundist variety—contrary to other leaders of the Jewish sections of the Socialist Party, which considered themselves and passed as “Yiddish-speaking socialists.”  At the end of 1916, when his sixtieth birthday was being celebrated, Winchevsky returned to work at Forverts, where between 1916 and 1918 he published his well-known articles entitled “Vos mir felt” (What ails me), a critique of the conventional lies and hypocrisy of Jewish radicalism in America of that era.  In 1918 he became editor of Glaykhheyt (Equality), organ of the union of the blouse and dress makers (January 4, 1918-January 11, 1919)—and here he published his series “Kurtse diburim” (Short words).  He once again in 1919 left the Forverts and this time did not return.  Between March and June 1921, he published—in Di naye velt—his series of articles, “Daytshland, amol un haynt” (Germany, then and now), and these were the last pieces he published before he moved over to join the Communists.
            In 1918, under the influence of the Balfour Declaration, Winchevsky became acutely nationalistic.  He was a delegate to the American Jewish Congress in Philadelphia, which took place during the meeting of the Jewish Socialist Federation to which he belonged and in which he was quite active; he chose to boycott the Philadelphia congress.  He was also one of the three Americans (with Louis Marshall and N. Sirkin) of the general Jewish commission of seven, who were sent to represent Jewish interests at the peace conference at Versailles—he met Anatole France there, and he described the encounter later, in 1922, in Frayhayt (Freedom) in New York.  When the Jewish Socialist Federation, 1921-1922, split up, Winchevsky who was always in opposition joined the leftists.  In 1924 he made a triumphal trip through Soviet Russia, where the government provided him with a pension of seventy-five rubles per month and a one-time sum of 250 rubles.  He did not, though, stay in Russia, and on May 15, 1925 he returned to his home in New York.  His material state of affairs after returning from Russia until his death were extremely difficult; he had broken with the socialist groups, and on the Frayhayt [i.e., Communist] side of things no assistance was forthcoming.  Only a few of his old socialist friends personally supported his family from time to time.  Winchevsky’s seventy-fifth birthday was celebrated by the leftists at Madison Square Garden in the absence of the man being fêted, who had been paralyzed from 1927, and indeed he died soon thereafter (March 18, 1932 at 8:00 p.m.) in his home in the Amalgamated Cooperative Houses in the Bronx.  His funeral was arranged by his family which declined to turn his body over the Jewish section of the Communist Party.  The Communists raised a racket, the police were called in, and the funeral was conducted under the supervision of a police cordon.  Winchevsky was buried in the old cemetery of the Workmen’s Circle.  Thousands of Jewish workers came to the funeral to honor their beloved revolutionary voice.  His pseudonyms, aside from those mentioned above, would include: Khayim Yanishker Hamekhune Khayim Bolbetun, Der Eynikl, Zayn Ployneste, Der Doziger, T. E. Debkin (Benedikt), Der “Kiker” (in the section “Labor and Capital” at Der emes), and Even Hakela.
            Winchevsky’s books would include: Ben nets’s folks-gedikhte (Ben Nets’s folk poetry) (London, 1885), 32 pp.; Yehi or! (Let there be light!), published by the Newark group of the Knights of Freedom (Newark, New Jersey, 1890), 24 pp.; Morris vintshevskis lider un gedikhte (Morris Winchevsky’s poetry), “first part,” published by the “Yehi or” group in New York (December 1894), 62 pp. (pocketbook format); Frayhayt, revolutsyonere lider un shirim (Freedom, revolutionary poetry) by Winchevsky, D. Edelshtadt, and others, published by the Bund (Geneva, 1905), 171 pp.; translation of Henrik Ibsen, Nora, oder a lyalkes hoyz (Nora, or a doll’s house) (New York: Mayzel, 1906), 107 pp. (first edition sold 4,000 copies, reissued later in several editions); Di fraye harfe, a zamlung fun lider (The free harp, a collection of poetry), by Winchevsky and others (Vilna: Di velt, 1907), 98 pp.; Morris vintshevskis shriften (The writings of Morris Winchevsky) (New York: Tsukunft, 1908), 384 pp.; Der meshugener filozof in england (The crazy philosopher in England), with a foreword by Winchevsky; A tog mit yankev gordin (A day with Yankev Gordin) (New York: Mayzel, 1909), 112 pp.; Lider un gedikhte, 1877-1910 (Poetry, 1877-1910), 2 parts, including the poem “Mayne folkslider” (My folksongs) (New York: Mayzel et Co., 1910), 320 pp.; Morris vintshevskis shriften (New York: Forverts, 1920), 3 volumes—vol. 1: Der meshugener filozof in england (from the Tsukunft edition of 1908); vol. 2: Der meshugener filozof in amerike (The crazy philosopher in America), 383 pp., with a foreword by Winchevsky entitled “Di natur-geshikhte fun dem meshugenem filozof” (The natural history of the crazy philosopher); vol. 3: Dramatishe verk (Dramatic works), which includes Der letste nabor (The last recruitment), a drama in three acts, Di mekhitse (The partition), epilogue to Der letste nabor, Kloymersht a khasene (Ostensibly a wedding), a drama in four acts, Der mizrekh-vind (The eastern wind), a cheerful play in one act, A gehargeter editoryel (A murdered editorial), a scene, and Man un vayb (Man and wife), a family image in one act, 299 pp.—Kamfs gezangen (Songs of struggle), foreword by Sh. Agurski (Minsk: Shul un bukh, 1924), 38 pp.; Erinerungen (Experiences) (Moscow: Shul un bukh, 1926), 255 pp.; Gezamlte verk (Collected works), edited by Kalmen Marmor (New York: Frayhayt, 1927-1928), 10 volumes—vol. 1: Moris vintshevski, zayn lebn, virkn un shafn (Morris Winchevsky, his life, impact, and work), by Kalmen Marmor, 415 pp.; vol. 2: Lider (Poetry), 256 pp.; vol. 3: Dramen (Dramas), part 1 (Der letste nabor, Di mekhitse, Der mirer ile [The prodigy from Mir], A khasene un a levaye [A wedding and a funeral], and Der sotn mekateyger [The devil prosecutor]), 255 pp.; vols. 4 and 5: Felyetonen (Feature pieces), 250 pp. and 256 pp.; vol. 6: Fablen, aforizmen un parodyes (Fables, aphorisms, and parodies), 286 pp.; vol. 7: Publitsistik (Current events writings), 287 pp.; vol. 8: Mentshn un verk (People and works), 224 pp.; vols. 9 and 10: Erinerungen (Experiences), part 2, 384 pp. and 386 pp.—Geklibene lider (Selected poems), by Winshevsky, Edelshtadt, and Bovshover (Kiev: Kultur-lige, 1931), pp. 11-98; Leyenbikhl (Little reader), compiled by a teachers’ commission of Yiddish school in the International Workers’ Order (New York, 1933), 16 pp.; Moris vintshevski, geklibene verk in zeks bend (Morris Winchevsky, selected works in six volumes), edited by Sh. Agurski, M. Levitan, K. Marmor, and M. Erik—vol. 5: Drames (Dramas) (Minsk: Byelorussian Academy of Sciences, 1935), with a preface by M. Erik on Winshevski’s dramatic work, the only volume published; Gezangen fun kamf (Songs of struggle), selected songs by Morris Winchevsky, Dovid Edelshtadt, Morris Rozenfeld, and Yoysef Bovshover (Warsaw: State Publishing House for school use, 1951), 86 pp.  His work was also included in Der arbeter in der yidisher literatur, fargesene lider (The worker in Yiddish literature, forgotten poems) (Moscow, 1939); Mut (Courage), poetry collection (Moscow, 1920); and Shlakhtn (Battles) (Kharkov-Kiev, 1932).

Sources: The literature about Winchevsky is extremely rich and scattered widely.  Kalmen Marmor tells of “several dozen pages comprising Winchevsky’s bibliography” which he compiled, though he did not have time to publish it.  We cite here only a portion of the published articles and longer works about Winchevsky in later years: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 1 (with a bibliography of early biographical sources); Z. Zilbertsvayg, Leksikon fun yidishn teater (Handbook of the Yiddish theater), vol. 1; S. Winiger, Grosse Jüdische National Biographie (Great Jewish national biography), vol.1 (Czernowitz, 1925), pp. 303-4 (under the name Benedikt); Ab. Cahan, Bleter fun mayn leyn (Pages from my life), vol. 3 (Vilna, 1928), pp. 318, 319, 355, 413-17, 476-81, vol. 4, p. 380; Kalmen Marmor, detailed monograph in the first volume of Winchevsky’s Gezamlte werk (Collected works) (New York: Frayhayt, 1928), 415 pp.; Marmor, in Der hamer (New York) (November 1930; April 1932); Marmor, in Literarishe bleter (Warsaw) (April 16, 1937; December 24, 1937); Marmor, in Yidishe kultur (New York) (April 1942); Marmor, Der onhoyb fun der yidisher literatur in amerike (The beginning of Yiddish literature in America) (New York, 1944), see index; Y. Nusinov, in Literaturnaia Entsiklopediia (Literary encyclopedia), vol. 2 (Moscow, 1929), cols. 242-44; Sh. Epshteyn, in Di royte velt (Kharkov-Kiev) (March 1930); Sh. Agurski, in Tsaytshrift (Minsk) 4 (1930); E. R. Malachi, in Tsukunft (New York) (November 1930); Malachi, in Hadoar (New York) (March 25, 1932; April 8, 1932); Malachi, in Yad-lekore (Jerusalem) 4 (1955-1957); Tsvien (Dr. B. Hofman), in Forverts (New York) (March 26, 1932); Tsvien, Fuftsik yor kloukmakher-yunyon (Fifty years of the cloak makers’ union) (New York, 1936), see index; A. Litvak, in Der veker (New York) (April 2, 1932); Litvak, Literatur un kamf, literarishe eseyen (Literature and struggle, literary essays) (New York, 1933), pp. 89-102; N. Khanin, in Der veker (April 2, 1932); A. Liessin, in Tsukunft (April 1932); Liessin, Zikhroynes un bilder (Memoirs and images) (New York, 1954), pp. 225ff; Dr. Y. Kisman, in Vokhnshrift far literatur (Warsaw) (April 15, 1932); Moyshe Shtarkman, in Yivo-bleter (Vilna) 4.4-5 (1932), pp. 354-87; Shtarkman, in Hadoar (May 23, 1947); Yankev Milkh, Di antshteyung fun “forverts” (The rise of the Forverts) (New York, 1936), pp. 46-54; “Briv fun y. l. perets tsu moris vintshevski” (Letter from Y. L. Perets to Morris Winchevsky,” Yivo-bleter 12, pp. 147-82; Shmuel Niger, in Tsukunft (June-July 1938; May 1942); Niger, Habikoret uveayoteha (Inquiry and its problems) (Jerusalem, 1957), p. 349; Niger, Bleter geshikhte fun der yidisher literatur (Pages of history from Yiddish literature) (New York, 1959), pp. 357-60; A. Frumkin, In friling fun yidishn sotsyalizm (In the spring of Jewish socialism) (New York, 1940), see index; B. Y. Byalostotski, in Unzer tsayt (New York) (September 1942); Byalostotski, in Dovid edelshtadt gedenk-bukh (Dovid Edelshtadt memorial volume) (New York, 1953), see index; Byalostotski, Kholem un vor, eseyen (Dream and reality, essays) (New York, 1956), pp. 437-46; Dr. Kh. Frank, in Fraye arbeter shtime (New York) (January 7, 1944); Geshikhte fun der yidisher arbeter-bavegung in di fareynikte shtatn (History of the Jewish labor movement in the United States), vol. 2 (New York, 1945), see index; A. Kushnirov, in Eynikeyt (Moscow) (March 18, 1947); Sh. Yanovski, Ershte yorn fun yidishn frayhaytlekhn sotsyalizm (The first years of free Jewish socialism) (New York, 1948), see index; Dr. Y. Klausner, Historiya shel hasifrut haivrit haadasha (History of modern Hebrew literature) (Jerusalem, 1950), vol. 5, pp. 134-38, vol. 6, pp. 307-50; Y. Sh. Herts, 50 yor arbeter ring (Fifty years of the Workmen’s Circle) (New York, 1950), see index; Herts, Di yidishe sotsyalistishe bavegung in amerike (The Jewish socialist movement in America) (New York, 1954), see index; R. Roker, In shturem (In the storm) (Buenos Aires, 1952), see index; B. Grin, in Morgn-zhurnal (New York) (March 16, 1952); Y. Zerubavel, in Dorem-afrike (Johannesburg) (March 1953); Zerubavel, Bletlekh fun a lebn (Pages from a life), vol. 2 (Tel Aviv, 1956), 130-35; Zerubavel, in Davar (Tel Aviv) (May 4, 1956); Y. Hadas, in Di goldene keyt (Tel Aviv) 20 (1954); Amerike in yidishn vort antologye (America in Yiddish, an anthology) (New York, 1955), see index; M. Shlyar, in Folks-shtime (Warsaw) (August 11, 1956); N. B. Minkov, in Tsukunft (September and October 1956); Minkov, Pyonern fun yidisher poezye in amerike (Pioneers of Yiddish poetry in America), vol. 1 (New York, 1956), pp. 19-78; M. Ravitsh, in Keneder odler (Montreal) (September 24, 1956); Sh. D. Zinger, in Der fraynd (New York) (September-October 1956); Kh. Vigderson, in Unzer tsayt (November-December 1956); A. Bik, Doyres dervakhn, byografishe novele (Generations awaken, biographical novel) (New York, 1957), 160 pp. (a novel about Morris Winchevsky); A. Tabatshnik, in Vogshol 2 (April-June 1959).
Yitskhok Kharlash

[Additional information from: Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 248.]


  1. Hi! Thanks so much for all this information about Winchevsky! Do you have an attribution for the photo of him? I'm trying to track one down.

  2. Your welcome. I just Googled him and downloaded the image from the WWW.