Monday 13 June 2016


SHMUEL VINER (SAMUEL WIENER) (b. April 23, 1889)
            He was born in Khelm (Chelm), Poland, into a merchant household.  In his youth he was a Zionist.  In 1904 he founded the first Jewish library in Chelm.  In 1905 he was an active leader of the Zionist Socialists in Warsaw and was arrested on several occasions (1908-1912).  He moved to the United States in December 1912.  There he became a proofreader and worked from 1914 for Tog (Day) in New York.  He was also active in the Jewish typesetters’ union.  He wrote articles and longer works on scholarly topics: in Yidishe kultur (Jewish culture) in New York—among other items, in issue 5 in 1947 and in 1949, “Hundert yor marksizm” (A century of Marxism); in the April-March 1951 issue, “Etik, di tsentrale problem inem velt-krizes” (Ethics, the central issue in the work crisis); in Shpinoza-bukh (Spinoza volume), of which he was also co-editor (New York, 1932), pp. 185-228—a Yiddish translation, with Y. Yudkov, of “Tractatus on the Improvement of Understanding”; in Yizker-bukh khelm (Remembrance volume for Chelm) (Johannesburg, 1954); and elsewhere.  His books include: Individuele un sotsyale faryhayt (Individual and social freedom) (New York, 1952), 32 pp.; Rambam, der groyser yidisher filosof un humanist inem mitlalter (Rambam, the great Jewish philosopher and humanist of the Middle Ages) (New York, 1956), 32 pp.; Shpinoza der gebentsher, tsum 300stn yor funem kheyrem oyfn groysn yidishen denker 1656-1956 (The blessed Shpinoza, on the 300th anniversary of the excommunication of the great Jewish thinker, 1656-1956) (New York, 1957), 64 pp.  He also translated Friedrich Engels’s Ludvig feyerbakh under oysloyz fun der klasiker daytshisher filosofye (Ludwig Feuerbach and the outcome of classical German philosophy [original: Ludwig Feuerbach und der Ausgang der klassischen deutschen Philosophie]) (New York, 1943), 96 pp.  He was last living in New York.

Sources: Khane Vilder-Viner, in Yizker-bukh khelm (Remembrance volume for Chelm) (Johannesburg, 1954), pp. 221-324; A. Bik, in Morgn-frayhayt (New York) (November 3, 1957); B. Ts. Goldberg, Tog-morgn zhurnal (New York) (March 2, 1958); A. Almi, in Fraye arbeter shtime (New York) (May 1, 1958).

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