Wednesday 15 June 2016


YEKHIEL-MIKHL VIRT (VIRTE) (January 24, 1877-October 5, 1919)
            He was born in Lemberg, eastern Galicia.  He studied in religious elementary school, later graduating from a high school and going on to study law at Lemberg University.  He was a pioneer and popularizer of Yiddish and Yiddish literature in Galicia.  He began writing in his student years.  He published poems, novellas, feature pieces, and articles of literary criticism in: Der yud (The Jew), Der fraynd (The friend), Di velt (The world), and Gershom Bader’s Yudisher folks-kalendar (Jewish people’s calendar), among others.  His poetry was melodic and popularly accessible, especially “Mirele” which Sh. Y. Imber and other Yiddish poets in Galicia enjoyed.  He was cofounder of Lemberg’s Togblat (Daily newspaper).  During WWI, he wrote in German.  He also translated works by Sholem Aleykhem and D. Pinski into Polish.  He left numerous unpublished Yiddish writings.  His poem “Mirele” was reprinted in Basin’s Antologye (Anthology), vol. 1.  He died in Vienna.

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 1; Gershon Bader, Medina veḥakhameha (The state and its sages) (New York, 1934), see index; Sh. Meltsar, Al naharot (By the rivers) (Jerusalem, 1955), p. 432; Yidishe kultur (New York) (October 1958), in an article about Yankev Mestl; Shloyme Bikl, Shrayber fun mayn dor (Writers of my generation) (New York, 1958), pp. 154-55.

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