Friday 12 August 2016


HILEL ZAYDMAN (HILLEL SEIDMAN) (November 27, 1915-August 28, 1995)
            He was born in Skalati (Skalat), eastern Galicia.  He received a stringently religious education, later studying at Warsaw University, and in 1939 he received his doctor of philosophy degree.  He contributed to the Orthodox daily newspaper Dos yudishe togblat (The Jewish daily newspaper), 1930-1939, and to Moment (Moment), 1938-1939.  In the 1930s he was secretary of Kolo, the Jewish club of deputies in the Polish Sejm.  He was also secretary at the time for Agudat Yisrael in Poland and a leader of Agudah youth.  From 1937 he worked in the archive of the Warsaw Jewish community.  In 1939 he was also a member of the Warsaw city council.  He co-edited (1939) Dr. Feldshuh’s Idishe gezelshaftlikher leksikon (Jewish communal handbook) in Warsaw and Głos gminy żydowskiej (Voice of the Jewish community), organ of the Warsaw community.  With the outbreak of WWII, he was confined in the Warsaw Ghetto, continued his work for the Jewish community, and on several occasions was narrowly saved from “deportations.”  He procured papers as a citizen of Paraguay (South America), was held for a certain amount of time in the Pawiak prison, but was then sent with a transport of American and English citizens to prison in Vittel, France, from which in September 1944 he was liberated by the American army.  In 1946 he came to the United States and settled in New York.  From 1946 he was a contributor to Tog (Day) and Tog-morgn-zhurnal (Day-morning journal), in which he wrote articles on various topics and for the Friday issue on the “weekly portion of Torah and Prophets.”  He was active in Agudat Yisrael and in Poale Agudat Yisrael (Workers for [ultra-Orthodox] Agudat Yisrael) in America.  From 1956 he was editor of the organ of religious Jewry in America, Di idishe vokh (The Jewish week), in which he ran a column entitled “Di vokh” (The week).  He also published articles in: Haboker (This morning) in Tel Aviv; Hamodia (The herald) in Jerusalem; Hadoar (The mail) in New York; and others.  In book form, he published in Polish: Szlakiem nauki talmudycznej (On the trail of Talmudic studies) (Warsaw, 1934), 81 pp.; Prawda o uboju rytualnym (The truth about Jewish ritual slaughter) (Warsaw, 1936), 87 pp.; and monographs on oaths according to Jewish law (1937), the religious renaissance of Jewish women (1937), the religious school curriculum in the context of Polish legislation (1937), Jewish community taxes in Warsaw (1938), and the abolition of the Jewish community in Warsaw in 1820-1822 (1939).  In Yiddish, he wrote: Dos yidishe religyeze shulvezn (Jewish religious school curricula) (Warsaw, 1938); Geshikhte fun yidn in erets-yisorel (History of the Jews in the land of Israel) (Lemberg: N. Rayf, 1939); A kholem vegn a yidishe melukhe (A dream of a Jewish state) (Warsaw: Goldberg, 1939).  While in the Warsaw Ghetto, Seidman kept a diary from July 12, 1942 until the uprising at the end of April 1943, later published as: Tog-bukh fun varshever geto (Diary of the Warsaw Ghetto) (Buenos Aires, 1947), 321 pp.  It also appeared in Hebrew as Yoman geto varsha (Diary of the Warsaw Ghetto) (Tel Aviv, 1945/1946; New York, 1957), with a preface by Yosef Heftman.[1]  He later published: Di sedre fun der vokh (The weekly portion of Pentateuch) (New York: Bel Harbor Publ., 1965); and many more books.

Sources: Yonas Turkov, Azoy iz es geven (That’s how it was) (Buenos Aires, 1948), pp. 56, 92, 246; Who’s Who in World Jewry (New York, 1955).
Zaynvl Diamant
[Additional information from: Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 261.]

[1] There are English (1997) and French (1998) translations as well—JAF.

No comments:

Post a Comment