Thursday 25 August 2016


YOYEL ZINGER (ELIAS SINGER) (August 9, 1896-June 25, 1959)
            He was born in the colony of Lusienville, number 3, Basavilbaso, Entre Rios Province, Argentina.  His father Moyshe Zinger (who came from the colony of Aleksandrye, near Belz, in Bessarabia) was a cantor in Lusienville.  Yoyel Zinger received a traditional Jewish education in his father’s home.  He also studied in the local YIKO (Jewish Cultural Organization) school.  At age fourteen (1910), he moved on his own to Buenos Aires to study.  He graduated as a medical doctor in 1923.  From home he carried within himself a love of the Yiddish language: his father and all five brothers (ten children in all) read Yiddish books, and as the youngest he would read out loud for his mother (Gitl Vantman) from Sholem-Aleykhem and other Yiddish writers.  Furthermore, in his first years in Buenos Aires, he lived with a proud Russian Jewish family, in which Yiddish was spoken.  On his own, he subscribed to Kundes (Prankster) and Di yudishe gazette (The Jewish gazette) from New York.  In 1925 he began to publish his own articles about popular medicine in the newspaper Dos folk (The people), edited by D. Lomonosov in Buenos Aires, and later in Idisher tsaytung (Jewish newspaper) in Buenos Aires.  He also published articles on community issues in Der shpigl (The mirror) and Davke (Necessarily) in Buenos Aires.  In April 1931 he founded and edited the Argentinian publication Folks-gezunt (People’s health), which he wrote himself and translated foreign articles from Spanish and French.  He was in contact with Dr. Ts. Shabad, the editor of the first, Vilna-based publication of the same name.  In book form, he published: Der mentsh un zayn gezunt (Man and his health), a collection of popular treatises on medicine (Buenos Aires, 1958), 320 pp.  He also translated the following from Yiddish into Spanish: Auschwitz (Buenos Aires, 1952), 170 pp., by Philip Friedman; Henekh or Un niño judío salio del ghetto (A Jewish boy left the ghetto) (Buenos Aires, 171 pp.) by Yankev Pat; Errando por zonas de ocupación (Wandering into occupation areas [original: A vanderung iber okupirte gebitn] (Buenos Aires, 1947), 271 pp., by Tanya Fuks; and Sh. Katsherginski’s Ikh bin geven a partisan (di grine legende) (I was a partisan, the green legend) (Buenos Aires, 1952).  From Spanish and French into Yiddish: Di muter un dos kind (Mother and child [original: Mère un enfant]) by Charles-Louis Philippe (Buenos Aires: self-publ., 1951), 156 pp.  He also penned an introduction to: Shmerke katsherginski ondenk-bukh (Memoirs of Shmerke Katsherginski) (Buenos Aires, 1955), pp. 73-75.  Zinger was also involved in community activities in Buenos Aires, gave public lectures in Yiddish on social illnesses, was for many years vice-chairman of YIVO, and chaired ORT (Association for the Promotion of Skilled Trades) and OZE (Obschestvo zdravookhraneniia evreev—Society for the Protection of the Health of the Jewish Population), the administrative committee of the Bialik School, and the agricultural board of directors of the Jewish National Fund.  He identified politically with Mapai (Workers’ Party in the Land of Israel).

Zinger as a young postman,
working his way through medical school

Sources: P. Vyernik, in Morgn-zhurnal (New York) (December 6, 1931); Antologye fun der yidisher literatur in argentine (Anthology of Yiddish literature in Argentina) (Buenos Aires, 1944), p. 937; Kh. Yafe, in Tog (New York) (January 1, 1956); Y. Varshavski, in Forverts (New York) (February 23, 1958; April 29, 1959); Nina Tenenboym, in Der shpigl (Buenos Aires) (January-February 1959); Sh. Rozhanski, in Di idishe tsaytung (Buenos Aires) (June 26, 1959); obituary notice in Di prese (Buenos Aires) and in Di yidishe tsaytung (June 26 and June 27, 1959); Y. Horn, in Di idishe tsaytung (June 29, 1959); Y. Botoshanski, in Di prese (July 1, 1959); F. Lerner, in Der shpigl (July 1959); Sh. S. (Suskovitsh), in Davke (Buenos Aires) (July-September 1959); Dr. E. Pat, in Der fraynd (New York) (August-September 1959); Dr. L. Kurland and Sh. Rozhanski, in Folks-gezunt (Paris) (September-October 1959); Kurland, in Tsukunft (New York) (February 1960).

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