Tuesday 13 September 2016


            He was born in Postov (Postawy, Postavy), Kiev district, Ukraine, to a father who was a miller.  He received a traditional Jewish education, as well as a secular education in a Kiev high school, graduating in 1916 from the law faculty of Kiev University.  That year he voluntarily joined the Tsarist army.  In 1917 he completed the Alekseev Military School in Kiev and then left Russia.  For a time he lived in Vienna, Austria, where he worked in the seminar for Professor Spahn on constitutional law.  Over the years 1923-1925, he studied at the Universities of Königsberg and Bonn in Germany.  His literary activities began in Russia.  For a time he directed the theater section of the Russian journal V mire isskustv (In the world of art), edited by A. Mirlashevski, in Kiev.  In 1912 he published (using the pen name T. Galin) a series of poems in the Russian journal Ogni (Fires).  In 1928 he moved to Argentina and became a contributor to Di idishe tsaytung (The Jewish newspaper) in Buenos Aires, in which he published essays on literature and articles concerned with timely community matters; he later switched to Di prese (The press) in Buenos Aires, where he served as one of the editors of the newspaper, and he wrote (under the pen names Morris and Beylin, among others) over thirty years of articles and long treatments of politics, literature, theater, and music.  He also published: “Di onheyb fun der argentiner kultur” (The beginning of Argentinian culture), published at the time of the twenty-fifth anniversary of Di prese in Antologye fun der yidisher literatur in argentine (Anthology of Yiddish literature in Argentina) (Buenos Aires, 1944), pp. 381-94; “Fuftsik yor idisher ishev—tsvantsik yor di prese” (Fifty years of the Jewish settlement, twenty years of Di prese), in Zamlbukh argentine (Collection, Argentina) (Buenos Aires, 1938), in which he also published “Idishe finants-institutsyes” (Jewish financial institutions), a treatment of the Jewish banking system in Argentina (pp. 159-67), and “Di argentiner ekonomik” (Argentinian economics) (pp. 337-83); “Dos yidishe brisk, zayne shrayber un kultur-mentshn” (Jewish Brest, its writers and men of culture), in Brisk, yubiley oysgabe (Brisk, jubilee publication) (Buenos Aires, 1953), pp. 73-77; and a preface to M. Granitshteyn’s collection of poetry, Shtaplen, lider (Rungs, poems) (Buenos Aires, 1930).  He also took part in Argentinian Jewish community life.  In 1934 he was one of the teachers in the Yitskhok Daytsh (Isaac Deutsch) theater school in Buenos Aires; he chaired the central Sholem-Aleykhem school and Argentina’s YIVO, among other such positions.  Together with P. Bizberg, Y. L. Gruzman, Sh. Suskovitsh, and Sh. Rozhanski, in 1945 he co-edited Argentiner yivo-shriftn (YIVO writings in Argentina), and in issue no. 3 (1945) he published: “Yidn in buenos-ayres loyt der munitsipaler tseylung fun 1936” (Jews in Buenos Aires according to the municipal count [census] in 1936) (pp. 5-22) and “Landsmenshaftn in argentine” (Local place associations in Argentina) (pp. 155-61).  Over the years 1933-1937, he was a co-editor of the monthly publication for literature and current events, In gang (In progress), in Buenos Aires.  He also published in: Der shpigl (The mirror), edited by Y. L. Gruzman, in Buenos Aires; Literarishe bleter (Literary leaves) in Warsaw; and IKUF (Jewish Cultural Association) publications in Argentina, France, and New York.  In addition, he contributed to the Spanish-language La Nación (The nation) in Buenos Aires, as well as in other periodicals in Argentina, South America, and Europe.  In book form: Di forloyfer funm visnshaftlekhn sotsyalizm, ershter band, sen-simon (The forerunner of scientific socialism, volume one, Saint-Simon) (Buenos Aires: Kultur, 1931), 167 pp.; Geshikhte-oyffasungen (Conceptions of history) (Buenos Aires: Kultur, 1930), 48 pp.; Y. l. perets, filozofish un sotsyal (Y. L. Perets, philosophical and social) (Buenos Aires: H. D. Nomberg Yiddish Literary and Journalistic Association, 1950), 158 pp.; A halber yorhundert idishe literatur, makhshoives un eseyistik (A half-century of Yiddish literature, thoughts and essays) (Buenos Aires: Eygns, 1952), 379 pp.  In 1949 Zhitnitski made a trip to New York, as a representative of Argentina’s YIVO, to the annual YIVO conference, at which he gave a paper on Jewish life in Argentina.  In 1957 he made a research trip to Israel.  He lived in Buenos Aires until his death.

Sources: Biblyografishe yorbikher fun yivo (Bibliographic yearbooks from YIVO), vol. 1 (Warsaw, 1928); Y. Botoshanski, in in Zamlbukh argentine (Collection, Argentina) (Buenos Aires, 1938), p. 86; Botoshanski, in Mame yidish (Mother Yiddish) (Buenos Aires, 1949), pp. 181, 233; Botoshanski, in Algemeyne entsiklopedye (General encyclopedia), “Yidn H” (New York, 1957), p. 380; Yivo-biblyografye (YIVO bibliography) (1941-1950); Sh. Rozhanski, Dos yidishe gedrukte vort in argentine (The published Yiddish word in Argentina) (Buenos Aires, 1941), pp. 102, 180, 184, 237; Yedies fun yivo (New York) (February 1949); Argentiner yivo-yedies (Buenos Aires) (1949); P. Lerner, in Di prese (Buenos Aires) (March 9, 1957); Who’s Who in World Jewry (New York, 1955).
Zaynvl Diamant and Benyomen Elis

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