YISROEL TABAKSBLAT (January 12, 1891-July 21, 1950)
He was born in Lodz, Poland. He studied in religious elementary school, in a Russian middle school, and later graduated from a technical school and became a master weaver. In 1905 he founded in Lodz the student organization Degel Tsiyon (Banner of Zion), from which emerged prominent leaders of Labor Zionism. He was also a cofounder of the society “Dramatic Art,” of secular Jewish schools, and of other cultural institutions in Lodz. An industrialist by occupation, he was for a time chairman of the Lodz Jewish merchants’ and manufacturers’ association. During the Nazi occupation, he was confined in the Lodz ghetto, where he stood at the head of the partisans’ conspiratorial, anti-Nazi movement. He also survived the hell of Auschwitz and the death march through Germany and Austria. After liberation he returned to Lodz and from there left for Sweden, was active in the Zionist labor movement, in relief work for refugees, and in the Jewish World Congress. Over the years 1946-1949, he lived in Paris. In 1949 he moved to the state of Israel. He began writing poetry for Roman-tsaytung (Fiction newspaper) 1-2 (1907-1908) in Warsaw, and later contributed to Der shtral (The ray [of light]) in Warsaw and Der fraynd (The friend) in St. Petersburg, as well as in the Labor Zionist press. In 1910 he became a contributor to Lodzer tageblat (Lodz daily newspaper), in which he published, in addition to articles, short features entitled “A tabakshketele” (A tobacco box) and ran the division “Fun der yudisher handls-velt” (From the Jewish business world). He also published in: Nayer folksblat (New people’s newspaper); Lodzer merkur (Lodz Mercury) (1924-1927), of which he was also editor; Lodzer handls-tsaytung (Lodz commercial newspaper); Lodzer mantshester (Lodz Manchester); and other venues in the progressive Polish and German press in Lodz. After WWII he wrote for: Dos naye lebn (The new life) in Lodz; Unzer vort (Our word) and Arbeter-vort (Workers’ word) in Paris; Tog (Day) and Forverts (Forward) in New York; and Keneder odler (Canadian eagle) in Montreal; among others. In book form he published: Khurbn lodzh, 6 yor natsi-gehenem (The destruction of Lodz, six years of Nazi hell) (Buenos Aires, 1946), 203 pp.; Avodim hoyinu, zikhroynes fun di katsetlagern (We were slaves, memoirs from German concentration camps) (Paris, 1949), 206 pp.
Sources: Y. Botoshanski, in Di prese (Buenos Aires) (August 28, 1946); H. M. Kayzerman, in Keneder odler (Montreal) (March 3, 1947); Shmuel Niger, in Tog (New York) (May 4, 1947); Dr. A. Mukdoni, in Morgn-zhurnal (new York) (May 30, 1947); Dr. Shloyme Bikl, in Unzer veg (New York) (October 15, 1947; November 1, 1947); V. Shulman, in Tsukunft (New York) (December 1948); Ben-Miryam, in Unzer shtime (Paris) 774 (1949); Khayim Leyb Fuks, in Arbeter-vort (Paris) (May 20, 1949; January 5, 1951); Fuks, in Fun noentn over (New York) 3 (1957), see index; B. Y. Byalastotski, in Yorbukh (New York, 1948/1949); A. Alpern, in Tog (July 12, 1950); Dr. P. Fridman, in Yorbukh (1950/1951); M. Shenderay, in Idishe tsaytung (Buenos Aires) (August 20, 1951); Y. Yonasovitsh, in Yorbukh fun der yidisher kehile (Annual from the Jewish community) (Buenos Aires, 1954); A. V. Yasni, Di geshikhte fun yidn in lodzh in di yorn fun der daytsher yidn-oysrotung (The history of Jews of Lodz in the years of the Germany extermination of Jews) (Tel Aviv, 1960), see index; L. Shpizman, Khalutsim in poyln, antologye fun der khalutsisher bavegung (Pioneers in Poland, anthology of the Pioneers movement), vol. 1 (New York, 1961).
Khayim Leyb Fuks