Wednesday 30 November 2016


            She came to the United States when quite young.  She was a rabbi’s wife and was active in “Hapoel hamizrachi” (Mizrachi labor).  From time to time, she wrote articles for party publications and poems in Der amerikaner (The American) in New York.  In book form: Gezamelte shriftn, lider un opshatsungen (Collected writings, poems and reviews)[1] (New York, 1968), 92 pp. in Yiddish, 108 pp. in English.  She died in New York and was buried in Jerusalem.

Source: B. Ts. Goldberg, in Tog-morgn-zhurnal (New York) (October 13, 1969).

[1] Translator’s note. According to WorldCat, the book carried the more poetic English title: Leaves from a Musing Heart: Poems and Occasional Pieces. (JAF)


AVROM-ISER YOSKOVITSH (1909-Winter 1942)
            He was born in a village in Lomzhe district, Poland, to a father who was a cantor and ritual slaughterer and who wrote his own music to prayers and poems.  Until age fifteen he studied in religious elementary school, in the Lomshe yeshiva, and later in the Tachkemoni high school in Bialystok.  In 1932 he moved to Vilna and studied in the Conservatory and Hebrew teachers’ seminary there.  In 1933 he began to publish with a poem, “Muzik-geoynim” (Music of brilliant men), in Di tsayt (The times) in Vilna, and later he contributed to: Haynt (Today) and Baderekh (On the road) in Warsaw; Tsukunft (Future) and Hadoar (The mail) in New York; Haolam (The world) in London; Gelim (Mantle) and Zeramim (Currents) in Vilna; Teḥumim (Boundaries) in Lodz; and the like.  He wrote music to a portion of his own poems and published the collection Lider mit melodyes (Poems with melodies) (Vilna, 1937), 64 pp.  During WWII, when Vilna was under the Lithuanians, he directed a radio choir and spoke over radio about Jewish music.  Later, under the Nazis, he lived for a time in a village near Vilna, presenting himself as a Pole, until the Gestapo seized and killed him in the winter of 1942.  In his memory a group of Hebrew writers published his collected Peraḥim nugim (Sad flowers) (Tel Aviv, 1949), 98 pp., which includes as well a selection of his poetry.  A number of his poems were also reprinted in Udim (Firebrands) in Jerusalem (1960), pp. 156-63.

Sources: Dr. M. Dvorzhetski (Mark Dvorzetsky), Yerusholaim delite in kamf un umkum (The Jerusalem of Lithuania in struggle and death) (Paris, 1948), p. 245; Sefer milḥamot hagetaot (The fighting ghettos) (Tel Aviv, 1954), p. 730; preface to Peraḥim nugim (Sad flowers) (Tel Aviv, 1949); N. Yoskovitsh-Malinyak, in the anthology Lomzhe (Lomzhe) (New York, 1957), pp. 238-39; Avrom liessin-arkhiv (Avrom Liessin archive) (New York, YIVO).
Khayim Leyb Fuks


            He came from Galicia.  After WWI he settled in Warsaw.  He was an agent, a businessman, and an amateur artist.  He wrote sketches, monologues, poems, and scenes which were performed in Yiddish variety theaters, primarily in “Sambatyon” in Warsaw.  A number of them were later published in book form under the title Teater-gan-eden (Theatrical paradise) (Warsaw: Kleyn-kunst, 1920), 57 pp., second enlarged edition (Warsaw, 1930), 90 pp.  In 1938 he left Poland.  Further biographical details remain unknown.

Source: Literarishe bleter (Warsaw) (April 11, 1930).
Khayim Leyb Fuks


YANKEV YOSELEVITSH (1859-October 18, 1921)
            He was born in a village in Minsk district, Byelorussia.  He studied in religious primary school and in a yeshiva in Minsk.  He became acquainted with a group of socialist-minded intellectuals, abandoned the yeshiva, took up studying the locksmith trade and secular subjects, and later moved to Warsaw where he met Polish socialists, but after the pogroms against Jews in 1881, he plunged into the “Lovers of Zion” movement, moved to Odessa, and there joined Aḥad-Haam’s league “Bnei Moshe” (Children of Moses).  In the early 1890s, he emigrated to North America and from there to Argentina.  He was one of the pioneers there of the Zionist movement and a leader in a variety of associations and philanthropic institutions in Buenos Aires.  His writing activities began in 1898 in Buenos Aires in the weekly newspaper, Der idisher fonograf (The Jewish phonograph), the first published Yiddish newspaper in Argentina, for which he wrote journalistic and fictional items.  He was later editor of the monthly (and later biweekly) Di yudishe hofnung (The Jewish hope), which appeared in Buenos Aires between 1908 and 1913.  Using the name “Yankev ben Yoysef,” in 1902 he published the pamphlet Af vos darf tsien gelt? (What does Zion need money for?).  Over the years 1904-1905, he edited the monthly Tsienistishe propaganda (Zionist propaganda).  In 1916 his pamphlet In tifen opgrund (In a deep abyss), 35 pp., appeared in print.  He also contributed to: Der ferteydiker (The defender), a weekly newspaper published in Carlos Casares (later in Buenos Aires) (1912-1913).  He published letters from Argentina in St. Petersburg’s Fraynd (Friend) and later Haolam (The world).  He died in Buenos Aires.  On the tenth anniversary of his death, Di idishe velt (The Jewish world), organ of the Zionist Federation in Argentina, brought a special “Yoselevitsh issue.”

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 1, with a bibliography; Roza M. Rozovski, Geklibene shriftn (Selected writings) (Buenos Aires, 1947), p. 340; Sh. Rozhanski, Dos yidishe gedrukte vort in argentine (The published Yiddish word in Argentina) (Buenos Aires, 1941), p. 264; Y. Botoshanski, in Argentine (Argentina), an anthology (Buenos Aires, 1938); P. Kats, Geklibene shriftn (Selected writings) (Buenos Aires, 1946), p. 200; M. Regalski, “40 yor di idishe tsaytung” (Forty years of Di yidishe tsaytung), in Yorbukh (Annual) (Buenos Aires, 1954/1955); Antoglogye fun der yidisher literatur in argentine (Anthology of Yiddish literature in Argentina) (Buenos Aires, 1944); P. Vald, in Argentiner yivo-shriftn (Buenos Aires) 6 (1955).
Zaynvl Diamant


            He was born in Zhager (Žagarė), Lithuania.  He studied in religious primary school and yeshiva, and on his own he later studied foreign languages.  For a time he worked as a Hebrew teacher in Kovno.  In 1875 he settled in Riga and there he became a bookseller.  He was the author of Yiddish storybooks with a moral, among them: Hanoded, oder der fervogelter, roman in dray teylen (The wandered, or the man who showed up here and there, a novel in three parts) (Vilna, 1886), 48 pp.—“This is a true story and also a very beautiful story which took place in ancient times.  From this story you will, my beloved readers, derive great pleasure and then you will see how great is the wonder of God”; Dem foters tsavoe (The father’s testament) (Vilna, 1887), second edition (Vilna, 1894), 32 pp.; Der glik shidekh (The joyous match) (Vilna, 1888), 32 pp.; Eyn sho emes (One hour of truth) (Vilna, 1888), 32 pp.; Der shvartser feter (The black uncle) (Vilna,1890), 32 pp.; R. zundil khosid (Reb Zundl the Hassid) (Vilna, 1892), 32 pp.; Rabi ezriel mit dem ber, a tsveyte geshikhte fun khayim bal tshuve (Rabbi Ezriel and the bear, a second story about Khayim the penitent) (Vilna, 1896), 15 pp.  He also translated a number of morality tales from Hebrew in Yiddish, among them the Rambam’s Sefer tokhaḥat musar (Book of moral rebuke) (Vilna, 1876), 104 pp.  His Yiddish is written beneath the Hebrew original, with a “short preface” in which the author wrote, inter alia: “I have found it necessary to translate this text into Judeo-German, because the common people all should be able to read and know how to serve God properly, and I entreat you, my beloved brethren, that no one should be ashamed to read this book because it is written in Judeo-German.”  He wrote under the pan name: L’y m’riga (L[eyb] Y[oselovits] from Riga).
Khayim Leyb Fuks

Tuesday 29 November 2016


AVROM-VOLF YASNI (1893-February 5, 1968)
            He was a journalist, historian of the destruction of Lodz, and literary essayist, born in Zhelekhov (Żelichów), Poland.  His birth name was Tsiperman.  He moved to Lodz when young, and there he was a textile laborer and very active in the Bund.  In late 1939 he escaped into Soviet Bialystok, and he was later arrested in Stolin and sent to a Soviet camp.  After being freed, he returned to Poland in 1946 and in 1949 made his way to Israel where he became associated with proletarian Zionism.  He contributed articles to: Lodzher veker (Lodz alarm), Folks-tsaytung (People’s newspaper) in Warsaw, Letste nayes (Latest news) for which he edited the literary page and wrote reviews and treatises on writers and books.  In book form: Geshikhte fun der yidisher arbeter-bavegung in lodzh (History of the Jewish labor movement in Lodz) (Lodz, 1937), 426 pp.; Di oysrotung fun lofzher yidn (The extermination of Lodz Jewry) (Tel Aviv, 1950), 72 pp.; Di geshikhte fun di yidn in lodzh in di yorn fun der daytsher oysrotung (The history of the Jews in Lodz in the years of the German extermination), two volumes (Tel Aviv: Hamenorah, 1961, 1966).  He died in Tel Aviv.

Sources: Dr. M. Dvorzhetski (Mark Dvorzetsky), in Letste nayes (Tel Aviv) (September 15, 1967); N. Blumental, in Lebns-fragn (Tel Aviv) (November-December 1967); L. Vinograd, in Di prese (Buenos Aires) (February 5, 1970); Khayim Leyb Fuks, Lodzh shel mayle, dos yidishe gaystike un derhoybene lodzh (Lodz on high, the Jewish spiritual and elevated Lodz) (Tel Aviv, 1972), pp. 163-65.
Ruvn Goldberg

Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), cols. 295-96.


            He was a bookseller who lived in Berdichev.  In book form: Der ershter ziveg min hashomaim, tragedye (The first match from heaven, tragedy) (Berdichev, 1914), 44 pp.

Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 295.


            He was born in Romanovke (Romanivka), Kiev district.  Until age fourteen he studied in religious primary school, and later he moved with his parents to Nikolaev, where he became a choirboy to Cantor Pinye Minkovski.  At age twenty he left for St. Petersburg, and there he graduated from the Conservatory in 1915.  In 1917 he moved to the United States, became the cantor of a wealthy Orthodox community in New York, and devoted considerable attention to popularizing the Yiddish folksong.  He composed music for many poems by Morris Rosenfeld, Avrom Reyzen, Mani Leyb, H. Leivick, A. Liessin, Z. Vaynper, and others, and he published articles on Jewish music in: Khazonim-velt (Cantors’ world) in Warsaw (1934); Der tog (The day), Yidishes tageblat (Jewish daily newspaper), Di muzikalishe velt (The musical world), and the anthology Shriftn (Writings) (no. 5), among others, in New York.  He also published poetry in various literary journals.  He wrote a work for the synagogue liturgy entitled Musaf leshabat uleshabat rosh ḥodesh (The additional service on the Sabbath and the Sabbath of the first of the month).  In Yiddish he published in book form: Sinfonishe gezangen (Symphonic songs), songs and poems (some with music) (New York, 1936), 136 pp.  Some of the selected “songs” were also published in Hebrew (translated by Y. Ḥ.) and in English (translated by Avrom Burshteyn), each 24 pp.  He also brought out three collections of written music: 10 lider far kinder (Ten songs for children) (New York, 1928); and in English, Hebrew and Yiddish Vocal Selections (New York, 1925) and Morgen Tfila (Morning prayer) (New York, 1928).  He died in New York.

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 1; Dr. H. Frank, A sh. zaks, kemfer far folks-oyflebung (A. Sh. Zaks, fighter for popular renaissance) (New York, 1945), see index; obituary in Hadoar (New York) (July 2, 1954); B. Ts. Goldberg, in Tog-morgn-zhurnal (New York) (July 9, 1954); M. Gelbart, in Toig-morgn-zhurnal (August 11, 1960).


            He was a carpenter in the town of Sokilen (Sokole?), Volhynia.  He authored the humorous story: Der tsveyter ayzin-band (The second railroad), “from Zarbinits to Yurkats by Khayim Yosilis, carpenter from Sokilen, the first part, Zhitomir, 1874” (36 pp., second part, Zhitomir, 1876, 32 pp.).  According to Y. D. Berkovitsh, the story is “a description of small town wagon drivers who joined together in a ‘trust’ to fight against the railway, written in a primitive popular Yiddish, mixed with folk sayings and witticisms.”  These stories were, as Sholem-Aleykhem noted in Funem yarid (From the fair), the first humorous booklets in Yiddish which exerted such an impression on him that he prayed to God that he might live to write such booklets himself.  Yosilis was also the author of a pamphlet of jests, Borekh sheptarani (Good riddance), “the frightening trip from Zarbinets to Borishov, the small town en route at five miles—the whole trip taking eight straight days.  The man who wrote The Second Railroad also wrote this booklet by hand, but should you wish to know the author’s name, he is called Reb Leyb der Writer (Warsaw)” (1880), 36 pp.  “Khayim Yosilis was…not a true humorist,” noted Shmuel Niger, “but there is in…his stories something of…that force of habit to make jokes which, it seems to me, typifies ordinary people from Volhynia.”

Sources: Zalmen Zilbertsvayg, Leksikon fun yidishn teater (Handbook of the Yiddish theater), vol. 2, with a bibliography; Sholem-Aleykhem, Funem yarid (From the fair) (New York, 1923), pp. 66-67; Y. D. Berkovitsh, Sholem-aleykhem bukh (Sholem-Aleykhem volume) (New York, 1926), p. 314; Shmuel Niger, in Pinkes fun amopteyl (Records of the American division of YIVO), 1.2-3 (New York, 1927), pp. 2-7.


YANKEV YOSADE (JOKŪBAS JOSADĖ) (August 15, 1911-November 9, 1995)

            He was a playwright and prose author, born in Kalvarye (Kalvarija), near Mariampol (Marijampolis), in Lithuania, into a family of free thinkers. His father owned a small textile factory. He attended a Hebrew high school in Mariampol, and in 1931 graduated from a progressive Yiddishist high school in Vilkomir (Ukmergė). He went on to studied humanities at Kovno University. Until WWII he was active in leftist Jewish circles in Kovno. When the Bolsheviks later occupied Lithuania, he became an active contributor to their institutions. When the Germans entered Kovno, he escaped into Russia, served in for three years in the 16th Lithuanian division of the Red Army, and published stories from the front in Eynikeyt (Unity) in Moscow. He debuted in print with stories in Folksblat (People’s newspaper) in Kovno (1930) and later contributed to: the Kovno anthology Glokn (Bells), Oyfgang (Arise) of 1933, Brikn (Bridges) of 1937, Zamlbukh far literatur (Collection for literature), and Bleter (Leaves) of 1938, among others. He served on the editorial boards of the journals Shtraln (Beams [of light]) and Kovner emes (Kovno truth), when Lithuania was Soviet. He was also a contributor, 1940-1941, to Shtern (Star) and Emes in Vilna. After WWII he began to write in Lithuanian (criticism, stories, and plays). He began writing his three-act play Itsik vitenberg (Itsik Vitenberg) about the first commander of the Jewish fighting organization in the Vilna ghetto, which he prepared for the publisher in 1947, but it was never published because of the liquidation of Yiddish culture in Russia. In the 1980s he reworked the original version of this play thoroughly and published it in Sovetish heymland (Soviet homeland) 8 (1989) in Moscow. He was living in Vilna from 1958.

Sources: Shtraln (Kovno) 20 (1941); H. Osh(erovitsh), in Eynikeyt (Moscow) (July 3, 1945); A. Kushnirov, in Naye prese (Paris) (July 27, 1945); N. Y. Gotlib, in Keneder odler (Montreal) (April 10, 1944); Gotlib, in the anthology Lite (Lithuania), vol. 1 (New York, 1951), p. 1106.

Khayim Leyb Fuks

[Additional information from: Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 295; Chaim Beider, Leksikon fun yidishe shrayber in ratn-farband (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers in the Soviet Union), ed. Boris Sandler and Gennady Estraikh (New York: Congress for Jewish Culture, Inc., 2011), pp. 174-75.]


YOYSEF YANKELEVITSH (November 29, 1887-January 22, 1920)
            He was born in Dubno, Volhynia.  In 1911 he moved to Warsaw and became a leader in the illegal association of print shop workers and in the Bund.  During WWI he served as secretary of the central bureau of trade unions in Warsaw.  He was arrested on several occasions and imprisoned for over a year by the Germans in labor camps.  After being freed, he returned to Warsaw and became active there once again in the trade union movement and in work for the Bund.  He published (also using such pen names and Y. Yanek and Yoysef) articles and correspondence pieces in Di tsayt (The times) in St. Petersburg (1912-1913) and Lebens-fragen (Life issues) in Warsaw (1916-1919).  He died in Warsaw.

Source: D. Mayer, in Doyres bundistn (Generations of Bundists), vol. 2 (New York, 1956), pp. 112-14.
Khayim Leyb Fuks

Monday 28 November 2016



            He was a poet and prose author, born in the Bessarabian town of Goneshti, and later his family moved to Dubasari. His father, Arn Yankelevitsh, ran a shop selling paper and writing implements; he died when Yankl, the youngest in the family, was fourteen, and Yankl thus had to go to work. He studied in religious primary school and public school, before becoming a laborer painting signs for urban shops and other institutions. After the Bolshevik Revolution, he continued his education. Over the years 1925-1933, he lived in Odessa, studied in the Yiddish division of the local pedagogical institute (graduating in 1932). He was writing poetry from his childhood and began publishing them in 1928 in Odessa in Odeser arbeter (Odessa worker). After graduation, the authorities sent him to the then capital of Soviet Moldavia in Tiraspol to teach. He taught Yiddish language and literature there until 1938 in the Tiraspol Jewish middle school. At the same time, he published poems, stories, articles, children’s tales, and translations in such Yiddish publications as: Yungvald (Young forest), Der pyoner (The pioneer), and Der emes (The truth)—in Moscow; Yunger boy-klang (Young sound of construction), Yunge gvardye (Young guard), Di royte velt (The red world), and Prolit (Proletarian literature)—in Kharkov; Der shtern (The star), Zay greyt (Get ready), Proletarishe fon (Proletarian banner), Sovetishe literatur (Soviet literature), and Vos geven un vos gevorn (What was and what will be), an anthology—in Kiev; and Oktyabr (October) in Minsk; among others. His first poetry collection, Zaft (Juice) appeared in print and was warmly received by both readers and literary critics. Tiraspol was very close to Odessa, and he frequently traveled to the latter city, where the local Yiddish writers held him in high repute and gladly welcomed him into their literary family. In 1937, the year before his tragic death, he published a collections of stories for children: Khaveyrim (Comrades). On March 31, 1938 he was arrested in Tiraspol. The principal charge against him was that he had protested against the local Party and state organs which had carried out the closing of local Jewish schools. He was sentenced to ten years of forced labor without rights. This was, of course, nothing short of a cover for a death sentence. In 1956 his family received an official notice of his rehabilitation, “because the procurator found no evidence in his case of criminal guilt.” According to Hershl Vaynraykh, he was murdered by the NKVD.

He authored the collection Zaft, lider, 1926-1930 (Juice, poetry, 1926-1930) (Kharkov: Literatur un kunst, 1931), 107 pp.; these poems were sharply criticized by the Communist critic Hersh Remenik (in Prolit) because they “lacked motifs which should have celebrated the Bolshevik Revolution in the building of socialism.” He was also the author of Lagern (Camps), poems about the Red Army, the Moldavian steppes, and the like (Kharkov-Kiev: Ukrainian State Publishers for National Minorities, 1934), 74 pp.; Khaveyrim, detseylungen far kinder (Comrades, stories for children) (Kiev: Ukrainian State Publishers for National Minorities, 1937), 48 pp.; Fraynt (Friend), nature motifs, poems of youth and love, and Moldavian ballads (Kiev: Ukrainian State Publishers for National Minorities, 1938), 89 pp. His work was represented in: Shlakhtn, fuftsn yor oktyaber in der kinstlerisher literatur (Battles, fifteen years in artistic literature), compiled together with Hershl Orland and Boris Kahan (Kharkov-Kiev: Ukrainian State Publishers for National Minorities, 1932); Deklamater fun der sovetisher yidisher literatur (Reciter of Soviet Yiddish literature) (Moscow: Emes, 1934); Komyug, literarish-kinstlerisher zamlbukh ([Jewish] Communist Youth, literary-artistic anthology) (Moscow: Emes, 1938).

Sources: M. Kashtshevatski, in Prolit (Kharkov) (March-April 1930); H. R. (Remenik), in Prolit (September-October 1931); A. Abtshuk, Etyudn un materialn tsu der geshikhte fun der yidisher literatur bavegung in FSRR (Studies and material for the history of the Yiddish literature movement in the Soviet Union) (Kharkov, 1934), p. 336; Y. Bronshteyn, Sheferishe problemen fun der yidisher sovetisher poezye (Creative problems in Soviet Yiddish poetry) (Minsk, 1936), p. 59; A. Druker, in Yunge gvardye (Kharkov) 25 (1935); H. G. in Proletarishe pen (Kiev) 46 (1935); H. Vaynraykh, Blut af der zun (Blood on the sun) (New York, 1950), pp. 51, 194-95.

Khayim Leyb Fuks

[Additional information from: Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 295; and Chaim Beider, Leksikon fun yidishe shrayber in ratn-farband (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers in the Soviet Union), ed. Boris Sandler and Gennady Estraikh (New York: Congress for Jewish Culture, Inc., 2011), p. 174.]


ELYE (ELIYAHU) YONES (December 25, 1915-January 2011)
            He was born in Vilna.  Early on he was left without parents, and at age eleven he already had to care for his own sustenance.  He graduated from the Yavne public school and later studied in the Ezra elementary school—both in Vilna.  He was active in the Bundist youth group Tsukunft (Future) and was a leader of the Bundist children’s organization SKIF (Sotsyalistishe kinder-farband, or Socialist children’s union).  In 1938 he studied in YIVO’s “pro-aspirantur” (introductory) program named for Virgili Kahan.  When the war erupted in 1939, he was working as a teacher in the town of Braslav (Brasław), later working as a baker in Zdolbunov (Zdolbuniv).  He spent the years 1941-1943 at the Kurovitse (Kurovichi) labor camp, near Lemberg, and 1944-1945 with the partisans in the forest; later, he joined the Red Army in eastern Galicia, and near Tarnov (Tarnów) he was wounded and lost a foot.  He was among the organizers of the “Bricha” (Briḥa) [organization to help postwar survivors escape Europe for Palestine], “Gius” (mobilization), and aliya, and he lived after the war for a time in displaced persons’ camps in Germany.  In 1950 he moved to the state of Israel.  He published reports and articles in Kleyne folkstsaytung (Little people newspaper) in Warsaw (1934-1937).  In 1946 he edited in Berlin the Holocaust survivors’ newspaper Unzer lebn (Our life), and in 1948 he was co-editor of Dos vort (The word) in Munich.  He published articles, as well as theater and book notices, and a series of sketches.  From 1952 he was editor of radio broadcasting of Kol-Yisrael (Voice of Israel) in Jerusalem.  In 1960 the publishing wing of Yad Vashem brought out in Hebrew his book Al pi habor (At the edge of the pit) (Jerusalem, 214 pp.), in which he described his experiences during the war years.  “Elye Yones’s book,” wrote Y. Rapaport, “belongs among the best books of Holocaust literature.  Simply and well written, it affords future historians of the Holocaust era rich and well informed material.”  In Tsukunft (New York) (November 1961), he published a piece of research on the Yiddish radio broadcasts in the state of Israel.  His Ph.D. dissertation: Yehudim belevov betekufat milḥemet haolam hasheniya uvashoa, 1939-1944 (The Jews of Lvov [Lemberg] in the era of World War II and the Holocaust, 1939-1944), Hebrew University of Jerusalem (1995), 456 pp.—translated and reworked: Żydzi Lwowa w okresie okupacji, 1939-1945 (Jews of Lvov during the occupation) (Lodz : Oficyna Bibliofilów, 1999), 293 pp.; Evrei L”vova v gody vtoroi mirovoi voiny i katastrofy evropeiskogo evreistva 1939-1944 (The Jews of Lvov in the years of World War II and the catastrophe of European Jewry, 1939-1944) (Moscow and Jerusalem, 1999), 488 pp.; Ashan baḥolot, yehude levov bamilḥama, 1939-1944 (Smoke in the sand, Jews of Lvov during the war, 1939-1944) (Jerusalem: Yad vashem, 2001), 495 pp.; Smoke in the Sand: The Jews of Lvov in the War Years 1939-1944 (Jerusalem and New York: Gefen, 2004), 390 pp.

Sources: Y. Pat, in Di shtime (Mexico City) (December 20, 1947); M. Kushnir, in Omer (Tel Aviv) (November 18, 1960); Y. Krib, in Davar (Tel Aviv) (December 9, 1960); M. Alon, in Hapoel hatsair (Tel Aviv) (January 10, 1961); Y. Bashevis, in Forverts (New York) (January 29, 1961); Y. Rapaport, in Tsukunft (New York) (April 1961); M. Shenderay, in Keneder odler (Montreal) (April 3, 1961).
Leyzer Ran


            He was born in Uman, Ukraine.  He was a Russian-Yiddish teacher and the owner of a book business.  He was the author of storybooks laden with morals, among them: Der gefunener bruder, a bild fun dem yudishen elend (The located brother, a picture of Jewish misery) (Berdichev, 1905), 16 pp.; Glik un trehren, eyne vahre geshikhte (Joy and tears, a true story) (Berdichev, 1905), 24 pp.
Khayim Leyb Fuks


RIVE YONISH (January 20, 1910-1983)
            She was born in Lune-Volye (Lune-Wolie), Grodno region, Poland.  She graduated from a Tsisho (Central Jewish School Organization) school in her town and from the Jewish humanist high school in Vilna.  In 1929 she emigrated to New York, where she graduated from the Jewish teachers’ seminary.  She published stories in: Tsukunft (Future) and Veker (Alarm) in New York; Foroys (Onward) in Mexico City; and Yisroel shtime (Voice of Israel) in Tel Aviv.  In book form: Gest (Guest) (New York: Tsiko, 1968), 164 pp., a “collection of recounted reportage pieces” (about her family and Israel).

Sources: Y. Emyot, in Forverts (New York) (September 22, 1968); Y. Zilberberg, in Kultur un lebn (New York) (January-February 1969).

Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), cols. 294-95.


            She was born in Navaredok (Novogrudok), Poland.  In 1914 she moved to Glasgow, Great Britain.  For several years she lived in London, and in 1920 she settled in Detroit.  She worked there as a teacher of languages and of Tanakh.  In 1956 she moved to Florida, and in 1970 she made aliya to Israel.  From time to time, she published poems in a popular style in: Tog (Day), Morgn-zhurnal (Morning journal), Forverts (Forward), and Idisher kemfer (Jew fighter)—in New York.  In book form: Mayn veltl (My little world) (Jerusalem, 1973), 111 pp.  Her poem “Mayn tfile” (My prayer) became very popular through Sidor Belarsky’s singing.  She was last living in Jerusalem.

Source: Reported by Yanitsh’s daughter, Hadasah Plaut in Jerusalem.

Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 294.


BOAZ YOUNG (YUNGVITS) (March 1870-December 20, 1955)
            He was born in Novidvor (Nowy Dwor), Poland.  He studied in religious elementary school, synagogue study hall, and with the Yanov (Janów) rabbi.  He later also turned his attention to secular subjects.  In 1889 he moved to the United States, joined a drama club in New York, and in 1891 became a professional actor, later a theatrical contractor and quickly took a prominent position in the Yiddish theater in America.  Together with his wife, Clara Young, he made long tours through Poland and Romania (1911-1912).  After the Russian Revolution of 1917, he performed in Kiev and other cities in Ukraine.  He returned to America in 1920.  He played in all the larger cities of the United States, Canada, and South America.  From his own plays, for many years he was successful on stage with: the comedy Dzheykele blofer (Little Jake the bluffer) and the operetta Sha, der rebe fort (Ssh, the rebbe is leaving).  He also adapted for the Yiddish stage the operetta “La Dame de chez Maxime” as Madam hoplya (Madam Hoplya).  He also published articles about the Yiddish theater in: Di varheyt (The truth) in New York (1914); Penemer un penemlekh (Appearances, big and small) in Buenos Aires (1928); and in later years, after WWII, in Tog (Day) and later in Tog-morgn-zhurnal (Day-morning journal) in New York.  In book form: Dzheykele blofer, a comic operetta in three acts (Warsaw: T. Yakubsohn and M. Goldberg, 1926), 51 pp.; Mayn lebn in teater (My life in the theater), memoirs (New York, 1950), 411 pp.  He died in Miami, Florida.

Sources: Zalmen Zilbertsvayg, Leksikon fun yidishn teater (Handbook of the Yiddish theater), vol. 2; Y. Goldshteyn, in Dos yidishe vort (Santiago de Chile) (June 18, 1954); obituary notices in Forverts and Tog-morgn-zhurnal in New York (December 22, 1955).
Borekh Tshubinski


YITSKHOK YANASOVITSH (ITZHAK YANASOWICZ) (December 15, 1909-December 21, 1990)
            He was born in Yezev, Lodz district, Poland.  He studied in religious primary school, yeshiva, and later graduated from a seven-level Polish school.  Over the years 1925-1939, he occupied himself with a number of different trades in Lodz, while at the same time being active in the Jewish labor movement.  When the Germans occupied Poland in September 1939, he escaped to Bialystok, and from there in the summer of 1941 he made his way to Alma-Ata.  In 1944 at the request of the publisher Emes (Truth), he traveled to Moscow and from there, with the repatriation of Polish Jews in Russia, he returned to Poland.  Until 1948 he lived in Lodz, later emigrating to Paris where he was active in the Holocaust survivors’ association, the PEN Club, and the Culture Congress, among other things.  He visited Israel in 1951.  From the summer of 1952 he was living in Argentina.  He was active in Mapai (Workers’ Party in the Land of Israel), and he served as secretary of the Argentinian division of the World Jewish Culture Congress and vice-chairman of the H. D. Nomberg Writers’ Association.  He visited the United States in 1961 from Buenos Aires, and from 1972 he was living in Israel.  He debuted in print with a poem—entitled “Mayne vegn” (My pathways)—in the collection Literarishe horizontn (Literary horizons), edited by G. Myershinski (Lodz, 1928), and from that point on he contributed poems, stories, reportage pieces, essays, journalistic articles, and serialized newspaper novels to: Nayer folksblat (New people’s newspaper) of which he was also a member of the editorial board, Lodzer tageblat (Lodz daily newspaper), Lodzher veker (Lodz alarm), Tsvishn moyern (Between walls), Afn shteynernem bruk (On the cobblestone pavement), Lodzher notitsn (Lodz notices), and Af naye vegn (On new paths)—in Lodz; Literarishe bleter (Literary leaves), Os (Letter), Vokhnshrift far literatur (Weekly writing for literature), Foroys (Onward), and Naye folkstsaytung (New people’s newspaper)—in Warsaw; Dos naye lebn (The new life) of which he was also editorial secretary, Yidishe shriftn (Yiddish writings), Arbeter-tsaytung (Workers’ newspaper), and Unzer vort (Our word)—in Lodz-Warsaw (1946-1948); Kiem (Existence), Arbeter-vort (Workers’ word), Unzer vort, Unzer shtime (Our voice), Unzer veg (Our way), Tsienistishe shtime (Zionist voice), and Literatur un kunst (Literature and art)—in Paris; Tsukunft (Future), Yidishe kultur (Jewish culture), Eynikeyt (Unity), Idisher kemfer (Jewish fighter), Forverts (Forward), Tog-morgn-zhurnal (Day-morning journal), and Der amerikaner (The American)—in New York; Shtern (Star) and Oktyabr (October) in Minsk; Eynikeyt and Tsum zig (To victory)—in Moscow; Di prese (The press), Di naye tsayt (The new times), Der shpigl (The mirror), and Yorbukh far der yidisher kehile tshy”d un tsht”u (Annual for the Jewish community, 1953-1954 and 1954-1955)—in Buenos Aires; Di goldene keyt (The golden chain), Nay-velt (New world), Letste nayes (Latest news), Heymish (Familiar), and Al hamishmar (On guard)—in Israel.  He edited the weekly Unzer tsayt (Our time), organ of the Labor Zionist “Hitaḥdut” party in Buenos Aires.  He served as editorial secretary there for the daily newspaper Di prese.  For many years he wrote poems, scenarios, and caricatures for revue and variety theaters, among them those of Shimon Dzigan and Israel Shumacher.  He edited the anthologies: Tsvishn moyern (Lodz, 1932); Afn shteynernem bruk (Lodz, 1935); Lodzher notitsn (Lodz, 1937); Af naye vegn (Lodz, 1938); Literatur un kunst (Paris, 1951-1952); with Y. Harkavy, A. Zak, and M. Turkov, Shmerke katsherginski ondenk-bukh (Remembrance volume for Shmerke Katsherginski) (Buenos Aires, 1955); with Y. Botoshanski, Yizker-bukh ratne (Memorial volume for Ratno) (Buenos Aires, 1955).  With Shloyme Suskovitsh, he compiled the collection Yankev botoshanski, tsu zayn zekhtsik yor (Yankev Botoshanski, on his sixtieth birthday) (Buenos Aires, 1955), 96 pp.  In connection with the celebrations for the 100th anniversary of the birth of Sholem-Aleykhem, as secretary of the Central Sholem-Aleykhem Committee in Argentina, he edited the publication, Dos sholem aleykhem yor in argentine, 1859-1959 (The Sholem-Aleykhem year in Argentina, 1859-1959) (Buenos Aires, 1960), 83 pp., published by the Jewish community of Buenos Aires.  His published books include: Roykhike fartogn (Hazy dawns), poems (Lodz, 1933), 48 pp., writing as “Y. Yonas”; Shtilkeytn (Silences), poetry on lyrical themes (Lodz, 1938), 42 pp., with drawings by Mikhail Yo and Yitskhok Broyder; Bafrayung, lider (Liberation, poems), including a cycle of refugee poems, with a preface by A. Gurshteyn (Moscow, 1941), 46 pp. and 2 pp.; A shtub in shtetl, poeme (A home in town, poem) (Paris, 1951), 122 pp., for which he was awarded the L. Bimko Prize by the Jewish Culture Congress in New York in 1951; the children’s tale, Pesl di beser kenerin (Pesl, the better expert) (Paris, 1952), 15 pp.  Considerable attention was drawn to his book: Mit yidishe shrayber in rusland (With Yiddish writers in Russia) (Buenos Aires, 1959), 322 pp., which deals with the Jewish tragedy in Russia as background to portraits of Yiddish writers.  The book also offers a profound analysis of the specific cultural genocide against the Jewish people under Communist rulers.  Subsequent writings include: Penemer un nemen (Faces and names) (Buenos Aires-Tel Aviv), three volumes—1. Yidishe poetn (Yiddish poets) (1971), 368 pp.; 2. Yidishe prozayikers nokh der tsveyter velt-milkhome (Yiddish prose writers after WWII) (1977), 326 pp.; 3. Eseyen, ophandlungen, retsenzyes (Essays, treatises, reviews) (1985), 368 pp.; Af yener zayt vunder (On the far side of wonder) (Tel Aviv: Perets Publ., 1974), 154 pp.; On oysruf-tsaykhns, eseyen un felyetonen (Without exclamation points, essays and features) (Tel Aviv: Hamenorah, 1975), 235 pp.; Dos psomim-biksl un andere dertseylungen (The spice box [for Havdalah] and other stories) (Tel Aviv-Buenos Aires, 1979), 243 pp.; In pardes fun yidish, eseyen un ophandlungen (In the paradise of Yiddish, essays and treatises) (Tel Aviv, 1980), 151 pp.; Avrom sutskever, zayn lid un zayn proze (Avraham Sutzkever, his poetry and his prose) (Tel Aviv: Yisroel-bukh, 1981), 181 pp.  He also wrote under such pseudonyms as: Yoysef Yezhovski, Y. Doresman, Y. Dores, and Osher Don.

Sources: Y. Rabon, in Lodzher tageblat (Lodz) (October 15, 1934); M. Broderzon, in Nayer folksblat (Lodz) (July 12, 1935); Y. Botoshanski, in Di prese (Buenos Aires) (December 26-27, 1950; August 23, 1952; October 9, 1959; October 10, 1959; October 13, 1959; October 22, 1959; November 6, 1959; December 15, 1959); A. Leyeles, in Der tog (New York) (January 6, 1951); Khayim Leyb Fuks, in Fun noentn over (New York) 3 (1957); Meylekh Ravitsh, in Di prese (March 5, 1951); Ravitsh, in Di goldene keyt (Tel Aviv) 37 (1960), pp. 189-95; L. Domankevitsh, in Kunst un visnshaft (Paris) 3 (1951); Domankevitsh, in Unzer vort (Paris) (April 26, 1952; January 23, 1960); M. Grosman, in Dos vort (Tel Aviv) (April 13, 1951); Shmuel Niger, in Tog (New York) (July 27, 1951); N. B. Minkov, in Tsukunft (New York) (September 1951); Yankev Glatshteyn, in Idisher kemfer (New York) (November 16, 1951; December 18, 1959); Glatshetyn, In tokh genumen (In essence) (Buenos Aires, 1960), vol. 1, pp. 229-34, vol. 2, pp. 170-76; H. Bergner, in Di goldene keyt 9 (1951); Y. Varshavski, in Forverts (New York) (January 13, 1952; February 23, 1958; January 10, 1960; April 16, 1961); A. Oyerbakh, in Tog-morgn-zhurnal (New York) (March 16, 1959; March 23, 1959; November 8, 1959); M. Shenderay, in Di yidishe tsaytung (Buenos Aires) (October 5, 1959); A. Shulman, in Unzer shtime (Paris) (October 22, 1959; November 28-29, 1959); A. Golomb, in Der veg (Mexico City) (December 5, 1959); Y. L. Gruzman, in Der shpigl (Buenos Aires) (December 1959); Dr. Shloyme Bikl, in Tsukunft (January 1960); L. Lehrer, in Idisher kemfer (February 15, 1960); Y. Rapaport, in Di idishe post (Melbourne) (February 19, 1960); Y. Glants, in Der veg (July 9, 1960); Glants, in Tog-morgn-zhurnal (April 12, 1961); Y. Elberg, in Keneder odler (Montreal) (May 18, 1961); Y. R. and M. Ginzburg, in Keneder odler (May 23, 1961); G. Sapozhnikov, Yitskhok yanasovitsh, der filzhanerdiker shrayber (Yitskhok Yanasovitsh, the multi-genre writer) (Buenos Aires, 1982), 152 pp.
Khayim Leyb Fuks

[Additional information from: Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 294.]

Sunday 27 November 2016


DAVID YONAS (b. ca. 1920)
            He was born in Jassy (Iași), Romania, where he worked as a teacher.  Around 1950 he made aliya to Israel.  He published a Romanian anthology of Jewish humor (Jassy, 1947).  He was the author of a booklet entitled Biternish, opklangen (Bitterness, echoes) (Jassy, 1945-1947), comprised of poems from the Holocaust.

Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 294.


ALTER YONAS (1755-1855)
            He descended from a rabbinical family in the former Austria-Hungary.  In 1790 he was received as the rabbi of Yenikui, North Africa.  Over the years 1820-1826, he visited France, Germany, Hungary, Poland, and Turkey, and subsequently published a short religious work in Judeo-German and Hebrew entitled Mefiboshet ben yehonatan milo davar, teshuva al igeret el-asaf m’a. ḥorin, oder zendshrayben aynes afrikanishen rabi (Mephibosheth son of Jonathan, full of words of Torah, a reply to a “Epistle to Asaf” from A. Ḥorin, or a letter to an African rabbi) (Prague, 1826), 29 pp. in Judeo-German and 61 pp. in Hebrew, with a poem and a “foreword to the European colleague-rabbis.”  In this booklet he describes Jewish life in the countries that he visited, gives a sharp response to A. Ḥorin’s “Igeret el-asaf” (Epistle to Asaf) and dealt in detail the issue of Reform Judaism which was destroying, according to him, the Jewish people.
Khayim Leyb Fuks


            He wrote under the pen name “Kal Vaḥomer” (minor-to-major inference in Talmudic reasoning).  He was born in Vilna.  He drew his pedigree from Rabbi Yehonatan Eybeschütz of Prague.  His father, Rabbi Arn Yonathanzon, was a well known follower of the Jewish Enlightenment and gave his son a good Hebrew and European education.  He studied in a high school, later completing a course of study in pharmacy.  In 1890 he moved to the United States.  He lived in New York.  He published poems, humorous sketches, stories, and articles in: Yidishes tageblat (Jewish daily newspaper), Der teglekher herald (The daily herald) which was edited by Mikhl Mints, Idishe velt (Jewish world), and Minikes yontef bleter (Minikes’s holiday sheets) (1900-1902); in the last of these he published poems in the vein of holiday liturgy, feature pieces, and parodies, as well as poems of mourning, such as: “Baym keyver fun r’ arn hurvits (ish kiev)” (At the grave of R. Arn Hurvits, a man from Kiev).  In 1906 he published in the sole issue (March 30) of Filadelfyer idisher prese (Philadelphia Jewish press), edited by Yikhezkl Levit.

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 1; Minikes yontef bleter (New York) (October 1900); D. B. Tirkel, in Pinkes fun amopteyl (Records of the American division of YIVO), vol. 1 (New York, 1928); Shaul Chajes, Otsar beduye hashem (Treasury of pseudonyms) (Vienna, 1933); The Jewish Encyclopedia, vol. 7, p. 238.
Zaynvl Diamant


EZRIEL YANOVER (December 26, 1875-January 31, 1938)
            He was born in Tshemirovits (Chemerivtsi), Ukraine.  He studied in religious primary school and in a small Hassidic conventicle.  In 1895 he left for Bessarabia and worked initially as a teacher in a village and later in Chotin (Hotin), where he was active in the Jewish Culture League and for a time was a member of the Jewish community council.  He published poems and articles in: Dos naye lebn (The new life), Dos vort (The word), and Unzer tsayt (Our time) in Czernowitz; and Oyfgang (Arise) (1933-1936) and Marmoresher bleter (Marmației leaves) in Sighet-Marmației; and elsewhere.  His play, Di geshterte libe (The hindered love), was staged in Chotin under his own direction.  He died in Chotin.  He left in manuscript a volume of poetry and several one-act plays.

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 1; Z. Kirshner, in Unzer tsayt (Czernowitz) (February 2, 1938).
Khayim Leyb Fuks


            He came from Shavel (Šiauliai), Lithuania.  In 1928 he moved to Warsaw and published poems in Vaysenberg’s journal Inzer hofening (Our hope) there.  He also published a booklet Gedanken un paradoksn (Thoughts and paradoxes) (Shavel, 1925), 31 pp.  Further information about him remains unknown.
Khayim Leyb Fuks


SHIMEN YANOVSKI (1913-September 1944)
            He was born in Lodz, Poland.  He graduated from a secular Jewish school.  He later was a laborer, active in the socialist youth organization Tsukunft (Future) and in the Bund.  He published humorous poetry in Nayer folksblat (New people’s newspaper) in Lodz.  His books include: Feygl in der luftn (Bird in the air), humorous sketches, parodies, and caricatures (Lodz, 1935), 62 pp.; Tsu zingen un tsu zogn: groteskn, improvizatsyes, parodyes un stsenkes (To sing and to speak: grotesqueries, improvisations, parodies, and sketches (Lodz, 1938), 162 pp.  In the Lodz ghetto he wrote scenes for the theatrical revue, in which he also acted and sang.  He was active in the underground Bund and in a secret writers’ circle surrounding the poet Miriam Ulinover.  His satirical poems were a part of the anonymous derisive propaganda which encouraged Jews to withstand the difficult horrors of the ghetto.  In August 1944, when at the time of the liquidation of the Lodz ghetto, he was sent to Auschwitz and murdered there in early September.  His writings from the ghetto were lost, save one poem that remained: “A tantsenish af ayere kep” (A dance on your heads), which was discovered in the archive of the Jewish Historical Institute in Poland.

Sources: Y. Shpigel, in Dos naye lebn (Lodz) (August 31, 1946); A. Ayzenbakh, in the anthology Yidishe shriftn (Yiddish writings) (Lodz, 1948); Sh. Katsherginski, Lider fun getos and lagern (Songs of the ghettos and camps) (New York, 1948), p. 171; Y. Brisk, in Keneder odler (Montreal) (September 28, 1953; April 27, 1960); Brisk, in Der amerikaner (New York) (November 11, 1960); B. Mark, Umgekumene shrayber fun di getos un lagern (Murdered writers from the ghettos and camps) (Warsaw, 1954), pp. 161, 169; Mark, in Unzere lodz (Buenos Aires) 3 (September 1954), p. 47; Khayim Leyb Fuks, in Fun noentn over (New York) 3 (1957), pp. 264, 266; Yankev Glatshteyn, in Idisher kemfer (New York) (December 9, 1960); A. V. Yasni, Di geshikhte fun yidn in lodzh (The history of Jews in Lodz) (Tel Aviv, 1960).
Khayim Leyb Fuks


SHMUEL YANOVSKI (1890-July 20, 1935)
            He was born in Motele (Motal’, Motol’), near Pinsk, Byelorussia.  Until age thirteen he studied in religious primary school in Motele and in Pinsk, later becoming a free auditor at the Universities of Warsaw and Kiev.  He began his journalistic activities in 1911 with correspondence pieces on the Beilis Trial in Moment (Moment) in Warsaw, at which he later become an internal contributor.  Over the years 1931-1935, he was the principal contributor and editor of Radyo (Radio) in Warsaw.  He published articles as well in: Ilustrirte vokh (Illustrated week), Dos folk (The people), and other Yiddish and Polish periodicals.  For many years he served as a correspondent for Morgn-zhurnal (Morning journal) in New York.  He compiled a bibliography of Yiddish periodical publications throughout the world, from the founding of Antoni Ayzenboym’s (Anthony Eisenbaum) Der beobakhter an der vaysel (The observer on the Vistula [River]) which he gave to YIVO in New York.  He died in Warsaw.

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 1; obituary notice in Vilner tog (Vilna) (July 21, 1935); Yedies fun yivo (Vilna) 4-5 (September 1936); Toyznt yor pinsk (1000 years of Pinsk) (New York, 1941), p. 325.
Khayim Leyb Fuks


            He was born in Zelev (Zelów), Lodz district, Poland.  He studied in religious elementary school and synagogue study hall.  After marrying he was a businessman in Lodz, Pyotrków, and Warsaw.  After losing his possessions in 1892, he became a preacher in Pyotrków, later in Warsaw, from whence in 1911 he moved to the United States.  For a time he worked as an elementary school teacher in New York, later becoming a personal servant to a rebbe in Chelsea, near Boston.  He wrote the following religious works: Zot neḥemati (This is my consolation), translations and commentaries on the scroll of Esther, Akdemut, and various liturgical hymns in Yiddish (Pyotrków, 1892), 116 pp.; Gan besamim (Garden of fragrances), a Yiddish commentary on several chapters of Psalms (Pyotrków, 1901), 256 pp.; Kabalat shabat (Friday evening service welcoming in the Sabbath), translated from prayers and hymns, with examples and stories (Pyotrków, 1909); Minha leyaakov (Offering to Jacob), translations from prayers and songs for the High Holidays (Pyotrków, 1910), 72 pp.; Akedat yitsḥak (The binding of Isaac), “wonderful explanation of the Torah portion about the binding [of Isaac] which we mentioned every day in our prayers” (Chelsea, 1912), 40 pp.  He was also the compiler of the prayer book Tefilat yisrael mikol hashana (Prayers of Israel for the entire year), with his stylized Yiddish explanation, examples, and tales) (Pyotrków, 1921).  He died in Chelsea, Massachusetts.

Sources: Sh. Viner, Kehilat moshe (Community of Moses) (St. Petersburg, 1893); Set eked sefarim; preface to Yanovski’s work, Kabalat shabat (Friday evening service welcoming in the Sabbath).
Khayim Leyb Fuks


            He was born in Pinsk, Byelorussia, to a father who was a cantor and a ritual slaughterer.  He studied in religious primary school, later in a Talmud Torah, where one would at that time also study Russian and arithmetic.  Under the influence of his older brother, Yankev-Tsvi Yanovski, a Hebrew teacher and writer in the Jewish Enlightenment vein, he left the Talmud Torah at age thirteen and, as an external student, turned his attention to secular subject matter.  In 1880 he departed for Bialystok where he continued his self-education, entered circles of studying young people in the city, and established for himself a name for his proficiency in Russian language and literature, as well as in radical journalism of the time.  In Bialystok, he for the first time published a pair of articles in a local Russian newspaper.  In 1885 he left for the United States, worked in New York as a dishwasher, a bag stitcher, a hat maker, and the like, while at the same time he became active in the labor movement; he joined the Russian-speaking “Progressive Association” and soon became well known as a fine speaker and skillful polemist.  He soon thereafter switched from Russian to Yiddish, because he wanted to exert a greater influence on Jewish workers.  After the bloody events in Chicago, known as the Haymarket Tragedy in 1886, he became an anarchist, founded (with H. Zolotarov) the Jewish anarchist group “Pyonire der frayhayt” (Pioneers of freedom), and in 1889 became editor of the Jewish anarchist weekly newspaper Di varhayt (The truth) which ceased publication after its twentieth number.  In 1890 Yanovski moved to London, where he worked for the Jewish anarchist group “Der nayer dor” (The new generation) and edited Der arbayter fraynd (The worker’s friend), which earlier had been a joint organ of the anarchists and socialists and which in 1891 went over entirely to the anarchist camp.  In London he was also active as a lecturer and campaigner for the Jewish “Berner Street Club” [International Working Men’s Educational Club].  In early 1895 he returned to New York.  Fraye arbeter-shtime (Free voice of labor), founded by Jewish anarchists in New York in 1890, ceased publication, because of a lack of means and appropriate organization, but he successfully overcame all difficulties, even on the part of his own colleagues, and in 1899 renewed publication of the newspaper of which he was to remain its magnificent editor for two decades.  In 1906 he made an effort to start a daily newspaper as well, Di abend tsaytung (The evening newspaper), with the objective of “fighting against yellow journalism,” but this newspaper was unable to last for more than three months.  Over the period 1910-1911, he edited the revived monthly Di fraye gezelshaft (The free society).  In the first years after WWI, when pro-Soviet tendencies within the Jewish anarchist movement grew strong, Yanovski (1919) departed from Fraye arbeter-shtime.  He became the editor at this time of the weekly Gerekhtigkeyt (Justice), organ of the International Ladies’ Garments Workers’ Union.  In 1926 when the union was all ablaze with a fight between left and right, he resigned from Gerekhtigkeyt.  For a short time he worked for Forverts (Forward) and published articles in Tsukunft (Future) as well, but regularly throughout this time published articles in Fraye arbeter-shtime and remained one of the most popular speakers in the Jewish anarchist groups.  In 1929 he once again became editor of Fraye arbeter-shtime, in which aside from journalistic pieces and articles of a polemical character, he published theater reviews and translations from world literature.  His “Brivkastn” (Mailbox) in the newspaper became the specific genre for sharp polemics in literature and topics in general.  His books include: Vos viln di anarkhistn? (What do the anarchists want?) (London, 1890), 22 pp., translated into several European languages; Ershte yorn fun yidishn frayhaytlekhn sotsyalizm, oytobiografishe zikhroynes fun a pyoner un boyer fun der yidisher anarkhistisher bavegung in england un amerike (The first years of free Jewish socialism, autobiographical memoirs of a pioneer and builder of the Jewish anarchist movement in Europe and America) (New York, 1948), 279 pp.  His translations include: Mikhail Bakunin, Got un der shtat (God and the state [original: Dieu et l’État]) (Leeds, 1901), 99 pp.; Henrik Ibsen, Der folks-faynd (Enemy of the people [original: En folkefiende]) (New York, 1906), 138 pp.; Jean Meslier, Gloybn un fernunft (Beliefs and reason [original: Le bon sens du curé (The good sense of the parish priest)]) (London, 1907), 173 pp., second edition (London, 1913); Victor Hugo, Di yam-arbayter (Toilers of the sea [original: Travailleurs de la mer] (London, 1913), 139 pp.; Felix Hollaender, Di zukher fun emes, a sotsyaler roman in fir bikher (Seekers of truth, a social novel in four books [original: Der Weg des Thomas Truck (Thomas Truck’s path]) (New York, 1910), 587 pp., second edition (New York, 1915), third edition (New York, 1917); Leo Tolstoy, Di sklaferay fun unzer tsayt un andere geklibene sotsyale shriftn (Slavery in our time and other selected social writings [original: Rabstvo nashego vremeni, etc.]) (New York, 1912), 238 pp.; Petr Kropotkin, Di groyse frantseyzishe revolutsye, 1789-1793 (The great French Revolution, 1789-1793 [original: La Grande Révolution 1789-1793]) (New York, 1912), two volumes, 458 pp. and 416 pp.; Bertha von Suttner, Martas kinder, anti-militarisher roman (Marta’s children, an anti-militarist novel [Marta’s Kinder]) (New York, 1913), 348 pp.; von Suttner, Nider mit di vofn (Ground arms [original: Die Waffen nieder!]) (New York, 1913), 496 pp.; and Grant Allen, Di froy velkhe hot es geton (The woman who did) (New York, 1918), 186 pp.; among others.  Many of his translations, published in Fraye arbeter-shtime, did not appear in book form.  His pen names included: Y. Z., Anonimus, Bas-kol, and Yoysef ben Gershon.  He died in New York.  “He was one of the most talented pioneers,” wrote A. Liessin, “in Yiddish journalism in England and the United States—of better journalism, of idea-based journalism—and he always had the courage of his convictions.”  “His ‘Af der vakh’ [On guard] became a byword in Yiddish journalism,” noted Michael Kohn, and “his ‘Brivkastn’ [Mailbox] an institution.  He was a remarkable tone-setter on the Jewish street.  People reckoned with his ideas and smiled at what he praised.  He had many wings clipped, and he gave wings to many writers and poets and encouraged them to create more work.  Many luminous stars rose on the horizon of Fraye arbeter-shtime.”

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol.1; Zalmen Zilbertsvayg, Leksikon fun yidishn teater (Handbook of the Yiddish theater), vol. 2; Y. Kopelyov, Amol un shpeter (Once and later) (Vilna, 1932), pp. 172, 236; E. Frumkin, In friling fun yidishn sotsyalizm (In the spring of Jewish socialism) (New York, 1940), see index; Y. Khaykin, Yidishe bleter in amerike (Yiddish newspapers in America) (New York, 1946), see index; Dr. H. Frank, biographical preface to Yanovski’s Ershte yorn fun yidishn frayhaytlekhn sotsyalizm (The first years of free Jewish socialism) (New York, 1948); Aba Gordin, ed., Sh. yanovski: zayn lebn, kemfn un shafn, 1864-1939, byografye in finf teyln (Sh. Yanovski: His life, fights, and works, 1864-1939, a biography in five parts) (Los Angeles: Committee of remembrance for Sh. Yanovski, 1957), 586 pp., including Yefim Yeshurin, “Sh. yanovski-biblyografye” (Sh. Yanovski bibliography), pp. 1-19; Rudolf Rocker, In shturem (In the storm) (Buenos Aires, 1952), see index.  From newspaper and journals: A. Liessin, in Tsukunft (New York) (May 1924); Avrom Reyzen, in Tsukunft (February 1930); Dr. M. Kohn, in Tsukunft (October 1934); “Yanovski jubilee issue” of Fraye arbeter-shtime (New York) 36 (1934), including some thirty articles; Dr. Y. Shatski, in Fraye arbeter-shtime (March 18, 1949); Moyshe Shtarkman, in Fraye arbeter-shtime (February 3, 1950; February 12, 1954); Shtarkman, in Hadoar (New York) (Sivan 4 [May 23], 1947); Sh. Slutski, Avrom Reyzen-blbyografye (Avrom Reyzen bibliography) (New York, 1956), no. 5060; Sh. Vays, in Algemeyne entsiklopedye (General encyclopedia), “Yidn 5” (New York, 1957), p. 259; A. R., in Fraye arbeter-shtime (November 1, 1957); B. Ts. Goldberg, in Tog-morgn-zhurnal (New York) (August 17-18, 1958); T. L. Mayls, in Fraye arbeter-shtime (November 1, 1958); E. Naks, in Tsukunft (April 1959); M. Perlmuter, in Fraye arbeter-shtime (May 1, 1959); A. Khrablovski, in Dos fraye vort (Buenos Aires) 42 (June 1959); A. Volf-Yasni, in Fraye arbeter-shtime (March 15, 1960); A. Gordin, in Fraye arbeter-shtime (January 15, 1961).
Borekh Tshubinski