B. YUSHZON (1889-February 20, 1942)
This was the pen name of Moyshe-Bunim Yustman (Moshe Bunem Justman), one of the most successful and widely read Jewish journalists in Poland between the two world wars. He was born in Warsaw, Poland, into a prominent Hassidic family. Until age eighteen, he studied in yeshivas. While still young, he joined the Mizrachi Party. He began writing articles in Frishman’s Haboker (This morning) in Warsaw (1906), using the name “Ben-Yeush” and in Sh. Y. Yatskan’s Yudishes vokhenblat (Jewish weekly newspaper) in Warsaw (1907). He later contributed as well to Spektor’s Di naye velt (The new world), Unzer lebn (Our life), and other literary collections and periodicals. With the founding of Moment (Moment) in Warsaw in 1910, he was one of its main contributors and published sketches, stories, articles, and feature pieces (using the name Lornete). Under the pseudonym “Itshele,” he ran a section entitled “Ibergekhapte politishe brif” (Overheard political letter), in which he explained the fast-flowing political events in a humorous manner, peppered with aphorisms drawn from the Talmud and popular turns of phrase. The “Letters” brought him immense popularity among readers of Yiddish newspapers, chiefly amid the young Hassidic community which was just beginning to become interested in politics. In 1925 he joined the editorial board of Haynt (Today) in Warsaw, where he remained until the outbreak of WWII. In his articles and features, he did not spare even Zionists, if he believed that they had not acted properly. Over the years 1932-1939, he also published in the Friday edition of Haynt on the weekly Torah portion; these articles were later included in the eight-volume Fun unzer altn oytser (From our old treasury). He was also a close contributor to Vokhenblat (Weekly newspaper), brought out by “Haynt,” and to Handels-tsaytung (Business newspaper) in Warsaw. For a time he was the Warsaw correspondent for Morgn-zhurnal (Morning journal) in New York. He also placed work in: Hatsfira (The siren), Altnayland (Old-newland), Hatsofe (The spectator) in Israel, Hadoar (The mail) in New York, and elsewhere. His books include: In’m rebens hoyf, a interesante ertsehlung fun hasidishen leben in poylen (In the rebbe’s court, an interesting story of Hassidic life in Poland) (Warsaw, 1911), 207 pp.; Apikorsim: bilder, stsenes, ferlibenishen, tipen, nefashes un parshoyndlekh fun der yudisher gas (Heretics: images, scenes, experiences, types, souls, and characters on the Jewish street) (Warsaw, 1913), 166 pp.; Af der frisher luft, tsu leyenen far yeden, ṿos zitst af datshe, ligṭ in a hamak un pashet dem khoymer (In fresh air, to be read by everyone who sits in a country house, lies down in a hammock, and fills out their flesh) (Warsaw, 1912), 60 pp.; the humorous story, Homen haroshe (The evil Haman) (Warsaw, 1913), 16 pp.; the amusing monograph, Vi azoy hob ikh gevunen af der loterey (How I won the lottery) (Warsaw, 1912), 28 pp.; and a one-act play, Aheym, aheym (Homeward, homeward) (Warsaw, 1912). Together with Menakhem Kipnis, he wrote the comedy: Mitn koyekh fun dibek (With the strength of a dybbuk), a parody of An-sky’s “Dibek” (Dybbuk) which at that time was performed to great success in the Yiddish theater in Warsaw. For many years, he collected, adapted, and translated into Yiddish materials for his major work: Fun unzer altn oytser, in eight volumes, first printing (Warsaw, 1932), the final printing in five large volumes (altogether 1419 pp.), and in two editions, one in Tel Aviv and one in New York, with a short preface by his son Heshl. In this work, written in a popular Yiddish style, he brought forth the spiritual treasures created over the course of many generations, and made them accessible to a wide stratum of the people. Until September 6, 1939 he was living primarily in Warsaw, later becoming part of a group of sixteen Jewish writers who left Warsaw together in one train car when the Germans attacked Poland. Until mid-1940 he was living in Vilna. He was a member there of the refugee writers association and of the commission to study the destruction of Polish Jewry. He subsequently departed for Israel and lived in solitude, dying in Jerusalem.
Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 1; Zalmen Zilbertsvayg, Leksikon fun yidishn teater (Handbook of the Yiddish theater), vol. 2; Y. D. Berkovitsh, in Forverts (New York) (August 7, 1932; January 1, 1933); P. Vyernik, in Morgn-zhurnal (New York) (December 25, 1932); Elkhonen Tsaytlin, In a literarisher shtub (In a literary home) (Warsaw, 1937), pp. 161-63; M. Lubetkin, Publitsistn (Journalists) (Warsaw, 1937), p. 132; Arn Tsaytlin, in Tog (New York) (March 7, 1932); E. Almi, in Keneder odler (Montreal) (September 10, 1942); P. Shvarts, Azoy iz es geven (That’s how it was) (New York, 1943); D. Tsharni (Daniel Charney), in Tsukunft (New York) (January 1943); M. Mozes, in Der poylisher yid (The Polish Jew), yearbook (New York, 1944); Moyshe Shtarkman, in Der tog (New York) (April 10, 1948); Meylekh Ravitsh, Mayn leksikon (My lexicon), vol. 1 (Montreal, 1945), pp. 113-15, and vol. 3 (Tel Aviv, 1958), p. 477; Z. Segalovitsh, Gebrente trit (Suffering step) (Buenos Aires, 1947), pp. 44, 63; Y. Garb, in Entsiklopediya shel galuyot (Encyclopedia of the Diaspora), vol. 1 (Warsaw, Jerusalem-Tel Aviv, 1953); B. Shefner, Novolipye 7, zikhroynes un eseyen (Nowolipie 7, memoirs and essays) (Buenos Aires, 1955), pp. 135-44; Dr. A. Mukdoni, In varshe un in lodzh (In Warsaw and in Lodz), vol. 2 (Buenos Aires, 1955), p. 44; B. Kutsher, Geven amol varshe (As Warsaw once was) (Paris, 1955), see index; M. Grosman, in Fun noentn over (New York) 2 (1956), p. 16; Kh. Finkelshteyn, in Fun noentn over 2 (1956), pp. 111-12; M. Prager, in Fun noentn over 2 (1956), pp. 511, 512, 517; M. Osherovitsh, in Forverts (February 12, 1956); Y. Ivri, in Hadoar (New York) (Adar 19 [= March 2], 1956); Ivri, in Der amerikaner (New York) (March 16, 1956); M. Unger, in Tog-morgn-zhurnal (New York) (April 13, 1958); Dr. Shloyme Bikl, in Tog-morgn-zhurnal (September 14, 1958); D. Flinker, in Tog-morgn-zhurnal (August 9, 1960); M. Ron, in Di shtime (Mexico City) (December 3, 1960); M. Vaykhert, Varshe (Warsaw) (Tel Aviv, 1961), see index; Y. Kahan, Unter di sovetishe himlen (Under Soviet skies) (Tel Aviv, 1961), pp. 451, 452.
Khayim Leyb Fuks