Wednesday 9 November 2016


            He was born in Goniondz (Goniądz), Bialystok district, Russian Poland.  He studied in religious primary school, in a business school, and in a teacher’s course of study.  During WWI he was a private Hebrew tutor in Grodno.  In 1924 he settled in Antwerp, Belgium, where for a time he worked polishing diamonds and was active among the Labor Zionists.  He was subsequently a teacher in the Jewish artisans’ school in Antwerp, and until the German occupation in 1940, he was director of the Yiddish-Hebrew school in Charleroi, and from there he escaped to France, and in 1941 made his way to the United States.  He was a teacher in the Hebrew teachers’ seminary at Yeshiva University and at the “Jewish Teachers’ Seminary and People’s University” in New York.  He debuted in print with lyrical romantic poetry in the anthology Nyeman (Neman [River]) in Grodno (1917), and thereafter he published poems, stories, and articles in: Idishe prese (Jewish press) (1923), Di yidishe tsaytung (The Jewish newspaper) (1923-1940), and Der belgisher tog (The Belgian day)—in Antwerp; Letste nayes (Latest news) in Brussels; Yidisher almanakh (Jewish almanac), Folk un land (People and country), Der mayrev (The West), and the French-language Hatikwah (The hope), among other serials in Belgium; Unzer vort (Our word) in Paris; and Tsukunft (Future) and Svive (Environs) in New York); among others.  He debuted in Hebrew with a cycle of poems in Hatekufa (The epoch) in Warsaw (1922), and later he published his work in: Baderekh (On the road), Hatsfira (The siren), Kolot (Voices), and Haynt (Today)—in Warsaw; and Hadoar (The mail) in New York.  He also contributed to Algemeyne yidishe entsiklopedye (General Jewish encyclopedia) in New York.  He contributed to and co-edited Gonyondzer-trestiner 40-yoriker yubiley zhurnal, 1905-1945 (Forty-year anniversary journal of the Goniądz Benevolent Association, 1905-1945) (New York, 1945); coedited Seyfer yizker gonyondz (Remembrance volume for Goniądz) (Tel Aviv, 1960).  He published (using the name M. Sh. Ben-Meyer) a volume of poems entitled Tselil vetsel (Sound and shadow) (Tel Aviv, 1958), 120 pp.  He wrote treatises in Hebrew on Yiddish writers and in Yiddish on Hebrew writers.  The Jewish book council in America prepared for him posthumously the Kovner Prize for Yiddish poetry.

Sources: Tsukunft (New York) (January 1944); Tog-morgn-zhurnal (New York) (January 20, 1959); Forverts (New York) (January 20, 1959); M. M. Avshalom, in Hadoar (New York) (January 23, 1959); D. Perski, in Hadoar (Adar א 12 [= February 20], 1959); A. Ben-Yoyets, in Hapoel hatsair (Tel Aviv) (Sivan 3 [= June 9], 1959); Y. Goldshlag, in Areshet (Jerusalem) (1959/1960), pp. 426-27; autobiography in the anthology Genazim (Archives) (Tel Aviv, 1961), pp. 90-94.
Khayim Leyb Fuks

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