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.]