Sunday 18 December 2016


AVROM-SHMUEL YURIS (March 9, 1890-1971)
            He was born in Kolomaye, eastern Galicia.  He studied in a Baron Hirsch public school and in a Polish state high school, and he graduated with a law degree from the University of Vienna.  In 1904 he became a member of a secret student circle within the organization Tseire-Tsiyon (Young Zionists) in Galicia, and from that point he was active in the Labor Zionist Party; he traveled around on its behalf throughout virtually the entire Jewish world.  From 1924 he settled in Israel, which he was active, in addition to his party work, also in Vaad Hatarbut (Cultural council) of the Histadrut Haovdim (Federation of Labor), in the Jewish Agency, and in other organizations.  He was one of the most popular speakers and writers in the Labor Zionist movement, and he offered a great deal of assistance to bringing studying youth and public Jewish intellectuals to Zionist socialism and to Jewish culture.  He began writing—papers on Labor Zionism, poetry, dramatic plays—in Polish.  In 1909 he switched to Yiddish and published for the first time (a review of Yankev Gordin’s Der umbakanter [The unknown]) in Der kolomayer folks-tsaytung (The Kolomaye people’s newspaper), edited by Moyshe Laks.  In 1919 he published a ballad in Arbeter-tsaytung (Workers’ newspaper) in Warsaw, in which he would later publish a series of essays on world literature, articles, and theater reviews.  In later years he contributed work to the Jewish press in numerous countries, including such serials as: Der tog (The day), Di tsayt (The times), and Idisher kemfer (Jewish fighter)—in New York; Haynt (Today), Literarishe bleter (Literary leaves), Arbeter-tsaytung, Unzer vort (Our word), Arbeter-shtime (Voice of labor), and Haoved (The worker)—in Warsaw; Unzer vort, Arbeter-vort (Workers’ word), and Kiem (Existence)—in Paris; Frimorgn (Morning) in Riga; Keneder odler (Canadian eagle) in Montreal; Renesans (Renaissance) in Vienna; Yudishe arbayter (Jewish worker) in Lemberg; Naye tsayt (New times), Unzer tsayt (Our time), and Idishe tsaytung (Jewish newspaper) in Buenos Aires; Idishe folkstsaytung (Jewish people’s newspaper) in Brazil; Nay-velt (New world), Haynt, Letste nayes (Latest news), Davar (Word), Haarets (The land), Kuntres (Pamphlet), Hapoel hatsair (Young worker), Bemaala (On the way up), Davar hashvua (Word of the week), and Kapai-yediot (News of the Palestine Workers’ Fund)—all in Israel.  In Polish: Nasz Przegląd (Our overview) and Nowiny (News) in Warsaw; Chwila (Moment) in Lemberg.  In German: Freistaat (Free state) in Berlin (1913-1914).  In Spanish: Mundo izraelita (Jewish world) in Buenos Aires.  In Hungarian: Ujkelet (New east) in Tel Aviv.  His books include: Fun shprakh-bovel tsu shprakh-eynheyt (From language Babel to language uniformity) (Buenos Aires, 1928), 105 pp.; Sotsyal-politishe etyudn (Social and political studies), with a preface by A. Bergman (Rio de Janeiro, 1929), 135 pp.; Kemfer un dikhter (Fighters and poets), with a preface by Latsky-Bertholdi (Riga, 1931), 234 pp.; Velt un heym (World and home) (Buenos Aires, 1937), 327 pp.  His other books—In fiber fun oyfboy (In the fever of construction), In fayer fun farteydikung (In the fire of defense), and Blumen un shpizn (Flowers and spears)—which were set to be published in Warsaw in 1939, were lost during the Hitler era.  He published fascinating memoirs of his youth in Pinkes kolomay (Records of Kolomaye) (New York, 1957), pp. 237-43.  He was also preparing for publication an autobiographical work entitled In eyn mesles (In one day and night).  He wrote under such pen names as: Ashi, Yurek, Samuel, Helyos, and Li-kuse.  “Every Jewish newspaper in the world,” wrote Meylekh Ravitsh, “was full of A. Sh. Yuris’s articles, and every article of his was as full as a pomegranate with love of the land of Israel and the Israeli people, as well as for Yiddish and for Hebrew and for the entire world, for Yuris was no chauvinist, and in his small figure there was a broad-hearted love for all beauty in the colorful world.”  He died in Gadara, Israel.

Sources: Biblyografishe yorbikher fun yivo (Bibliographic yearbooks from YIVO) (Warsaw, 1928); A. Bergman preface to Yuris, Sotsyal-politishe etyudn (Social and political studies) (Rio de Janeiro, 1929); Latsky-Bertholdi, preface to Yuris, Kemfer un dikhter (Fighters and poets) (Riga, 1931); Sh. Rozhanski, Dos yidishe gedrukte vort in argentine (The published Yiddish word in Argentina) (Buenos Aires, 1941); D. Tidhar, in Entsiklopediya leḥalutse hayishuv uvonav (Encyclopedia of the pioneers and builders of the yishuv), vol. 3 (Tel Aviv, 1949), pp. 1674-75; Sefer haishim (Biographical dictionary) (Tel Aviv, 1936/1937), p. 254; Meylekh Ravitsh, Mayn leksikon (My lexicon), vol. 3 (Montreal, 1958), pp. 204-5; N. M. Gelber, Toldot hatenua hatsiyonit begalitsiya (History of the Zionist movement in Galicia) (Jerusalem, 1958), see index; Y. Glants, in Der veg (Mexico City) (March 26, 1960); P. Shteynvaks, in Keneder odler (Montreal) (April 28, 1960); B. Ts. Shvartsman, in Undzer veg (New York) (April 1961).
Khayim Leyb Fuks

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