YISROEL LONDON (December 3, 1898-October 1968)
He was born in Hrubieszów, Lublin district, Poland. He was descended from a great rabbinical lineage. He was the great-grandson of the celebrated leader of the Jewish Enlightenment Yakov Rayfman. He studied in a Hebrew school, in religious elementary school, and in the Brisk (Brest) yeshiva. He acquired secular knowledge by self-study. In 1914 he made his way to Argentina. He worked as a proofreader for Der tog (The day) in Buenos Aires, published by A. Tsaytlin. Soon thereafter he returned to Poland, lived for a time in Cracow, where he worked as a news writer for Der tog, edited by Yoyne Kreft, and then he moved on to Vienna, Austria. There he became a publisher and helped to bring out (with the Hikl Publishers) the works of Shmuel-Yankev Imber, Meylekh Ravitsh, Mendl Zinger, Yankev Mestel, Ber Horovits, Dr. Nosn Birnboym (Nathan Birnbaum) in both Hebrew and Yiddish, and others as well. He contributed to Viener morgenpost (Vienna morning mail), edited and published by N. M. Raker. In 1926, together with the writer M. Gros (Gros-Tsimerman), M. Ravitsh, M. Zilburg, and M. Zinger, he founded in Vienna the publishing house Der Kval (The source). He published the “Finf niftorim” (Five deceased men)—works by Sholem-Alekhem, Y. L. Perets, Mendele Moykher-Sforim, S. S. Frug, and Y. Dinezon—edited by M. Zilburg; and the newspaper Kritik (Critic); among other items. He later moved to Berlin, helped in the publishing of such works as: the German-Hebrew publication of Lazarus Goldschmidt’s edition of the Talmud, Dovid Eynhorn’s Rekvyem (Requiem), Kh. Liberman’s Dikhter un velten (Poet and worlds). In 1921 he moved to Paris, published stories in Parizer bleter (Parisian pages), edited by A. Yakubovitsh, contributed for a long time to Parizer haynt (Paris today), edited by Sh. Y. Yatskan, and to Der tog edited by Noyekh Prilucki (1932). That year he brought out the weekly newspaper Pariz (Paris), in which he published articles on community issues and art. He remained for a time in Paris under the German occupation during WWII. In 1941 he made his way to Cuba, where he contributed to Havaner lebn (Havana life) and Havaner lebn-almanakh (Havana life almanac), edited by S. Kaplan and Y. Dubelman, essays on Dr. Chaim Zhitlovsky, Y. Tsinberg, E. Tsherikover, and others. In 1943 he reached New York. He established the publishing house of Marstin Press and received high marks for his artistic book editions. In 1957 he revived Der Kval publishers, which was well-known for its innovate editions of the works of a series of modern Yiddish poets and novelists, as well as the Yiddish translations by Sh. Y. Agnon’s A poshete mayse (A simple story [original: Sipur pashut]) and Ernest Hemingway’s Der alter un der yam (The Old Man and the Sea). London also published articles in Morgn-zhurnal (Morning journal) in New York. His own collection of paintings and sculptures by world famous artists was exhibited at the Jewish Museum in New York.
Source: Who’s Who in World Jewry (New York, 1955).
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