Thursday 6 April 2017


YITSKHOK LEYPUNER (1869-April 1943)
            He was born in Suvalk (Suwałki), Lithuania, into a family of followers of the Jewish Enlightenment.  He studied in religious elementary school and a Russian high school in Kovno, and he later graduated from the faculty of medicine at St. Petersburg University.  He lived in St. Petersburg until 1900, later settling in Warsaw.  He served as a military doctor in 1905 during the war between Russia and Japan, later returning to Warsaw.  He was a cofounder of Hazemir (The nightingale).  He was an intimate friend of Y. L. Perets and his private doctor.  Over the years 1914-1918, he served as a Russian army doctor during WWI, before returning to Poland; he was one of the most popular Jewish doctors in Warsaw.  He was the founder of philanthropic societies, of the pioneer farm Grokhov, of a Jewish agricultural association, and of Maccabi.  He gave lectures on medical issues.  He was a contributor to the progressive Russian and Russian-Jewish press in St. Petersburg and Moscow.  In Yiddish he published articles on medicine in Spektor’s Di naye velt (The new world) in Warsaw (1909-1910), and later (from 1910) he was a regular contributor to the Warsaw daily newspaper Der moment (The moment), in which, aside from medical chats which excelled in their straightforward language and popular tone, he also published chapters of his book, Fir yor in der velt-milkhome (Four years in the world war).  He also placed work in the Warsaw newspapers: Radyo (Radio); Unzer ekspres (Our express) (1925-1939); Nasz Przegląd (Our overview) in Polish; Dos kind (The child) (1924-1939); in the periodical publications of the Jewish agricultural association, such as Land un lebn (Land and life) (1927-1928), for which he served as editor, and Landkentnish (Agriculture) (1936-1938), for which he was co-editor.  His books include: Fir yor in der velt-milkhome, 1914-1918, memuarn (Four years in the world war, 1914-1918, memoirs) (Warsaw, 1923), 252 pp. (a series of images drawn from the Jewish communities in Galicia, Romania, and Russia, and personal impressions from the first revolutionary years in Russia); Aynrezenish iz erger fun a krenk (Misconception is worse than an illness), “conversations about medical issues” (Warsaw, 1928), 164 pp.  In the Warsaw Ghetto he was at first active as a doctor and part of the illegal lecturing group, later compelled to engage in physical labor (among the brush makers).  He died of exhaustion in the days of the uprising in the Warsaw Ghetto.  As a witness from the time relayed it (see Dos naye lebn [The new life] 61 [Lodz]), even in the most difficult of times in the ghetto, Dr. Leypuner encouraged everyone with his friendly humor.

Sources: Biblyografishe yorbikher fun yivo (Bibliographic yearbooks from YIVO) (Warsaw, 1928), see index; Yidish shriftn (Yiddish writings), anthology (Lodz, 1946), p. 3; B. Mark, in Dos naye lebn (Lodz) 61 (1947); Mark, Di umgekumene shrayber fun di getos un lagern (Murdered writers from the ghettos and camps) (Warsaw, 1954), p. 63; B. Kutsher, Geven amol varshe (As Warsaw once was) (Paris, 1955), see index; M. Mozes, in Fun noentn over (New York) 2 (1956), p. 298; M. Flakser, in Fun noentn over (New York) 3 (1957), p. 379; E. Ringelblum, Ksovim fun varshever geto (Writings from the Warsaw Ghetto) (Warsaw, 1961), pp. 267, 277, 339; information from his daughter-in-law Franye in New York.
Khayim Leyb Fuks

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