Tuesday 30 May 2017


            He was born in Zamość, Lublin district, Poland.  In the late 1850s, he left Zamość and lived Rava-Ruska, Kutne (Kutno), and Mlave (Mława) where he was a private tutor of Russia, Polish, and German in wealthy homes.  In 1866 he arrived in Warsaw where he became acquainted with Yisroel-Meyer Vohlman, but he did not long remain there and set out again on a wandering path.  In 1870 he again arrived in Warsaw and worked for a time as a proofreader in Yitskhok Goldman’s publishing house.  He spent the years 1873-1880 in Germany, and in 1880 he returned to Warsaw and was a frequent visitor to assimilated and Enlightened circles, where he received recognition for his knowledge of languages and his general wisdom.  He worked his entire life thereafter within the Warsaw Jewish community.  His writing activities began with short Hebrew stories on historical topics, as well as with the novel Neder yiftaḥ, sipur ahava (The vow of Yiftaḥ, a love story) (Warsaw, 1870), 71 pp., with a preface (“Mikhtav tehila” [Letter of praise]) by Y. M. Vohlman.  Neder yifta appeared in a Judeo-German translation by Y. Zeyfe from Kalish (Kalisz) (Puznów, 1972), 72 pp., and in Levinzohn’s own translation into Russian (Warsaw, 1871), 72 pp.  He also published in: Hamelits (The spectator) in Odessa; Hamagid (The preacher) in Lik; and Hatsfira (The siren) in Warsaw, where, among other items, he placed the story “Al tavuzu laganav” (Do not blame the thief) and chapters of a historical novel entitled Avotot haahava (The bonds of love).  In 1880, after a series of years of silence, he renewed his literary activity and published a comedy entitled Der kheyrem derabeynu gershon oder di vayberishe kniplekh (The ban of Rabbi Gershon or the wives’ nest-eggs), “a theatrical piece in five acts, written in verse; the story transpires in a small town in Lesser Poland” (Warsaw: Yoysef Lebenzohn, 1880), 48 pp., second printing (1882).  A comedy entitled Di vaybershe kniplekh (The wives’ nest eggs) had already been published in Vilna in 1873 (44 pp.) with the author’s name given as “Myvm” (Meyer-Yisroel Vohlman’s initials) and in Russian as “I. M. Volman.”  It had great success with audiences and soon appeared in a second printing.  In the notes to the Vilna edition of the comedy, we find: “The comedy takes place in Surban, a small town in Galicia.”  If the two editions of the comedy belong to two different authors (Vohlman and Ludvig Levinzohn) or to one of the two, and if to one—who was the original author and who the translator—this has not been clarified until now.  Levinzohn’s comedy was later—on December 14, 1928—revived in a performance by the Vilna Troupe in Warsaw (under the direction of Dovid Herman) and was again a hit with audiences.  Levinzohn published in Y. L. Perets’s Di yudishe biblyotek (The Yiddish library) (Warsaw, 1891) translations from Polish and German, among them: Eliza Orzeszkowa, “Gedalia” (issue 1, pp. 101-36).  He also translated treatises on popular science.  He died in Warsaw.  He left behind in manuscript the “Komedye in ferzen in 4 akten” (Comedy in verse in four acts) entitled Shlomke in fas (Shlomke in a barrel), as well as subsequent chapters of his novel Avotot haahava.  “Di vaybershe kniplekh which played in Hassidic environs is a comedy that excels in its simplicity, and the action develops within itself.  Everything that takes place here is natural, alive—it is no wonder that it aroused enthusiasm and was performed for many years.” (B. Gorin, Geshikhte fun yidishn teater [History of Yiddish theater], vol. 1 [New York, 1918], pp. 125-27)

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon dun der yidisher literatur un prese (1914), p. 362, with a bibliography; Zalmen Zilbertsvayg, Leksikon fun yidishn teater (Handbook of the Yiddish theater), vol. 2 (New York, 1934), with a bibliography; Z. Turkov, Shmuesn vegn teater (Chats about theater) (Buenos Aires, 1950), see index; Khayim Leyb Fuks, “Yisroel-Meyer Vohlman,” in Leksikon fun der nayer yidisher literatur (Biograpohical dictionary of modern Jewish literature), vol. 3 (New York, 1960).
Khayim Leyb Fuks

Monday 29 May 2017


ZALMEN LEVINBERG (April 22, 1909-1983)
            He was born in Talsen (Talsi), Latvia, the son of the rabbi of the city.  He was active in the Revisionist Zionist movement in Riga and chairman of Betar for Latvia and Lithuania.  He took part in the fighting of the Jewish Brigade against the Germans during WWII and later was active in “Briḥa” (underground effort to help Holocaust survivors make their way from Europe to the land of Israel).  He wrote articles for Ovntpost (Evening mail) in Riga (1932), and for a time he served also as its editor.  He was as well a contributor to Moment (Moment) in Warsaw and to various Revisionist publications in Yiddish.  From 1939 he was writing for and co-editing Hamashkif (The spectator) and the principal contributor to Maariv (Evening) in Tel Aviv.  In the remembrance volume, Yahadut latviya (Judaism in Latvia) (Tel Aviv, 1953), pp. 158-61, he placed an article on the Revisionist Zionist movement in Latvia.  He died in Tel Aviv.

Sources: D. Tidhar, in Entsiklopedyah leḥalutse hayishuv uvonav (Encyclopedia of the pioneers and builders of the yishuv), vol. 5 (Tel Aviv, 1952), p. 3143; Yitsḥak Meir, in Yahadut latviya (Judaism in Latvia) (Tel Aviv, 1953), p. 121; M. Buba, in Yahadut latviya, p. 157; Sefer hashana shel haitonim (Newspaper yearbook) (Tel Aviv, 1955/1956).
Khayim Leyb Fuks


            He was a publisher, born in Vilkovishki (Vilkaviškis), Lithuania.  In 1880 he moved to Warsaw, and in 1886 he took over (with his brother Elyohu-Zeb) their father’s publishing house under the name “Brider Levin-Epshteyn” (Brothers Levin-Epshteyn).  Aside from specially ordered religious works, they also published secular Yiddish books.  From 1890 Leyvi ran the press himself, and in 1914 he founded the Yiddish “Universal Library” in line with the example of “Reklam” editions in German and published translations of Jack London, Balzac, Heinrich Heine, Lev Tolstoy, and Friedrich Hebbel—altogether nine works.  In 1920 he contributed to the publication of the weekly newspaper Ilustrirte velt (Illustrated world) in Warsaw.  Over the years 1921-1923, he developed a particularly large publishing venture and brought out a series of original works in translation.  Leyvi’s brother ELYOHU-ZEV (ELYAHU-ZEEV LEVIN-EPSHTEYN) (born Vilkaviškis, July 22, 1963-July 18, 1932) settled in Reḥovot, Israel in 1890.  In 1932 he published Zikhronotai (My memoirs).

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 2; Getzel Kressel, Leksikon hasifrut haivrit (Handbook of Hebrew literature) (Merḥavya, 1967), vol. 2.

Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), cols. 348-49.


SHMARYAHU LEVIN (1867-June 9, 1935)
            He was born in Svisloch (Svislovits), Byelorussia.  He attended religious elementary school and yeshiva.  He later turned his attention to secular subject matter, graduating from a senior high school in Minsk and going on to study at the Universities of Königsberg and Berlin and receiving his doctor of philosophy degree.  He joined the Ḥoveve-tsiyon (Lovers of Zion) movement in Minsk, while he was a student there, and he was later influenced by Aḥad Haam’s idea of a “Merkaz ruḥani” (Spiritual center) in the land of Israel.  In his student years in Berlin, he founded (together with Leo Motzkin) the union of Jewish students in Russia.  After completing his university studies, he lived for several years in Warsaw, where he worked for Aḥiasef publishing house and compiled on commission for the press an anthology of Hebrew poetry entitled Shirat yisrael, mivḥar hashira haivrit mikadmuta vead haet haaḥarona (Poetry of Israel, a selection of Hebrew poems from the beginning to the latest era) (Warsaw, 1896), 96 pp.  Over the years 1896-1898, he served as crown rabbi in Grodno and Ekaterinoslav.  In 1904 the Reform synagogue of the followers of the Jewish Enlightenment in Vilna—Taharat Hakodesh—accepted him as rabbi and preacher.  Levin was a brilliant speaker, and his sermons always attracted a large crowd, quickly making him well-known and beloved in Vilna Zionist-inclined circles.  In 1906 he was elected on the national list as a deputy from Vilna to the first State Duma.  Afterward, as the Tsarist reaction dispersed the Duma, Levin was among the deputies who signed the historic Viborg appeal.  The Black Hundreds, who at that time murdered the Jewish deputy cadets, Grigori Iollos and Mikhail Herzenstein, had him on their list, but he saw that the time was right to make his escape to Berlin.  He began writing in Hebrew during his period in Warsaw.  He published his first journalistic articles in Hamagid (The preacher).  Over the years 1900-1902, he wrote for Hashiloa (The shiloah) a monthly survey of Jewish life around the world.  In 1903 he published articles in Fraynd (Friend) in St. Petersburg, and he later contributed work to Di naye velt (The new world) and after the 1905 Revolution to the weekly newspaper Dos yudishe folk (The Jewish people) which was founded by the Zionist Organization on his initiative in Vilna.  In 1906 he was working at a position in the Benevolent Society for German Jewry in Berlin.  Theoretically well-versed with technology from his years in senior high school, he was especially drawn to the plan which originated at that time in Zionist circles in Berlin to create a technical school in Haifa.  In the interest of such a plan, in late 1906 he made his first trip to the United States, and his efforts provided considerably for the rise of this technical school in Haifa.  At the tenth Zionist congress in 1911, he was elected to the Action Committee, and from that point he became a leading force in the general Zionist movement.  He spent the years of WWI in America and Canada.  In addition to his Zionist party work, in this period he often published journalistic articles and essays in Yiddish newspapers in New York, especiually in Di varhayt (The truth).  Together with Y. D. Berkovitsh, he edited the journal Hatoran (The duty officer) in New York, and he published in book form: In milkhome-tsaytn, bleter fun a tog-bukh (In wartime, pages from a diary), vol. 1 (New York, 1915), 317 pp., vol. 2 (New York, 1917), 316 pp.  In the first volume, entitled “Undzer eygene milkhome” (Our own war), he dealt with the language fight which arose around the technical school.  In 1920 he became director of the Jewish Agency.  Levin was one of the most important leaders in the Jewish National Fund, and on his assignments over the course of several years he traveled throughout Western Europe, North and South America, and South Africa.  Levin’s own sayings and anecdotes and those of his that were retold by others belong to the pearls of Jewish humor.  He was a sharp polemicist in writing and in speech.  From 1924 he was a permanent resident of Haifa, where from time to time he published articles in the Hebrew press.  He worked for the publisher Devir, and he cooperated with all the campaigns on behalf of the technical school in Haifa and for the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.  From September 1928 he published for several years in Forverts (Forward): “Zikhroynes fun mayn lebn” (Memoirs of my life), which included, in addition to his own experiences and efforts, the most important national and social events in Jewish life from the last decade of the nineteenth century.  This work also appeared in Hebrew as Mizikhronot ḥayai (From the memories of my life) (Tel Aviv: Devir, 1935-1942), 4 vols.  It has also been published in English translation as The Arena (New York, 1932), 305 pp.[1]  A German translation also appeared in Berlin.  He died in Haifa.

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 2; D. Tidhar, in Entsiklopedyah leḥalutse hayishuv uvonav (Encyclopedia of the pioneers and builders of the yishuv), vol. 4 (Tel Aviv, 1950), pp. 1855-56; P. Vyernik, in Morgn-zhurnal (New York) (April 7, 1932); H. Rogof, in Forverts (New York) (May 8, 1932); Tsvi Vislavski (Zevi Wislavsky), Yeḥidim bireshut harabim (Individuals in the public domain) (New York, 1943), see index; Kh. Garber, in Grodner opklangen (Grodno echoes) (Buenos Aires) 5-6 (1951); Dr. M. Reyzen, Groyse yidn vos ikh hob gekent (Great Jews whom I have known) (New York, 1950), see index; D. Perski, in Hadoar (New York) (January 6, 1952; Iyar 26 [= May 12], 1961); Y. Meyerson, in Keneder odler (Montreal) (April 1, 1954); Vl. Grosman, Amol un haynt (Then and now) (Paris, 1955), p. 35; M. Ravitsh, Mayn leksikon (My lexicon) (Montreal, 1958), see index; Dov Sadan, Kearat tsimukim (A bowl of raisins) (Tel Aviv, 1950); Sadan, Kearat egozim o elef bediha ubediha, asufat humor be-yisrael (A bowl of nuts or one thousand and one jokes, an anthology of humor in Israel) (Tel Aviv, 1953); A. L. Hurvits, Zikhronot meḥanekh ivri (Memoirs of a Jewish educator) (Jerusalem-Tel Aviv, 1959/1960), vol. 1, pp. 162-64; K. Blumenfeld, in Haarets (Tel Aviv) (Sivan 8 [= June 3], 1960); M. Ḥizkuni, in Bitsaron (New York) (Sivan-Tamuz [= May-July] 1960), pp. 114-15; Dr. Israel Klausner, Opozitsya lehertsl (Opposition to Herzl) (Jerusalem, 1959/1960), see index; Bitsaron (Kislev [= November-December] 1960), pp. 106-12; A. Kritshmar-Yizraeli, in Tog-morgn-zhurnal (New York) (April 22, 1961).
Borekh Tshubinski

[1] Translator’s note.  This is actually the title of the first part of Levin’s autobiography.  Two further parts, equally long, followed.  They were all published as Forward from Exile: The Autobiography of Shmarya Levin (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society of America, 1967), 3 vols. (JAF)

Sunday 28 May 2017


            He came from Bialystok, Russian Poland.  He lived in Odessa, Warsaw, and Lodz.  He was a well-known wedding entertainer in his day.  He published poetry, parodies, and Zionist motifs (mainly under the pen name Shakhal or “Der badkhn oys byalistok” [The entertainer from Bialystok]) in: Kol mevaser (Herald) in Odessa; Hamagid (The preacher) in Lik; M. Spektor’s Dos viderkol (The echo) in Warsaw, some of which were later included in his poetry pamphlets: Shire hazman, oder folks-lieder (Poems of the times, or popular poetry) (Warsaw, 1901), 28 pp.; and Shire khayim oder finef lebens-lieder (Poems of life or five life poems) (Warsaw, 1901), 32 pp.  The latter included: “Der gortn” (The garden), “Di aristokratye” (The aristocracy), “Di kotsh” (The coach), “Az men ken nit, men vayst nit, nemt men zikh nit unter” (If you don’t recognize or know it, you don’t undertake it), and “Men muz kukn un shvaygn shitl” (One must look and remain silent).  The last two of these were sung as folk songs.

Sources: P., in Der fraynd (St. Petersburg) (January 11, 1905); following materials in the
Library of the Lubavitcher Rebbe.
Khayim Leyb Fuks


SHMUEL-DOVID LEVIN (April 15, 1900-August 1944)
            The brother of Meshulem Levin, he was born in Loyvitsh (Lovich, Łowicz), Warsaw district, Poland.  He attended religious primary school, yeshiva, and later the Vilna teachers’ course of study run by Tarbut and the teachers’ course run by Tsisho (Central Jewish School Organization); he worked as a teacher in the secular Jewish schools in Łowicz and Warsaw.  He was a cofounder of the Labor Zionist organization and a member of the Jewish community administration in Łowicz.  From 1928 he was publishing poetry in: Lodzer folksblat (Lodz people’s newspaper); and Literarishe bleter (Literary leaves), Arbeter-tsaytung (Workers’ newspaper), and Dos vort (The word) in Warsaw; among others.  During the Nazi occupation, he was confined in the Lodz ghetto, from where he was evacuated in 1944 to Auschwitz and murdered there.

Source: Information from his brother, Meshulem, in Paris, and from N. Mayzil.
Khayim Leyb Fuks


SHMUEL-KHAYIM LEVIN (SAMUEL LEWIN) (March 5, 1890-June 3, 1959)
            He was born in Konskivolye (Konskowola), Lublin district, Poland.  Until age sixteen he attended religious elementary school, synagogue study hall, and yeshiva.  The poverty in his home was extreme and the young Shmuel suffered enormously for just a piece of bread: he sold green apples on the railway line between Pulav (Pulawy) and Lublin, was a journeyman for a tradesman, went homeless in a variety of cities in Poland and Russia—as far away as Bukhara—and he suffered tuberculosis from childhood until his thirties.  In 1912 he left for Argentina, and there he would become a colonist.  A week before WWI broke out, he returned to Poland.  In 1920 he was sent off to Berlin, and in 1934, after Hitler came to power, he had to flee from there.  He wandered with his family through Europe for two years, until they reached the United States in 1936.  He began writing early in Life, but he only first published in 1917 in Lubliner togblat (Lublin daily newspaper).  From then on, he contributed work to: Di tsayt (The times) in Kovno; Folks-tsaytung (People’s newspaper), Bikher-velt (Book world), and Hatekufa (The epoch) in Warsaw; Fraye shriftn (Free writings) in Berlin); Dos naye leben (The new life), Di tsukunft (The future), Morgn-tsaytung (Morning newspaper), Tog (Day), Ikuf (IKUF [= Jewish cultural association]), and Hamer (Hammer) in New York; Di prese (The press) in Buenos Aires; Hamburger Familienblatt (Hamburg family newspaper); L’univers (The universe); and Forum; among others.  In book form: A sreyfe, drama in dray aktn (A fire, drama in three acts) (Warsaw: Tsentral-farlag, 1919), 85 pp.; Far zind, drama in dray aktn (For sins, drama in three acts) (Warsaw: Tsentral-farlag, 1919), 73 pp.; Gezang fun doyres, roman (Song of generation, a novel) (Warsaw: Brzhoza, 1928), 550 pp.; Kegn himl (Against heaven), stories (Warsaw: Brzhoza, 1935), 130 pp.; In goles, drame in 5 aktn mit an epilog (In the diaspora, drama in five acts with an epilogue) (Warsaw: Brzhoza, 1935), 132 pp. (confiscated by the Polish government); Khezyoynes (Visions), a poem (New York: Biderman, 1941), 80 pp.; Tsvishn tsvey thomen, trilogye (Between two abysses, trilogy) (Buenos Aires, 1959), vol. 1, 437 pp.; Shvarts berg un bloye toln (Dark mountains and blue valleys), vol. 2 (Buenos Aires, 1962), 368 pp.; Volkn-gedrang (Rush of clouds) (Tel Aviv: Hamenorah, 1970), 394 pp.[1] Tsurik in der heym (Back home) (New York: Shulzinger, 1980), 262 pp.  In German translation: Chassidische Legende (Hassidic legends), trans. Arno Nadel, with woodcuts by Y. Budko (Berlin: Rathenau & Horodisch, 1925), 84 pp., three printings; Dämonen des Blutes (Demons of the blood), trans. R. Beatus (Berlin: Der Syndikalist, 1926), 151 pp.; Zeitwende, Roman (Turning point, a novel) (Berlin: Soncino Society, 1926), 331 pp.; Gesichte (Visions), poetry in blank verse (Berlin: Horodisch & Marx, 1928), 127 pp.; Und er kehrte heim, Roman (And he returned home, a novel) (Vienna-Jerusalem: R. Löwit, 1936), 350 pp., with a preface by Franz Werfel—in Yiddish the novel was known as Der hoyfzinger (The court singer) (New York: Morgn-zhurnal, 1936).  In English translation: The Impatient Sages, a Legend (New York, 1948), 79 pp., translated by his son Jeremiah Lewin and with woodcuts by Joseph Budko.  In addition, we have Levin’s translation from the Russian: G. A. Gurev, Darvinizm un ateizm (Darwinism and atheism) (New York, 1931), 226 pp.  Being prepared for publication as well is Dov Sadan’s Hebrew translation of Chassidische Legende.  Levin wrote a great deal and quickly acquired a name in the literary world, both the non-Jewish and Jewish worlds.  Some of his writings were published in translation directly from manuscript and only later in Yiddish.  He was translated into Polish, German, English, French, Dutch, and Hebrew.  Many words of praise have been enunciated by Franz Werfel, Rudolf Rocker, and others.  In Nazi Germany, they openly burned his German-language books.  He spent his last years in New York, all but completely forgotten.  He interacted almost not at all among other people, but he did not cease writing.  He died in the Bronx, New York.  He left in his bequest in manuscript: novels, plays, and stories; and his widow Miriam Lewin published them bit by bit.  She also translated his books into German.  Among the surviving, unpublished dramas were: “In goles,” “Gekroynt vert ashmoday” (Ashmodai is crowned), “Kdoyshim kemfn” (The saintly ones fight on), “Der rebns gese” (The rebbe’s breed), “Vunder-erd” (Wonder land), and “A yid an akshn” (An obstinate man).  His trilogy is now being translated into French by Arnold Mandel, with the first volume already in production.  “This is a book,” wrote Shmuel Niger, “that lives with what should be, not just with what exists or once existed.  It is a dream of the future, which clings to the deepest roots of the past and flutters among the broadest wings of the present.  It lights up legends and dreams in ideals.  This is what Perets sought so fervently and thirstily.  It is, in fact, a continuation of Perets’s idealism, of Perets’s ethical romanticism, an echo of old Reb Shloyme’s song in the ‘golden chain.’”  “Levin drained the cup of Jewish fate,” noted Franz Werfel, “of the Jewish mission to the very bottom, and so was his talent so great that it dealt with the problem not with a writing voice.  Not with laments, not with clenched fists did he make accusations, no!  His tone was agreeably quiet.  And his hand which leads the reader—strong and sure and gentle.”

Sources: In Yiddish: Zalmen Zilbertsvayg, Leksikon fun yidishn teater (Handbook of the Yiddish theater), vol. 2 (New York, 1934); Y. Stupnitski, in Lubliner togblat (February 1920); Rudolf Rocker, in Fraye arbeter-shtime (New York) (January 30, 1925); Shmuel Niger, in Tsukunft (New York) (April 1928); A. Katsizne, in Bikher-velt (Warsaw) (June 1928); F. Tsenzur, in Fraye shriftn (Berlin-Warsaw) (November 1928); Dr. V. Nayman, in Yidishe velt (Philadelphia) (February 1941); Dr. L. Zhitnitski, in Di prese (Buenos Aires) (January 1942); obituary notices in Tog-morgn-zhurnal (New York) and Forverts (New York) (June 5, 1959), and in Morgn-frayhayt (New York) (June 7, 1959); Sh. Rozenberg, in Der amerikaner (New York) (December 18, 1959); H. Fenster, in Literarishe heftn (Paris) (January 1960); Chaim Grade, in Fraye arbeter-shtime (August 15, 1960).  In Polish: Dr. M. Binshtok, in Chwila (Lemberg) (January 1920).  In German: A. Yitzhaki, in Jüdische Rundschau (Berlin) (May 8, 1921); Franz Werfel, in Jüdische Rundschau (January 1936); Dr. Weltsch, Selbstwehr (Prague) (January 17, 1936).  In Dutch: Y. H., in De Joodsche Wachter (Amsterdam) (January 31, 1936).  In English: obituary in New York Times (June 5, 1959).
Yankev Birnboym

[Additional information from: Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 348.]

[1] Translator’s note.  There is a full English translation by Joseph Leftwich in three parts: Between Two Abysses, Dark Mountains and Blue Valleys, and  Shining through the Clouds (New York: Cornwall Books, 1988); and Hebrew translation by Shimshon Meltser, Ben shene tehomot (Between two abysses) (Tel Aviv: Hamenorah, 1970). (JAF)


SHMUEL LEVIN (late 19th century-1942)
            He came from Warsaw, Poland.  He was the creator of a Yiddish publishing house.  He authored several booklets of poetry and folktales, such as: Naye folkslider (New folksongs)—“Der paskarzh” (The nasty boy), “Kegn got in keyn rot” (You can’t oppose God), “Yidele lakht” (The little Jew laughs), “Kaptsn antloyft” (The pauper runs away), and “Afn beys oylem” (At the cemetery)—(Warsaw, 1920), 16 pp.; Naye folks aforizmen un glaykhvertlekh (New folk aphorisms and witticisms) (Warsaw, 1922), 16 pp.; 6 naye folkslider (Six new folksongs) (Warsaw, 1922), 8 pp.  And, stories: Yudyets der khosn un shmaye der shadkhn (Yudyets the groom and Shmaye the matchmaker) (Warsaw, 1923) 32 pp.; Tsvey vayse khevrenike oder tsvey fayne layt (Two innocent guys or two fine men) (Warsaw, 1923), 16 pp.; Di vunder fun senyavker beys-oylem (The wonder of the Senyavker Cemetery) (Warsaw, 1924), 28 pp.; Di vayse perl (The white pearls) (Warsaw, 1925), 16 pp.; Di grobe yunge ameratsim (The crude young boors) (Warsaw, 1926), 32 pp.; Der vayberisher diment (The woman’s diamond) (Warsaw, 1927), 16 pp.; Der tsveyendiker get (The double divorce) (Warsaw, 1928), 30 pp.; Di untsufridene froy, tsvey khasanim un eyn kale (The discontented woman, two grooms and one bride) (Warsaw, 1928), 32 pp.; Der khazn un der bal shem (The cantor and the miracle worker) (Warsaw, 1928), 16 pp. (this is an abridged version of A. M. Dik’s novel Di orkhim fun duratshesok [The visitors from Foolstown]); Di dertrunkene tsvey shvester yesoymim (The two drowned orphan sisters) (Warsaw, 1929), 32 pp.  He was murdered by the Nazi authorities in the Warsaw Ghetto.

Source: Kh. Liberman, in Kiryat sefer (Jerusalem) 23 (1947/1948).
Khayim Leyb Fuks


SHMUEL LEVIN (1883-October 28, 1941)
            He was born in Vilkovishki (Vilkaviškis), Kovno district, Lithuania.  He was orphaned in his youth.  He attended religious elementary school until age twelve.  He graduated from the Vilna teachers’ institute in 1908, and for a time he worked as a teacher in a Russian state school in Cherikov, Byelorussia.  In 1913 he received his doctoral degree in philosophy and law from the University of Geneva.  After WWI he moved to Kovno where he was an active leader in secular Jewish schools and culture, a member of the psychology and pedagogy section of YIVO, and a cofounder of the Kultur-lige (Culture League), the Jewish middle school, and the people’s university.  Over the years 1930-1939, he was director of the Jewish commercial high school in Kovno.  He published articles on psychological and pedagogical issues in: Folksblat (People’s newspaper) in Kovno; and Vilner tog (Vilna day); among other serials.  In the Shriftn far psikhologye un pedagogye (Writings on psychology and pedagogy) (Vilna) 1 (1933), he published his essay: “Di psikhologye fun leyenen” (The psychology of reading), pp. 143-72.  Together with Y. Mark, Dr. M. Sudarski, and others, he edited the publication Der veg tsu der yidisher visnshaft (The path to Jewish scholarship); and alone he edited 10 yor yidishe komerts-shul in kovne (Ten years of the Jewish commercial school in Kovno) (1936), 96 pp.  He was murdered by the Nazis during the great Aktion of October 28, 1941 in Kovno.

Sources: Biblyografishe yorbikher fun yivo (Bibliographic yearbooks from YIVO) (Warsaw, 1928), see index; Dr. M. Sudarski, in Litvisher yid (New York) (April-May 1946); M. Mandelman, in the anthology Lite (Lithuania) (New York, 1951), see index; A. Golomb, A halber yorhundert yidishe dertsiung (A half-century of Jewish education) (Rio de Janeiro, 1957), p. 102; Y. Gar, Viderklangen, oytobyografishe fartseykhenungen (Echoes, autobiographical jottings) (Tel Aviv: Perets Publ., 1961), pp. 105-14; information from Yudel Mark in New York.


SHOLEM LEVIN (1877-February 2, 1968)
            He was born in Belinets (Belynichi), Mohilev (Mogilev) district, Byelorussia, the son of a Talmud instructor.  In his youth he worked as a bookbinder and became involved in the revolutionary movement.  After the founding of the Bund in 1897, he became an active Bundist.  For many he worked with the secret publisher of the party.  He later worked as a printer for the legal Bundist newspapers Folks-tsaytung (People’s newspaper) and Hofnung (Hope) in Vilna (1906-1907).  In 1910 he was arrested in Vilna and exiled to Siberia, and from there he made his way in 1912 to the United States.  After the Russian revolution of 1917-1918, he joined the Communists.  He published a book of memoirs entitled Untererdishe kemfer (Underground fighter), edited with an introduction by Moyshe Katz (New York, 1946), 381 pp.  He died in New York.

Sources: P. Kurski, Gezamlte shriftn (Collected writings) (New York, 1952), p. 356; M. Katz, in Yidishe kultur (New York) (1956); Abram dem Tate (Leyb Blekhman), Bleter fun mayn yugnt (Pages from my youth) (New York, 1959), pp. 52, 53, 158.
Zaynvl Diamant


SHOYEL LEVIN (1856-1938)
            He was born in Vilna, Lithuania.  Until 1919 he was a private tutor in Vilna, and he then settled in Lomzhe.  Until the age of seventy-six, he lived as an assimilated Jew, but in 1932 under the influence of rising anti-Semitism, he became active in the Zionist movement.  He was a member of the editorial board of Lomzher shtime (Voice of Lomzhe) (1923-1938), in which, aside from articles about popular science, he also published poems, fables, and translations from German and Russian (also under the pen name Halevi).  He also wrote for Dos naye leben (The new life) in Bialystok and Voliner shtime (Voice of Volhynia), as well as for a series of provincial Yiddish newspapers.  He died in Lomzhe.

Sources: Lomzher shtime (July 19, 1938); Yom-Tov Levinski, in the anthology Lomzhe (New York, 1957), p. 232.
Khayim Leyb Fuks


ROKHL LEVIN (b. October 14, 1914)
            She was born in Zhitomir, Ukraine.  She survived the pogroms of 1918-1920 in a children’s home for war orphans.  In 1922 she arrived in New York where she attended an English elementary school, Workmen’s Circle middle school, and the Jewish teachers’ seminary.  She graduated in 1933 from Hunter College and went on to study at the Art Student League in New York where she specialized in woven tapestries (several of which were on display at the annual exhibition of the League in 1962).  For a time she worked as a typist for Dr. Chaim Zhitlovsky, later as a secretary for the American division of YIVO.  Over the years 1934-1952, she was editorial secretary for Tog (Day) in New York, where she published—in addition to articles and music reviews—translations from English and in the English section from the newspaper.  She also translated a number of newspaper novels.  She ran the Sunday women’s page (1956-1957) of Tog-morgn-zhurnal (Day-morning journal).  She also contributed articles and stories to Eynikeyt (Unity) (1947-1952) and Yidishe kultur (Jewish culture)—in New York—among others.  Over the years 1953-1957, she wrote Yiddish programs for the radio station WEVD and for a English-language Jewish television program.  From 1958 she was working as administrative secretary for the Committee for Yiddish in high schools in New York.  She also published under such pen names as: Evelyn Goldin and Eva Gamelet.  She was last living in New York.
Khayim Leyb Fuks

Saturday 27 May 2017


TSVI LEVIN (b. 1895)
            He was born in Kaidanov, Byelorussia.  He attended religious elementary school, synagogue study chamber, and later a high school.  He represented the Labor Zionists at Zionist congresses.  He was a member of the central committee of the Labor Zionists in France and of the Zionists’ “action committee.”  In the years of the Nazi occupation of France, he played a leading role in the underground resistance movement.  He initiated the action that saved thousands of Jewish children from the Nazi realm and brought them to Switzerland and Italy.  He was cofounder of a number of Jewish institutions in Paris (Federation of Jewish Communities, Yiddish-Hebrew Teachers’ Seminary, and the Jewish Community Association, among others).  His journalistic work began in the Labor Zionist press in Lithuania and Poland, and from 1918 with Haynt (Today) in Warsaw.  He was a contributor to the illegal Labor Zionist press in the underground in France and the first editor of Unzer vort (Our word) in Paris (1944-1946).  His work was also published in: Dos vort (The word) in Warsaw; Parizer haynt (Paris today) and Kiem (Existence) in Paris.  He was last living in Paris, a member of the editorial board of Unzer vort.
Khayim Leyb Fuks


            She was a teacher in a Jewish public school in Minsk and other cities of Byelorussia.  With A. Lasker, she compiled Unzer sotsyalistishe heym (Our socialist home), a textbook (Minsk, 1932), 162 pp.  Biographical details about her remain unknown.

Sources: M. Liberman, in Oktyabr (Minsk) 35 (1933); Chone Shmeruk, comp., Pirsumim yehudiim babrit-hamoatsot, 1917-1961 (Jewish publications in the Soviet Union, 1917-1961) (Jerusalem, 1961), see index.
Khayim Leyb Fuks

Friday 26 May 2017


PINKHES LEVIN (1902-Iyar [= April-May] 1980)
            The brother of Yitskhok-Meyer Levin, he was born in Ger, near Warsaw, Poland.  Until 1937 he was among the top leaders in Agudat Yisrael in Poland, later settling in Israel, where he served as one of the main leaders in the Orthodox educational movement.  From 1925 he contributed to the Orthodox press in Poland, Israel, and other countries.  He contributed to: Dos yudishe togblat (The Jewish daily newspaper) in Warsaw; Der idisher arbayter (The Jewish worker), Beys yankev zhurnal (Beys Yankev journal), and Ortodoksishe yugend-bleter (Orthodox youth pages)—in Lodz-Warsaw; and elsewhere.  He was editor of the daily newspaper Hamodia (The herald) in Jerusalem and of the monthly Bet yaakov (Bet Yaakov) in Tel Aviv.  He also placed work in: Dos yudishe vort (The Jewish word) in New York; Di idishe vokh (The Jewish week) in London; and elsewhere.  He also wrote under such pen names as: P. Cohen, Pinkhes, Yude Sefer, and Hakohen.  He died in Jerusalem.

Source: Sefer hashana shel haitonim (Newspaper yearbook) (Tel Aviv, 1957/1958-1960/1961).
Khayim Leyb Fuks


S. D. LEVINE (SHMUEL-DOVID LEVIN) (January 10, 1885-December 31, 1977)
            He was born in Mikhailishok (Mikališkis), Vilna region, to a father who was a ritual slaughterer.  He attended religious elementary schools and the yeshivas of Smargon (Smorgon), Ilye (Ilya), and Orshe (Orshi).  In 1900 he came to the United States and settled in Chelsea, near Boston, where he attended an English school.  In 1905 he became an active member of the American Socialist Party and secretary of the Jewish divisions of the Socialist Party in Massachusetts.  After the 1919 split in the Socialist Party, he went with the leftists.  He began journalistic activities with Forverts (Forward) in New York, in which around 1905 he published notices about the socialist labor movement in Massachusetts.  He later published articles about community and political life in Boston.  In 1909 he became assistant representative for the Boston division of Forverts and the official Boston correspondent for the newspaper.  In 1920 (using the pen name Joe Kramer) he sent in correspondence pieces from Boston to the leftist weekly newspaper Der emes (The truth) in New York.  In 1922 he became representative of the New York-based Frayhayt (Freedom) from Boston, and from that point on he was linked with this newspaper, as well as with Morgn-frayhayt (Morning freedom).  His books include: 50 yor forverts, di rol fun forverts in dem idishn lebn (Fifty years at the Forverts, the role of the Forverts in Jewish life) (New York, 1948), 64 pp.; Heldn fun folk, biografyes fun barimte amerikaner frayhayts-kemfer, historishe pasirungen (Heroes of the people, biographies of important American freedom fighters, historical events) (New York, 1956), 256 pp.; Kapitlen fun mayn lebn, zikhroynes (Chapters from my life, memoirs) (New York, 1971), 288 pp.  His pen names: Shmuel-Dovid, Mikhailishok, and V. Seldin.  He died in New York.

Sources: M. Nadir, in Morgn-frayhayt (New York) (December 22, 1934); A. Pomerants, Proletpen (Proletarian pen) (Kiev, 1935), p. 213; Y. B. Beylin, in Morgn-frayhayt (September 24, 1955; December 9, 1956); Z. Vaynper, in Yidishe kultur (New York) (December 1956); R. Yuklson, in Yidishe kultur (August-September 1957).
Benyomen Elis

[Additional information from: Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 348.]


NOKHUM LEVIN (1908-1950)

            He was a literary critic, journalist, and editor, born in Minsk, Byelorussia, into a laboring family. He attended religious elementary school and later a high school; in 1927 he graduated from the Yiddish division of the literature department of the Second Moscow State University. He worked as a teacher of history and literature in Jewish middle schools in Homyel' (Gomel) and Minsk, and later at the theater school of the Moscow Yiddish State Theater, while at the same time contributing to: Oktyabr (October), Shtern (Star), Yunger arbeter (Young worker), and Yunger leninyets (Young Leninist)—in Minsk; Shtern in Kharkov; Birobidzhaner shtern (Birobidzhan star); and other serials. He was an editor and internal contributor to Der emes (The truth) and to the publishing house of “Der emes” in Moscow, for which he edited the works of Soviet Yiddish writers and translated for the press a number of textbooks for Jewish schools, among other items: N. Ribkin, Zamlung ufgabes af geometrye far der mitlshul (Collection of problems in geometry for the middle school); Aleksey I. Gukovski and Orest V. Trakhtenberg, Di epokhe fun feodalizm, lernbukh far der mitlshul (The era of feudalism, textbook for middle school [original: Istoriia epokha feodalizma, uchebnik dli︠a︡ srednei shkoly) (Moscow: Emes, 1934), 347 pp.; A. S. Barkov, Fizishe geografye (Physical geography); and the five-volume Geshikhte fun fss"r (History of the USSR [original: Historiia SSSR]), ed. Anna M. Pankratova (Moscow: Emes, 1941); among other works. Together with Kh. Ayzman, he wrote the pamphlet Gezerd un internatsyonale kinder-dertsiung (Gezerd [All-Union Association for the Agricultural Settlement of Jewish Workers in the USSR] and international children’s education) (Moscow: Central Gezerd Management, 1930), 28 pp.

As a lieutenant he took part in the battles against the Nazis on all fronts—from Moscow to Berlin—and he was decorated with medals and awards. In 1945 and early 1946 he was in the army in the Far East. He was an editor with the Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee and head of the literature division of the newspaper Eynikeyt (Unity); he published reviews of Yiddish books and of performances of Yiddish theater, and he actively contributed to Jewish cultural life in Moscow. People who knew him personally believed that there was lost in him a genuine prose writer and playwright, but first and foremost he was a brilliant editor. He was treasured as such, even by the likes of Dovid Bergelson whose novel Bayn dnyepr (By the Dnieper) Levin edited. Thereafter, until the liquidation of Yiddish culture, he contributed to Eynikeyt in Moscow and to Emes publishers. For the Moscow Yiddish theater, he translated plays by Molière and Goldoni. Among his other literary translations: Maxim Gorky, Dos lebn fun klim samgin (The life of Klim Sangin [original: Zhizn' Klima Sangina]); and Lion Feuchtwanger, Di mishpokhe openhaym (The family Oppenheim [original: Die Geschwister Oppenheim]).

When the Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee and the newspaper Eynikeyt were closed down, he worked for a time as an editor at the Moscow publisher “Fizkul'tura i sport” (Physical culture and sport), but he was arrested on September 16, 1949. In response to inquiries from his family about his fate, they received an official document that he had died of heart failure on December 26, 1952. In fact, he was shot on November 23, 1950 in a camp.

Sources: Y. Vitkin, in Oktyabr (Minsk) 76 (1935); A. Roytblat, in Shtern (Kharkov) 279 (1935); T. Gen, in Eynikeyt (Moscow) (October 2, 1945); M. Notovitsh, in Yidishe kultur (New York) (December 1945); N. Mayzil, Dos yidishe shafn un der yidisher arbeter in sovetn-farband (Jewish creation and the Jewish worker in the Soviet Union) (New York, 1959), see index; Chone Shmeruk, comp., Pirsumim yehudiim babrit-hamoatsot, 1917-1961 (Jewish publications in the Soviet Union, 1917-1961) (Jerusalem, 1961), see index; information from Y. Emyot in Rochester, New York, and Y. Birnboym and H. Vinokur in New York.

Khayim Leyb Fuks

[Additional information from: Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 348; Chaim Beider, Leksikon fun yidishe shrayber in ratn-farband (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers in the Soviet Union), ed. Boris Sandler and Gennady Estraikh (New York: Congress for Jewish Culture, Inc., 2011), pp. 217-18.]


            He was born near Kobrin, Grodno district, Russian Poland.  He was a religious judge in Kobrin, Ivenits (Iwieniec), and other towns.  From 1897 until WWI, he was a preacher initially in Vilna and later in Warsaw.  In 1914 he returned to Kobrin.  He authored a number of religious texts in older Yiddish.  Among his writings: Binyan yerusholayim (Building up of Jerusalem), “tales from the Jerusalem Talmud that are not carried in the Ein Yaakov” (Warsaw, 1864); Asara maamarot (Ten essays) (Königsberg-Kobrin, 1864), 22 pp.; Kol demama daka (A small voice of silence) (Pyetrikov, 1905), 48 pp.; Mashieḥ ben yosef (The Messiah, son of Joseph) (Pyetrikov, 1905), 32 pp.  In Yiddish: Seyfer am sgule (A chosen people), “in this volume will be demonstrated with genuine proofs based on Thirteen Principles in which a Jew must believe.  The author has written this text, drawn from his other works, in Yiddish to show grace to all wives and children, who now need that their father heed the health of the house that it remain firmly along the lines of Torah and faith” (Warsaw, 1889), 124 pp.; Der idishe luft balon, migdal haporeaḥ beavir (The Jewish air balloon), with a preface in Hebrew, improved with notes by Ben-Tsien Alfes (Warsaw, 1912), 40 pp.; Emes veemune (Truth and belief) (Warsaw, 1908), 47 pp.  All of these religious texts and booklets were signed “Noyekh-Khayim Ben-Moyshe from Kobrin,” and may be found now at the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York.  He died in Kobrin.

Sources: Set eked sefarim, p. 111; N. Sokolov, Sefer zikaron (Volume of remembrance) (Warsaw, 1889), p. 64; Evreiskaia entsiklopediya (Jewish encyclopedia), vol. 10.
Khayim Leyb Fuks


MESHULEM LEVIN (b. March 15, 1903)
            He was born in Loyvitsh (Lovich, Łowicz), Warsaw district, Poland.  He was a grandson of the Polish Jewish musician Shloyme-Arn Shtift and a nephew of the composer and playwright Herman Shtift.  He attended religious primary school and a Polish Jewish high school in Lodz, later studying at a conservatory and university in Nancy, France, where (in 1928) he graduated as a lawyer.  He then returned to Lodz, and in 1937 once again came and settled in France.  He was a member of the central committee of the Labor Zionist-Hitaḥdut (unity) party in France, a member of the central committee of the Jewish community federation, and a member of the executive of the Parisian bureau of the World Jewish Culture Congress, among other posts.  He began writing articles on economic issues in the monthly Der soykher (The merchant) in Lodz (1934-1935).  From 1946 he was a regular contributor to the daily newspaper Unzer vort (Our word) in Paris, in which he was also in charge of a column entitled “Yuridishe opteylung” (Legal department).  He contributed to: Arbeter-vort (Workers’ word) and Kultur-yedies (Cultural information) in Paris (1949-1951); Yivo-bleter (Pages from YIVO) in New York (1952), pp. 364-68; Almanakh fun yidishe shrayber (Almanac of Yiddish writers) (Paris) 1 (1955), an enlarged treatment of Shtift; “Der natsyonaler oyfn fun unzer negine” (The ethnic manner of our music), Almanakh fun yidishe shrayber 2 (1960); and Ilustrirte literarishe bleter (Illustrated literary leaves) (Buenos Aires); among others.  He wrote the music for a number of poems by Yiddish poets.  His cantata to a text by Dr. M. Dvorzhetski (Mark Dvorzetsky), “Hayinu keḥolemim” (We were like dreamers) was performed in 1953 in Paris at the Palais de Chaillot.  His compositions “Khsidishe rapsodye” (Hassidic rhapsody) and “Elegye nokhn shtetl” (Elegy for a town) were recorded on record albums.  He served as editor of Tygodnik handlowy (Business week) in Lodz (1935); co-editor of Almanakh fun yidishe shrayber (Paris, 1955).  He was last living in Paris.

Sources: Y. Kornhendler, in Unzer vort (Paris) (January 23, 1955); Y. Zilberberg, in Unzer vort (October 8, 1955); Y. Stepler, in Tsienistishe shtime (Paris) (July 1, 1956).
Khayim Leyb Fuks


            He was born in a town near Kovno, Lithuanian, into a rabbinical household.  He attended religious elementary school and yeshivas.  In 1890 he came to Canada and until 1903 was a school teacher in the Talmud Torah of Rabbi M. A. Oshinski.  At the same time, he was a Zionist orator.  He worked as a teacher and later an administrator of the Montreal Talmud Torah.  Over the years 1907-1912, he published (under the pen name Ish Naami) in Keneder older (Canadian eagle) in Montreal a series of articles “Vegn kinder-dertsiung” (On children’s education) and on the “Sod fun undzer eksistents” (Secret of our existence).  He was the author of Kinder ertsiung bay iden, a historishe nokhforshung (Children’s education with Jews, a historical study) (Montreal, 1910), 128 pp., with a Hebrew preface by the author and prefaces by Rabbi Yofe, A. Sh. Isaacs from New York, Rabbi Tsvi Hakohen from Montreal, Ruvn Brainin, and others.  He died in Pittsburgh.

Sources: Y. Rabinovitsh, jubilee volume for Keneder odler (Canadian eagle) (Montreal, 1932); Keneder odler (October 30, 1959).
Khayim Leyb Fuks


MOYSHE LEVIN (1897-May 16, 1943)
            He was born in Warsaw, Poland.  Over the years 1918-1920, he studied humanities at Warsaw University.  He was politically active initially with the left Labor Zionists, later with the Communist Party.  From late 1920 until the summer of 1928, he lived in the land of Israel.  He was a cofounder of the local Communist Party and its representative at the Gezerd (All-Union Association for the Agricultural Settlement of Jewish Workers in the USSR) in Moscow in 1925.  When the British police subsequently deported him from Israel, he lived in Warsaw (ca. 1935).  He was a member of the central bureau of the Polish Communist Party and among the leadership of the leftist Jewish writers’ group.  He was arrested and sentenced to a long prison term.  At the time of the German invasion of Poland (September 1939), he escaped from Rawicz Prison, made his way to Bialystok where until June 1941 he was active in the union of former Polish prisoners and a proofreader for the Russian-language newspaper for the railway; he later lived for a short time in a collective farm in Novouzensk.  He went on to live in Tashkent, where he worked in a coal mine in Karaganda.  He was a contributor and co-editor of Yiddish-language Communist publications in Israel.  He authored the pamphlets: Der tsienizm, tsu der 17tn kongres (Zionism, at the seventeenth congress) (Lemberg, 1931), 74 pp., using the pseudonym M. Yakubovitsh; Der nayer tsienistisher tararam un zayn badaytung (The latest Zionist fuss and its significance) (Pyetrikov, 1933), 63 pp., using the pseudonym H. Itskovitsh; Di vortslen fun peretses shafn, a pruv fun a marksistisher baloykhtung (The roots of Perets’s creative work, an effort at a Marxist elucidation) (Warsaw, 1934), 110 pp., using the pseudonym P. Diner.  He translated from Russian and German a series of works by Karl Marx and others.  There are two versions of the story of how he died: (1) that he died by drowning in the coal mine in Karaganda; and (2, the official story) that he drowned while standing guard by a river in Leninabad, serving as a soldier in a labor battalion.  Portions of his translations (with M. Mirsky) of the second volume of Marx’s Kapital and of Kant’s Prolegomena and The Critique of Pure Reason were saved and may be found in the Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw.  He also published under such pen names as: Moyshe Batlan, Levi Doresman, Sh. Dorman, P. Diner, and P. Sheli.

Sources: Yivo-bleter (Vilna) 10.1-2 (1936); Dos naye lebn (Warsaw) 1 (1945); Folksshtime (Lodz-Warsaw) (May 14, 1948); B. Mark, Umgekumene shrayber fun di getos un lagern (Murdered writers from the ghettos and camps) (Warsaw, 1954), p. 17; D. Sfard, in Unter der fon fun p. k. p. (Under the banner of the Polish Communist Party) (Warsaw, 1959), pp. 124-30; Y. Sheyn, in Unter der fon fun p. k. p., pp. 329, 330, 331, 332, 333, 336, 338; Dr. Emanuel Ringelblum, Ksovim fun varshever geto (Writings from the Warsaw Ghetto) (Warsaw, 1961), p. 264.
Khayim Leyb Fuks

Thursday 25 May 2017


MOYSHE LEVIN (BER SORIN) (1907-March 2, 1942)
            He was born in Vilna, Lithuania, into a family of a poor glazier.  During the years of WWI, he wandered homeless through Russia, before returning to Vilna.  In 1922 he graduated from the seven-class secular, Jewish public school of L. Gurevich, worked for a time as a touch-up man in a photography studio, and later (in 1928) graduated from the Vladimir Medem Teachers’ Seminary.  Until 1934 he worked as a teacher in Jewish secular schools in the Vilna region, and later the police (because of his revolutionary activities) revoked his right to continue teaching.  From his early youth he was blessed with a painter’s talent, and he thus took up painting portraits, drawing posters, and making illustrations for Yiddish-language books.  He worked with a publisher of children’s literature, while at the same time becoming a member of the literary group “Yung-vilne” (Young Vilna).  While in his school years, he published poems in Yugnt-veker (Youth alarm) in Warsaw (1922) and in Folkstsaytung (People’s newspaper) in Warsaw.  From 1927 he also published stories and novellas in: Vilner tog (Vilna day) (1927-1939); Yung-vilne (1934-1935); Etyudn (Studies) in Vilna (1935-1937); Zibn teg (Seven days) in Vilna (1935-1936); Literarishe bleter (Literary leaves), Folkstsaytung, Vokhnshrift far literatur (Weekly writing for literature), Foroys (Onward), and Der fraynd (The friend), among others—in Warsaw; and Forverts (Forward) in New York, from which he received a prize in 1937 for his story “Dray shpiglen” (Three mirrors).  In book form: Friling in kelershtub, noveln un humoreskes (Spring in the basement, stories and humorous sketches), with drawing by Bentsye Mikhtam (Vilna, 1936), 110 pp.; and children’s stories in verse: A denkmol baym taykhl (A monument by the brook) (Warsaw, 1937), 16 pp.; Der vagon (The railroad car) (Warsaw, 1938), 14 pp.; and Di kats dertseylt (The cat recounts) (Warsaw, 1939), 16 pp.—all with his own illustrations.  Using the pen name Ber Sorin, he published from his own press in Vilna kindergarten booklets: Makhn mir a shneymentsh (Make me a snowman) (1937), 8 pp.; A mayse vegn mayzelekh vayse (A tale of little white mice) (1937), 8 pp.; and Kitsi un murele (Kitsi and Murele) (1938), 9 pp.—all with colored illustrations.  Until the German invasion of Russia in June 1941, he was living in Vilna, where he was politically active in the leftist labor and cultural movement.  He was the Vilna delegate to the first conference of Yiddish writers in the Lithuanian Soviet Republic in Kovno (May 1941).  In those years he placed work in Vilner emes (Vilna truth), Kovner emes (Kovno truth), the weekly Shtraln (Beams [of light]), and the anthology Bleter (Leaves) in Kovno.  When the Nazis were approaching Vilna, he fled on foot to Minsk, and then was confined in the Minsk ghetto, serving as a liaison between the partisan movement in the forest and the underground resistance organization in the ghetto.  He forged fake Nazi documents and passports.  On March 2, 1942 when the Nazis led the prisoners from the Minsk jail out to be shot, the commandant wanted to let him live (Levin was a painter in the Minsk jail), but Levin had no wish to be exceptional and declined.  He was thus shot to death with his comrades in the prison courtyard.  His unpublished stories and poems, his novel Revolutsye 1905 in smargon (The 1905 Revolution in Smargon [Smorgon]), and his play Dos farnumene ort (The occupied place) were all lost during the Holocaust years.  In 1958 a collection of his children’s stories and verses was published in Warsaw: Kh’vil dertseyln a mayse (I’d like to recount a story), 80 pp., with his own illustrations, in which was included portions of his published and unpublished items.  In Di goldene keyt (Golden chain) (Tel Aviv) 42 (1962), his novella “Shmulyes shtub fort avek” (Shmulye’s household runs off) was published with notes by A. Sutskever.

Sources: Sh. Katsherginski, in Vilner tog (Vilna) (October 20, 1936); Katsherginski, Khurbn vilne (The Holocaust in Vilna) (New York, 1947); Sh. Kahan, in Literarishe bleter (Warsaw) (February 26, 1937); M. Taykhman, in Literarishe bleter (April 2, 1937); A. Y. Grodenski, in Tsukunft (New York) (November 1937); Sh. Lastik, in Foroys (Warsaw) (March 4, 1938); Shtraln (Kovno) 20 (1941); M. Mozes, in Der poylisher yid (The Polish Jew), yearbook (New York, 1944); Elye Shulman, in Yung-vilne (Young Vilna) (New York, 1946), pp. 16, 28-29; H. Smolyar, Fun minsker geto (From the Minsk ghetto) (Moscow, 1946), pp. 27, 71; A. Golomb, in Yivo-beter (New York) 30 (1947), pp. 155-56; Y. Y. Trunk, Di yidishe proze in poyln in der tekufe tsvishn beyde velt-milkhomes (Yiddish prose in Poland in the era between the two world wars) (Buenos Aires, 1949), p. 154; Lerer-yizker-bukh (Remembrance volume for teachers) (New York, 1954), p. 230; D. Tsharni (Daniel Charney), A litvak in poyln (A Lithuanian in Poland) (New York, 1955), p. 36; A. Vogler, in Di goldene keyt (Tel Aviv) 23 (1955), pp. 177-78; A. Sutskever, in Di goldene keyt 42 (1962); Yoysef Gar and Philip Fridman, Biblyografye fun yidishe bikher vegn khurbn un gvure (Bibliography of Yiddish books concerning the Holocaust and heroism) (New York: YIVO and Yad Vashem, 1962).
Khayim Leyb Fuks


MOYSHE LEVIN (b. 1900?)
            He was born in Vilna.  He was the author of Fun vilne keyn yohanesburg (From Vilna to Johannesburg) (Johannesburg, 1966), 178 pp.

Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 348.


            He came from Verzhbalove (Virbaln, Virbalis), Lithuania.  He was a small-scale merchant and follower of the Jewish Enlightenment.  He was also among the first local Ḥoveve-tsiyon (Lovers of Zion).  He published stories in Kol mevaser (Herald) in Odessa and Hamagid (The preacher) in Lik, among other serials.  He wrote pamphlets in Yiddish with a moral, such as: Reb moyshele der tsadek, oder der tsugetrofener shidekh (Reb Moyshele the saintly man, or the desired match), a “beautiful story” (Vilna, 1881), 68 pp.; Shnay akhim, oder a mayse shehoye in der lite (Two brother, or a story that transpired in Lithuania) (Vilna, 1883), 54 pp.  He also published under the pen name MM”L.
Khayim Leyb Fuks


LIPMAN LEVIN (1877-April 25, 1946)

            He was a prose author, born in Mohilev (Mahilyow), Byelorussia, the great-grandson of the Mohilev rabbi, R. Khayim Smolyaner. While quite young he demonstrated enormous diligence in his studies, and at age ten he was holding forth from the synagogue pulpit. As he grew older, he began to consult secular books, learned a great deal of Hebrew, and turned his attention to pedagogy. At that time, he began writing in Hebrew, but under the influence of Dovid Pinski, he took to writing in Yiddish as well. He moved to Warsaw in 1900. On the first Sabbath there, he read before Y. L. Perets, Hersh-Dovid Nomberg, and Avrom Reyzen a monologue (“Der oytser” [The treasure]), which was a big hit. Bal-Makhshoves saw in him a major literary talent and recommended him to Dr. Yoysef Lurye, editor of Der yud (The Jew), in which Levin debuted in print with a story entitled “Dos yoseml” (The little orphan). From that time on, he published stories in various Yiddish publications, such as: Der yud, Di velt (The world), and Di yudishe folks-tsaytung (The Jewish people’s newspaper) which was edited by Mortkhe Spektor and Levin’s brother-in-law Khayim-Dov Hurvits; and Hebrew publications, such as Hatsfira (The times), Hashiloa (The shiloah), Lua aiasef, and Hazman (The time), among others. In 1904 he moved to St. Petersburg and became a regular contributor to Fraynd (Friend), for which he took charge of the provincial division. In 1908 he settled in Vilna. For the Vilna publisher Sh. Y. Fink, he compiled the holiday magazines: Khanike-blat (Hanukkah newspaper), Lekoved peysekh (Honoring Passover), Zangen (Stalks), and Nay-yor (New year), among others. He also edited: F. Margolin’s Idishe tsaytung (Jewish newspaper); Der holtshendler (The timber merchant) (from 1909), a trade newspaper of the timber business and timber industry; and Vilner vokhenblat (Vilna weekly newspaper) (1909-1914). He also penned journalistic articles under the pen names: Antik, Dekadent, Der Eygener, A Fremder, and Even Saadya. During WWI he worked with F. Margolin’s daily Der fraynd (The friend) and with Had hazman (Echo of the times). Later, after these newspapers ceased publication, he left for St. Petersburg where, during WWI, he was plenipotentiary for Yekopo (Yevreyskiy komitet pomoshchi zhertvam voyny—“Jewish Relief Committee for War Victims”) for Mohilev and Smolensk districts. He was drafted in early 1916 into the Tsarist army, and after the February Revolution (1917), he was living in Smolensk, later moving to Moscow where he was hired as secretary for the Jewish community. As a writer of the pre-revolutionary generation, for many years Lipman Levin was unable to adapt to the new conditions under the Soviet regime and wrote next to nothing. He went on to write original work, mainly his memoirs from the era of the early twentieth century through WWI, memories of Y. L. Perets, and the writing environments in Warsaw and Vilna, but not all of these works were published. Finally, in 1932 he surfaced and began to publish in Soviet journals. During the years of WWII, he was much weakened and out of date. In 1946, shortly before his death, his coming seventieth birthday was marked with articles in the Soviet Yiddish press. He died shortly thereafter in Moscow. His body was cremated on April 26. At his funeral, Leyb Kvitko, Yekhezkl Dobrushin, and Yitskhok Nusinov gave addresses.

In book form he published: Shriftn (Writings), vol. 1 (Vilna: Shreberk, 1909), 208 pp.; vol. 2 (entitled Elende [Miserable]) (Vilna: Shreberk, 1914), 178 pp.; Or vatsel, sipurim vetsiyurim (Light and shadow, stories and paintings) (Warsaw: Tushiya, 1903), 85 pp. He also wrote (in Hebrew) a three-volume novel which he also translated into Yiddish, and it dealt with the epoch from before the first Russian Revolution, between the two revolutions of 1917, and then after October 1917. This work provided the basis for his novels: Doyres dervakhte (Generations awakened), vol. 1 (Moscow: Emes, 1934), 135 pp., vol. 2 (Vilna, 1934), 373 pp.; and Dem shturem antkegn (Into the storm) (Moscow: Emes, 1939), 310 pp. From these same novels he published the pieces: Di zorg-bank, proklamatsye (Bank of worries, proclamation) (Moscow: Emes, 1935), 45 pp.; and Der ershter shtrayk (The first strike) (Moscow: Emes, 1935), 36 pp. (both in the series “Masn-biblyotek” [Library for the masses], nos. 47 and 48); Merke di pyonerke (Merke, the pioneer) (Moscow: Emes, 1939), 14 pp.; Di konstitutsye oysnveynik (The constitution memorized) (Moscow: Emes, 1940), 15 pp.; and Teg fargangene, noveln (Days gone by, stories) (Moscow: Emes, 1941), 198 pp. He translated among other works: Maxim Gorky, Der lezer (The reader [original: Chitatel']) (Warsaw, 1902); Dzuzepo garibaldi, der folks-held un befrayer fun italyen (Giuseppe Garibaldi, the folk hero and liberator of Italy) (St. Petersburg: Naye biblyotek, 1905), 48 pp.; Lev Osipovich Levanda’s two novels, In shturm (In turbulent times [original: Goryachee vremya]) (Warsaw: Tsentral, 1912), 435 pp., and A groyser remiz (A huge fine [original: Bol'shoi remiz, roman iz kommercheskoi zhizni evreev (A huge fine, a novel from the commercial life of Jewry)]) (Warsaw: Tsentral, 1914), 331 pp. He also published a translation of Levanda’s Der poylisher magnat (The Polish magnate [original: Pol'skii magnat]) (Vilna), 63 pp., and other works as well.

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 2, with a bibliography; Avrom Reyzen, in Tsukunft (New York) (1920), pp. 506-8; A. Reyzen, Epizodn fun mayn lebn (Episodes from my life), part 2 (Vilna, 1929), pp. 13017; A. Reyzen, in Forverts (New York) (April 25, 1931); B. Orshanski, in Emes (Moscow) 144 (1935); A. Abtshuk, Etyudn un materyaln (Studies and materials) (Kharkov, 1934), p. 25; D. Tsharni (Daniel Charney), in Tsukunft (October 1935); Charney, Vilne (Vilna) (Buenos Aires, 1951), pp. 174-76; N. Mayzil, Doyres un tkufes in der yidisher literatur (Generations and epochs in Yiddish literature) (New York, 1942), pp. 17, 81, 86; Y. Nusinov, in Eynikeyt (Moscow) (April 1947); obituary notice signed by many Soviet Yiddish writers, in Eynikeyt (April 27, 1946); B. Mark, in Dos naye lebn (Warsaw) 96 [377] (1949); Y. Likhtenboym, ed., Hasipur haivri (The Hebrew story) (Tel Aviv, 1955), p. 520; Chone Shmeruk, comp., Pirsumim yehudiim babrit-hamoatsot, 1917-1961 (Jewish publications in the Soviet Union, 1917-1961) (Jerusalem, 1961), see index.

Zaynvl Diamant

[Additional information from: Chaim Beider, Leksikon fun yidishe shrayber in ratn-farband (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers in the Soviet Union), ed. Boris Sandler and Gennady Estraikh (New York: Congress for Jewish Culture, Inc., 2011), pp. 216-17.]


LILKE LEVIN (d. 1945)
            She was born in Vilna, the daughter of a paper merchant.  She was deported from the Vilna ghetto to concentration camps in Latvia and later in Germany.  She was killed in the days of the camp liberation by rampant Soviet soldiers.  In Lider fun getos un lagern (Songs of the ghettos and camps), p. 261, Sh. Katsherginski makes note of her song “In dinaverk” (In Dinaverk), a camp in Latvia.  She died in the Dinaverk concentration camp.

Source: Sh. Katsherginski, Lider fun getos and lagern (Songs of the ghettos and camps) (New York, 1948), p. 261.
Yankev Kahan

[Additional information from: Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 348.]


LEYZER LEVIN (December 2, 1891-1967)
            He was born in Lodz, Poland.  In 1906 he joined the Labor Zionist party, was later active in the left wing of the party, and from 1922 was part of the right Labor Zionists.  From 1926 he was a member of the Labor Zionists-Zionist Socialists in Poland and chairman of their Lodz committee.  He was one of the builders of the Borokhov School and the Borokhov Collective in Lodz.  Until 1939 he lived in Lodz, and thereafter he was one of the leaders of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising and one of the group that was rescued by using the underground canals to make it to the Aryan side.  He published in: Lodzer folksblat (Lodz people’s newspaper) (1909-1939); Arbeter-tsaytung (Labor newspaper), Bafrayung (Liberation), and Dos vort (The word)—in Warsaw.  He contributed to the underground Labor Zionist-Zionist Socialist press in the Warsaw Ghetto.  After liberation he placed work in: Bafrayung and Der morgn (The morning) in Munich (1947-1950).  In the collection Varshever geto-oyfshtand (Warsaw Ghetto uprising) (Landsberg, 1947, pp. 29-36), he published portions of his memoirs under the title “In di teg fun oyfshtand” (In the days of the uprising), which was reprinted in the Yiddish press throughout the world.  He lived in Israel from 1945 until his death in Kibbutz Yagur.  He was blind during his last years.

Sources: M. Nayshtat, Khurbn un oyfshtand fun di yidn in varshe (Holocaust and uprising of the Jews in Warsaw) (Tel Aviv, 1948), p. 326; L. Tarnopoler, in Al hamishmar (Tel Aviv) (December 12, 1961); M. A., in Davar (Tel Aviv) (January 19, 1962).
Khayim Leyb Fuks

Wednesday 24 May 2017


LEYZER LEVIN (1889-August 1940)
            He was born in Warsaw, Poland.  Until age seventeen he studied in a religious primary school, in the yeshiva of the Chofetz-Chaim in Radin (Raduń), and in the Lomzhe yeshiva, and through self-study he acquired secular knowledge.  In his youth he became active in the illegal Bundist organization in Warsaw, was arrested several times by the Tsarist authorities, spent time in Warsaw and Radom prisons, and was also exiled to Siberia.  Over the years 1912-1916, he lived in Buenos Aires, Argentina, working in various trades, and then he returned, lived in Paris, and from there in 1917, after the outbreak of the Russian Revolution, he made his way to Russia, lived for a time in Minsk, and appeared on stage to speak at Bundist meetings.  When the Bolsheviks later took power in Russia (late 1917-early 1918), Levin returned to Warsaw where he was active in trade unions and political work of the Bund.  He was a member of the central bureau of the Jewish trade unions.  He began his journalistic activities with reportage pieces on workers’ lives in Der tog (The day) in Buenos Aires (1913).  In 1917 he wrote from time to time in Der veker (The alarm), a daily newspaper of the Bund in Minsk.  In Warsaw he was a regular contributor to the Bundist daily Folks-tsaytung (People’s newspaper), in which he edited the city’s reportage, the news of the trade union movement, and also published “Bilder fun der yidisher provints” (Images from the Jewish hinterland).  In early September 1939, he fled Poland, lived for a time in Vilna and Kovno, where he wrote a series of description of the first weeks of the war in Poland for Idishe shtime (Jewish voice), which was republished in New York’s Forverts (Forward) and other Yiddish newspapers throughout the world.  He died of a heart attack in Kovno.

Sources: H-t, in Unzer tsayt (New York) (April-May 1941); M. Manes, in Der poylisher yid (The Polish Jew), yearbook (New York, 1944); Z. Segalovitsh, Tlomatske 13, fun farbrentn nekhtn (13 Tłomackie St., of scorched yesterdays) (Buenos Aires, 1946), pp. 156-57; P. Kats, Geklibene shriftn (Collected writings), vol. 4 (Buenos Aires, 1946); B. Kutsher, Geven amol varshe (As Warsaw once was) (Paris, 1955), see index; P. Shvarts, in Fun noentn over (New York) 2 (1956), p. 427; B. Shefner, Novolipye 7, zikhroynes un eseyen (Nowolipie 7, memoirs and essays) (Buenos Aires, 1955), p. 77; Y. Sh. Herts, Doyres bundistn (Generations of Bundists), vol. 2 (New York, 1956), pp. 291-92, with a bibliography; Rokhl Oyerbakh, Beḥutsot varsha, 1939-1943 (In the streets of Warsaw, 1939-1943), trans. Mordekhai Ḥalamish (Tel Aviv: Am oved, 1954), p. 357.
Khayim Leyb Fuks