LÉON LENEMAN (ARYE) (April 6, 1909-January 1997)
He was born in Warsaw, Poland. He graduated from the Yiddish-Hebrew high school of M. Krinski, and he went on to study in the pedagogical faculty of Warsaw University and in the Warsaw senior school for journalism, which he competed with distinction in 1931. From his youth he was active in the Zionist movement. He was chairman of the school organization of “Yardenya” and “Hateḥiya” (The revival). Until September 1939 he lived in Warsaw. After the war broke out, he left for the Russian occupied area, and from there in June 1940 he was sent by the NKVD [Soviet secret police] to camps in the far north of the Komi Soviet Socialist Republiuc with a sentence of five years. He was freed due an amnesty for Polish citizens in August 1941. Until 1944 he lived in hunger and want, wandering through Russia from the distant north to Uzbekistan. From late 1944 until April 1946, he lived in Moscow, and later until November 1947 in Poland; from there he moved to Paris. He was a member of the central committee of the general Zionist party in France, of the association of writer-survivors, and of the Jewish writers’ and journalists’ association. He began writing in his student years in Polish for Tygodnik młodych (Weekly news) in Warsaw (1926), for which he also served as editor. From March 1931 until September 1939, he was a regular contributor to Der moment (The moment) and Warsaw’s Radyo (Radio), for which he served for a time as night editor. He was a contributor as well to the Polish-Yiddish Nowy Głos (Our voice) in Warsaw. From 1936 he was the Warsaw correspondent for the Polish-language Nowy Dziennik (New daily) in Cracow. Over the years 1944-1946, he was editor of the Polish press agency (Polpres) in Moscow, while at the same time serving as Moscow correspondent for the Jewish Telegraphic Agency (ITA) in New York. In Poland, he was the correspondent for ITA, Haboker (The morning) in Tel Aviv, Keneder odler (Canadian eagle) in Montreal, and Di prese (The press) in Buenos Aires. From the winter of 1947, he was Parisian correspondent for: Haboker and Letste nayes (Latest news) in Tel Aviv; Keneder odler; Di afrikaner idishe tsaytung (The African Jewish newspaper) in Johannesburg; Der nayer moment (The new moment) in São Paolo; Ilustrirte yidishe tsaytung (Illustrated Jewish newspaper) in Melbourne; Der amerikaner (The American), Tog-morgn-zhurnal (Day-morning journal), and from August 1906 Forverts (Forward), all in New York. He published hundreds of articles about general and Jewish affairs in: Tsukunft (Future) in New York; Der veg (The way) in Mexico City; Tsienistishe shtime (Zionist voice), Tsienistishe bleter (Zionist leaves), Der moment—the last two of which he served as editor, 1952-1960—Unzer vort (Our word), and Unzer shtime (Our voice) in Paris. As well he published in the French-Jewish and French press, such as: L’Arche (The ark), Evidences, La Volonté (The will), L’Express, Le Figaro littéraire (The literary Figaro), and Preuves (Proofs), among others. He brought out in book form: Der kheshbn blaybt ofn, vegn di batsiungen fun polyakn tsu yidn beys der hitler-tkufe (The account remains open, on the relations of Poles to Jews during the Hitler era) (Buenos Aires, 1958), 224 pp.; In an anderer velt (In another world) (Paris: Unzer kiem, 1967), 260 pp.; A yidish yingl fun vitebsk, mark shagal (A Jewish boy from Vitebsk, Marc Chagall) (Paris, 1983), 218 pp., in Yiddish and French (Un enfant juif de Vitebsk, Marc Chagall), 217 pp. (the Yiddish edition of this last work contains a full translation of Chagall’s book, Ma vie [My life]). In French: La Tragedie des Juifs en U. R. S. S. (The tragedy of the Jews in the USSR), with a foreword by Manes Shperber (Paris, 1959), 308 pp. + 17 pp. of documents; this volume had an immense impact in the press in France, Belgium, Switzerland, and Italy, and it was awarded the Freedom Prize in France. In a special issue of Di goldene keyt (The golden chain)—no. 43 (1962), pp. 129-39, in Tel Aviv—dedicated to the murder of the Yiddish writers in Soviet Russia, he published: “Perets markish un der ‘enkavede’-redaktor rabinovitsh” (Perets Markish and the NKVD editor Rabinovitsh), a chapter of memoirs from 1939-1940, when Leneman was the Brest correspondent for the Minsk-based Oktyabr (October) and Byalistoker shtern (Bialystok star).
Sources: R. Feldshuh, Yidisher gezelshaftlekher leksikon (Jewish communal handbook) (Warsaw, 1939), p. 807; Y. Botoshanski, in Di prese (Buenos Aires) (February 15, 1958); D. Naymark, in Forverts (New York) (May 11, 1958); Dr. A. Mukdoni, in Tog-morgn-zhurnal (New York) (May 18, 1958); M. Livni, in Tsienistishe shtime (Paris) (June 20, 1958); Y. Aḥiger, in Yediot aḥaronot (Tel Aviv) (July 8, 1958); E. Vayzel, in Forverts (August 27, 1959); Avrom Shulman, in Unzer shtime (Paris) (June 5-6, 1960); G. Davtshes, in Folks-shtime (Warsaw) (September 13, 1960); D. Burd, in Congress Bi-Weekly (New York) (January 11, 1960).
Khayim Leyb Fuks
[Additional information from: Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 351.]