Friday 16 June 2017


MORTKHE LENSKI (MORDECAI LENSKY) (December 16, 1889-January 18, 1964)
            He was born in Warsaw, Poland.  He studied with his father who ran a modern religious primary school, later graduating from a Russian high school and studying medicine at the Universities of Warsaw and Moscow.  He was a military doctor with the Russian army in WWI, later practicing privately in Warsaw.  He was confined in the Warsaw Ghetto, for a time lived in hiding and subsequently on the Aryan side, and survived the war.  Until 1949 he lived in Lodz, thereafter in Jerusalem, where until 1961 he worked in the Kupat Ḥolim (Health Maintenance Organization) Hospital for Histadrut.  He began publishing articles on medicine in Haynt (Today) in Warsaw (1913), in which he would later be in charge of a monthly conversation about medicine.  He also wrote for Der doktor (The doctor), a weekly newspaper of popular medicine and hygiene in Warsaw (1930-1932), of which he was also the editor.  After WWII he published memoirs about Yiddish writers in the Warsaw Ghetto as well as articles for: Dos naye land (The new land), Yidishe shriftn (Yiddish writings), the journal Iḥud (Unity), and Dos fraye vort (The free word), among others, in Lodz (1946-1949).  He also published in: Haboker (This morning), Hatsfira (The siren), Beterem (Before), and Yediot yad vashem (News of Yad Vashem), among others, in the state Israel; Bitsaron (Fortress) and Der tog (The day) in New York; Keneder odler (Canadian eagle) in Montreal; and others.  He was the author of: Di gripe-epidemye (The influenza epidemic) (Warsaw, 1925), 24 pp.; More derekh lemoyelim, kurtse yedies fun anatomye, filozofye un aseptic (A guide for circumcisers, brief information on anatomy, philosophy, and aseptic [technique]), with a preface by M. Feldshteyn (Warsaw, 1931), 62 pp., which also appeared in Hebrew and Polish; Moderner familyen-doktor (Modern family doctor) (Warsaw, 1927), 260 pp.; Ḥaye hayehudim begeto varsha, zikhronot shel rofe (The lives of Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto, memoirs of a doctor) (Jerusalem, 1960), 238 pp., for which he was awarded the Yad Vashem prize; Mi heela et hitler leshilton? (Who brought Hitler to power?) (Jerusalem, 1961), 250 pp.  He died in Jerusalem.

Sources: Literarishe bleter (Warsaw) (April 1, 1927); Biblyografishe yorbikher fun yivo (Bibliographic yearbooks from YIVO) (Warsaw, 1928), see index; B. Kutsher, Geven amol varshe (As Warsaw once was) (Paris, 1955), see index.
Khayim Leyb Fuks

[Additional information from: Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 351.]

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