Monday 12 June 2017


SHIYE-HESHL LEVENSHTEYN (YH”L) (1897-summer 1942)
            He was born in Seratsk (Serock), near Warsaw, Poland, into a family that drew its lineage back to the “Pene yehoshua” (Face of Joshua [a text by which Rabbi Yaakov Yehoshua Falk was known]).  He was a grandson of the well-known Hassidic bibliographer, Rabbi Yoysef Levenshteyn.  He attended religious elementary school and yeshivas.  In 1921 he settled in Warsaw, at first running a paper shop, and in 1930 he became an official of the Jewish community initially at the Praga Cemetery and later in the department for social relief.  From 1921 he was a contributor to such Orthodox publications as Der yud (The Jew) and Yudishe togblat (Jewish daily newspaper) in Warsaw, in which he published (under the pseudonym Yh”l) historical stories and novels, ran the division in the latter of “Der historisher tog” (The day in history), published chapters of “Geshikhte fun yidishe drukerayen in poyln” (History of Jewish publishers in Poland)—among others, on the first Jewish publisher in Żółkiew in Der yud (November 1, 1926)—and a series of his, “Idishe layden in der velt-geshikhte” (Jewish suffering in world history), as well as bibliographic notes on old Yiddish and Hebrew religious and secular texts.  He contributed as well to: Der idisher arbayter (The Jewish laborer) and Beys yankev zhurnal (Beys Yankev journal) in Lodz; Ortodoksishe yugnt-bleter (Orthodox youth pages), Deglanu (Our banner), and Darkenu (Our way) in Warsaw; Dos likht (The light) in Cracow; and Dos vort (The word) in Vilna; among others.  In the Warsaw Ghetto he continued his commentary on Pirke avot (Ethics of the Fathers).  He lived in the same house in the ghetto that Janusz Korczak had his children’s home, and, together with the children and his own entire family, he was deported in the first Warsaw expulsion to his death in Treblinka.

Sources: Biblyografishe yorbikher fun yivo (Bibliographic yearbooks from YIVO) (Warsaw, 1928), see index; Sh. Chajes, Otsar beduye hashem (Thesaurus Pseudonymorum; Treasury of pseudonyms) (Vienna, 1933), p. 148; information from Yehude Elberg in Montreal.
Khayim Leyb Fuks

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