BER MARK (June 8, 1908-August 4, 1966)
The brother of Arn Mark, he was born in Lomzhe, Russian Poland. He was the son of a Mizrachi activist, Tsvi-Hirsh Mark. He attended a Hebrew school and a Polish Jewish high school. Over the years 1927-1931, he studied to be a lawyer at Warsaw University. For a time he worked as a teacher in private Jewish high schools in Warsaw. He then made the move to become a journalist. From his student years, he was active in the illegal Communist movement. He was a member of the administration, 1936-1939, of the Jewish literary writers’ and journalists’ association (13 Tłomackie St.) in Warsaw. When the Germans invaded Poland in September 1939, he took part in the defense of Warsaw, while at the same time assisting in publishing the last issues of Der moment (The moment), for which he was a regular contributor. In November 1939 he fled to Bialystok. He was a scholarly contributor, 1940-1941, to the revived Jewish section of the Byelorussian Academy of Sciences. Following the German invasion of Soviet Russia in June 1941, he fled deep into Russia, lived on a collective farm in Novouzensk, and later (until the winter of 1943) in Kuybyshev [now, Samara], where he took part in the Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee. After that he was in Moscow until January 1946. He was vice-chair of the organized committee of Polish Jews and the organizer of relief work on behalf of Jewish refugees—especially on behalf of Jewish writer-refugees. From 1946 he was back in Poland, initially in Lodz, later in Warsaw. He was a member of the presidium of the central committee of Polish Jewry and chairman of the Jewish literary association. From 1949 he was director of the Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw. From 1954 he was professor of history at Warsaw University and member of the Polish Academy of Sciences. That year he received a medal from the Polish government for his labors in postwar Poland. In 1957 he spoke (in Yiddish) on the Jewish resistance to the Nazis—at the second congress of Jewish scholars in Jerusalem—and on the role played by the Jewish proletariat in the Revolution of 1905—at the Hebrew University. He was then received by Histadrut and the local press, and he openly asked that people forgive him for “misunderstandings—we were misled”; he then expressed enthusiasm for the accomplishments of the Jewish state (Y. Rimun, in Keneder odler [Canadian eagle] in Montreal, March 12, 1957). Mark began his literary activities with articles on Yiddish literature in Dos naye lebn (The new life), edited by Peysekh Kaplan, in Bialystok (1926), and from that point in time he contributed to a large number of Jewish and non-Jewish publications throughout the world. He was co-editor of almost all Yiddish and Polish legal and illegal Communist publications in Poland until 1939. He was also an internal contributor and, from 1936 to 1939, night editor of the daily newspaper Der moment; a regular contributor to Literarishe bleter (Literary leaves), co-editor 1938-1939, and to Shriftn (Writings), 1936-1939, as well as other serials in Warsaw. He edited a number of books for the publisher “Mark Rakovski” in Warsaw and “Tomor” in Vilna. In Soviet Russia, he published in: Byalistoker shtern (Bialystok star), Der shtern (The star), and Oktyabr (October) in Minsk; in an anti-Nazi collection, Dos blut ruft tsu nekome, vos gelitene dertseyln vegn fashishtishe akhzoryes inem okupirtn poyln (Blood calls for revenge, what the victims recount against fascist atrocities in occupied Poland) (Moscow: Der emes, 1941); and the anthologies: Sovetish (Soviet), Tsum zig (To victory), and Eynikeyt (Unity), among others, in Moscow. From 1946 he placed work in: Dos naye lebn in Lodz-Warsaw (1946-1951), for which he was also editor-in-chief; Yidishe shriftn (Yiddish writings) (1946-1962), among other items, he wrote here a great number of literary critical essays; Folks-shtime (Voice of the people) in Lodz-Warsaw (1946-1962; Bleter far geshikhte (Pages for history) in Warsaw; from 1948 the Polish-language Biuletyn (Bulletin) for the Jewish Historical Institute, for which he also served as editor; Frayhayt (Freedom), Yidishe kultur (Jewish culture), Eynikeyt, Poylishe id (Polish Jew), and Zamlungen (Anthologies), among others, in New York; Fray yisroel (Free Israel), Yisroel shtime (Voice of Israel), Letste nayes (Latest news), Al hamishmar (On guard), and Lemerḥav (Into the open), among others, in the state of Israel; Naye prese (New press), Parizer shriftn (Parisian writings), and Parizer tsaytshrift (Parisian periodical), among others, in Paris; Haynt (Today), Ikuf-bleter (Pages from IKUF), Argentiner landsmanshaftn (Argentinian native-place associations), Byalistoker vegn (Bialystok ways), and Undzer lodz (Our Lodz), among others, in Buenos Aires. In Pinkes varshe (Records of Warsaw) (Buenos Aires, 1955), cols. 913-1054, he published new material on the Warsaw Ghetto uprising. He edited a series of books for “Yidish-bukh” in Warsaw (1953-1962), the literary collection Tsvishn lebn un toyt, literarishe shafungen in di getos un lagern (Between life and death, literary creations in the ghettos and concentration camps) (Warsaw: Yidish-bukh, 1955), 148 pp., and the poetry collection of young murdered poets, Dos lid in geto (The poem in the ghetto) (Warsaw, 1962), among other such works.
In book form he published, in Yiddish: Geshikhte fun der poylisher arbeter-bavegung (History of the Polish labor movement) (Warsaw, 1936), published in booklets of 64 pp., altogether 260 pp. (confiscated by the governmental authorities); Geshikhte fun sotsyale bavegungen in poyln (History of social movement in Poland), vol. 1 (Vilna: Mitlalter, 1938), 294 pp., vol. 2 (Vilna, Naytsayt, 1939), 437 pp.; Der oyfshtand in varshever geto (The uprising in the Warsaw Ghetto) (Moscow, 1947), 217 pp.; Dos bukh fun gvure (The book of valor), vol. 1 “Oyfshtand fun varshever geto” (Warsaw Ghetto uprising) (Lodz, 1947), 391 pp. + 7 pp., with illustrations (published in various editions in Hebrew, Polish, and other languages—and in Yiddish an enlarged edition appeared in Warsaw in 1955, 436 pp., with a chronology of the most important events of the uprising and in the resistance); Afn keyver fun tsvi-hirsh grets, esey (At the grave of Zvi-Hirsch Graetz, an essay) (Wrocław, 1948), 24 pp.; Di yidishe tragedye in der poylisher literatur (The Jewish tragedy in Polish literature) (Warsaw: Yidish-bukh, 1950), 157 pp.; Der oyfshtand in byalistoker geto (The resistance in the Bialystok ghetto) (Warsaw: Jewish Historical Institute, 1950), 509 pp., second edition (Buenos Aires: Aykop, 1953), 522 pp.; Viktor hugo, tsum hundert un fuftsiktn yortog fun zayn geboyrn (Victor Hugo, on the 150th anniversary of his birth) (Warsaw: Yidish-bukh, 1952), 62 pp., with illustrations; Dokumentn un materialn vegn oyfshtand in varshever geto (Documents and materials on the resistance in the Warsaw Ghetto) (Warsaw: Yidish-bukh, 1953), 404 pp.; Di umgekumene shrayber fun di getos un lagern (The murdered writers from the ghettos and camps) (Warsaw: Yidish-bukh, 1954), 224 pp.; Adam mitskevitsh un di yidn (Adam Mickiewicz and the Jews) (Warsaw, 1955), 101 pp.; with Sz. Zacharjasz, P. P. R. in kamf un boy, tsum tsentn yortog fun der antshteyung fun der poylisher arbeter-partey (The P.P.R. in struggle and building, on the tenth anniversary of the rise of the Polish Workers’ Party) (Warsaw: Yidish-bukh, 1955), 309 pp. + 5 pp.; Di geshikhte fun yidn in poyln (The history of Jews in Poland), vol. 1 (Warsaw: Yidish-bukh, 1957), 460 pp., vol. 2 (Warsaw: Yidish-bukh, 1957), 460 pp., and prepared for publication, vol. 3 “Di yidn in poyln biz der tsveyter velt-milkhome” (The Jews in Poland until WWII), and vol. 4 “Di okupatsye-tsayt un der goyrl fun der sheyres-hapleyte” (The occupation period and the fate of the survivors); Di yidishe vidershtendlekhe yugnt-grupe in daytshland fun b. boym (The Jewish resistance youth group in Germany of B. Baum) (Warsaw, 1961), 48 pp.; Megiles oyshvits (The scroll of Auschwitz) (Tel Aviv: Yisroel-bukh, 1977), 464 pp. In Polish: Ruch oporu w getcie bialostockim (Resistance movement in the Bialystok ghetto) (Warsaw: Jewish Historical Institute, 1952), 283 pp.; Powstanie w getcie warszawskim na tle ruchu oporu w Polsce, geneza i przebieg (Uprising in the Warsaw Ghetto against the backdrop of resistance in Poland, genesis and course) (Warsaw: Jewish Historical Institute, 1953), 390 pp., second edition (1954); Rzemieślnicy żydowscy w Polsce feudalnej (Jewish artisans in feudal Poland) (Warsaw, 1954); Proletariat żydowski w Rewolucji 1905 roku (The Jewish proletariat in the 1905 Revolution) (Warsaw, 1956); Wybór opowiadań (Selection of stories [by Yitskhok Leyb Perets]) (Wrocław-Krakow, 1958), 364 pp.; Szołem-Ałejchem, 1859-1916, epoka, życie i dzieła (Sholem-Aleykhem, 1859-1916, era, life, and works) (Warsaw: Yidish-bukh, 1959), 70 pp.; Walka i zagłada warszawskiego getta (The fighting and destruction of the Warsaw Ghetto) (Warsaw, 1959), 507 pp.; “Literarishe Tribune i Tlomackie 13” (Literary tribune and 13 Tlomackie St.), in Księdze Wspomnień (Book of memoirs) (Warsaw, 1960); Grupa Bauma, z dziejów walki antyfaszystowskiej młodzieży żydowskiej w Niemczech w latach 1937-1942 (The Baum Group: From the history of anti-fascist struggle of Jewish youth in Germany in the years, 1937-1942) (Warsaw, 1960), 45 pp.; Życie i walka młodzieży w gettach, w okresie okupacji hitlerowskiej, 1939-1944 (The life and struggle of the youth in the ghettos, during the Nazi occupation, 1939-1944) (Warsaw: Iskry, 1961), 96 pp. In Hebrew: Ḥurban u-mered yehude polin betekufat hakibush hahitleri (Destruction and rebellion of Polish Jewry during the Hitler’s occupation) (Warsaw: Jewish Historical Institute, 1955), 22 pp.; Baayot ḥaker tenuat hamri (Problems in the study of the resistance movement) (Jerusalem, 1957). Translations of his works into English include: The Report of Jürgen Stroop: Concerning the Uprising in the Ghetto of Warsaw and the Liquidation of the Jewish Residential Area (Warsaw: Jewish Historical Institute, 1958), 123 pp. Into French: his writings on the uprisings in the Warsaw and Bialystok ghettos, such as L’Insurrection du ghetto de Varsovie, trans. Rose Huriaud, adapted by Jean Noaro (Paris, Éditions sociales, 1955), 239 pp.; into Spanish (Buenos Aires, 1956); into Czech (Prague, 1958); and into Portuguese (Rio de Janeiro, 1960). He translated from Polish into Yiddish: Dr. Emanuel Ringelblum, Di poylish-yidishe batsiungen in der tsayt fun der tsveyter velt-milkhome (Polish-Jewish relations at the time of WWII) (Warsaw, 1960); and with Ayzenbakh et al., he prepared the annotations to Geto-ksovim fun em. ringelblum (Ghetto writings of E. Ringelblum) (Warsaw, 1960). He also published under such pseudonyms as: B. Aronski, B. Markus, Berl Aronovitsh, M. Kovalski, B. Aronovitsh, Arkhivaryus, Mittsin, and Shmuel Rozen. He died in Warsaw.
Sources: N. Mirer, in Foroys (Warsaw) (April 29, 1938); V. Erlikh, in Foroys (May 26, 1939; June 23, 1939); Itzik Fefer, in Eynikeyt (Moscow) (February 7, 1932); Avrom Reyzen, in Di feder (New York) (1949), pp. 187-88; B. Y. Byalostotski, in Yorbukh tsh”t (1948/1949 yearbook) (New York, 1949); H. Vaynroykh, Blut af der zun (Blood on the sun) (New York, 1950), p. 90; Dr. F. Fridman, in Yorbukh tshy”a (1950/1951 yearbook) (New York, 1951); Fridman, in Tsukunft (New York) (April 1954); M. Mirski, in Yidishe shriftn (Warsaw) (December 1950); D. Sfard, in Yidishe shriftn (January 1, 1951; December 1953; April 1954); Sfard, Shrayber un bikher (Writers and books) (Warsaw, 1951), pp. 92-97; Sfard, Shtudyes un skitsn (Studies and sketches) (Warsaw, 1955); L. Zhitnitski, in Di prese (Buenos Aires) (April 24, 1954); Yankev Leshtshinski, in Forverts (New York) (June 7, 1954); B. Kutsher, Geven amol varshe (As Warsaw once was) (Paris, 1955), see index; M. Tsanin, in Forverts (July 4, 1955); Khayim Leyb Fuks, in Fun noentn over (New York) 3 (1957); Y. Rimun, in Keneder odler (Montreal) (March 12, 1957); Y. Emyot, in Folks-shtime (Warsaw) (October 18-19, 1957); N. Mayzil, in Yidishe kultur (New York) (August-September 1958); B. Ts. Goldberg, in Tog-morgn-zhurnal (New York) (May 17, 1959); Yankev Glatshteyn, In tokh genumen (In essence), vol. 2 (Buenos Aires, 1960), pp. 37-39; Sh. L. Shnayderman, in Forverts (February 26, 1960); Yonas Turkov, in Tsukunft (October 1961); Kh. Ayatli, in Idisher kemfer (New York) (January 5, 1962); Biblyografye fun yidishe bikher vegn khurbn un gvure (Bibliography of Yiddish books concerning the Holocaust and heroism) (New York, 1962), see index; M. Vaykhert, Yidishe aleynhilf (Jewish self-help) (Tel Aviv, 1962).
Khayim Leyb Fuks
[Additional information form: Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 368.]