Tuesday 31 October 2017


            He was born in Biten (Byteń), Slonim-Baranovich region, Byelorussia.  He studied in Talmud-Torah and with his father, a Hebrew teacher, later graduating from a Polish public school in Byteń and a commercial school in Baranovich.  He was active in “Heḥaluts” (The pioneer).  During WWII he served in the Polish army and later, as a Polish citizen, he was dispatched to military the labor battalion in the Urals.  After the war he lived for a time in refugee camps in Germany.  In 1947 he immigrated to Cuba, lived in Havana, assumed important positions, and took charge of a daily Yiddish radio broadcast for the Zionist movement.  He was a regular contributor to Havaner lebn (Havana life) and other Yiddish publications in Cuba.  In 1948 he moved to the land of Israel, served in the Israeli military, and took part in the war of independence for the state of Israel.  He returned to Cuba in 1949.  In book form he published: Fun goles daytshland biz medines yisroel (From the diaspora in Germany to the state of Israel) (Havana, 1952), 157 pp.; Gezamlte noveln (Collected stories) (Havana, 1952), 22 pp.; Gloybndik in oyfkum fun medines-yisroel, geklibene shriftn (Believing in the rise of the state of Israel, selected writings) (Havana, 1952), 44 pp.; Tsifern un faktn vegn idishn yishev in kuba (havana un provints) (Numbers and facts about the Jewish community in Cuba, Havana and the provinces) (Havana, 1952), 16 pp.; Biten (Byteń) (Havana, 1954), 84 pp.; Fun biten biz yerusholaim (From Byteń to Jerusalem) (Havana, 1955), 236 pp.; and a booklet in Spanish entitled Temas Cubanos (Cuban topics) (Havana, 1953), 15 pp.  In the spring of 1956 he returned to Israel where he was living in Haifa.

Sources: Y. Leshtshinski, in Forverts (New York) (September 27, 1952); Der Lebediker, in Tog-morgn-zhurnal (New York) (May 23, 1955); M. Ginzburg, in Keneder odler (Montreal) (April 9, 1956); A. Volf Yasni, in Letste nayes (Tel Aviv) (June 1, 1956).
Zaynvl Diamant


NOKHUM-BOREKH MINKOV (MINKOFF) (November 18, 1893-March 14, 1958)
            He was born in Warsaw, Poland.  His father Moyshe, a Hebrew teacher, came from Krasnaluki, Minsk district, Byelorussia, and studied in Moscow.  His mother Elke came from a family of scholars, followers of the Jewish Enlightenment, in Shilets, Mohilev district, Byelorussia.  Nokhum-Borekh studied Hebrew with private tutors and acquired a general education in Ptashnik’s school, later in Muravliev’s business school in Warsaw.  In 1906 he entered the No. 7 Russian state high school.  In 1914 he passed the baccalaureate examinations.  He also studied music.  With the outbreak of WWI, he made his way to the United States.  He lived with his sister in San Francisco and contemplated a medical career, but he soon thereafter moved with his sister to New York, where he studied first at Columbia University and City College, before entering New York University School of Law in 1917.  He graduated in June 1921 and befriended there Yankev Glatshteyn who was also at the time a student at the law school.  He supported himself while studying by giving music lessons and playing violin in an orchestra.  Minkov never practiced as a lawyer, as he was drawn to the world of writers, especially to the Yiddish writers’ world.  He assiduously began to study the Yiddish language, which was for him virtually a foreign tongue before arriving in America.  In 1921 he became a Yiddish teacher in Philadelphia, and in 1922 he was a teacher in the Jewish public school in New York.  He also gave music lessons at the time in the Jewish schools in Harlem and in West New York, New Jersey, and he also worked as a teacher of Yiddish and Jewish history in the Middle School of the Workmen’s Circle in New York.  In 1930 he and Khasye Kuperman (Hasye Cooperman) founded the “academic course of study” for Jewish subject matter at the YMHA (at 92nd Street), which he maintained under severely pressing financial circumstances over the course of four years.  He also organized concerts of Jewish music and exhibitions of Jewish painting.  In 1936 he worked as a teacher at the Jewish public school in Washington Heights.  In 1940 he was a teacher of Yiddish language and literature in the Jewish teachers’ seminary and the People’s University in New York.  In 1941 he was selected to serve as secretary to the editorial board (later, managing editor) of Tsukunft (Future); in these last two posts he remained active until the end of his life.  In 1946 he became a lecturer in Yiddish literature at the New School for Social Research, where he gave his lectures in English.  He was the initiator and cofounder in 1949 of the Jewish art center at the World Jewish Culture Congress in New York.  In 1957 he became professor of Yiddish language and literature at the Academy for Higher Jewish Education (a school for rabbis) in New York.  He was a gifted lecturer, holding his audience in suspense, and he gave lectures across many states in America, in Canada, and in Mexico.  Once he began giving his lectures in English, he often received invitations from various universities around the country to present talks on Yiddish literature.  In 1952 he became professor of Yiddish literature in the Philosophy Department in the Autonomous State University in Mexico City, and with great success he conducted a series of seminars on literature.  There were numerous responses in the local press to his lectures in Mexico City.  “His discussion,” noted Solomon Kahan, “flowed calmly and naturally.  It is that calm which comes from deep knowledge and rooted conviction.  It is scholarship imparted by the lecturer, as it were, with a smile on his lips.  It is like a beautifully spoken essay.”  In 1955 he contracted a heart ailment.  His life was in danger, but he recovered later.  Over the course of the subsequent three years, he was able to continue the majority of his earlier activities, but on March 14, 1958 he had a second heart attack, from which he did not recover.  His wife, the writer Hasye Cooperman, whom he married in 1930, devotedly assisted her husband in his work during his life and brought out, posthumously, Nokhum borekh minkov (Nokhum-Borekh Minkov), in which she wrote a detailed biography of her husband.
            Minkov began writing poetry in Russian during his high school years.  He published his first poem in Yiddish in 1918 in Di naye tsayt (The new times), and later published poems in: Tog (Day), Dos yudishe folk (The Jewish people), and Fraye arbeter-shtime (Free voice of labor)—all in New York.  He was interested in the newest directions in American poetry, especially the imagists as well as the modern direction in French, Polish, Russian, and German poetry.  He became friends at this time with A. Glants-Leyeles, and as a threesome with Yankev Glatshteyn, in 1920 they produced the manifesto of the “In Zikh” (Introspectivist) group and published it in the collection Inzikh, in which Minkov also published a series of poems.  The three men also published and edited the journal In zikh (1920-1922).  In 1924 Minkov brought out his first collection of poems, which included works already published as well as a new cycle of sonnets.  Together with Mikhl Likht, he also published the journals 1925 and 1926, in which, among other items, he placed the poem “Kid karter” (Kid Carter) about the Jewish underworld in New York and also a series of essays about modernism and classicism.  His second volume of poetry appeared in 1927: Unzer pyero (Our Piero).  The journal In zikh was revived, 1929-1930, and he published in it further poems and essays.  Also in 1930 he brought out several issues of the journal Kern (Nucleus).  At that time, Minkov was also involved with serious research work in the field of Yiddish literary history.  He initially was researching the life and works of classical poets, later broadening the sphere of his interests and examining entire literary eras and, additionally, cultural historical issues of Jews in America.  He published in the press (occasionally in Kinder zhurnal [Children’s magazine]) a series of stories concerned with heroes from Jewish history in America.  Over the years 1934-1937, he edited and published the quarterly journal Bodn (Ground) which carried a large portion of his studies of the classical poets.  This research appeared in book form in 1937 and contained essays on Shimen Frug, Y. L. Perets, A. Lyesin, Yehoyesh (Yehoash), Morris Rozenfeld, and Avrom Reyzen.  He also wrote pieces for such journals as: Idisher kemfer (Jewish fighter), Kultur un dertsiung (Culture and education), Yivo-bleter (Pages from YIVO), and Unzer tsayt (Our time)—in New York; and Kultur (Culture) in Chicago; among others.  In the early 1940s, he worked with Professor Yude A. Yofe on a research project concerning Old Yiddish literature.  He then composed a work about Old Yiddish literature for “Jews G,” in Algemeyne entsiklopedye (General encyclopedia) in 1942, and a similar work for the Universal Jewish Encyclopedia.  On the basis of this research, Minkov wrote his monographs: Elye bokher un zayn bove-bukh (Elijah Bokher and his Bovo-bukh) and Glikl hamel, 1645-1724 (Glüchel of Hameln, 1645-1724).  In 1946 he published Baym rand (At the edge), a collection of twenty-nine poems about the Holocaust, which are considered the high point of Minkov’s poetic creation.  One finds expressed here the profoundly pained temperament of a poet who, to be sure, had not himself experienced the Nazi hell, but who deeply feels with all the fibers of his soul.  Minkov’s most important works in the field of Yiddish literary research were published in the final years of his life.  He completed his three-volume Pyonern fun der yidisher poezye in amerike (Pioneers of Yiddish poetry in America) just after his first heart attack.  He assembled the materials for this book over the course of twenty-plus years.  He treated twenty-two poets, who at the end of the nineteenth century laid the foundations for social poetry in Yiddish in America.  A number of them (such as Morris Winchevsky) were known to the public, but the great majority of the poets were practically forgotten.  In Minkov’s work, they were brought back to life and regained their true place.  Minkov also left behind an unfinished work about national Jewish poets in America, which was to be a continuation of his work about the pioneers (according to the author’s plan this was to be three volumes in length).  Minkov’s books include: Lider (Poetry) (New York, 1924), 79 pp.; Unzer pyero, fun der emotsyonele komedye (Our Piero, from the emotional comedy) (New York, 1927), 126 pp.; Sistem un relativitet in poezye (System and relativity in poetry), on Mikhl Likht (New York, 1927), 32 pp.; Avrom Reyzen, der dikhter fun lid (Avrom Reyzen, the poet of song) (New York, 1936), 48 pp.; Mayses fun letstn shotn, fun der emotsyonele komedye (Stories of the last shadow, from the emotional comedy) (New York, 1936), 104 pp.; Yidishe klasiker-poetn, eseyen (Classical Yiddish poets, essays) (New York, 1937), 224 pp.; Baym rand, lider (At the edge, poems) (New York, 1945), 78 pp.; Elye bokher un zayn bove-bukh (New York, 1950), 88 pp.; A shtern blit, lider (A star shines, poems) (New York, 1952), 79 pp.; Glikl hamel, 1645-1724 (New York, 1952), 151 pp.; Zeks yidishe kritiker (Six Yiddish critics), “an analytical history of Yiddish criticism, a ‘critique of criticism’ according to the designation of Shmuel Niger, including works by A. Tsederboym, Y. Y. Lerner, Y. Kh. Ravnitski, Y. Entin, Bal-Makhshoves, and Sh. Niger” (Buenos Aires, 1954), 344 pp.—recipient of the F. Bimko literary prize from the World Jewish Culture Congress in 1955; Literarishe vegn, eseyen (Literary paths, essays) (Mexico City, 1955), 307 pp.; Pyonern fun der yidisher poezye in amerike, dos sotsyale lid (Pioneers of Yiddish poetry in America, the social poem) (New York, 1956), vol. 1, 336 pp., vol. 2, 328 pp., vol. 3, 328 pp.—recipient of the Leib-Hofer Prize in Argentina.  Minkov also edited the six-volume selected works of Mikhl Likht, which was published after Likht’s death by his widow.  He also wrote prefaces to each volume separately.
            “In his critique of criticism,” wrote Shmuel Niger, “N. B. Minkov strove as much as he could to be objective….  He wrote as a historian—namely, he adhered ever so closely to the materials and documents that he used, not as a critic who takes the writers’ works as a point of departure for his intervention.  His goal—to inform the reader, to help him orient himself to this or that critic’s work, and in the connection that they have to their person and what’s more: to their times and to their surroundings….  Even where he touches upon non-literary-historical but pure literary and literary-critical matters, he wrote as a historian, as a researcher.”  “In his five volumes of poetry,” noted Yankev Glatshteyn, “from the first modest poetry collection at the beginning of the ‘Inzikh’ period until his last book of poems, A shtern blit, Nokhum-Borekh Minkov did not relinquish his visionary world.  He heard his own poems with a musical ear, heard them with eyes lit up in non-earthbound visions.  In ancient times one might read into his lines all manner of predictions and foresight.  His worthy verses possess a visionary pathos, and they lay well on the tongue, even when their meaning is less than clear.  The concealed imaging of his poems, the mirage and shuddering sensation are both personal and communal, and as a result they move well and they speak to themselves with an exquisite tune….  He was a deeply ethical man who loved Yiddish with an ethical love.  Everyone who has written Yiddish was for him a Hassid who stood under a bridal canopy, betrothed to Yiddish.”  “Around N. B. Minkov,” noted A. Glants-Leyeles, “there was always vibrating little airwaves of deep seriousness, responsibility, and personal cleanliness.  He was tidy in his entire appearance, carriage, interaction with colleagues, with people in general—near and far.  This cleanliness also rang out of his word—both poetic and literary critical.  He combined with spiritual cleanliness an extraordinary internal, never demonstrative, God forbid, pride.  Such pride—which I have felt so very long that I can express it in words—was also a sign of talent and the creative man generally….  More than anything else, N. B. Minkov was a poet.  A poet in song, in word, a poet in life as well.  At that, not a poet-aesthete simply, but the poetic ethic in the best sense of the Jewish spirit and of the Jewish tradition.”  “The main feature of Minkov the poet,” claimed A. Tabatshnik, “was the desire to intellectualize emotion, the will to express the heart through reason, the wish to give conceptual definitions for his premonitions, his apocalyptic visions which came to him as in a trance or as in a dream.  Minkov wanted, though, with prudent, rational, and comprehending not only, so to speak, logically to substantiate the irrational, but he wished with understanding words to conceal the excess of emotion, to shield the ‘heart.’”…  Much of what one calls darkness or incomprehension in Minkov is, on the one hand, the will not only to suggest but also logically to define the mysterious inklings that are so characteristic of him, and on the other hand, to conceal the sob, the heart, which cries and yearns.”

Sources: Nokhum borekh minkov (1893-1958) (Nokhum-Borekh Minkov, 1893-1958) (New York: N. B. Minkoff Committee, 1959), 348 pp., including a biography of Minkov written by his wife Hasye Cooperman (pp. 7-21) and a detailed bibliography of writings by Minkov and writings by others about Minkov through 1958, compiled by Yefim Yeshurin (with a total of 521 entries, pp. 314-48); Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 2; Universal Jewish Encyclopedia, vol. 7; “N. B. Minkov,” in Di tsukunft (New York) (July-August 1958); Arn Glants-Leyeles, Velt un vort, literarishe un andere eseyen (World and word, literary and other essays) (New York, 1958); Glants-Leyeles, in Di tsukunft (February 1960); Glants-Leyeles, in Di goldene keyt (Tel Aviv) 39 (1961); Glants-Leyeles, in Tog-morgn-zhurnal (New York) (July 24, 1962); Hasye Cooperman, in Di tsukunft (February 1959; November 1960); Shloyme Bikl, Shrayber fun mayn dor (Writers of my generation) (New York, 1958); P. Shteynvaks, in Di shtime (Mexico City) (August 15, 1959); Y. Rapoport, in Heymish (Tel Aviv) (December 1959); Shmuel Niger, Kritik un kritiker (Criticism and critic) (Buenos Aires, 1959); Yankev Glatshteyn, in Idisher kemfer (New York) (March 6, 1959); Glatshteyn, In tokh genumen (In essence), vol. 2 (Buenos Aires, 1960); Shimen Ravidovitsh, Shriftn (Writings) (Buenos Aires, 1962); Arbeter-ring boyer un tuer (Builders and leaders of the Workmen’s Circle) (New York, 1962), see index; N. Mayzil, Tsurikblikn un perspektivn (Retrospectives and perspectives) (Tel Aviv: Perets Publ., 1962), see index.
Yekhiel Hirshhoyt

Sunday 29 October 2017


MOTL MINKOV (1910-1940s)
            He was born in Vilna into a poor home.  In 1923 he graduated from an eight-tier boys’ Jewish school run by “Mefitse haskole” (Society for the promotion of enlightenment [among the Jews of Russia]).  After studying for four years at the Jewish teachers’ seminary, he had to interrupt his studies and do his military service.  Together with his school friends Sh. Beylis, Sh. Kahan, B. Mikhtam, and D. Gurland, among others, who later belonged to the literary-artistic group “Yung vilne” (Young Vilna), Minkov co-edited the school journal Undzer bletl (Our little newspaper) (1922-1923) and the collection Klangen (Sounds) (1924).  Minkov also took up literary-artistic photomontage.  His photomontage works—of Sholem-Aleykhem, Y. L. Perets, Mendele in Kabtsansk, Avrom Reyzen, Dr. Tsemekh Shabad, the colony run by TOZ (Towarzystwo Ochrony Zdrowia [Society for the protection of health]), the Mefitse haskole School, D. Gurland, and others—were displayed in YIVO (Vilna) and published in the Vilna and Warsaw press: Khaver (Comrade) (1934, 1937); Yoyvl-heft fun der yinglshul mefitse haskole (Jubilee volume from the Mefitse haskole boys’ school) (1931); 5 yor tsabak (Five years of the Central Educational Committee) (1925); and Sport tsaytung (Sports newspaper).  He also published articles in: Shul-pinkes, finf yor arbet, 1919-1925 (School records, five years of work, 1919-1924) (Vilna, 1924); and Yoyvl-heft fun der yinglshul mefitse haskole (Vilna, 1931), among other publications in Vilna.  He would also appear at various Jewish associations with impressions of Vilna Jewish personalities.  In 1938 he departed for Canada, but he seems to have returned only to have disappeared in the Holocaust in Vilna.

Sources: Sh. Bastomski, Yoyvl-heft fun der yinglshul mefitse haskole (Jubilee volume from the Mefitse haskole boys’ school) (Vilna, 1935); Leyzer Ran, 25 yor yung vilne (Twenty-five years of Young Vilna) (New York, 1955).
Leyzen Ran


            She was born in Warsaw, Poland.  She graduated from Janusz Korczak’s girls’ high school and went on to study law at Warsaw University.  In 1929 she made her way to Argentina.  She was active in Jewish educational and cultural life in Buenos Aires.  She published poetry in: Di prese (The press), Di vokh (The week), Haynt (Today), Der veg (The way), Ikuf (IKUF [Jewish Cultural Association]), Folksshtime (Voice of the people), Landsmanshaftn (Native-place associations), Royter shtern (Red star), In gang (In progress), and elsewhere in Buenos Aires.  In book form: Dos lid fun mayn heym, gevidmet der heroishe varshe (The poem of my home, dedicated to heroic Warsaw), with drawing by Kh. Sokolovski (Buenos Aires: IKUF, 1951), 58 pp.  She received an award for her anthem to the Zhitlovsky School (from a leftist group) in Buenos Aires.  Her work also appears in Antologye fun der yidisher literatur in argentine (Anthology of Jewish literature in Argentina) (Buenos Aires, 1944), pp. 490-94.  She was last living in Buenos Aires.

Sources: P. Kats, in Shriftn (Buenos Aires) 7 (1947), pp. 157-59; Y. Botoshanski, Mame yidish (Mother Yiddish) (Buenos Aires, 1949), p. 268; Botoshanski, in Algemeyne entsiklopedye (General encyclopedia), “Yidn 5” (New York, 1957), p. 383; B. M., preface to Dos lid fun mayn heym (The song of my home) (Buenos Aires, 1951), p. 9.
Khayim Leyb Fuks


            He was born in Łuków, Shedlets (Siedlce) district, Poland, into a rabbinical home.  He studied in a number of different yeshivas.  Over the years 1921-1930, he was active in Agudat Yisrael in Ostrov-Mazovyetsk (Ostrów-Mazowiecka).  He was a cofounder of Beys-Yankev schools in Poland.  After the death of Rabbi Shapiro in 1933, he became the spiritual leader of Yeshivat ḥokhme lublin (Yeshiva of the sages of Lublin).  He contributed articles, literary essays, and translations of Hassidic tales to: Ortodoksishe yugend-bleter (Orthodox youth sheets), Dos yudishe togblat (The Jewish daily newspaper), Haderekh (The way), Deglanu (Our banner), and Darkhenu (Our path)—in Warsaw; Beys-yankev zhurnal (Beys Yankev journal), Der yudisher arbayter (The Jewish worker), and Di yudishe shtime (The Jewish voice) in Lodz; and Dos vort (The word) in Vilna; among others.  He also wrote under the pen names: Bar Be Rov and Rav Domi.  When the Germans entered Lublin, he fled to Ostrów-Mazowiecka, and from they to Lekhevits (Lakhve, Lyakhivtsi).  He was confined in its ghetto, and he later was hidden in a bunker.  In the winter of 1942 the Nazis dragged him out of the bunker naked, forcibly led him to the Umschlagplatz, and shot him there.

Sources: Y. Emyot, dedication to Trialetn (Warsaw, 1936), as well as personal information; Y. Fridenzon, in Ela ezkera (These I remember), vol. 3 (New York, 1959), pp. 200-6; T. Makover, in Sefer hazikaron likehilat ostrov-mazovyetsk (The remembrance book for the Jewish community of Ostrów-Mazowiecka) (Tel Aviv, 1960), p. 571.
Khayim Leyb Fuks


SIMKHE MINTS (1912-summer 1941)
            He was born in Plotsk (Płock), Poland.  Until age thirteen he studied in religious elementary school and in a Polish public school, later becoming a laborer.  He was a committee member of Frayhayt-Heḥaluts (Freedom-Young pioneers) and secretary of the right Labor Zionists in Płock.  He published articles in: Dos plotsker lebn (The life in Płock) (1936-1937) and Plotsker vort (Płock word) (1936-1938).  He was the Płock correspondent for Dos vort (The word) in Warsaw.  When the Germans invaded Poland, he fled to Soviet-occupied terrain.  He lived for a time in Brisk (Brest).  Sometime after June 1941, the Nazis seized him in the village of Dombrovitse (Dubrovitsa), Brisk district, and murdered him.

Sources: Plotsk (Płock) anthology (Buenos Aires, 1945), p. 219; Sh. Grinshpan, Yidn in plotsk (Jews in Płock) (New York, 1960), p. 258.
Khayim Leyb Fuks


SHLOYME MINTS (b. October 27, 1861)
            He was born in Byezun (Bieżuń), Plotsk (Płock) district, Poland.  He was a great-grandson of the Slonim rabbi, R. Shloyme Mints.  Until age ten he studied in religious elementary school, and in 1882 he graduated from the Płock high school and went on to study medicine at the Universities of Warsaw and Moscow.  He was a member of the association “Bene-tsiyon” (Children of Zion).  In 1887 he settled in Warsaw where he practiced as a medical doctor.  Aside from articles in Hatsfira (The siren) and Hayom (Today), which he also wrote under the pen name of Dr. Kaspi, he published in book form: Hakalkala vekilkula (Corruption and its damage) and Magefat haḥalira (The epidemic of cholera).  In Yiddish he wrote on medicine and hygiene in Y. L. Perets’s Yudishe biblyotek (Yiddish library).  He also published articles in Polish-Jewish and German medical journals.

Source: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 2.


            The wife of Pinkhes Mints, she was born in Lodz, Poland.  She graduated from a Polish German high school and studied at Warsaw University.  In 1919 she became a member of the young Jewish writers’ group and of Moyshe Broderzon’s theatrical studio in Lodz.  From 1935 she was living in Paris, where she worked as an educator.  In the years of Nazi rule, she was active in the underground resistance movement.  She began writing in her high school years in German and in the late 1920s switched to Yiddish.  She contributed to: Unzer shtime (Our voice) and Unzer vort (Our word) in Paris, in which she placed poetry, articles about education, essays on literature, and travel narratives.  In book form (under the name Rokhl Lipshteyn): Lieder (Poetry), in German (Lodz, 1920), 24 pp., with woodcuts by Dina Matis.  She was last living in Paris.

Sources: Khayim Leyb Fuks, in Fun noentn over (New York) 3 (1957), see index; Sh. Gros, in Ilustrirte literarishe bleter (Buenos Aires) (September-October 1957).
Khayim Leyb Fuks


            He was born in a village near Strikov (Strików), Lodz district, Poland, into a wealthy Hassidic family.  In late 1896 he moved to Lodz.  He studied in a religious elementary school, a Gerer Hassidic synagogue, and with private tutors.  Over the years 1909-1912, he attended Yarotshinski’s high school, later taking a business course which he was compelled to interrupt because of the impoverishment of his parents.  For a time he worked as an assistant bookkeeper, later becoming an employee of the Jewish community in Lodz.  In 1915 during WWI, he joined the Bund, and from that point he was active in the political and trade union movement among the Jewish workers in Poland.  He was a member of the Lodz committee of the Bund.  At the Bund’s 1921 conference in Danzig, he played a leading role among the leftist delegates and established there the pro-Communist grouping which later developed into the Kombund (Communist Labor Bund).  From that time until his disillusionment with the Communism in 1932, Mints was consistently one of the principal leaders of the Jewish Communist movement in Poland, a member of the central committee of the Polish Communist Party, and a member of the presidium of the central Jewish office of the Communist Party.  For many years he lived illegally, and many times he was arrested and thrown into Polish prisons; in 1929, after being freed from the Wronki Prison, he fled to Danzig and from there to Prague.  In 1932 he was the co-creator of the “opposition” within the Communist movement in Poland, before leaving the Communist Party in 1938 and returning to the Bund.  Over the years 1937-1951, he lived in Paris, where he was among the most active members of Jewish political and cultural life.  He was among the leaders, 1941-1944, of the French-Jewish resistance movement against the Nazis, and he took part in the armed struggle against the Germans in the woods.  From 1945 until he settled in Argentina (1952), he was a member of the world coordinating committee of the Bund.  In Argentina he was a member of the committee of the Bund in Buenos Aires and vice-president of the local division of World Jewish Cultural Congress, and he was active as well in the administration of the secular Yiddish Y. L. Perets schools, in the publishers “Yidbukh,” the administration of the Jewish community, and the like.  He began his activities as a writer in 1920 in the illegal publications of the Kombund in Lodz and Warsaw.  He edited the first issue of Lodzher veker (Lodz alarm), which the Kombund group took over in late 1921, and from that point in time he contributed to: Literarishe tribune (Literary tribune) and Der fraydenker (The free-thinker) in Lodz, and to other Yiddish and Polish Communist publications in Poland.  From 1938 he contributed to the Bundist press in France, and he edited the illegal Unzer shtime (Our voice) (Paris-Lyon-Grenoble, 1942-1944) and the daily newspaper Unzer shtime in Paris (1945-1952), in which he published daily on political events as well as literary matters—as well as a portion of his memoirs.  Over the years 1952-1962, he served as editor of the Bundist weekly Unzer gedank (Our idea) in Buenos Aires.  He contributed work as well to: Unzer tsayt (Our time) in New York; Lebnsfragn (Life issues) and Heymish (Familiar) in Tel Aviv; Foroys (Onward) in Mexico City; and Ilustrirte literarishe bleter (Illustrated literary leaves) in Buenos Aires; among others.  In book form he published: Geshikhte fun a falsher iluzye, zikhroynes (History of a false illusion, memoirs),[1] concerning Communism in Poland between the two world wars (Buenos Aires, 1954), 382 pp.; In di yorn fun yidishn umkum un ṿidershtand in frankraykh, perzenlekhe zikhroynes (In the years of the Jewish destruction and resistance in France, personal memoires), concerning the underground struggle against the Nazis and Jewish rescue (Buenos Aires, 1956), 267 pp.; Lodzh in mayn zikorn, fragment fun mayn kindhayt un yugnt (Lodz in my memory, fragments from my childhood and youth),[2] part 1 (Buenos Aires, 1958), 261 pp.  He died in Buenos Aires on the very day of his planned departure for the state of Israel.

Sources: Y. Leshtshinski, in Forverts (New York) (February 27, 1955); H. Bakhrakh, in Unzer gedank (Buenos Aires) (July 1, 1955); Kh. L. Fuks, in Fun noentn over (New York) 3 (1957), see index; B. Pik, in Unzer gedank (July 1, 1957); Sh. Gros, in Ilustrirte literarishe bleter (Buenos Aires) (September-October 1957); Avrom Shulman, in Unzer shtime (Paris) (November 29-30, 1958); Y. Harts, in Di idishe dikhtung (Buenos Aires) (March 6, 1962); Y. Yonasovitsh, in Di prese (Buenos Aires) (March 7, 1962); P. Shrager, in Unzer shtime (March 9, 1962); Perets, in Unzer shtime (March 10, 1962; March 16, 1962); Y. Dar, in Letste nayes (Tel Aviv) (May 1962); Dar, in Lebnsfragn (Tel Aviv) (May-June 1962); M. V. Bernshteyn, in Unzer tsayt (New York) (March-April 1962); Bernshteyn, in Folk un velt (New York) (June 1962); Biblyografye fun yidishe bikher vegn khurbn un gvure (Bibliography of Yiddish books concerning the Holocaust and heroism) (New York, 1962), see index; obituary notices in Di prese and Idishe tsaytung—in Buenos Aires—(March 3-5, 1962).
Khayim Leyb Fuks

[1] Translator’s note: This work was translated into English by Roberts Michaels as The History of a False Illusion: Memoirs on the Communist Movement in Poland (1918-1938) (Lewiston, N.Y.: E. Mellen Press, 2002), 322 pp. (JAF)
[2] Translator’s note: Translated into English by Robert Moses Shapiro and Rena Rabinowitz Shapiro as Lodz in My Memory, Fragments from my Childhood and Youth (n.p., 1993), 244 pp. (JAF

Wednesday 25 October 2017


MOYSHE-YITSKHOK MINTS (MOSES MINTZ) (April 20, 1860-September 4, 1930)
            He was born in Brisk (Brest), Lithuania.  His father, Rabbi Avrom-Tsvi Mints, was a grandson of the rabbi of Kobrin and Slonim, R. Shloyme Mints, and his mother Ester (who had a great influence on his education) was a descendant of the Harkavy family.  Moses Mintz studied in religious elementary schools and secular subjects in a Russian school.  He graduated from a high school in Warsaw and went on to study engineering for three years at the Moscow Polytechnic.  In 1882 he studied to be a veterinarian at Kharkov University.  Under the impact of the pogroms in Russia, he became a “lover of Zion” (Ḥovev-tsiyon, early Zionist), traveled through Russian Jewish communities and campaigned on behalf of the settlement in the land of Israel; together with his friends, Yisroel Belkind and Berlovski, he was among the first founders of the group Bilu—acronym for “Bet yaakov lekhu venelkha” (Let the house of Jacob go!).  In 1882 he traveled to Turkey to intercede with the Turkish authorities on behalf of a possibly broader immigration to the land of Israel.  In 1884 he departed for Israel, joined the earlier Bilu immigrants there, and worked with them under very difficult conditions in the colony of Mikve Yisrael.  Later he founded with the “lovers of Zion” a colony called Gadara.  Because of a controversy with the French administrator, he left the colony, moved to Jerusalem, and studied the locksmith trade, but was unable to endure the difficult working conditions, and on March 21, 1884 he left Israel.  En route to the United States, he stopped in Paris, visited with Baron Rothschild, and sought to influence him so that he might better the conditions facing the Bilu settlers.  In August 1885 Mintz arrived in the United States, where he studied and graduated as a medical doctor (in 1889) and for many years thereafter was employed as a doctor with the New York Board of Health.  In New York he joined the socialist movement, often appeared as a speaker at the Russian Progressive Union, and contributed to the protest campaign against the planned deal between America and Russia concerning a reciprocal exchange of criminals (in 1887), as well as took part in the move to save from execution the condemned Chicago anarchists (in 1886-1887), in the founding of the United Hebrew Trades (Fareynikte yidishe geverkshaftn) in 1889, and in many other political and community undertakings.  At the end of 1885 Mintz, together with Aba Braslavski, founded the socialist Nyu-yorker yudishe folkstsaytung (New York Jewish people’s newspaper)—the first issue appeared on June 25, 1886, the last on December 20, 1889.  Mintz was one of the first Jewish journalists who began writing in a pure Yiddish.  The new newspaper was the tribune of two directions in American Jewish life—the socialist and the “lovers of Zionism.”  He was the author of the “Program of the New York Jewish People’s Newspaper,” which was published in the first issue of the newspaper.  According to this “Program,” the Jewish worker had to ally, on the one hand, “with all workers of the world,” and on the other hand, “with the condition of the Jewish worker in general and especially in America.”  He pledged in the “Program” to publish “interesting, original stories and good translations from contemporary writers.”  In this newspaper the talented poet Dovid Goldshteyn debuted with his poem “Der ekspres” (The express), and Morris Rozenfeld published (December 31, 1886) his poem “Dos 1886 yor” (The year 1886).  Mintz himself also included (using the pen names Stela and Maks) journalistic and natural science articles, stories, and fiction.  He also prepared translations for the newspaper, among them: Karl Marx, “Lohn un kapital” (Loan and capital), which was published in sequentially and also appeared in pamphlet form.  After the discontinuation of Nyu-yorker yudishe folkstsaytung, Mintz became the editor of the weekly Folks-advokat (People’s advocate), which was published by his two brothers Mikhl (Michael) and Gershon (Gustav), and he held this position until 1893.  He later went as a delegate sent by the organization “Shuvu Tsiyon” (Return to Zion) to the land of Israel, and when he returned to America six months later, he and his brother Gershon established the weekly newspaper Der yudishe rekord (The Jewish record), in which, among other items, he published his diary: “Mayn rayze nokh Palestine, oder a grus fun der muter tsien” (My voyage to Palestine, or greetings from the mother Zion).  He also published various items in Minikes’s Yontef bleter (Holiday sheets) and other publications.  In 1923 he resigned from his medical post with the city of New York, and in the winter of 1924 he returned to Israel with his wife and settled in the Bilu colony of Gadara.  On the 23rd of Shevet (January 29), 1924, he laid the foundation stone for the people’s home in which the history of Bilu, which Mintz wrote, together with an array of other writings of his concerning this pioneering Zionist movement, was secreted.  Now more withdrawn, Mintz devoted his time to music and astronomy.  In 1929 his wife passed away.  He then departed for America to visit his relatives and died there.  According to his will, his remains were to be taken to the land of Israel and interred in Gadara.

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 2, with a bibliography; Y. Kopelyov, Amol un shpeter (Once and later) (Vilna, 1932), pp. 100ff; Moyshe Shtarkman, in Yivo-bleter (Vilna) 4.4-5 (1932), pp. 354-87; Shtarkman, in Yorbukh (New York) (1943/1944), p. 93; Shtarkman (using the name Moyshe Khizkuni), in Metsuda (London) 7 (1954), pp. 505ff; Shmuel Niger, in Tsukunft (New York) (August 1940); Niger, in Algemeyne entsiklopeye (General encyclopedia), “Yidn 5” (New York, 1957), pp. 103ff; Kalmen Marmor, Der onhoyb fun der yidisher literatur in amerike (The beginning of Yiddish literature in America) (New York, 1944), pp. 34-35; Marmor, in Kalmen marmor-arkhiv (Kalmen Marmor archives), YIVO (New York); Elye (Elias) Shulman, Geshikhte fun der yidisher literatur in amerike (History of Jewish literature in America) (New York, 1943), pp. 43ff; Y. Khaykin, in Yorbukh (1945); Khaykin, Yidishe bleter in amerike (Yiddish newspapers in America) (New York, 1946), pp. 431-32; E. Tcherikower, Geshikhte fun der yidisher arbeter-bevegung in di fareynikte shtatn (History of the Jewish labor movement in the United States), vol. 2 (New York, 1945), pp. 270, 274, 289, 322, 327, 334, 339, 340; D. Tidhar, in Entsiklopedyah leḥalutse hayishuv uvonav (Encyclopedia of the pioneers and builders of the yishuv), vol. 2 (Tel Aviv, 1947), pp. 712-13, vol. 4 (1950), p. 1920; L. Shpizman, in Geshikhte fun der tsienistisher arbeter-bavegung fun tsofn-amerike (History of the Zionist labor movement in North America), vols. 1 and 2 (New York, 1955), see index; L. Kobrin, Mayne fuftsik yor in amerike (My fifty years in America) (Buenos Aires, 1955), pp. 270ff; Entsiklopediya shel galuyot, brisk delita (Encyclopedia of the Diaspora, Brisk, Lithuania) (Tel Aviv, 1955), pp. 295, 377; Brisk delite (Brest, Lithuania) (New York, 1955), col. 348; YIVO archives (New York); obituary notices in the Yiddish and Hebrew press; Dr. Joseph Klausner, Behitorer am (Amid the awakening of a people) (Jerusalem, 1962), see index; “Habilue minyu york” (Bilu settlers from New York), Haboker (Tel Aviv) (May 14, 1962).
Zaynvl Diamant

Tuesday 24 October 2017


MIKHL MINTS (MICHAEL MINTZ) (1858-April 14, 1912)
            The brother of Moyshe (Mozes) Mints, he was born in Brisk (Brest), Lithuania, into a well-pedigreed family.  He received a traditional Jewish education and also graduated from a secular high school.  He was a member of Bilu (Palestine pioneers, a movement to settle Jews in the land of Israel), and in 1884, after the bloody pogroms in Russia, he left with his brother Moyshe for the land of Israel.  Shortly thereafter (August 1885), he made his way to the United States.  In 1887 he founded in Chicago the Yiddish daily newspaper, Der teglekher idisher kuryer (The daily Jewish courier).  He then soon moved from Chicago to New York and began to publish the weekly newspaper, Der folks-advokat (The people’s advocate), on July 27, 1887—together with Getsl Zelikovitsh and later with his brother Moyshe.  His ambition was to create a modern Yiddish press in America.  In 1891 he began publishing the daily Der teglekher herald (The daily herald), and Der folks-advokat from that point became a weekly supplement to the new daily.  This newspaper was at that time among the most prominent liberal organs in America.  Mints was also director of the Liptsin Theater—he was the husband of the celebrated actress Kenny Liptsin—and he accomplished much to introduce better drama onto the Yiddish stage.  Business, though, went quite poorly for the theater, and he thus committed suicide.

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 2, with a bibliography; Zalmen Zilbertsvayg, Leksikon fun yidishn teater (Handbook of the Yiddish theater), vol. 2 (New York, 1934), with a bibliography; Entsiklopediya shel galuyot (Encyclopedia of the Diaspora), section on Brisk (Brest), Lithuania (Jerusalem-Tel Aviv, 1954), p. 295; Moyshe Shtarkman, in Yivo-bleter (Vilna) 4.4-5 (1932), pp. 354-57.
Yankev Kahan

Monday 23 October 2017


HERSH MINTS (HIRSCH MUNZ) (April 21, 1905-1979)
            He was born in Krinki (Krynki), Grodno region, Russian Poland.  He studied in a Polish Hebrew high school in Krynki, and later (1927) graduated from the Polish state teachers’ seminary in Lemberg.  From 1928 he was living in Australia, where he continued his education at the Universities of Adelaide and Sydney.  In Sydney he later became a lecturer on European literature.  Over the years 1941-1945, he took part in the war as an officer in the Australian navy, later settling in Melbourne where he served on the presidium of the Jewish Historical Society, of YIVO, of the Histadruth campaign, and other groups.  He was a contributor to Oystralishe yidishe nayes (Australian Jewish news) in Melbourne and to the Anglo-Yiddish and English-language press in the country, where he regularly published works on Yiddish literature, theater, and culture.  In Oystralisher yidisher almanakh (Australian Jewish almanac), vols. 1 and 2 (Melbourne, 1937 and 1942), he published writings on the history of Jews in Australia: vol. 1, pp. 17-56, “Geshikhte fun yidn in adeleid” (History of Jews in Adelaide); vol. 2, pp. 65-112, “Tsvey yidishe kehiles” (Two Jewish communities), on the history of Jews in South Australia and Victoria.  He authored books in both English and Yiddish, among them: Jews in South Australia, 1836-1936: An Historical Outline (Adelaide, 1936), 84 pp.; Yankev safir un zayne nesyes, a bazukh in oystralye in 1861 (Jacob Safir and his voyages, a trip to Australia in 1861) (Melbourne: YIVO Committee in Melbourne, 1950), 39 pp.

Sources: Meylekh Ravitsh, in Oystralisher yidisher almanakh, vol. 1 (1937), pp. 11, 15, vol. 2 (1942), p. 439; Who’s Who in World Jewry (New York, 1955), p. 541.
Khayim Leyb Fuks

(For more information on Munz, see: http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/munz-hirsch-11200.)


BENYOMEN MINTS (BINYAMIN MINTZ) (January 12, 1903-May 30, 1961)
            He was born in Lodz, Poland.  He studied in religious elementary school and a Gerer Hassidic synagogue, and with private tutors he studied secular subjects and foreign languages.  When WWI broke out, he was in a German resort, from which he was expelled as a Russian citizen, living for a time in Sweden and Finland, later in St. Petersburg and Vitebsk, where he studied in a Lubavitcher yeshiva and also graduated from a middle school.  In late 1918 he returned to Lodz, and there he was among the organizers of “Tseire Agudat Yisrael” (Agudat Yisrael youth) and “Poale Agudat-Yisrael” (Workers of Agudat Yisrael) in Poland.  He was a delegate to the first Orthodox Kenesia Gedola (World congress) in Vienna (1923), and he was selected onto the leadership of Agudat Yisrael.  In 1925 he went as a pioneer to the land of Israel and was a cofounder of the first Orthodox kibbutz “Ḥafets Ḥayim” and other religious kibbutzim and moshavim.  For many years he was president of World Agudat Yisrael and Poale Agudat-Yisrael; and he was a member of the executive of the World Jewish Congress and cofounder of Agudat Haitonaim (Journalists’ organization) in Israel.  During the war years, he was a member of the leadership of Association of Polish Jews in Israel and of Vaad Hahatsala (The Rescue Committee) with the Jewish Agency.  In 1945 he toured the former Nazi concentration camps in Germany and Austria and aided the illegal group Briḥa (“escape” [organized, illegal emigration from postwar Soviet zones into Allied-held terrain in Europe]).  He was a member of the highest security council of the provisional Israeli government, deputy to four Knessets, and for a time vice-president of the Knesset.  From July 1960 until his death, he served as Minister of Postal Services in the Israeli government.  This led to the split between Agudat Yisrael and Poale Agudat Yisrael, in whose name he assumed his position.  He organized the exhibition “200 Years of Hassidic Life in Eastern Europe.”  His writing activities began 1921.  He debuted in print with an essay in the collection Friling (Spring) (Lodz, 1922), and from that point in time, he contributed work to: Der yud (The Jew), Darkhenu (Our path), and Deglanu (Our banner) in Warsaw (1919-1926); Der yudisher arbayter (The Jewish worker), Unzer traybkraft (Our motive force), and Beys yankev zhurnal (Beys Yankev journal) in Lodz; Dos vort (The word) in Vilna; and other Orthodox publications in Poland and elsewhere.  Over the decade 1929-1939, he served as the Israeli correspondent for Dos yudishe togblat (The Jewish daily newspaper) in Warsaw and Riger haynt (Riga today), in which, aside from political articles, he published—mainly during his travels around the world—series of reportage pieces and descriptions of past Jewish life in Spain and Portugal, as well as the life of descendants of Marranos who were looking more than anything for the way back to Judaism.  He was a regular contributor to Ketuvim (Writings) in Tel Aviv (1925-1930), edited by A. Shlanski and A. Shteynman.  Together with Dr. E. Karlebakh, he cofounded: Haboker (This morning), Yediot aḥaranot (Latest news), and other serials.  He also placed writings in: Hatsfira (The siren), Haarets (The land), Davar (Word), Letste nayes (Latest news), and Shearim (Gates) of which he was also editor-in-chief—in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem; he was co-editor (with V. Laykhter) of Bitui (Idiom) in Tel Aviv (1926-1928), Poyln (Poland), and Yahadut polin (Jews of Poland) in Tel Aviv (1942-1944).  He was the author of the monographs: Meir beahava (Meir with love) (Tel Aviv, 1943), 64 pp., concerning Meir Shapiro, the founder of the Yeshivat Ḥokhmat Lublin; on the Gerer Rebbe, Avraham Mordechai Alter; on the Besht (Bal Shem Tov); on Rambam’s Yad haḥazaka ([Book of] the strong hand); and Megilat haḥurban (Scroll of the destruction); among others.  Together with Eliezer Shteynman, he published a monograph entitled Di nemen fun tel-aviver gasn (Names of the streets of Tel Aviv).  He wrote the introduction to Dovid Zaritski’s Holocaust poetry: Oysgetriknte oygn (Dried eyes) (Paris, 1947).  He died in Tel Aviv.  In his memory there was founded a colony of religious Jews “Yad Binyamin” in the Negev.

Sources: M. Prager, in Fun noentn over (New York) 2 (1956), p. 486; Khayim Leyb Fuks, in Fun noentn over 3 (1957), see index; Sh. Samt, in Sefer hashana shel haitonim (Newspaper yearbook) (Tel Aviv, 1952/1953), p. 252; D. Flinker, in Tog-morgn-zhurnal (New York) (July 27, 1960; September 25, 1960); Y. Ayzenberg, in Der idisher zhurnal (Toronto) (January 3, 1961); Sh. Izban, in Der amerikaner (New York) (March 3, 1961); M. Under, in Tog-morgn-zhurnal (January 17, 1961); H. Zaydman, in Tog-morgn-zhurnal (June 18, 1961); Sh. Shamir, in Panim al panim (Jerusalem) (Shevet 28 [= February 14], 1961); Y. Fridenzon, in Yoyvl bukh 50 yor agudes yisroel (Fifthieth anniversary of Agudat Yisrael) (New York, 1962/1963); obituary notices in the Yiddish and Hebrew press throughout the world.
Khayim Leyb Fuks


YANKEV MINSTER (1905-September 15, 1983)
            He immigrated to Argentina in 1937 and made aliya to Ashdod in 1977.  For a number of years he was an internal contributor to Di prese (The press) in Buenos Aires.  He died in Ashdod

Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), cols. 374.


KHONEN-YANKEV MINIKES (1867-March 27, 1932)
            He was born in Vilna.  At age four he began to attend religious elementary school.  At seven he was already studying Talmud and later with his father, Hirsh-Nokhum, head of the religious court in Lupts, while at the same time also studying Russian.  At fourteen he entered the Volozhin Yeshiva, where he became a follower of the Jewish Enlightenment, proceeded thereafter to travel to Germany, and with recommendations from Rabbi Yisroel Salanter, Dr. Y. Rilf (from Memel), and the Malbim [Meyer Leybush ben Yekhiel Mikhl Wisser, 1809-1879] in Königsberg, he became a member of the family of Dr. Ezriel Hildesheimer in Berlin.  Together with Shloyme-Zalmen Fuks and Yitskhok Kaminer, he founded the Hebrew association “Ahavat Tsiyon” (Love of Zion), corresponded with Perets Smolenskin, and debuted in print with an article in Hashaḥar (The dawn) in 1884/1885.  At the same time, he took an active part in providing asylum for those escape pogroms in Russia.  In 1888 he moved to the United States, where he initially worked as a teacher for Yiddish actors and later as a ticket controller in Yiddish theaters.  He helped a great deal in building Jewish unions and was one of the first delegates to the United Hebrew Trades (Fareynikte yidishe geverkshaftn).  He was active in a variety of philanthropic and cultural institutions, first and foremost the Y. L. Perets writers’ association, of which for many years he was a member of the management.  He was also very active in the “People’s Tool Campaign for the Jews in Russia” during and after WWI.  His literary activities were particularly concentrated in the publications: Minikes yontef bleter (Minikes’s holiday sheets) which he published (from 1897) over the course of thirty-five years.  They were rich and diverse in contents, although most of the pieces in these anthologies were republications.  One would encounter there Ayzik-Meyer Dik and Mendele at the same table with the youngest of the young.  Indeed, Minikes’s announcements for his “Holiday sheets” would run as follows: fifty Yiddish writers at one seder or under one succah; among the writers one would have a mixture of Hebraists, Yiddishists, anarchists, Zionists, atheists, and Orthodox.  There were no parties, directions, or tendencies, as far as Minikes was concerned, in literature.  In his last year, he began to include ever more in the “Holiday sheets” items by younger writers.  In 1895 he published in New York his theatrical work, Tsvishn indyaner oder der kontri-pedler (Among Indians, or the country peddler), “comedic vaudeville in one act, with singing and dancing, adapted for the Yiddish stage by Kh. Y. Minikes from Vilna” (17 pp.), which was staged on April 17, 1895 for his benefit at the Windsor Theater.  In 1897 under Minekes’s editorship was published Di idishe bine (The Yiddish stage), which included articles, one-act plays, poems, essays, and history of the Yiddish theater by Shomer (N. M. Shaykevitsh), Y. Katseneleboygn, Minekes himself, Aleksander Harkavy, M. Zeyfert, A. M. Sharkanski, Morris Rozenfeld, Yankev Gordin, Tashrak, B. Faygenboym, Dr. T. Sigel, Philip Krants, V. Kayzer, Zaken Gadol (Leon Zolotkof), Sambatyon, Ruvn Vaysman, Yohan Paley, D. M. Hermolin, B. Gorin, A. Shomer, and Y. Ter, among others.  It was also announced in this volume that soon there would appear in print: Nile, oder der vilner goen un di khsidim (Last prayer of Yom Kippur, or the Vilna Gaon and the Hassidim), “a great Jewish historical opera by Khonen Y. Minikes (from Vilna).  Folksongs, couplets, and patriotic poetry by Vilyas Kayzer.”  The play was never published, nor performed.  Minikes also wrote articles feature pieces, stories, and the like and published them, for the most part, in his “Holiday sheets.”  “Minikes was a worthy collegial writer.…” wrote Sholem Asch. “He would select from each writer a story or an article from among their already published material and introduce it with a few heartfelt, simple numbers concerning the holiday….  He would purposefully selected from the least well-known work that the author might himself have forgotten, and resurrect it from the dead in his periodical.”

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 2; Zalmen Zilbertsvayg, Leksikon fun yidishn teater (Handbook of the Yiddish theater), vol. 2 (New York, 1934); Z(aks), in Tsukunft (New York) (May 1911), pp. 295-96; B(yalostotski), in Di tsayt (New York) (May 1, 1921); Avrom Reyzen, in Tsukunft (January 1930), pp. 37-43; E. Almi, in Literarishe bleter (Literary leaves) (Warsaw) 17 (1932); H. Lang, in Forverts (New York) (March 29, 1932); Dr. A. Koralnik, in Tog (New York) (March 29, 1932); Hadoar (New York) (March 30, 1932); B. Vladek, in Forverts (April 1, 1932); Shmuel Niger, in Tog (April 5, 1932); Sholem Asch, in Forverts (May 11, 1932); B. Botvinik, in Vilne (Vilna), anthology (New York, 1935); M. Khizkuni, in Metsuda 7 (London, 1954); A. Sh. Shvarts, in Hadoar (July 12, 1957); Talush, Yidishe shrayber (Yiddish writers) (Miami Beach, 1955), pp. 238-42; Y. Libman, Boyer un shafer fun mayn dor (Builders and creators of my generation), essays and assessments of writers and community leaders, vol. 1 (New York, 1943), pp. 133-40.
Mortkhe Yofe


            He was born in Ostashivka, Kiev district, Ukraine.  He performed his military service in Siberia, which provided the theme for his first story: “Sibir” (Siberia).  In 1913 he moved to the United States.  In 1923 he published poetry in the journal Baginen (Dawn).  He published two books of “dramatic writings”: Dos shtilste shtetele storozh (The quietest small town, Storozh) (New York: Kesef vezahav, 1934), 191 pp.; Dos shtilste shtetele, tsvey komandim (The quietest small town, two commands) (New York: Kesef vezahav, 1951), 194 pp.  He was last living in Brooklyn, New York.

Sources: Dr. A. Mukdoni, in Morgn-zhurnal (New York) (May 7, 1934); Mukdoni, in Der shpigl (Buenos Aires) (May 27, 1934); Mukdoni, in Di tsukunft (New York) (November 1952).
Yankev Kahan


SHOLEM MILER (SALEM MILLER) (1900-May 25, 1947)
            He was born in Molodetshne (Maladziečna), Byelorussia.  He studied in religious elementary school, with private tutors, and later in Reynes’s yeshiva in Vilna.  Over the years 1918-1921 he studied to be a lawyer at Vilna University.  In 1921 he moved to Canada and settled in Winnipeg, where he completed his studies and became a lawyer.  He was cofounder of a national Jewish community council for Western Canada and a builder of Yiddish and Hebrew school curricula.  He taught for many years in Talmud-Torahs, Y. L. Peretz schools, and the Yiddish-Hebrew teachers’ seminary.  He also was among the leadership of the Canadian Jewish Congress, Winnipeg Labor Zionists, the Histadruth campaign, and the Zionist action committee in Jerusalem.  He was devoted to the study of Jewish folklore.  He first published Hebrew poetry in Hatsfira (The siren) in Warsaw (1917), and from then contributed poems, stories, and articles to: Dos idishe vort (The Jewish word) in Winnipeg; Keneder odler (Canadian eagle) in Montreal; Der idisher zhurnal (The Jewish journal) in Toronto; Der idisher kemfer (The Jewish fighter), Morgn-zhurnal (Morning journal), and Hadoar (The mail) in New York.  In Sefer hashana leyehude amerika (Annual of Jews in America) for 1950/1951, he published the study: “Yidisher humor in amerike” (Jewish humor in America).  His books include: Funem idishn kval, idishe vitsn, anekdotn un glaykhverterlekh (The gist of the Jewish past, Jewish jokes, anecdotes, and aphorisms), with a foreword by Yude Elzet (Winnipeg, 1937), 301 pp.  This book possessed “a great treasury of the Jewish spirit and naïveté,” wrote Elzet, “and it is characterized by its adaptive style of concrete classification and interpretation.”  He died in Winnipeg.

Sources: Y. Elzet, foreword to Funem idishn kval, idishe vitsn, anekdotn un glaykhverterlekh (The gist of the Jewish past, Jewish jokes, anecdotes, and aphorisms) (Winnipeg, 1937), pp. 8-9; Mark (Zeltshen), in Dos idishe vort (Winnipeg) (May 27, 1947; June 25, 1947); Zeltshen, Der idisher kemfer (New York) (June 6, 1947); Zeltshen, in Hadoar (New York) (June 13, 1947); P. Zalts, in Keneder odler (Montreal) (June 16, 1948).
Khayim Leyb Fuks


MOYSHE MILER (1908-autumn 1941)
            He was born in a village near Radzymin, Poland.  He moved to Warsaw in his youth.  He studied in religious elementary school, yeshiva, and later a Polish public school.  At age fifteen he became a hairdresser.  He was active in the leftwing political and trade union movement in Warsaw.  He debuted in print with a story entitled “An eyshes-ish” (A married woman) in Y. M. Vaysenberg’s Inzer hofening (Our hope) 10 (Warsaw, 1926), and from that point he contributed stories and articles as well to: Literarishe tribune (Literary tribune), Zibn teg (Seven days), Literarishe bleter (Literary leaves), Foroys (Onward), Vokhnshrift far literatur (Weekly writing for literature), Folks-tsaytung (People’s newspaper), Der fraynd (The friend), Unzer ekspres (Our express), and Zalbe akht (Eight of them)—in Warsaw.  In the weekly newspaper Di post (The mail) in Cracow (1938), he published an essay concerning Vaysenberg and his links to young talents.  In book form: Dorf, dertseylungen (Village, stories), concerning poor farmers’ lives in Poland (Warsaw, 1934), 92 pp.  When the Germans were approaching Warsaw in September 1939, he fled to Soviet-occupied Bialystok, worked in a hairdresser’s establishment, and published reportage pieces in Byalistoker shtern (Bialystok star) (1939-1940); and Oktyabr (October) and Shtern (Star) in Minsk; among other serials.  He lived in Novogrudok and Slonim, and later worked as a Byelorussian teacher in a village school.  After the German invasion of Russia (June 1941), he fled from the village and lived for a time in the woods, until the Germans seized and murdered him.

Sources: Biblyografishe yorbikher fun yivo (Bibliographic yearbooks from YIVO) (Warsaw, 1928), see index; Literarishe bleter (Warsaw) (September 16, 1938); Yidishe shriftn, anthology (Lodz, 1946).
Khayim Leyb Fuks

Sunday 22 October 2017


MORTKHE MILER (1895-January 23, 1945)
            He was born in Vakhnovke (Vakhnovka), Kiev district, Ukraine.  He grew up in Yanov (Yaniv), Podolia.  Until age ten he studied in religious elementary school and then went to work.  At age fourteen he moved to Winnipeg, Canada.  He published poems, prose, and one-act plays in Canadian Jewish publications, such as: Keneder odler (Canadian eagle) in Montreal, Der idisher zhurnal (The Jewish journal) in Toronto, Dos idishe vort (The Jewish word) in Winnipeg, and Y. Y. Sigal’s Nyuansn (Nuances) in Montreal, among others.  Together with Yekhezkl Bronshteyn, he published a book of poems, Tsvey veltn (Two worlds), the second part of which, entitled “Zun un benkshaft” (Son and nostalgia), was Miler’s work (Winnipeg: Vinipeg, 1919), pp. 94-112.  On his own he published: Siluetn, lider (Silhouettes, poems) (Winnipeg: Vinipeg, 1927), 96 pp.; Hamer (Hammer) (Winnipeg: Vinipeg, 1928); and Fun shturem, geklibene lider (From the storm, selected poems), mimeographed (Edmonton: Y. L. Perets shul, 1936), 68 pp.  He died in Winnipeg.

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 2; Y. A. Rontsh, in Der kamf (Toronto) (May 13, 1927); Keneder odler (Montreal) (February 11, 1946); Tsukunft (New York) (March 1946): Dos idishe vort (Winnipeg) (January 14, 1947).
Yankev Kahan


L. MILER (November 20, 1889-May 1967)
            The adopted name of Leyzen Meler, he was born in Lanovits (Lanovichi), Volhynia.  His father, Yitskhok Meler, was the rabbi of Bolgrad (Bolhrad), Bessarabia, and the author of the commentary on Ibn Ezra and other religious works and of essays and poems in Suvalski’s Kneset yisrael (Congregation of Israel) and other publications.  Until age sixteen Miler studied in religious primary schools and under the supervision of his father.  He studied Russian language and other secular subjects with private tutors.  In 1906 he made his way to the United States, where he worked in various trades.  He resided in Philadelphia, Chicago, and Detroit.  For a time he was a businessman dealing in marble and granite, and as a consequence he traveled around America.  He debuted in print with a poem entitled “Af di kvorim fun di toyte, tsu di lebedike” (At the graves of the dead, to the living” (written under the influence of the dreadful Triangle Shirtwaist Fire) in Fraye arbeter-shtime (Free voice of labor) in New York (1911).  In the first period of his writing, Miler wrote about labor, hardship, and struggle and published his poetry in: Der idisher kemfer (The Jewish fighter), Di naye velt (The new world), Glaykhheyt (Equality), Di vokh (The week), Der kibitzer (The kibitzer), Der groyser kundes (The great prankster), Poezye (Poetry), and Dos vort (The word), among others—in New York; Onhoyb (Beginning) and Baym fayer (At the fire), edited by Z. Vaynper, in Philadelphia; as well as other periodicals in America.  Later, under the impact of the group of poets known as “Di yunge” (The young ones), for a time he eschewed social motifs and wrote individualistic poems, and when he published his first poetry collection, he did not even include his first poems in it.  Miler also composed prose and was a contributor to the anthology Shriften (Writings) and co-edited its first two volumes in 1912 and 1913.  In volume five of Shriften, he published a novel entitled Abo.  In October 1925 he founded in Chicago the journal Kultur (Culture)—“illustrated weekly for literature, art, and general matters”; twenty-one issues appeared in print, for which he served as editor.  In 1928 he began contributing to Morgn-frayhayt (Morning freedom), Der hamer (The hammer), and other Communist and pro-Communist publications.  He also wrote stories and plays for children, which were staged by the children in International Labor Order schools (where he taught for awhile).  He also published in Soviet Yiddish publications.  He was: co-editor and manager of the monthly Signal (Signal), organ of Proletpen (1935-1936); co-editor of the journal Yidish amerike (Jewish America), “monthly journal for literature and criticism,” published by the leftist “Yiddish poets club of America” (1949); from 1954 to the end of 1958, and co-editor of the quarterly Zamlungen (Collections), put out by the Yiddish writers’ association at IKUF (Jewish Cultural Association) in New York.  His published books include: Af gots velt, lider (In God’s world, poems), ornately lettered and illustrated in its entirety by the artist Yude Tofel (New York, 1919), 122 pp.; Do iz mayn heym (Here is my home), “selected poetry” (New York, 1942), 172 pp.; Dos lebn vos lebt eybik, milkhome-balade (Life that goes on forever, war ballad) (New York, 1942), 30 pp.; Shturems un regnboygns, lider (Thunderstorms and rainbows, poems) (New York, 1948), 160 pp.; Eybik lebn (Eternal life), “new and selected poetry” (New York, 1959), 188 pp.; and Mir ale, naye un opgeklibene lider, poemes, iberzetsungen fun fremde shprkhn (All of us, new and selected poetry, poems, translations from foreign languages) (Paris: Oyfsnay, 1965), 207 pp.  He translated: Walt Whitman, Lider fun bukh bletlekh groz (Poems from [Whitman’s] book, Leaves of Grass) (New York, 1940), 221 pp.; poems by Alfred Kromberg, which appeared in Eybik lebn; and from Chinese poetry, which appeared in Zamlungen 17.  He died in New York.

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 2; B. Ts. Ayzenshtadt, Dor rabanav vesofrav (A generation of rabbis and authors), vol. 2 (New York, 1900); Morris Basin, Finf hundert yor yidishe poezye (500 years of Yiddish poetry), vol. 2 (New York, 1917); Antologye midvest un mayrev (Anthology of the Midwest and the West) (Chicago, 1933), p. 197; Z. Vaynper, in Yidishe shriftsheler (New York) 1 (1933), pp. 121-26; Khayim Leyb Fuks, in Lodzher folksblat (June 5, 1923); A. Pomerants, in Proletpen (Kiev) (1935); M, Kats, in Morgn-frayhayt (New York) (November 5, 1939); B. Grin, in Yidish amerike (New York) (January 1949); Grin, in Zamlungen (New York) 19 (1959); B. Kleyn, in Folksshtime (Warsaw) (May 22, 1954); A. Rontsh, in Yidishe kultur (New York) (November 1959); N. Mayzil, Tsurikblikn un perspektivn (Retrospectives and perspectives) (Tel Aviv: Perets Publ., 1962), see index; The Universal Jewish Encyclopedia (New York), vol. 7.
Zaynvl Diamant

[Additional information from: Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 374.]