PERETS MILAKOVSKI (1907-summer 1942)
He was born in Lodz, Poland. He studied in Yitskhok Katsenelson’s Hebrew school, later graduating from the Hebrew Broyde high school in Lodz, before continuing his studies in university and the conservatory in Warsaw. He was active in the Zionist student organization, later in the Revisionist Party in Poland. Over the years 1929-1932, he lived in Pinsk, and until WWII in Warsaw. He was secretary general of the Hebrew Literary Association in Poland and chief secretary of “Agudat Haḥazonim” (The association of cantors). At age thirteen he placed his first poem in the children’s publication Tsafririm (Zephyrs). In he debuted in print with an essay on Jewish music in Lodzer tageblat (Lodz daily newspaper) in 1928, and thereafter he contributed to: Pinsker shtime (Voice of Pinsk), Lodzer tageblat and Teḥumim (Boundaries) in Lodz; and Unzer veg (Our way) and Baderekh (On the road) in Warsaw; among others. From 1933 he was associated with the monthly Di khazonim-velt (The cantors’ world) in Warsaw, later becoming editor of the Yiddish-Hebrew Di shuhl un khazonim-velt (The synagogue and cantors’ world), “monthly for Jewish liturgy, cantors, and all sorts of synagogue matters” (Warsaw, 1935-1939); in the latter, he published in both Yiddish and Hebrew reviews of cantors and ran the column entitled “Fun unzer muzikalisher oytser” (From our musical treasury). His essays, “Di yidishe liturgye” (The Jewish liturgy), in Yiddish and the Hebrew “Perakim beshirat bet yisrael” (Selections from the poetry of the House of Israel) in Di khazonim-velt (1933-1936) were published in book form in Warsaw (1938), 160 pp. A fragment from his work, “Khazonim un khazones in poyln” (Cantors and the cantorial art in Poland), appeared in the collection Khazones (Cantorial art) (New York, 1937). He led a course on Jewish liturgy at Warsaw’s “Cantors’ Association.” He translated into Yiddish and Hebrew texts of operas, among them: Haydn’s The Creation (original: Die Schöpfung). He published feature pieces in the Yiddish provincial press in Poland. He was the author of biographies (in Hebrew) of Polish leaders of state (Warsaw, 1939). Chapters of his “Geshikhte fun yidn in pinsk” (History of the Jews of Pinsk) were published in Di shuhl un khazonim-velt (Warsaw, 1935-1938). He also wrote under the pen names: Samueli, An Eygener, and A Lodzher, among others. He was confined in the Warsaw Ghetto, from which he was deported in 1942 to Treblinka and murdered there.
Sources: Khazones (Cantorial art) (New York, 1937), p. 82; Di shuhl un khazonim-velt (Warsaw) (August 1939); Khayim Leyb Fuks, in Fun noentn over (New York) 3 (1957), see index; information from Mortkhe Shtrigler in New York.
Khayim Leyb Fuks