Monday 2 October 2017


SHMUEL MAYZLSH (SAMUEL MEISELS) (December 9, 1877-1938/June 4, 1942[?])
            He was born in Przemyśl, Galicia, descended of a great rabbinical pedigree.  He studied Tanakh and Talmud, while at the same time secular subject matter: German, Polish, and, with help from private tutors, made his way through a high school course of study.  While still young he began writing at the same time in three languages: Hebrew, Yiddish, and German.  In 1896 he debuted in print with a work in Hebrew entitled: “Matsav hasifrut haivrit begalitsiya” (The state of Hebrew literature in Galicia) in the London-based Hayehudi (The Jew), edited by Subalski.  The same year he also published his first journalistic articles in Hamagid (The preacher) and Hatsfira (The siren).  In Yiddish he published in Lemberger vokhenblat (Lemberg weekly newspaper) (1896-1897), and in German in Oesterreichische Wochenschrift (Austrian weekly), edited by Dr. Josef Bloch, of which he was editor in 1919.  Over the course of eleven years (1903-1914), he served as editor of the German-Jewish Hamburger Israelitischen Familienblatts (Hamburg Jewish family newspaper), and he later settled in Vienna.  Over the years 1917-1919, he published the Viennese Jewish periodical in German Die Neuzeit (Modern times), and he contributed to various German-language periodicals.  He authored a number of books (all in German), among them: Das Liebeslied (The love song) (Berlin, 1919); Matthias Wurmser (Matthias Wurmser) (Hamburg, 1921); Kaddisch, Schauspiel in drei Aufzügen (Kaddish, a play in three acts) (Berlin, 1920), 45 pp.; Deutsche Klassiker im Ghetto (The German classics in the ghetto), “literature in Hebrew translation” (Vienna, 1922), 32 pp.; Die jüdische Abwehr (Jewish defense) (Vienna, 1924), 32 pp.; Judenköpfe (Jewish minds)—including among others: Mendele Moykher-Sforim, Ḥaim Naḥman Bialik, Micha Josef Berdyczewski, Morris Rozenfeld, and Sh. An-ski—(Vienna, 1926), 271 pp.  He translated Sholem Aleichem’s novel Stempenju (Stempenyu) and published it (under the title “Rokhele”) in the German collection, Jüdischer Novellenshatz (Jewish story treasury) (Berlin, 1908), later published in book form under the title Stempenju (Berlin, 1922), 202 pp.  He also published: a longer monograph on the history of Yiddish theater in Allgemeine Zeitung des Judenthums (General newspaper of Judaism) (Berlin, 1921); a monograph on the Yiddish lyric in Ost und West (East and west) (Berlin) 4 (1907); Briefe eines Juden (Letters of a Jew) (Vienna, 1924); Klassiker der Weltliteratur im jüdisch-hebräischen Kulturkreise (Classics of world literature in Yiddish-Hebrew cultural circles) (Vienna, 1930), 16 pp.; Goethe im Ghetto (Goethe in the ghetto) (Viena, 1932), 47 pp.  Among his translations, there is also Wilhelm Feldman’s Polish play Sąd Boga, which he rendered: Das Gottesgericht. Drama aus dem galizisch-jüdischen Leben in 4 Acten (The judgment of God, a drama from Galician-Jewish life in four acts) (Vienna, 1902), 77 pp.  What happened to Meisels in Vienna under Nazi rule remains unknown.

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 2; S. Wininger, Grosse Jüdische National Biographie (Great Jewish national biography), vol. 4 (Czernowitz, 1930), p. 321.
Zaynvl Diamant

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