Friday 20 October 2017


YOYSEF MILNER (September 19, 1887-February 5, 1963)
            He was born in Khelm (Chełm), Poland, a son of the Hebrew writer Yehuda-Leib Milner.  He received an education influenced by the Jewish Enlightenment, and secular subject matter he acquired in the Chełm Russian high school.  In 1905 he left for Switzerland, where he spent a year studying at Berne University.  He published correspondence pieces in Fraynd (Friend) in St. Petersburg (1903) and a story in Hamelits (The spectator).  In 1905 he published articles in the daily newspaper Der veg (The way), edited by Tsvi Prilucki in Warsaw.  In 1906 he arrived in Paris, and from there he sent correspondence pieces to Haolam (The world) and articles to Hazman (The times).  In 1908 he departed for the land of Israel.  He was a contributor to Hatsvi (The gazelle), edited by Eliezer Ben Yehuda, D. Frishman’s Reshafim (Sparks), and Haolam, edited by Leib Yafe in Vilna.  Returning to France in 1909, he studied at the University of Toulouse, where in 1912 he graduated with a degree in chemical engineering.  He did research in the archives in southern France, where there had once been thriving Jewish communities, and he published historical essays on the Jews of France in the Vilna-based Had-hazman (Echo of the times), edited by Ben-Tsiyon Kats.  He served as correspondent for Razsvet (Dawn) and wrote as well for Moment (Moment) and Unzer lebn (Our life) in Warsaw, among others.  From 1930 he was contributing work to Parizer haynt (Parisian today), edited by Sh. Y. Yatskan, in which (1934-1940) he was in charge of the daily sections “Kleynikeytn” (Trifles) and “Farbeygeyendik” (In stride).  At the time of the dreadful dangers of deportation and annihilation in WWII, he was active in illegal relief work, for which after liberation the French government awarded him the Reconnaisance Français Medal.  He published (in his own name and using the pen names Ben-Yehuda and Yosef Kimḥi) articles on historical and literary topics in: Unzer vort (Our word), Tsienistishe shtime (Zionist voice), Tsienistishe bleter (Zionist pages), Arbeter-vort (Workers’ word), Frayland (Freeland), Yid un velt (Jew and world), and Maḥberet (Notebook)—all in Paris; Haboker (This morning) in Tel Aviv; Dorem-afrike (South Africa) in Johannesburg; and in French in Le Monde, Juif, La Terre Retrouvée, and Journal de la Communauté.  He served as editor-in-chief of the weekly newspaper La Tribune.  In book form: Yidn in frankraykh (Jews in France) (Paris: Kiem, 1953), 140 pp., with a preface by Yisroel Yefroykin.  He was a member of the editorial board of the literary serial Almanakh, pariz—1955 (Almanac, Paris—1955), published by the Association of Jewish Writers and Journalists in France, in which he contributed the works: “Yidn in belgye” (Jews in Belgium), pp. 55-71; and “Umgekumene shrayber” (Murdered writers), pp. 291-99.  In Dos bukh fun Lublin (The book of Lublin) (Paris, 1952), he placed his “Ir veam beyisrael” (City and people in Israel), pp. 19-24.  He was a member of the editorial committee for Yizker-bukh khelm (Remembrance volume for Chełm) (Johannesburg, 1954).  His seventieth birthday was marked in Paris with celebrations and articles in the press.  He was president of the Zionist Organization of France and of the Association of Jewish Writers and Journalists in Paris.  He died in Paris.

Sources: Y. Yefroykin, preface to Yidn in frankraykh (Jews in France) (Paris: Kiem, 1953); M. Felin, in Dorem-afrike (Johannesburg) (November 1953); Dr. Y. Tsineman, in Kiem (Paris) 61 (1953); B. Tshubinski, in Tsukunft (New York) (December 1953); M. Shinar, in Nayland (Tel Aviv) (April 2, 1954); M. Shtrigler, in Idisher kemfer (New York) (August 7, 1954); Yizker-bukh khelm (Remembrance volume for Chełm) (Johannesburg, 1954), cols. 683-84, 689-90, 709-10, 711-12; M. Dluzhnovski, in Kultur un dertsiung (New York) (March 1958); A. Goldberg, in Kultur un dertsiung (January 1963); L. Leneman, in Forverts (New York) (February 9, 1963); Unzer kiem (Paris) (March 1963), dedicated to the memory of Yoysef Milner.
Zaynvl Diamant

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