Friday 17 November 2017


MEYER-BOREKH MENDELSBERG (April 17, 1890-March 1, 1955)
            Also known as M. Matlin, he was born in Zegzhe (Zegrze), Warsaw district, Poland.  His father was a purveyor for the Tsarist army and ran a tavern.  In his youth Mendelsberg was captivated by socialist ideas and became a member of the Zionist Socialist Party.  In 1912 he made his way to the United States and worked in a shoe factory in Brockton, Massachusetts.  Around 1916 he moved to Chicago where he worked in the production of women’s purses.  After the Russian Revolution of 1917, he returned to Russia and was active in the party of the “Fareynikte” (United socialists).  In late 1918 he came back to Warsaw, where he served as secretary to the central committee of the Fareynikte in Poland.  He wrote articles for Unzer veg (Our way), “central organ of the Jewish socialist labor party in Poland” (for which he served as editor for a time), and also for Unzer vort (Our word) in Warsaw (1919-1920).  Around 1922 he was secretary for the Warsaw Jewish journalists’ association.  In 1924 he returned to the United States and worked in New York in his former trade.  He was active in the union of the “pocket book makers” (serving as secretary for the union for a time), in the Sholem Aleichem Folk Institute, in the Socialist Party, and in IKOR (Yidishe kolonizatsye organizatsye in rusland [Jewish colonization organization in Russia]).  He was also a devoted leader in the Freeland League and an enthusiastic territorialist until the last days of his life.  He published (also under such pseudonyms as A. Laykhter and Matlin) articles in: Afn shvel (At the threshold), Fraye arbeter-shtime (Free voice of labor), Sotsyalistishe shtime (Socialist voice), and union publications.  His articles in the union newspapers also appeared in English.  He died in New York.

Sources: Z. Khabotski, A. Khrablovski, Miriam Mendelsberg-Kharberg, and Nosn Khofshi, in Afn shvel (Mexico City-New York) (March-April 1955); oral information from Dr. Ezriel Naks in New York.
Zaynvl Diamant

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