Wednesday 20 December 2017


            He hailed from Asaviets (Osowiec), near the former Russo-German border.  He was a Hebrew teacher and orator.  In the early twentieth century, he traveled around Russia giving speeches on behalf of the settlement in the land of Israel.  He published impressions of Jewish villages in Lithuania and Zionist articles in Unzer leben (Our life) and Spektor’s Di naye velt (The new world)—both in Warsaw.  He authored a political pamphlet entitled Iber di apikorses (On heresy) (Bialystok, 1912), 96 pp., in which he attacked heretics at the time, “the slaves of their freedom.”  Other biographical details remain unknown.

Source: M. Shalit, in Der pinkes (Vilna) (1913).
Khayim Leyb Fuks


            He hailed from Libave (Liepāja), Courland.  In 1910 he served as a Bundist delegate to the eighth congress of the Socialist International in Copenhagen.  He was an editorial board contributor (1916-1917), together with Libman Hersh and Dovid Eynhorn, to the Geneva journal Di fraye shtime (The free voice), in which he published articles under the pen name “Spektator.”  He published in Di tsukunft (The future) in New York (1920-1922) a series of essays on political and economic issues in the countries of Europe.  Further information remains unknown.
Benyomen Elis


            He was born in Bialystok.  He graduated from Druskin’s high school, before going on to study at Vilna and Warsaw Universities; he studied as well at the Warsaw Institute of Jewish Studies.  He was a Zionist activist in Bialystok.  He was a member of the executive of the local Zionist organization and a member of All-Polish party council.  He was a follower of Yitskhok Grinboym and a member of Al hamishmar (On guard).  He was as well one of the leaders of the Zionist academic youth in Poland.  He published articles in the student magazines: Tsienistishe bleter (Zionist leaves) and Der veg (The pathway) in Warsaw; and Dos naye leben (The new life) in Bialystok (1930).  In book form: Tsu der geshikhte fun der yidisher agents un ir farbreyterung (On the history of the Jewish Agency and its extension), with a preface by Y. Grinboym (Warsaw: Al hamishmar, 1930).  In 1940 he settled in Tel Aviv, where he worked as a lawyer.  He contributed to Pesakim (Judgments), organ of the Histadrut in the state of Israel.  He wrote articles on juridical matters.  He published books on income tax.  He died in Tel Aviv.

Sources: Literarishe bleter (Warsaw) (May 9, 1930); Byalistoker leksikon (Bialystok handbook) (Bialystok, 1935); Tog-morgn-zhurnal (New York) (April 1955); Miyeme (Israel) (1955), p. 303.
Yankev Kahan


TSIPOYRE NOKHUMOV-KATSENELSON (June 18, 1901-January 7, 1972)
            The sister of Yitskhok Katsenelson, she was born in Lodz, Poland.  At age five she began to study Yiddish and Hebrew in her father’s school, later graduating from a state high school.  For a time she worked as a teacher in Yitskhok Katsenelson’s Hebrew high school, before managing a girls’ school.  In 1935 she left Poland and settled in Montevideo, Uruguay.  She worked as a teacher in the Arlozorov school and a ballet teacher in the French school.  In 1946 she left for Buenos Aires, where she worked for several years at a youth center run by the Jewish Agency and as a teacher at the Yiddish-Hebrew teachers’ seminary.  In 1953 she settled in the state of Israel.  She published articles and memoirs about her brother and other Lodz persons who had been murdered in: Di prese (The press) and Idishe tsaytung (Jewish newspaper) in Buenos Aires; and Folksblat (People’s newspaper) and Do (Here) in Montevideo; among others.  In book form: Yitskhok katsenelson, zayn lebn un shafn (Yitskhok Katsenelson, his life and work) (Buenos Aires, 1948), 219 pp.  She died in Montevideo.

Sources: Khayim Leyb Fuks, in Yidishe shriftn (Lodz) 3 (1938); A. Tenenboym-Arzi, Lodz un ire yidn (Lodz and her Jews) (Buenos Aires, 1956), see index; Y. Vaynshenker, Boyers un mitboyers fun yidishn yishev in urugvay (Founders and builders of the Jewish community in Uruguay) (Montevideo, 1957), p. 204.
Khayim Leyb Fuks


            He was born in Ratshondzh (Raciąż), Plotsk (Płock) region, Poland, into a Hassidic family which was connected by marriage with R. Nakhmen Braslaver.  He was orphaned in his childhood years and was raised by an uncle in a village; he later lived in Pabyanits (Pabianice) where he studied in the synagogue study hall.  He studied as well in Otvosk (Otwock), near Warsaw, under the supervision of Nokhum-Leyb Vayngot.  He also concerned himself with secular education.  He apprenticed with a watchmaker.  During WWI he found himself in Austrian military service, spent six months at the front near Rava-Ruska, later making his way on foot to Budapest where he worked in an ammunition factory.  There in 1918 he founded a Labor Zionist organization.  He served as a political commissar in the Hungarian “Second International Red Army.”  With the collapse of Soviet power in Hungary, he left for Zurich (Switzerland).  He was a delegate to the first plenary session of the organizing bureau of the left Labor Zionists in Vienna.  He was exiled from Switzerland, went to Italy and in early 1921, with his wife and children, arrived in Pernambuco, Brazil.  Already in 1918 he published (under the pseudonyms Shinun and And’) poetry in translation in Volksstime (Voice of the people), in Hungarian in Népszava (People’s voice), and in Dr. József Patai’s Múlt és jövő (Past and future).  He contributed poetry and stories as well to New York’s Proletarishe shtime (Proletarian voice) and to Di prese (The press), Di naye tsayt (The new times), and Far groys un kleyn (For big and small) in Buenos Aires.  He published fragments of a historical poem of Brazilian antiquity Giuaranhi (Guaraní).  In November 1923, together with Yoysef Kats, he founded and went on to edit Der yidisher vokhnblat (The Jewish weekly newspaper), later becoming the sole editor of the newspaper until issue number 47; he penned the editorials under the names Shinun, Pester, and Shmuel Freydeles.  In 1924 he began to publish in Rio de Janeiro a collection entitled Literarishe tsaytshrift (Literary periodical), “first Yiddish literary publication in Brazil” (with entirely republished material).  He later contributed to Idishe folks-tsaytung (Jewish people’s newspaper), edited by Sh. Karakushanski in Rio.  In book form: Oys der eynzamkeyt (No more loneliness), poetry (Zurich, 1920), 32 pp.; Der letster fun di groyse zakutos, a vikhtik kapitl funem yidishn lebn in mitlalter (The last of the great Zacutus, an important chapter from Jewish life in the Middle Ages), “collection of studies in the history of Jews in Portugal and Brazil,” constructed on the basis of materials he found in Portugal, vol. 1 (Paris, 1929), 128 pp., with a bibliography and with a preface by the author, in which he recounts that Professor Shimon Dubnov read the book and praised it.  On the last page of the book, other works by the author are listed: on Baruch Spinoza, his life and work (in Portuguese) in Recife (1927); “Antonyo zhuse da silva” (António José da Silva), Der yid (The Jew) in Buenos Aires (1927); “Di meshiekh-idey in der geshikhte fun dem itstikn gloybn in a nayem velt-derleyzer” (The messianic idea in the history of the contemporary belief of a new world-redeemer), in Buenos Aires (1928); on elder Gnostics (in Portuguese) in Recife (1928); a monograph on the spelling of the noun “Brazil,” in Rio de Janeiro (1928); Di portugezishe flot-antdekungen un ire yidishe mayster (The discoveries of the Portuguese navy and its Jewish master), vol. 2 of “collection of studies in the history of Jews in Portugal and Brazil,” which was to be published in 1929.  He had prepared as well for publication a monograph entitled Brazil un di yidn in brazil (Brazil and the Jews in Brazil) and a translation from English, “Tsufusns fun mayster” (At the feet of the master), by Jiddu Krishnamurti.  Around 1930-1931 he came to the United States, where he took up a chair at a university in Illinois.  He was invited to Mexico in 1932 to give lectures before students concerning Latin America.  He did research in the state archives in Mexico in the documents on the Carabajal family who underwent auto-da-fé in 1590.  Nakhbin was accused at the time as being unfit to take such important documents from the state archives, and a trial was forthcoming.  If the trial ever took place and what came of the author remain unknown.

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 2; R. Tsarfes, in Idishe folks-tsaytung (Rio de Janeiro) (August 2, 1929); Professor Sh. Dubnov, in Idishe folks-tsaytung (September 1929); Sh. Mints, in Morgn-zhurnal (New York) (August 17, 1932); B. Y. Goldshteyn, in Tog (New York) (November 20, 1932).
Benyomen Elis

Tuesday 19 December 2017


NOYEKH NAKHBUSH (October 1885-May 12, 1970)
            The adopted name of Noyekh Bushelevitsh, he was born in Mush (Mysh), Minsk district, Byelorussia, into a laboring family.  He studied in religious elementary school, the Slonim yeshiva, and a Russian public school.  He later settled in Vilna, where in 1908 he was active in a literary-drama circle, and he also traveled around Vilna Province giving lectures and recitations from the works of Yiddish writers.  He debuted on the stage in Sholem-Aleykhem’s Tsezeyt un tseshpreyt (Scattered and dispersed).  He was part of the Vilna Troupe, acquiring a name for his portrayal of the messenger in Sh. An-ski’s Dibek (Dybbuk).  From 1923 he was living in the United States.  He played (1932-1933) in the Yiddish Art Theater of Maurice Schwartz.  He also took part in Yiddish films.  He authored the text to the record albums “Kelmer magid” (The preacher from Kelmė), Kulbak’s “Koymenkerer” (Chimneysweep), and others.  He published in: Kinder-velt (Children’s world), Tog-morgn-zhurnal (Day-morning journal), and other serials in New York.  He moved to Israel in 1969.

Source: Zalmen Zilbertsvayg, Leksikon fun yidishn teater (Handbook of the Yiddish theater), vol. 2 (New York, 1934).
Benyomen Elis


MIKHL NATISH (June 2, 1906-January 25, 1937)
            Pseudonym of Mikhl Shutan, he was born in Sventsyan (Svencionys), Vilna district, Lithuania, into a working class family—his father was a bricklayer.  He studied in religious elementary schools, and later in a public school and the Svencionys Jewish high school.  In 1928 he was studying at the Jewish Studies Institute in Warsaw, but due to material difficulties he had to interrupt his studies.  He went on later to work as a teacher in secular Jewish schools in various provincial towns.  He debuted in print in the journal Shprotsungen (Sprouts) in Warsaw (1925), and from that point he published poetry in: Yugnt-veker (Youth alarm), Folkstsaytung (People’s newspaper), Vokhnshriftn far literatur (Weekly writing for literature), and Literarishe bleter (Literary leaves)—in Warsaw; Vilner tog (Vilna day) in Vilna; and Bleter far dikhtung un kunst (Pages for poetry and art) in Berlin (1931-1932); among others.  In 1935 he was a research student in the Tsemakh Shabad research program at YIVO, and he wrote the monograph Elementn fun dinezons perzenlekhkeyt (Elements of Dinezon’s personality), a chapter of which was published in Yivo-bleter (Pages from YIVO) in Vilna 10.1-2 (1936), pp. 31-39.  In book form, he published: Mulyer hirsh (Hirsh the bricklayer), poems (Warsaw: Kultur-lige, 1934), 120 pp.; Taybelekh (Little doves) (Warsaw: Kinder-fraynd, 1935), 20 pp., second edition (1935-1936); Dray grine koyshelekh (Three green baskets) (Warsaw: Kinder-fraynd, 1937), 16 pp.  He also wrote children’s stories and book reviews, and he published a lengthy reportage piece on the social station of the young writers group in Warsaw in the 1930s.  His poem Mulyer hirsh was dedicated to his father with his family amid the laboring Jews in the small Lithuanian town on the eve of WWII.  Natish suffered for many years from an incurable stomach ailment and after an operation died in a Vilna hospital.  “Mikhl Natish began to write very early on,” wrote Borekh Gelman, “and he excelled in his work for the simplicity and clarity of his image, the sincerity of feeling and the truthfulness of his mood….  Mainly, he wrote about the shtetl, though more than anything he loved to write about his own home, about his father the goodhearted laborer full of folk wisdom, the bricklayer, and about his proletarian family.  His principal theme was the small-town proletariat; his beloved heroes in his writings were blacksmiths, coachmen, carpenters, masons, and overall, laborers who honestly earned their bit of bread with the sweat of their brow and with the toil of the fingers of their hands.  He felt their longing and sadness personally; he sympathized with their sufferings and rejoiced with their happiness….  His works breathed with a powerful social protest for the enslaved and humiliated.  —Just when his talent was coming into full bloom, and the fruits of the poet’s writings were beginning to ripen, at the moment of his ascendance in his work, his young life was snuffed out.”

Sources: M. Taykhman, in Vokhnshrift far literatur (Warsaw) (April 25, 1934); Taykhman, in Literarishe bleter (Warsaw) (February 5, 1937); Y. Rapaport, in Vokhnshrift far literatur (June 14, 1934); Rapaport, in Vilner tog (Vilna) (February 5, 1937); Avrom Reyzen, in Di feder (New York) (Autumn 1934); Y. Brinman, in Di vokh (Bucharest) (1934); B. Gelman, in Folkstsaytung (Warsaw) (January 31, 1937); Gelman, in Yugnt-veker (Warsaw) 5 (1937); P. Shvarts, in Yugnt-veker (5 (1937); Sh. Lastik, in Literarishe bleter (January 14, 1938); Elye (Elias) Shulman, in Literarishe bleter (June 10, 1938); Shulman, Yung vilne, 1929-1939 (Young Vilna, 1929-1939) (New York, 1946), p. 20; Yedies fun yivo (Vilna) 5-6 (75-76); Meylekh Ravitsh, Mayn leksikon (My lexicon), vol. 1 (Montreal, 1945), pp. 138-40; Kh. Sh. Kazdan, Di geshikhte fun yidishn shulvezn in umophengikn poyln (The history of the Jewish school system in independent Poland) (Mexico City, 1947), p. 264; Shmerke katsherginski-ondenk-bukh (Memory volume for Shmerke Katsherginski) (Buenos Aires, 1955), p. 278; Sh. Slutski, Avrom reyzen-biblyografye (Avrom Reyzen bibliography) (New York, 1956), no. 4801.
Benyomen Elis


RIVKE NOTIK (1897-summer 1941)
            She was born in Vilna and graduated from a Russia high school.  She studied philosophy and history at the University of Vienna.  She worked as a teacher of history at the Sofia Gurevich High School and in the Jewish senior high school, and she was a scholarly contributor to YIVO—all in Vilna.  She published a piece, “Tsu der geshikhte fun hantverk bay litvishe yidn” (On the history of handwork among Lithuanian Jews), in Yivo-bleter (Pages from YIVO) in Vilna 9.1-2 (January-March 1936).  She was murdered together with her family by the Nazis at Ponar near Vilna.

Sources: Sh. Katsherginski, Khurbn vilne (The Holocaust in Vilna) (New York, 1947), p. 241; Y. Fridman, in Yivo-bleter (New York) 34 (1950), p. 232; Batye Pupko, in Lerer yizker-bukh (Remembrance volume for teachers) (New York, 1952-1954), pp. 263-64.
Benyomen Elis


            He was born in Vorne (Varniai), Kovno district, Lithuania, where his father was rabbi.  In his youth he immigrated to the United States with his father.  He studied with his father, in a yeshiva, in a high school, and later graduated from New York University.  From the mid-1920s, he worked as a teacher of mathematics and physics at a middle school in New York.  He was the author of textbooks in English.  In Yiddish he published: Populere erklehrung fun aynshteyns relativitet-teorye, mit a baylage iber khemye un astronomye (Popular explanation of Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, with a supplement on chemistry and astronomy) (New York, 1931), 175 pp., with a preface in which he recounts his linguistic difficulties writing in Yiddish explanations of Einstein’s theory.  The four supplements to the book: (1) an overview of matter; (2) organic creatures; (3) on the heavens and the stars; and (4) the nebula system in our solar system, as well as technical notes and terminology of the corresponding technical and mathematical expressions in Yiddish, which were later used by the Groyser verterbukh funder yidisher shprakh (Great dictionary of the Yiddish language), vol. (New York, 1961).  In the 1930s he lived in New Rochelle, near New York City.  Further biographical information remains unknown.
Khayim Leyb Fuks


WILLIAM NATANSON (NATHANSON) (November 27, 1883-September 15, 1963)
            He was born in Povelitsh, Kiev district, Ukraine.  He was raised in the woods and villages.  He studied Tanakh and Talmud with itinerant village teachers.  He left home at age thirteen.  He studied privately in Belaya Tserkov (Bila Tserkva), where he passed his examinations and then moved to Zhitomir to prepare for his baccalaureate, but he was drawn into the Jewish labor movement, was active in the Bund, and befriended Mark Liber who was his first teacher in Marxism.  At age twenty he left for the United States and studied medicine for two years at university, but he was lured away to community activity, and after marrying a practicing doctor, Miriam Yampolski, he turned completely to studying philosophy.  He studied philosophy and psychology at university for three years, while at the same time organizing Jewish clubs and school, where he worked as a teacher and speaker, primarily in his place of residence, Chicago.  He gave lectures as well in English and led public debates with Dr. Chaim Zhitlovsky.  He debuted in print in Fraye arbeter-shtime (Free voice of labor) in New York with articles on minority and majority, anarchism, and agnosticism, among other topics.  He also wrote under the pen name Ben-Nosn.  He published important work in: Zhitlovsky’s Dos naye leben (The new life) on Henri Bergson and pragmatism; “Perets in likht fun filosofye” (Perets in the light of philosophy), in Vilna’s Yudish velt (Jewish world) (1915); “Di filosofye fun leben” (The philosophy of life), in Di idishe velt (The Jewish world), edited by K. Fornberg; on Perets’s “Di goldene keyt” (The golden chain), “In polish af der keyt” (Detained in the synagogue anteroom), and “Natsyonalizm un patryotizm in likht fun kultur” (Nationalism and patriotism in the light of culture), in Idisher kemfer (Jewish fighter) in New York; on Leivick’s “Der goylem” (The artificial man), in Warsaw’s Literarishe bleter (Literary leaves)—as well as pieces in: Tog (Day), the anthology Royerd (Raw earth), the collection Shriften (Writings), and in the Anglophone journal of philosophy Open Court, among other serials in New York.  For a time he was editor of Louis Miller’s weekly Kultur (Culture), in which, aside from other items, he published the essay “Farbergsonisher un bergsonisher bagrif fun frayen viln” (Pre-Bergsonian and Bergsonian concepts of free will).  He was also for a while co-editor of the quarterly Kheshbn (The score) in Los Angeles.  In 1923 he published his work Kultur un tsivilizatsye (Culture and civilization) in the series “New socialism” (Chicago: Naye gezelshaft), 461 pp.  That year the same publisher brought out his Marksizm in likht fun kultur, esents fun bukh “kultur un tsivilizatsye” (Marxism in light of culture, the essence of the book Kultur un tsivilizatsye), 98 pp.; Shpinoza un bergson, a parallel (Spinoza and Bergson, a parallel),[1] 46 pp.; his translation of Bergson’s Araynfir in der metafizik (Introduction to metaphysics), 58 pp., which had initially appeared in the anthology Shriften in 1921; and his translation of Spinoza’s Etik, dervizn af a geometrishe oyfn (Ethics, demonstrated in geometrical order), 317 pp.  The edition of the Etik published in Poland (Warsaw: Kultur-lige) went through a number of printings in a short period of time.  Later, the following of his works appeared: Inteligent, kunst un kinstler, literatur in likht fun filosofye (Intelligence, art, and the artist, literature in light of philosophy) (Vilna: B. Kletskin, 1931), 545 pp.; Tsu der revizye fun natsyonal-radikal gedank (Toward a revision of national radical thinking) (Chicago: L. M. Shteyn, 1936), 71 pp.; H. leyvik, der dikhter fun onkum un oyfkum (H. Leivick, the poet of arrival and rising) (Chicago: L. M. Shteyn, 1936), 177 pp.; Sovetisher despotizm, vi lang? Nay sotsyalizm verzus sovietshn komunizm (Soviet despotism, how long? New socialism vs. Soviet Communism) (New York: Idisher kemfer, 1936), 47 pp.; Mentsh un kosmos, filozofish-literarishe eseyen (Man and cosmos, philosophical-literary essays) (Chicago: L. M. Shteyn, 1953), 381 pp.; Kultur-kvaln, filozofish-literarishe eseyen (Cultural sources, philosophical-literary essays) (Chicago: L. M. Shteyn, 1959), 348 pp.  His book Kultur un tsivilizatsye was soon after publication received by the critics as possessing considerable merit.  In this work, Natanson clarifies the difference between civilization and culture, and he demonstrates that civilization is materialistic and rational, while culture is idealistic and irrational.  In a fundamental manner he expressed the struggle that a fight for a better social order would not solve the painful issues as long as the fight was led by the light of civilization and not by that of culture.  Culture, he argued, and not the economy determined the means and the content of the revolution that a people experience.  Natanson was an idealist in the entire realm of social and spiritual life.  He placed the emphasis on the individual and also on the irrational and the religious.  In his book Tsu der revizye fun natsyonal-radikal gedank, he came out publicly for the revival of everything (in the old Jewish way of life) that possessed “a depth of life and a perception into life.”  He knew that “much that makes sense and has worth transcends reason and logic.”  In his social and political consciousness, he was an ethical socialist.  In his books on literature and art— Inteligent, kunst un kinstler and H. leyvik, der dikhter fun onkum un oyfkum, among others—he dealt with these issues in light of philosophy; namely, he sought primarily a philosophical interpretation in artistic ideas.  “Natanson,” wrote Shmuel Niger, “is opposed to looking or seeking in life or in art only one thing—only the aesthetic value or the ethical, only ideas or only feelings, but what is clear, open, and noted or, conversely, to only seek what lies under the threshold of consciousness, in the dark depths of our psyche.”  As Yankev Glatshetyn put it: “Natanson is a name that belongs to the young and ascending in Yiddish literature in America.  When he was in Chicago, he dispatched from his remote seclusion his long-winded treatises….  In his own way, Natanson created a holiday around Yiddish literature and solemnly received the words of his creations.  He experimented—we didn’t recognize it at the time, years ago—in his own manner with the rising esteem of the Yiddish word; he spread and created living room and spaciousness for it….  Natanson devised a fine expression for the Zhitlovsky influence: ‘Cultural zest.’  However, this zest had a definite impact.  This is evident in Wm. Natanson’s book, Mentsh un kosmos.  This is apparent even when one now reads…the freshness of Natanson’s Yiddish.  No sign of obsolescence, despite the fact that most of his essays were published years ago, is there that his language has grown stale.  His voice is clear and resonant.  Also clear, clearer than ever, are the changes in secular Jewish thought and in Yiddish literature….  Natanson dared to dream that our literature or our Yiddish language would resound in a university.  One need know for student listeners that the works of Yiddish writers should be left to cling to the required curriculum of their general studies….  In Natanson’s books there is an abundance of indications of a youthful optimism and devotion in the comfort of Yiddish literature and in its possible influence.  Therefore, Natanson’s essays may be read even with the joy and recognition with which they were read years ago.”  Natanson died in Los Angeles, California.

Sources: Emma Goldman, in Forverts (New York) (September 14, 1931); Shmuel Niger, in Tog (New York) (April 23, 1932; March 3, 1935); Niger, H. leyvik, 1888-1948 (H. Leivick, 1888-1948) (New York, 1951), pp. 264-67; Y. Botoshanski, in Literarishe bleter (Warsaw) 4 and 9 (1932); Dr. A. Mukdoni, in Morgn-zhurnal (New York) (January 22, 1932; December 23, 1932); B. Tutshinski, in Tshernovitser bleter (Czernowitz) (September 3, 1936); Dr. B. Grobard, in Di tsukunft (New York) (September 1954); Noyekh Goldberg, in Ilustrirte literarishe bleter (Buenos Aires) (November-December 1958); Y. Yonasovitsh, in Di prese (Buenos Aires) (January 13, 1960); Dr. Kh. M. Rotblat, in Kheshbn (Los Angeles) (May 1960); Y. Fridland, in Kheshbn (May 1960); Fridland, in Fraye arbeter-shtime (New York) (November 1, 1963); N. Sumer, Af zaytike vegn (Along side streets) (New York, 1963), pp. 50-52; Meyer Esters, in Fraye arbeter-shtime (December 1, 1963); Yankev Glatshteyn, in Tog-morgn-zhurnal (New York) (January 26, 1964).
Leyb Vaserman

[1] Translated in English by David Wollins (Philadelphia, 1925). (JAF)

Monday 18 December 2017



            He was a journalist and a leader in Gezerd (All-Soviet Association for the Agricultural Settlement of Jewish Workers in the USSR) in Ukraine and in greater Russia. He worked as a correspondent for the newspapers Emes (Truth) in Moscow and Oktyabr (October) in Minsk. The principal themes of his writings from the late 1920s through the early 1930s were the Jewish village and the Jewish peasant. As emissary for Gezerd, he traveled from Ukraine to Birobidzhan, and from there he sent in jottings and reportage pieces about the lives of the Jewish emigrants. In 1932 Emes publishing house brought out his book A land in rishtevanyes, fartseykhenungen fun birebidzhaner rayon, vinter 1932 (A land in scaffolding, notes from Birobidzhan district, winter 1932) (Moscow), 80 pp., which was based on his writings about the district published earlier in the newspapers Emes and Birobidzhaner shtern (Birobidzhan star).

He also authored: Bolshevistisher shnit af di sotsyalistishe felder (Bolshevik harvest on socialist fields) (Moscow: Gezerd, 1931), 61 pp.; Kolektivizatsye un kultur-arbet in yidishn dorf (Collectivization and cultural work in a Jewish village) (Moscow: Central Publishers, 1931), 48 pp.; Komune “der emes” (Commune “The truth”) (Moscow: Central Publishers, 1931), 32 pp.

Sources: N. Rubinshteyn, Dos yidishe bukh in sovetnfarband (The Yiddish book in the Soviet Union) (Minsk, 1932), see index; Chone Shmeruk, comp., Pirsumim yehudiim babrit-hamoatsot, 1917-1961 (Jewish publications in the Soviet Union, 1917-1961) (Jerusalem, 1961), see index.

Khayim Leyb Fuks

[Additional information from: Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 388; and Chaim Beider, Leksikon fun yidishe shrayber in ratn-farband (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers in the Soviet Union), ed. Boris Sandler and Gennady Estraikh (New York: Congress for Jewish Culture, Inc., 2011), p. 247.]


DOV-BER NATANZON (BERNHARD NATHANSON) (April 22, 1832-February 2, 1916)
            The nephew of Yitsḥak-Ber Levinsohn (Ribal), he was born in Satanov (Sataniv), Podolia, into a well-to-do family.  He studied in religious elementary school and yeshivas, as well as with private tutors.  In 1850 he received ordination into the rabbinate, but under the influence of the Jewish Enlightenment, he made up his mind to turn his attention to secular education.  In 1853 he moved to Odessa and worked there until 1870 as a Hebrew teacher, later (until 1875) he lived in Kishinev.  From 1875 until his death, he lived in Lodz and was involved in business.  At the same time he was active in the Enlightenment movement.  Smitten with the writings of the Ribal, he was determined to publish the Ribal’s writings, to which he added his own annotations.  His own writing activities began with an article “Letora veleteuda” (Torah and testimony) in Hamagid (The preacher) in Lik (1864); later, he served as the Odessa, Kishinev, and Warsaw correspondent for Hamelits (The observer) in St. Petersburg, in which he also published stories and impressions of Jewish life.  He also contributed to Hatsfira (The siren) and Hayom (Today) in St. Petersburg, among other serials.  His book Zikhronot lekorot odesa (Memories from events in Odessa) (Odessa, 1870), 149 pp., established his name among the writers of his generation.  He later published: Maarekhet sifre-kodesh (System of Holy Scriptures) (Odessa, 1871), 148 pp.; Sefer hazikhronot lerabi yitsḥak-ber levinzon (The memoirs of Rabbi Yitsḥak-Ber Levinsohn) (Warsaw, 1876), 182 pp., with subsequent editions (1880, 1890, 1900); and Sefer hamilim (Lexicon) (Warsaw, 1900), 148 pp.; among others.  Until 1888 he wrote nothing in Yiddish, but that year, when Sholem-Aleykhem was selecting material for his Yudishe folks-biblyotek (Jewish people’s library), he invited Natanzon to provide him with the Ribal’s Di hefker-velt (The wanton world), which had not been published until that time, and he added a biography of Yitsḥak-Ber Levensohn.  Natanzon did this, and Sholem-Aleykhem in the first volume of Yudishe biblyotek (Kiev, 1888) published both items, together with Natazon’s accompanying letter to Sholem-Aleykhem.  That letter reads as follows: “Dear Mr. Sholem-Aleykhem: Your request that I inform you with something biographical of our celebrated, learned Yitsḥak-Ber Levinsohn, may his memory be for a blessing, was a bit difficult for me, for I have been removed from writing in zhargon [Yiddish], but having no wish to reject the request and the opportunity to send you Di hefker-velt, which you requested of me, to place it in your collection, I shall write something of his life, taken from various sources.”  Both the biography (“Di lebens beshaybung fun r’ yitskhok-ber levinzohn” [The biography of R. Yitsḥak-Ber Levinsohn]) and Ribal’s Di hefker-velt were subsequent also published in a separate work by Natanzon.  He also later published other works in Yiddish and published in book form.  Among the booklets of Harkavi’s St. Petersburg anthology, which Professor Viner presented to Harvard University, is Di papirene brik velkhe fihrt tsu dray ertseylungen (The paper bridge which leads to three stories) (Warsaw, 1891), 90 pp., second edition (1894).  He died in Warsaw.

Sources: N. Sokolov, Sefer zikaron (Volume of memoirs) (Warsaw, 1889), p. 73; B. Ts. Ayzenshtadt, Dor rabanav vesofrav (A generation of rabbis and authors) (Vilna, 1905); M. Nyepomnyashtshi, in Tsaytshrift (Kiev) 2-3 (1928), pp. 779-84; Dr. Joseph Klausner, Historiya shel hasifrut haivrit haadasha (History of modern Hebrew literature) (Jerusalem, 1950); Bet eked sefarim; The Jewish Encyclopedia, vol. 4 (London); Jüdisches Lexikon (Jewish encyclopedia) (Berlin, 1930).
Khayim Leyb Fuks


            He was born in Konin, Kalish (Kalisz) district, Poland, into a poor family.  He studied in religious elementary school and in a Russian-Polish public school, later becoming a tailor.  After WWI he was living in Poyzn (Poznań), and in 1920 he moved to Lodz.  He was active in the leftist Jewish trade union movement.  He was cofounder of the cultural club “Światło” (Light).  He debuted in print with a poetry cycle entitled “Plakatn” (Posters) in the journal Vegn (Wars) in Lodz (1922), later publishing his futuristic poem “Shtot-gedrang” (Urban throng).  He contributed to the publications of the “Yung-yiddish” (Youth Yiddish) literary group in Lodz, such as: Shveln (Thresholds), S’feld (The field), Oyfgang (Arise), and Oyfkum (Arise), among others, as well as in Lodz, Folksblat (People’s newspaper) and Literarishe tribune (Literary tribune), and other leftist publications in Poland.  In 1935 he was arrested by the Polish authorities and only freed after spending four months in the Wronki Prison, after which he departed for the Soviet Union.  He lived for a time in Minsk, and during the Moscow show trials of 1936-1937 he was arrested.  Since then there has been no information about him.

Source: Khayim Leyb Fuks, in Fun noentn over (New York) 3 (1957), p. 234.
Khayim Leyb Fuks

Sunday 17 December 2017



            He was a literary scholar and critic, born in Berdichev, Ukraine. He graduated middle school and the literature department in the Jewish division of the Odessa Jewish Pedagogical Institute. In 1938 he defended a dissertation on the life and work of the classic Yiddish writer Yitskhok-Yoyel Linetski at the Lenin Pedagogical Institute in Moscow, for which he was awarded the academic title of “candidate in philological sciences.” The dissertation was later published as a separate volume: Yitskhok-yoyel linetski, 1839-1939 (tsu zayn hundert-yorikn yubiley) (Yitskhok-Yoyel Linetski, 1839-1939, on the 100th anniversary of his birth) (Moscow: Emes, 1939), 61 pp. He was invited in 1945 to become a lecturer in literature in the literature and art faculty at the theater school of the Moscow Yiddish State Theater, directed by Shloyme Mikhoels. He gave lectures on Yiddish literature as well at the Odessa and Kiev Pedagogical Institutes. Later, when the theater and its school were closed in 1949, Notovitsh moved to Kazan, where for the last two decades of his life he worked as a lecturer at Kazan Pedagogical Institute, teaching Russian and Western European literature; he also ran the courses for senior qualifications to teachers of philology. He debuted in print in 1932 with articles and reviews of books by Soviet Yiddish writers, such as Meyer Viner, Motl Grubyan, Moyshe Litvakov, Yashe Bronshteyn, Leyb Kvitko, and others. He later frequently published in the newspaper of the Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee Eynikeyt (Unity) in Moscow, especially articles on Jewish writers who died at the front. Later still, his literary research excelled in works appearing in Sovetish heymland (Soviet homeland) (such as in issues 2 and 3 for 1961) in Moscow. He died in Kazan.

In book form: Kritik un kritiker (Criticism and critics) (Moscow: Sovetski pisatel, 1983), 63 pp.

Sources: A. Pomerants, Almanakh fun yidishn folks-ordn (Almanac of the Jewish people’s order) (New York, 1940), p. 287; A. Kushnirov, in Naye prese (Paris) (July 27, 1945); B. Mark, in Folks-shtime (Lodz) 49 (1947); Y. Yanasovitsh, in Di naye tsayt (Buenos Aires) (October 22, 1953); N. Mayzil, Dos yidishe shafn un der yidisher shrayber in sovetnfarband (Jewish creation and the Jewish worker in the Soviet Union) (New York, 1959), see index; Chone Shmeruk, comp., Pirsumim yehudiim babrit-hamoatsot, 1917-1961 (Jewish publications in the Soviet Union, 1917-1961) (Jerusalem, 1961), see index.

Benyomen Elis

[Additional information from: Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 387; and Chaim Beider, Leksikon fun yidishe shrayber in ratn-farband (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers in the Soviet Union), ed. Boris Sandler and Gennady Estraikh (New York: Congress for Jewish Culture, Inc., 2011), pp. 246-47.]


YITSKHOK NOZHIK (ISAAC NOZIK, NOZYK) (April 23, 1889-October 23, 1949)
           He was born in Warsaw.  He studied with itinerant school teachers, in synagogue study halls, and in yeshivas; for secular knowledge, he studied privately.  In his youth he stood with the socialist movement, reading aloud before workers from Yiddish literature and singing labor songs before them.  He was prompter and later an actor in the Yiddish theater in Skierniewice with Abba Kompaneyets and in Warsaw at the Muranów Theater (1908).  In 1919 he himself directed a provincial troupe, and in 1920 he was a theater director in Vilna.  He composed theatrical songs and one-act plays.  From 1926 he wrote dozens of theatrical revue numbers, such as Zloye di rebetsin (Zlote, the rabbi’s wife), Gvald (Help!), Dire-gelt (Apartment rent), and Vu nemt men a khosn (Where do you get a husband?) for the variety theater Sambatyon, which he founded and managed.  In March 1932 the Skala Theater staged his revue Alts vert gekashert (Everything will be made kosher).  Under his own name and the pen names Nozhikov, Sakin, and Yitskhoki, he published numerous articles on the theater in: Unzer leben (Our life) and Dos naye leben (The new life) in Odessa; Di tsayt (The times) in Vilna; Literarishe bleter (Literary leaves) in Warsaw; and Zilbertsvayg’s weekly Teater un kunst (Theater and art).  Together with M. Nudelman, he edited a one-off publication Sambatyon.  His published plays in Yiddish included: Reyzele dem rebns, folksshtik in 4 aktn (Reyzele, the rebbe’s [daughter], a people’s piece in four acts (Warsaw, 1926), 60 + 16 pp.; Malkele soldat, folksshtik in 4 aktn (Malkele the soldier, a people’s piece in four acts) (Warsaw: T. Yakubson and M. Goldberg, 1927), 72 pp.  In 1933 he immigrated to the land of Israel.  He died in Tel Aviv.


Sources: Zalmen Zilbertsvayg, Leksikon fun yidishn teater (Handbook of the Yiddish theater), vol. 2 (New York, 1934); M. Vaykhert, Varshe (Warsaw), vol. 2 (Tel Aviv, 1961), pp. 42, 92.
Yankev Kahan


AVROM NOVERSHTERN (b. July 25, 1951)
            He was born in Buenos Aires.  He made aliya to Israel in 1969.  He graduated from a teachers’ seminary and studied Yiddish literature and Jewish history at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.  He worked as a lecturer in Yiddish literature there.  He received his doctorate in 1981 for a dissertation on “Aspektim mivniyim baproza shel david bergelson mereshita ad ‘midot-hadin’” (Structural aspects in Dovid Bergelson’s prose, from the beginning until his Mides-hadin [A stern judgment]).”  He published works on Yiddish literature in Goldene keyt (Golden chain) and other publications.  In book form: Avrom sutskever biblyografye (Avrom Sutskever bibliography) (Tel Aviv: Yisroel-bukh, 1976), 307 pp.

Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 387.


SHIYE NOVIK (b. 1896)
            He studied in religious elementary school.  Over the years 1921-1923, he lived in Argentina.  In 1924 he moved to New York, where he turned his attention to carpentry.  From 1943 he was living in Los Angeles.  He wrote articles for: Di prese (The press) in Buenos Aires; Kalifornyer shriftn (California writings); and mainly for Morgn-frayhayt (Morning freedom) in New York.  He usually wrote under the pen name “S. Boyman.”

Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), cols. 386-87.

(See the effective identical entry for “S. Boyman”:


KOPL NOVIK (b. 1902)
            He was born in Brisk (Brest), Lithuania.  In 1922 he left for Soviet Union.  He studied at the Jewish Pedagogical Institute in Minsk.  He later lived in Moscow.  He published the pamphlet Di shtot brisk (The city of Brisk) (New York, 1973), 36 pp.

Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 386.


PEYSEKH NOVIK (PAUL NOVICK) (September 7, 1891-1989)
            He was born in Brisk (Brest), Lithuania.  Until age fourteen he studied in religious elementary school and yeshiva, and he began reading modern Hebrew books and studying Russian.  At age sixteen he became a mechanic in a cigarette paper factory, while at the same time continuing his education and moving close to the Jewish labor movement.  In 1907 he joined the Bund.  Over the years 1910-1912, he lived in Zurich (Switzerland), where he worked as a machinist in a cigarette factory and in the evenings turned his attention to literature.  In early 1912 he departed for the United States and settled in New York.  He initially worked in a sweatshop, making raincoats, later becoming an official in the Jewish Socialist Federation and secretary of its monthly, Di naye velt (The new world).  After the February Revolution in Russia (1917), he lived in Moscow for a while, working in a factory while remaining active in the Bund.  In early 1919 he moved to Vilna, where he lived until April 1920, later moving to Warsaw, and in October 1920 he returned to America, where he again was active in the Jewish Socialist Federation, and after it split in 1921 he moved with the leftists to the “progressive movement.”  He was a cofounder of the International Labor Order and was involved in its school and cultural activities.  He was one of the leaders of IKUF (Jewish Cultural Association).  On several occasions he visited Europe, Soviet Russia, and the land of Israel.  His activities as a journalist-publicist began with Di naye velt in New York (1915), and later he contributed to such Bundist publications as: Di folks-tsaytung (The people’s newspaper) in Kiev (1917-1918); Der veker (The alarm) in Minsk (1918); Unzer shtime (Our voice) in Vilna (1919), for which he was also editor; Vilner tog (Vilna day) (1919-1920), also co-editor; the daily Lebens-fragen (Life issues) in Warsaw, also news editor; Forverts (Forward) in New York (1920-1921); and Yidisher kuryer (Jewish courier) in Chicago (1921-1922).  From the establishment of the Communist Frayhayt (Freedom) in New York in 1922, Novik was one of its principal contributors, editorial board secretary, and editorial board representative; later (after the death of M. Olgin), he was editor of Morgn-frayhayt (Morning freedom) in New York, for which he published on a daily basis articles, features, press surveys, and travel narratives, as well as translations from English, Russian, and German.  He was also one of the main writers for the monthly Der hamer (The hammer) in New York (1925-1937) and for the literary publications of the “Proletpen” (Proletarian pen) group.  He was a regular contributor and member of the editorial board of: Yidishe kultur (Jewish culture) in New York; Zamlungen (Collections) in New York (from 1955); Eynikeyt (Unity), a weekly of the leftist Jewish garment workers in New York (1926-1928); and Frayhayt yor-bukh, 1926 (Freedom annual, 1926).  He placed work as well in Dos naye lebn (The new life), organ of the American IKOR (Yidishe kolonizatsye organizatsye in rusland [Jewish colonization organization in Russia]) in New York (1945-1949); Der emes (The truth) in Mexico City; Oktyabr (October) in Minsk; Der shtern (The star) in Kharkov; Birobidzhaner shtern (Birobidzhan star); and other serials in the Soviet Union; and Di naye prese (The new press), Literarishe zamlungen (Literary anthologies), Parizer tsaytshrift (Parian periodical), and Oyfsnay (Afresh), among others, in Paris.  After the war: Dos naye lebn, Folksshtime, and Yidishe shriftn (Yiddish writings) in Warsaw; Haynt (Today) and Ikor-bleter (Pages from IKOR) in Buenos Aires; Kol haam (Voice of the people) and Fray yisroel (Free Israel) in Tel Aviv.  He compiled Revolutsyonerer albom (Revolutionary album) (New York: Frayhayt, 1925); edited Ikor yorbukh (IKOR yearbook) for 1932 and M. Olgin’s posthumously published books, 1905 (New York, 1940), Amerike (America) (New York, 1941), Sovetn-farband (Soviet Union) (1944), Kultur un folk, ophandlungen un eseyen vegen kultur un vegen shrayber (Culture and people, treatments and essays on culture and writers) (New York, 1949), and Moyshe kats-bukh, zamlung fun oytobiografishe skitsn, dertseylungen, eseyen vegn literatur, geshikhte, portretn un polemik (Volume for Moyshe Katz, collection of autobiographical sketches, stories, essays on literature [and] history, portraits, and polemics) (New York, 1962).  In book form, Novik published (mostly, pamphlets): Di farshverung in mineola (The conspiracy in Mineola) (New York, 1928), 92 pp.; Amerikaner glikn (American luck) (Moscow, 1930), 40 pp.; Der 16ter tsienistisher kongres un di gesheenishn in palestine (The sixteenth Zionist Congress and the events in Palestine) (Moscow-Kharkov, 1930), 65 pp.; Di lage fun di yidn in sovetn-farband, faktn un tsifern, an entfer di farloymder (The condition of Jews in the Soviet Union, facts, figures, and a reply to accusers) (New York, 1930), 40 pp.; Farvod arsenaln in palestine? (Why arsenals in Palestine?) (New York, 1931), 30 pp.; Palestine, di araber, der tsienizm (Palestine, the Arabs, Zionism) (New York, 1932), 157 pp.; Fashizm, daytshland (Fascism, Germany) (New York, 1933), 38 pp.; Der keslgrub-poyln (The whirlpool Poland) (New York, 1933), 31 pp.; Tsienizm in a broyn hemdl (Zionism in a brown shirt) (New York, 1933), 24 pp.; Palestine on a poroykhes, erets-yisroel in yor 1932 (Palestine without an ark curtain, Israel in 1932) (Piotrków, 1932), 103 pp., second edition (Minsk, 1933), 79 pp.; Fashizm un antisemitizm in amerike (Fascism and anti-Semitism in America) (New York, 1934), 64 pp.; Di sotsyalistishe partey, ir geshikhte un ir rekord (The Socialist Party, its history and its record) (New York, 1935), 176 pp.; Palestine un di komunistn (Palestine and the Communists) (New York, 1936), 31 pp.; Idn in birobidzhan (Jews in Birobidzhan) (New York, 1937), 111 pp.; An oysveg far palestine (An alternative for Palestine) (New York, 1939), 31 pp.; Der bashuldikungs-akt kegn Forverts (The accusation against the Forward) (New York, 1940), 24 pp.; Di sovetishe politik, di rol fund di yidn, di shlakht far amerike (Soviet policy, the role of Jews, the battle for America) (New York, 1941), 16 pp.; A mapole far hitlern in 1942! ṿi azoy zol hitler bazigt vern hayntign yor (A setback for Hitler in 1942! How Hitler should be defeated this year) (New York, 1942), 16 pp.; Farn glik far folk, di badaytung fun yalte (For the joy of the people, the significance of Yalta) (New York, 1945), 16 pp.; Eyrope tsvishn milkhome un sholem (Europe between war and peace) (New York, 1948), 418 pp.; Far a beser lebn, di “morgn-frayhayt,” ir geshikhte, ire oyftuen, ire oyfgabn (For a better life, the Morgn-frayhayt, its history, its accomplishments, its publications) (New York, 1952), 31 pp.; Idish lebn in amerike in di rol fun der “morgn-frayhayt” (Jewish life in America and the role of Morgn-frayhayt) (New York, 1957), 39 pp.; Idn in amerike (Jews in America) (New York, 1960), 30 pp.; Yisroel, tsienizm, un amerikaner idn, di naye situatsye inem idishn lebn (Israel, Zionism, and American Jewry: The new situation in Jewish life) (New York, 1961), 30 pp.; Amerikaner idn un di rol fun der yidisher prese (American Jews and the role of the Yiddish press) (New York, 1962), 52 pp.; Di rol fun idn in neger-kamfn (The role of Jews in the struggles of Blacks) (New York, 1965), 22 pp.; A briv fun dr. sh. margoshes un an entfer fun p. novik (A letter from Dr. Sh. Margoshes and a reply from P. Novik) (New York: Morgn-frayhayt, 1967), 20 pp.; Di natsyonale un idishe frage in itstikn moment (The national and Jewish question at the present time) (New York: Morgn-frayhayt, 1970), 40 pp.; Amerikaner idn, der tsienizm, medines yisroel, der arayntrit funem amerikaner yidishn yishev in di 70ster yorn (American Jewry, Zionism, the state of Israel, the entry of the American Jewish settlement in the 1970s) (New York: Morgn-frayhayt, 1972), 48 pp.  From English he translated Washington Irving’s Rip van vinkl, di legende fun farshlofenem tol (Rip Van Winkle; The Legend of a Sleepy Hollow) (Chicago: H. Toybenshlag, 1924), 78 pp.  He also wrote “Lomir zikh durkhshmuesn” (Let’s have a chat), in Vos iz a tsaytung (What is a newspaper) (New York: Morgn-frayhayt, 1963).  In 1964 he made a length trip through Europe, and he was in the Soviet Union (at the invitation of Literaturnaia gazeta [Literary gazette]).

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 2; B. Fenster, in Morgn-frayhayt (New York) (January 26, 1931; March 28, 1932); Fenster, in Forverts (New York) (February 16, 1957); M. Olgin, in Morgn-frayhayt (April 9, 1932); Sh. Rozenfeld, in Tog (New York) (June 26, 1933); Dr. A. Mukdoni, in Morgn-zhurnal (New York) (March 20, 1935); A. Pomerants, in Proletpen (Kiev, 1935), p. 224; Dovid Eynhorn, in Forverts (April 2, 1949); Y. Botoshanski, in Di prese (Buenos Aires) (June 25, 1950); Sefer brisk delita (The volume for Brisk, Lithuania), in Entsiklopediya shel galiyut (Encyclopedia of the Diaspora) (Jerusalem, 1954), p. 296; Y. Fogel, in Forverts (September 17, 1953); Z. Vaynper, in Yidishe kultur (New York) (October 1956); Y. B. Beylin, in Morgn-frayhayt (January 13, 1957); Kalmen Marmor, Mayn lebns-geshikhte (My life history) (New York: IKUF, 1959); A. Kvaterka, in Morgn-frayhayt (January 20, 1959); M. Mirski, in Folksshtime (Warsaw) (May 17, 1960); Mirski, in Morgn-frayhayt (June 17, 1962; June 24, 1962); Biblyografye fun yidishe bikher vegn khurbn un gvure (Bibliography of Yiddish books concerning the Holocaust and heroism) (New York, 1962), see index; Khayim Liberman, in Forverts (January 21, 1963; February 20, 1963); Ber Grin, Yidishe shrayber in amerike (Yiddish writers in America) (New York, 1963), pp. 330-35.
Khayim Leyb Fuks

[Additional information from: Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 386.]

Friday 15 December 2017


YUDE NOVAKOVSKI (1879-June 4, 1933)

            He was a commentator on current events, born in a town in Chernigov (Chernihiv) district, Ukraine. He studied in religious elementary school and the Nyezhin (Nizhyn) yeshiva as well as with his father, Zalmen-Mortkhe Novakovski, a well-known rabbi. At age eighteen he received ordination into the rabbinate. For secular knowledge, he was an autodidact, demonstrating ability in mathematics and economic science. Already in his yeshiva years, he was drawn to social and political activities of the Zionist socialists. He was also active in the group “Vozrozhdenie” (Renaissance), and later he was one of the leaders and theoreticians of the Sejmists. He was arrested twice (1905-1906). In 1912 he worked as the director of a coal mine in the city of Krivoy Rog (Kryvyi Rih). At the time of the Beilis Trial in 1913, he was in Kiev assisting the Moscow rabbi, Yaakov Mazeh, while preparing materials for the defense. During the years of WWI, he was one of the founders of Jewish schools in Kiev. Over the years 1918-1920, he held the position of finance minister in the Soviet regime; 1921-1926, he was the Soviet commercial attaché in Prague, Berlin, and London; and in 1929 and later, he was a lecturer on political economy in the division of Yiddish language and literature in the pedagogical faculty of the Number Two Moscow State University. He debuted in print with articles on political and economic themes in 1906, such as those for Folks-shtime (Voice of the people), organ of the Sejmists in Vilna. In the Soviet years, he was a member of the editorial board of Naye tsayt (New times) in Kiev (1917), later publishing in: Di royte velt (The red world) in Kharkov-Kiev; and Der shtern (The star) in Kharkov (1928), in which he placed a series of articles entitled “Ekonomishe shmuesn” (Chats on economics); and elsewhere. He also placed work in Der apikoyres (The heretic); and Komunistishe fon (Communist banner) in Kiev (1919). He also was said to have published a Russian-language pamphlet on how the socialist state can also exploit. He wrote primarily on economic and anti-religious matters. He died in Moscow.

In book form: Milkhome un sholem (War and peace) (Ekaterinoslav: Visnshaft, 1919), 48 pp.; Di agrar-frage (The agrarian issue) (Ekaterinoslav: Visnshaft, 1919), 44 pp.; Gots straptshes, kleykodesh (God’s advocates, clergymen) (Kiev: Kultur-lige, 1928), 59 pp., second edition (Kiev, 1930), 62 pp.; Yidishe yontoyvim, heylike minhogim un zeyere vortslen (Jewish holidays, sacred rites and their origins) (Kiev: Kultur-lige, 1929), 95 pp., second edition (Kiev: Kultur-lige, 1930), reprint (Piotrków, 1933), 64 pp.; Der rekhter opnoyg un der sholem mit im (Right deviation and peace with it) (Kharkov: Central Publications, 1929), 60 pp.; with Khayim Gurevitsh, Kooperatsye un dos yidishe shtetl (Cooperation and the Jewish town) (Moscow: Central Publications, 1929), 109 pp.; Kolektive virtshaft (Collective economy) (Moscow: Gezerd, 1929), 48 pp.

Sources: M. Gutman, in Royte pinkes (Red records) (Warsaw: Kultur-lige, 1921), p. 168; Visnshaftlekhe yorbikher (Scientific yearbook), vol. 1 (Moscow, 1929), p. 254; M. Zilberfarb, Gezamlte shriftn (Collected writings), vol. 2 (Warsaw-Paris: Zilberfarb fund, 1936); Zilberfarb, in Sotsyalistisher teritoryalizm, zikhroynes un materyaln tsu der geshikhte fun di parteyen ss, ys un “fareynikte,” ershter zamlbukh (Socialist territorialism, memoris and materials for the history of the S. S. [Zionist socialist], Y. S. [Sejmist], and “Fareynikte” parties, first collection) (Paris, 1934); Kh. Sh. Kazdan, Fun kheyder un shkoles biz tsisho (From religious and secular primary schools to Tsisho) (Mexico City, 1956), see index; Y. Beyner, “Fun poyle-tsien tsu seymovtses” (From Labor Zionism to Sejmist), in Vitebsk amol (Vitebsk in the past) (New York, 1956), pp. 340-41; Sh. Ayzenshtat, Perakim betoledot tenuat hapoalim hayehudit (Chapters in the history of the organization of Jewish laborers) (Jerusalem, 1961), see index; Solomon Schwartz, The Jew in the Soviet Union (Syracuse University Press, 1951), p. 122; oral information from Novakovski’s sister, Dr. Roze Novakovski, in New York.

Benyomen Elis

[Additional information from: Chaim Beider, Leksikon fun yidishe shrayber in ratn-farband (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers in the Soviet Union), ed. Boris Sandler and Gennady Estraikh (New York: Congress for Jewish Culture, Inc., 2011), p. 246.]


HERSH (HERSHEL) NOVAK (August 2, 1892-August 8, 1952)
            He was born in Pyetrikov (Piotrków), Poland, into a laboring family.  He attended religious elementary school and yeshiva, and also studied Polish and Russian.  In 1909 he immigrated with his parents to Montreal, Canada, where he worked for a time in a glass factory, later in shops making ladies’ coats.  He was one of the founders and among the first leaders of the secular Jewish schools in Montreal.  During WWI he worked with “People’s Relief” in Montreal, and he helped to establish labor unions, the Montreal People’s Library, the People’s University, and other institutions.  Over the years 1921-1931, he worked in the schools of Workmen’s Circle in Philadelphia.  In 1932 he settled in New York, where he was a teacher and assistant director in the summer camps “Nayvelt” (New world) and “Kinderland” (Children’s land).  In the same years (1932-1934), Novak served as secretary general of the Jewish Cultural Society, and under his leadership divisions of the society were established throughout the country, and a mass dissemination of Yiddish books ensued.  He was also a builder of the Central Jewish Cultural Organization (Tsiko) and its publishing house.  In 1948 he helped organize the first conference of the World Jewish Culture Congress in New York.  During the last ten years of his life (1942-1952), he worked as manager of the monthly Di tsukunft (The future), in which he also published articles on a variety of cultural matters.  After his death there was published a volume of his memoirs Fun mayne yunge yorn (From my youthful years), with a foreword by Y. Mark (New York: Educational Committee of Workmen’s Circle, 1957), 227 pp.  He died in New York.  “He spent hours, days and nights of work,” wrote Y. Y. Sigal, “as always, building the walls of the edifice of Yiddish culture….  Novak was one of those brave and proud individuals, who in his own way with the richest and most cautious sincerity carried out the commandment of the hour of Jewish cultural history.”  “H. Novak was among the founders and the first principal of the ‘National Radical School,’” noted Yisroel Rabinovitsh, “from which later emerged the (Montreal) Perets schools.  For him and for other teachers at the time, this was not a matter of a career, but a sacred duty for which they literally sacrificed their lives.  Until the end of his life, Novak served the ‘cultural renaissance’ of the Jewish people with a devotion and loyalty the likes of which were unmatched.  What he started in Montreal, he later continued in New York both as a builder and teacher in Yiddish schools and as an indefatigable leader for everyone who was associated with Yiddish culture.  Even in the last years of his life, when he was suffering a good deal of disappointment, he never ceased bearing under the yoke of the commandments of Yiddish culture.”  “Hersh Novak,” wrote N. Khanin, “felt that, if one wished for our modern literature and our modern life to endure, then one must first of all seek out how to entrust this to our children, now already born in the America.  He was one of the first to open in Montreal a secular school, in which Jewish children would be educated.  This was in fact the first secular Jewish school on the American continent.  Novak became one of the teachers in the school and remained in the profession his entire life, aside from several years before he departed this world, when he served as manager of Tsukunft.  It was a difficult life, financially tormenting, and yet Novak did not leave the field of education for Jewish children.  On the contrary, he all the more and more hitched his wagons to it.”

Sources: Obituary, in Di tsukunft (New York) (September 1952); Y. Levin, in Kultur un dertsiung (New York) (October 1952); Levin, in Di tsukunft (November 1952); Y. Y. Sigal, in Di tsukunft (November 1952); Sigal, in Keneder odler (Montreal) (November 1952); Sigal, in Bleter far yidisher dertsiung (New York) (April-May 1953); V. B-n, in Yorbukh fun semeteri-department fun arbeter-ring (Annual of the Cemetery Department of the Workmen’s Circle) (New York, 1953); A. Leyeles, in Tog-morgn-zhurnal (New York) (March 29, 1955); D. Naymark, in Forverts (New York) (April 6, 1958); Dr. Shloyme Bikl, in Tog-morgn-zhurnal (May 11, 1958); Y. Botoshanski, in Di prese (Buenos Aires) (June 25, 1958); Y. Rabinovitsh, in Keneder odler (June 30, 1958); N. Khanin, in Di tsukunft (December 1961), pp. 474-76.
Benyomen Elis


            He was born in Poland.  In the 1920s he made his way to Cuba.  He was among the most active leaders of the Jewish section of the Community Party in Cuba.  He was the Havana correspondent for New York’s Morgn-frayhayt (Morning freedom), edited by Kh. Bandes.  In December 1938 he published (using the pen name N. Khayim) Far eynikeyt in undzer yishev (For unity in our community) (Havana: Kunst un kultur), 24 pp.  He was a member of the editorial board and contributor to the leftist periodicals and newspapers in Havana: Kubaner bleter (Cuban pages), a literary monthly (1938-1939); Program fun arbet farn yidishn tsenter (Program of work for a Jewish center) (1940); Far der fartaydikung fun yidishn tsenter (In defense of a Jewish center) (April 1940); Der anti-natsi (The anti-Nazi), published by the anti-Nazi committee of Havana (November 1941); Kubaner yidish vort (The Yiddish word of Cuba), beginning as a weekly, later published two to three times each week, to which he contributed until July 29, 1950; Informatsye buletin (Information bulletin) of the society for art and culture of Havana; Unzer hilf der royter armey (Our aid to the Red Army) (June 22, 1942); 30 yor sovetnfarband (Thirty years of the Soviet Union), almanac (1947); 7ter november albom (November 7th album) (1947); and others.  He was last living in Havana.
Leyzer Ran


EMANUEL NOVOGRUDSKI (May 5, 1891-August 9, 1967)
            He was born in Warsaw, Poland.  His father Motl Novogrudski was a bookkeeper and a shoe salesman; his mother Itke, a housewife, helped the socialist movement to the extent that she could.  From 1906 he was studying in the Gurski high school in Warsaw and graduated in 1912.  He spent 1913-1914 studying at a university in Geneva (Switzerland).  In 1914 he joined the Bund.  He was active in the Warsaw organization of the party and later its secretary.  In 1917-1918, during WWI, the Germans twice arrested him and on one occasion sent him to camps in Havelberg and Lauban, and the second time he was imprisoned in the Modliner Fortress.  He was also arrested once by the Tsrarist police.  In 1920 after the Cracow Conference of the Bund, which adopted the resolution on joining the Third International, Novogrudski traveled through Kovno, Lithuania, to Moscow, and there he conducted negotiations with the representatives of the Third International.  He returned to Warsaw in early 1921, and from then until 1939 he served as secretary general of the Bund in Poland.  He was twice elected councilman to the Warsaw city council.  In 1939 he arrived in New York to conduct work for the Bund in Poland and, with the outbreak of WWII, remained there.  There he served as secretary to the “representative of the Polish Bund” from this post’s creation in 1941 until 1947.  From 1947 until he became severely ill (May 1961), which required a full interruption of all his activities, he was head secretary of the Bund’s world coordinating committee in New York.  He traveled around a great deal on assignments for the party, in prewar Poland and other countries of Europe, as well as in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil, and Australia.  After the war, in the midst of his writing, he published numerous articles in Yiddish and non-Yiddish (mainly party) publications, such as: Folkstsaytung (People’s newspaper), Vokhnshrift far literatur (Weekly writing for literature), Yugnt-veker (Youth alarm), Foroys (Onward), and Walka (Fight), among others, in Warsaw; Unzer shtime (Our voice) in Paris; Letste nayes (Latest news) and Lebns-fragn (Life issues) in Tel Aviv; Foroys (Mexico City); Unzer gedank (Our idea) in Buenos Aires; Unzer tsayt (Out time), Der veker (Our alarm), Fraye arbeter-shtime (Free voice of labor), Di tsukunft (The future), and Socialist Call—in New York; among others.  He published longer works in: the anthology Henrik erlikh un viktor alter (Henryk Erlich and Viktor Alter) (New York, 1951), pp. 13-52; “Der ‘bund’ tsvishn beyde velt-milhomes” (The Bund between the two world wars), in Entsiklopediya shel galiyut (Encyclopedia of the Diaspora) (Jerusalem-Tel Aviv, 1959); and Leyvik-hodes-bukh (Leyvik Hodes book) (New York, 1962), pp. 371-77; among others.  He was co-editor of The Ghetto Fights (New York, 1962); and of the two volumes Geshikhte fun bund (History of the Bund) (New York, 1960, 1962).  In book form, he published (mostly under the pen name “E. Mus”): Kamf far rekht af arbet (Fight for the rights of labor) (New York: Bureau for the rights of labor, 1926), 38 pp., also available in Polish; Di kunst fun redn (The art of speaking) (Warsaw: Kultur-lige, 1929), 102 pp.; Sovet-rusland, unzer tragedye (Soviet Russia, our tragedy), with a preface by Louis de Bruiker (Brussels: Bundist group in Belgium, 1939), 63 pp., also (New York, 1939); Yokhed, mase un firer (Individual, mass, and leader) (Warsaw: Kultur-lige, 1934), 159 pp.; Heshbn hanefesh oder fartseyflung (Introspection or despair) (New York: Bundist Club, 1934), 32 pp.; A naye tsugang tsu alte emesn (A new approach to old truths) (Montevideo: Bundist group, 1955), 45 pp.  He also penned an introduction to Leon Bernshteyn’s book, Ershte shprotsungen (First sprouts) (Buenos Aires, 1956).  He died in New York.  Novogrudski’s wife SONYE NOVOGRUDSKI (née Tshemelinski), who he married in 1919, was a member of the underground central committee of the Bund in Warsaw during the years of Nazi occupation and was murdered by the Nazis in Treblinka.
            As Y. Y. Trunk put it, Emanuel Novogrudski “displayed in private conversations the greatest liberalism for all forms and differences of human thought….  Comrade Emanuel knew—and I say this to his greatest praise—that the broadest horizons of thought must be narrowed, when it comes to historical actions.”

Sources: Y. Yezhor, in Foroys (Mexico City) (December 1944); Y. Y. Trunk, in Poyln (Poland), vol. 7 (New York, 1953), pp. 175-80; M. Astur, in Afn shvel (New York) (March-April 1960); Kh. Sh. Kazdan, in Unzer tsayt (New York) (September 1960); Arbeter-ring boyer un tuer (Builders and leaders of the Workmen’s Circle) (New York, 1962); Biblyografye fun yidishe bikher vegn khurbn un gvure (Bibliography of Yiddish books concerning the Holocaust and heroism) (New York, 1962).
Leyb Vaserman

Thursday 14 December 2017



            The brother of Bernard and Emanuel Novogrudski, he was a translator and journalist, born in Warsaw, Poland. He received both a Jewish and a general education. He worked as a teacher of natural science in Warsaw schools. For a time he was active in the socialist Jewish youth organization “Tsukunft” (Future) in Warsaw. His writing activities commenced with articles in the Bundist biweekly serial Sotsyalistishe yugnt-shtime (Voice of socialist youth) in Warsaw (1919). After the civil war, he left for Soviet Russia, where he was an active leader in Jewish school and cultural work. In Soviet Russia he was a contributor to the journals: Yungvald (Young forest), Pyoner (Pioneer), and Af di vegn tsu der nayer shul (On the road to the new school), and to the newspaper Der emes (The truth), all in Moscow, as well as such serial publications as: Oktyabr (October) and Der shtern (The star), in Minsk and Kiev—in which, on the whole, he wrote about cultural and school matters, reviews of school books, and translations from Russian into Polish. He was also well-known as a compiler of a series of textbooks for Jewish schools. For a time he lived in Moscow, later in Alma-Ata and other places. In 1937, during the Moscow show trials, he was exiled to various camps, before being freed in 1944 and settling in Moscow. The last information known of him dates to the early 1950s, when he was living in Moscow.

He was the author of: Pyonern, yunge naturalistn (Pioneers, young naturalists), a textbook of natural science (Moscow: Shul un bukh, 1925), 143 pp., with drawings and pictures. He translated from Russian to Yiddish: B. Ignatiev and S. Sokolov, Kuk zikh tsu tsu der natur (Pay attention to nature) (Moscow: Shul un bukh, 1927), 4 booklets, each 64 pp.; and M. Agapov and S. Sokolov, Yunger geograf (Young geographer), geography textbook (Moscow: Central People’s Publishers, USSR, 1927), 126 pp.

Sources: Biblyografishe yorbikher fun yivo (Bibliographic yearbooks from YIVO) (Warsaw, 1928), see index; Y. Ratner and M. Kvitni, Dos yidishe bukh in f.s.s.r. in di yorn 1917-1921 (The Yiddish book in the USSR for the years 1917-1921) (Kiev, 1930), nos. 700-2; M. Anilovitsh and M. Yofe, Shriftn fun psikhologye un pedagogik (Writings on psychology and pedagogy) 1 (Vilna: YIVO, 1933), p. 492; information from Emanuel Novogrudski and Sh. Herts in New York.

Khayim Leyb Fuks

[Additional information from: Chaim Beider, Leksikon fun yidishe shrayber in ratn-farband (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers in the Soviet Union), ed. Boris Sandler and Gennady Estraikh (New York: Congress for Jewish Culture, Inc., 2011), pp. 245-46.]


            The brother of Emanuel Novogrudski, he was born in Warsaw, Poland.  He received both a Jewish and a general education.  He was an active leader in the movement for a Jewish public school in Tsarist times in Warsaw.  For many years he worked as a teacher of arithmetic in Jewish schools, for a time was the administrator of the secular Jewish “great school” in Warsaw, and was a member of the organizing committee for the establishment of the Central Jewish School Organization (Tsisho) in Poland.  He assisted in the compilation of a series of Yiddish textbooks by M. A. Birnboym, Sh. Gilinski, and Dovid Kasel (until 1914).  He was the author of the textbook Elementarish-kurs fun arithmetik (Elementary course in arithmetic), “practical course with many examples and problems, part 1, whole and primary numbers, basis for higher classes in public schools and evening courses for adults” (Warsaw: Naye shul, 1917), 96 pp.  When the Nazis were approaching Warsaw, he left for the Soviet-occupied zone in Poland.  Until late 1940 he was living in Lemberg, later returning to Warsaw.  He was killed by the Nazi murderers.

Sources: M. Anilovitsh and M. Yofe, Shriftn fun psikhologye un pedagogik (Writings on psychology and pedagogy) 1 (Vilna: YIVO, 1933), pp. 486-87; Kh. Sh. Kazdan, Di geshikhte fun yidishn shulvezn in umophengikn poyln (The history of the Jewish school system in independent Poland) (Mexico City, 1947), pp. 69, 74, 87f; information from Emanuel Novogrudok and Sh. Herts in New York.
Khayim Leyb Fuks