Wednesday 31 January 2018


            He was born in the village of Pyesk (Peski, Piaski), Grodno district, Byelorussia.  He studied in religious elementary school and in a public school, and then he became a laborer.  He arrived in the United States in 1913.  Until 1918 he was involved with the Labor Zionists in the Bronx, and he then joined the Jewish Legion which traveled from America to liberate the land of Israel from Turkish domination.  He returned to the United States in 1919.  From 1920 he was living in London.  He published chapters of his experiences in the Jewish Legion in Di tsayt (The times) in London; these descriptions were later included in his book In kamf farn land, tog-bukh fun a idishen legyoner (In the fight for a country, diary of a Jewish legionnaire), with a forward by Vladimir Zhabotinsky (London, 1928), 160 pp.

Sources: M. M., in Di tsayt (London) (September 1924); V. Zhabotinsky, forward to In kamf farn land, tog-bukh fun a idishen legyoner (In the fight for a country, diary of a Jewish legionnaire) (London, 1928), p. 7.
Khayim Leyb Fuks

Tuesday 30 January 2018


MEYER-SHIYE NIRENBERGER (b. January 4, 1911)
            He was born in Cracow, Poland, to a businessman father.  He descended—on his mother’s side—from Rabbi Yehoshua Apter; and on his father’s side from Rabbi Ber of Radeshits (Radoszyce).  Until age fourteen he studied in a Cracow public school, later in a high school, while at the same time he attended the small synagogue of the Gerer Rebbe in Podguzh (Podgórze), a suburb of Cracow.  In 1925 he made his way with his family to France and attended the Strasbourg commercial school and the yeshiva of Rabbi Brunshvig.  In 1927 he moved to Antwerp (Belgium), where his father became a scribe of holy texts for the community.  Nirenberger continued his studies in Belgium at the synagogue study hall as well as at the institute of political and social science, and at Brussels University he studied modern languages and later English at New York University.  In 1935 he, together with well-known Flemish and French personalities, organized the Belgian League against Racism.  In 1938 he carried through an anti-German resolution in the Belgian press association.  In early 1939 he came to the United States.  He was honorary secretary of the national council of the Emergency Committee to Save the Jewish People in Europe and was active in the League for a Free Israel, and the American representative of the Irgun (the Israeli army in Mandate Palestine).  His journalistic activities commenced in 1930 in Volksgazet (People’s gazette) in Flemish, to which he contributed until late 1938; he also wrote for the French socialist daily Le Peuple (The people).  He was a newspaper reporter in the Belgian parliament and a member of the association of the foreign press and of the international journalists’ association in Geneva.  At the end of 1930 he began writing in Yiddish—in the first Yiddish daily in Belgium, Der belgisher tog (The Belgian day), edited by Dr. Yontef Levinski.  He also began publishing articles in: Haynt (Today), Moment (Moment), Radyo (Radio, the evening newspaper for Moment), and Literarishe bleter (Literary leaves), among others, in Warsaw.  In February 1931 he became the Western European correspondent for Morgn-zhurnal (Morning journal) in New York.  Over the years 1932-1938, he was also a regular contributor to Parizer haynt (Paris today).  Shortly after coming to America (February 2, 1939), he became a member of the editorial board of Morgn-zhurnal.  At the same time he placed work in: Di idishe tsaytung (The Jewish newspaper) in Buenos Aires; and Haarets (The land) and Maariv (Evening) in Tel Aviv.  In 1945 he became an official war correspondent for the American army in Western and Central Europe (Germany, Austria, Czechoslovakia, and other countries).  He was also a correspondent in Nuremburg at the trials of the Nazi leaders and at Eichmann’s trial in Jerusalem.  At different times he was a correspondent for Jewish and non-Jewish newspapers at a number of Zionist congresses (1931, 1933, 1935, 1937, 1946), as well as at the founding congress of the World Jewish Congress in Geneva.  He served as co-editor (in 1932) of the Yiddish daily newspapers: Letste nayes (Latest news) in Brussels (Vladimir Grosman, editor-in-chief); together with Dovid Lehrer, in 1934 Belgishe togblat (Belgian daily newspaper) in Brussels; 1947-1949, chief editor of Morgn-zhurnal; 1943, The Jewish Mirror in New York; 1950-1954, The Jewish Mail.  He was also editor of Toronto’s Idisher zhurnal (Jewish journal) (1957-1959).  From 1960 he edited and owned Canadian Jewish News, an English-language Jewish weekly in Toronto.  From 1972 he was a regular contributor to Algemeyner zhurnal (General journal) in New York.  He was last living in Toronto.

Sources: M. Elboym, in Forverts (New York) (September 2, 1958); Sh. Rozhanski, in Idishe tsaytung (Buenos Aires) (April 14, 1964).
Leyb Vaserman

[Additional information from: Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 391.]


NOKHUM-YANKEV NIR-RAFALKES (NAḤUM NIR) (March 18, 1884-July 10, 1968)
            He was born in Warsaw, Poland.  His father Moyshe had been ordained as a rabbi, was an early Zionist, had built a school “Moriya” in Warsaw, worked for thirty years as a manufacturer, and later joined the organization “Menuḥa venaḥala” (Rest and estate), which established the colony of Rehovot in the land of Israel.  His mother hailed from generations of rabbis.  Nir-Rafalkes attended a religious elementary school in which Russian was taught, until age fifteen studied Tanakh and Talmud, and later (against the wishes of his father) entered the sixth class of high school from which he graduated in 1902.  He studied natural science at Warsaw University.  In 1905 he was expelled for taking part in a student strike and other political offenses.  He studied for a semester in Zurich, Switzerland, and then in September 1905 returned to Warsaw.  In late 1906 he entered the department of natural science at St. Petersburg University and graduated in 1907.  He went on to study law at Dorpat (Yuryev), Estonia, and received his doctoral degree.  Over the years 1908-1917, he practiced as a lawyer in Warsaw and later in St. Petersburg.  From 1920 he spent two years studying in Vienna.  His work within the community began during his high school years.  He was one of the leaders of “Jewish Fellowship of High School Students and Realists,” which was founded by Bronisław Grosser, H. Erlikh, and others.  This was an organization that attended to financial assistance for all Jewish pupils, who due to the Jewish quotas, were unable to enroll in Russian universities and had perforce to study abroad.  In 1903 he joined the student association Kadima (Onwards) which was tied to the Zionist “Democratic Fraction” (with Dr. Chaim Weizmann, Leon Motzkin, and others).  He attended as a guest the fifteenth Zionist Congress (the famed Uganda one).  He participated in later congresses as a selected delegate.  In September 1905 he joined the bloc of Labor Zionists.  At the time of the pogroms in Russia, he was active in Jewish self-defense.  Together with Ber Borokhov, Y. Zerubavel, Yitskhok Ben-Tsvi, Aleksander Khashin, Y. Tabenkin, and others, in 1906 he called a conference in Grodno to lay the groundwork for the ideology of the Labor Zionist movement.  He and some forty other socialist Zionists were arrested.  At the first world conference of Labor Zionism in The Hague, he was coopted onto the leadership of the movement.  His activities encompassed Russia, Poland, Austria, and the Scandinavian countries.  He spent January-April 1906 imprisoned in the Modlin Fortress in Warsaw.  Over the years 1907-1915, he withdrew from the movement, but in 1918 he again became active, joined the central committee of the Labor Zionists party, was a candidate in 1919 to the founding Sejm in Poland, and was elected to the Warsaw city council.  When the Labor Zionist party split apart after WWI, he joined the leftists.  In 1925 he made aliya to the land of Israel, and in 1948 he was selected as a member of “Moetset haam” (Provisional State Council, the first provisional Jewish government).  He served as one of the deputy speakers of the first and third Knessets, chaired the Construction Committee, and on March 12, 1959 was elected speaker of the third Knesset.  In his partisan community work, he was active as well as a writer and editor.  In 1906 he—with Ben-Tsien Raskin and Froym Blumenfeld—published two issues of the illegal serial Dos yidishe arbeter-velt (The world of Jewish labor).  From March 1917 to March 1918, he edited in Petrograd the central organ of the Labor Zionists in Russia, Evreiskaia rabochaia khronika (Jewish labor chronicle)—some thirty-four issues.  He wrote for party newspapers in Poland’s Arbeter-tsaytung (Labor newspaper), Der yunger kemfer (The young fighter), and Fraye yugnt (Free youth)—in Warsaw; the German-Jewish Freie Tribüne (Free tribune) in Vienna; Der yudisher sotsyalist (The Jewish socialist) in Brunn; Arbeter-tsaytung in Kovno; Idisher kemfer (Jewish fighter), Di tsukunft (The future), Proletarisher gedank (Proletarian idea), and Di tsayt (The times)—in New York; Unzer veg (Our way) in London; Nakanune (On the eve) in Russian (1921); Naye tsayt (New times), Arbeter-vort (Workers’ word), Di prese (The press), and Pinkes varshe (Records of Warsaw)—in Buenos Aires; Oyfgang (Arise) and Folksblat (People’s newspaper) in Lemberg; Frayhayt (Freedom) in Czernowitz; Emes (Truth), Haadama (The earth), Nay-velt (New world), Derekh hapoal (The way of labor), Davar (Word), Al hamishmar (On guard), and Lemerḥav (Into the open), among others, in Israel.  He also wrote reviews for Bikher-velt (Book world) in Warsaw, and he published in Royter pinkes (Red records), no. 2, an article on the rise of labor in Poland.  He also took part in the struggle on behalf of Yiddish in Israel.  Over the years 1928-1958, he was chair of the Yiddish Literary and Journalists’ Club in Tel Aviv, which published the magazines: Eyns (One), Tsvishn eyns un tsvey (Between one and two), and Tsvey biz finf (Two to five).  He edited the Labor Zionist organ Nay-velt (founded in 1934 in Tel Aviv) over the course of many years, and later Folksblat in Tel Aviv which commenced publication on November 28, 1958.  His book-length works include: Rusland unter raten-regirung (oktober 1917-detsember 1918) (Russia under the red government, October 1917-December 1918) (Warsaw, 1919), 78 pp.; Di landvirtshaftlikhe kvutses in erets yisroel in yor 1920 (Agricultural collectives in the land of Israel in 1920) (Vienna: Labor Zionist Bureau, Palestine Labor Association, 1921), 40 pp.; Der poyle-tsienizm, a populere balaykhtung (Labor Zionism, a popular explanation) (Vienna: Central Committee, Labor Zionists of Argentina, 1922), 44 pp.; Di geshikhte fun sotsyalizm (The history of socialism), vol. 1, from ancient times until after the French Revolution (Cracow: Yugnt-fon, 1923), 146 pp.; Palestina in tsifern, di virtshaflekhe antviklung far di letste yorn (Palestine in figures, economic growth over recent years) (Warsaw: Naye kultur, 1927), 87 pp., including 51 tables; Virtshaft un politik in erets yisroel (Economy and politics in the land of Israel) (Warsaw, 1930), 134 pp.; Leningrad, dem heylikn ondenk fun mayne khaverim in borokhov-batalyon gevidmet (Leningrad, dedicated to the sacred memory of my comrades in the Borokhov battalion) (Tel Aviv, 1942), 97 pp.; with Y. Rozen and M. Erem, Ḥativat poale-tsiyon im mapam (The split between Labor Zionists and Mapam) (Tel Aviv, n.d.), 46 pp.; Pirke ḥayim, bemagele hador vehatenuah, 1884-1918 (Periods of life, in the course of the generation and the movement, 1884-1918) (Tel Aviv: Kibbutz Meuḥad, 1958), 298 pp.; Ershte yorn, in rod fun dor un bavegung (First years, in the course of the generation and the movement), translated from Hebrew by Y. Bregman (Tel Aviv: Perets Library, 1960), 414 pp.; Vanderungen (Wanderings) (Tel Aviv: Perets Publ., 1966), 400 pp.  His edited works include: Vayter, y. opatoshu dem groysen shrayber un kemfer far yidish, tsum fertl yorhundert fun zayn shafn gevidmet (Further, dedicated to Y. Opatoshu, the great writer and fighter for Yiddish, on the quarter-century of his writings) (Tel Aviv: Yiddish Literary and Journalists’ Club, 1935), 90 pp.; Bleter tsum ondenk fun l. malakh (Pages in remembrance of L. Malakh) (Tel Aviv: Yiddish Literary and Journalists’ Club, 1936), 72 pp.  He also wrote under such pen names as: A. Shavski, Tre-eser, and Sh. (N.) Broder.  He made a circuit (1958-1959) through South and North America.  He died in Tel Aviv.  “In the 1930s, when he was editing and publishing the newspaper Nay-velt,” wrote Y. Abramson, “when the opposition to Yiddish in the land of Israel found expression in an open, physical eruption on the part of a bunch of fanatics from ‘Gedud megine hasafa’ (Battalion for the defense of the language) did not stop at throwing a bomb in the publishing house where newspapers were published with the Yiddish letters.  Nir-Rafalkes, however, was frightened off by nothing, but persistently he led his fight for the rights of Yiddish in the land of Israel.  He did not yield his position even when he was excluded by his colleagues from the organization of lawyers….  To him fell the honor to assume the high position of speaker of the Knesset following the death of the popular and beloved first speaker, Yosef Shprinzak.  There arose at that time a passionate struggle.  His opponent was a representative from a stronger party, but the political opponents appreciated his competence, his proficiency in legislation, his innately agile orientation, his tact, his insight into the opposing side, and mainly his indefatigable energy and organizational ability, and created the ‘Nir Coalition’ which gave him the possibility to be elected speaker of the Knesset, carrying out the dignified post with honor and tactfulness.”

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 2; D. Tidhar, in Entsiklopedyah leḥalutse hayishuv uvonav (Encyclopedia of the pioneers and builders of the yishuv), vol. 4 (Tel Aviv, 1950), pp. 1605-7; B. Tsvien, in Forverts (New York) (December 15, 1934); Dr. Yisroel Rubin, in Literarishe bleter (Warsaw) 23 (1934); M. Kats, in Morgn-frayhayt (New York) (February 2, 1935); D. Perski, in Hadoar (New York) (February 8, 1935); A. Tishbi, in Letste nayes (Tel Aviv) (September 14, 1951; September 30, 1951); Y. Zerubavel, in Undzer veg (New York) (May 1, 1954); Kh. Sh. Kazdan, Fun kheyder un shkoles biz tsisho (From religious and secular primary schools to Tsisho) (Mexico City, 1956), see index; Dr. L. Zhitnitski, in Di prese (Buenos Aires) (September 22, 1957); M. Unger, in Der tog (New York) (December 1957); M. Ravitsh, Mayn leksikon (My lexicon), vol. 3 (Montreal, 1958), p. 450; A. Asa, in Haarets (Tel Aviv) (March 29, 1958); D. Flinker, in Tog-morgn-zhurnal (New York) (March 11, 1959); Sh. Rozenfeld, in Forverts (March 11, 1959); Sh. Z. Shragai, in Der idisher zhurnal (Toronto) (March 12, 1959); B. Tsukerman, in Idisher kemfer (New York) (March 27, 1959); Sh. Izban, in Der amerikaner (New York) (July 3, 1959); Y. Abramson, in Idishe tsaytung (Buenos Aires) (September 6, 1963); Abramson, in Der idisher zhurnal (October 25, 1963); Y. Tiberg, M. Shner, and M. Eres, in Undzer veg (April 1964).
Mortkhe Yofe

[Additional information from: Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 391.]

Monday 29 January 2018


SHLOYME-YANKEV NYEPOMNYASHTSHI (December 10, 1896-January 13. 1930)

            He was a literary researcher and journalist, born in Krolevets (Krolevets'-Slobidka), Chernigov (Chernihiv) region, Ukraine. Until age sixteen he studied in yeshivas, later departing for the land of Israel, where for two years he studied in the Herzliya High School in Jaffa. In 1914 he went on vacation to visit his parents, who were then living in Poltava, and he stayed on in Russia. His first literary efforts were in Hebrew. In 1917 he was secretary of the provincial Zionist committee in Poltava, and he wrote appeals and addresses for the committee in Yiddish, Hebrew, and Russian. In 1918 he published with the Rabinovitsh brothers a humorous newspaper entitled Der mazek (The mischievous child)—two issues appeared; he also contributed to the Russian newspaper Poltavskie novosti (Poltava news), wrote articles in Erd un arbet (Land and labor), the organ of the “Tseire tsiyon” (Young Zionists) using the pen name Sh. Barkay, and in the Zionist organ Di velt (The world). Because he knew the Ukrainian language, he was lured to work on the Jewish “Central Secretariat.” In the volume Di idishe oytonomye un der natsyonaler sekretaryat af ukrayine, materyaln un dokumentn (Jewish autonomy and the national secretariat in Ukraine, materials and documents) (Kiev: n.p., 1920), he published a detailed bibliography on issues of autonomy and the Jewish community council. He contributed to the editorial collective responsible for the collection and revision of pogrom-related materials under the direction of Elye Tsherikover (Elias Tcherikower). Because of the surviving Petliura and Denikin pogromists, in 1919 he became a Communist and began contributing to the Soviet press in both Ukrainian and Russian. As a soldier in the Red Army, he experienced the Polish war campaign and later took up a series of positions in political organs and staff headquarters, also with the Kiev Cheka in the division fighting against bandits—“To select among the Ukrainians the disguised Petliurists, Denikinists, and other hooligans and murderers of Jews” (according to Daniel Tsharni [Charney]). In 1920 he was an internal contributor to Komunistisher fon (Communist banner); in 1922 he was manager of the Ukrainian telegraphic agency. In 1923 he moved from Kiev to Moscow to work in the press division of the central committee of the Russian Communist Party, where he was manager of the Russian-language journal Krasnaia petshat' (Red press). At the same time, he contributed articles and feature pieces to the daily newspapers: Der emes (The truth) in Moscow, Der shtern (The star) in Kharkov, and Oktyabr (October) in Minsk, mainly using the pseudonym Sh. Elkin. From 1927 he was editorial secretary in Moscow of the Russian-language, monthly magazine Tribuna (Tribune), organ of Ozet (Society for settling toiling Jews on the land). He was a passionate collector of all manner of historical documents, rare works, and manuscripts, and he bequeathed a large collection of important religious texts and cultural-historical documents. He also wrote in Hebrew, loved the language, and helped Hebrew writers, irrespective of his Communism. In 1923 he directed the bibliographic review of Yiddish books in the bibliographic weekly of the state publishing house, Knigonosha (Book peddler). In 1926 he prepared for publication and co-edited (together with Zyame Ostrovski and M. Kats) the Stenografisher barikht fun ershtn alfarbandishn tsuzamenfor fun “gezerd” (Stenographic report from the first All-Soviet Conference of “Gezerd” [All-Union Association for the Agricultural Settlement of Jewish Workers in the USSR]) (Moscow, November 15-20, 1926), published in 1927 (251 pp.). In Visnshaftlekhe yorbikher (Scholarly yearbooks) (Moscow) 1 (1929), there appeared two important works of research by him: “Onmerkungen tsu sholem-aleykhems briv” (Remarks on Sholem-Aleichem’s letters) and “Di dorem-mayrevdike konferents fun ‘bund’ in 1915” (The southwest conference of the Bund in 1915). His last work—“Naye materyaln vegn sholem-aleykhem” (New materials on Sholem-Aleichem)—was published in Royte velt (Red world) in Kharkov (January-February 1930). In manuscript he left behind: a full array of works in Hebrew, including a volume of essays Hafugot (Intermissions); and translations of Dovid Hofshteyn’s Meshiekhs tsaytn (Messianic times) into Hebrew as Yamot hamashiaḥ, H. Leivick’s Lamed vovnik (One of the 36 good men in the world), and Dovid Ignatov’s Vunder mayses fun altn prog (Wonder tales from ancient Prague) as Sipure niflaot miprag haantika, among others. In 1928 when Yoysef Opatoshu came to the Soviet Union for the first time, he visited Nyepomnyashtshi and later reported that his room “apparently had no walls. Closets, shelves, stacks of books all played the role of a wall.” They were stuffed with seldom-seen texts, rare works, including the first edition of Meor einayim (The light of the eyes) (Mantua, 1574). “Later as well,” noted D. Charney, “when I had left Moscow for Berlin, Nyepomnyashtshi would pelt me with letters and requests for new Hebrew books and periodicals, which he had to have, and I felt that this curious Nyepomnyashtshi derived satisfaction much more from the Hebrew cultural world of Warsaw, Berlin, Tel Aviv, and New York than with the Soviet Yiddish culture of Russia itself.” His untimely death in Moscow cut short his literary research and bibliographical work.

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 2; obituaries in Literarishe bleter (Warsaw) 5 (300) (January 31, 1930), Di vokh (New York) 22 (1930), and Di royte velt (Kharkov) (January-February 1930), p. 214; Y. Opatoshu, in Zamlbikher (New York) 8 (1953), pp. 210-16; V. Blatberg, Di geshikhte fun di hebreishe un yidishe shrayber in sovetn-farband (The history of the Hebrew and Yiddish writers in the Soviet Union) (New York: Institute of Jewish Affairs, World Jewish Congress, 1953), p. 14; D. Charney, in Tog-morgn-zhurnal (New York) (January 1954); Y. Lifshits and M. Altshuler, comps., Briv fun yidishe sovetishe shraybers (Letters of Soviet Jewish writers) (Jerusalem, 1979/1980), pp. 369-90.

Aleksander Pomerants

[Additional information from: Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 391; 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. 253.]


            He was born in Pultusk (Pułtusk), Warsaw district, Poland.  He studied in religious elementary schools and yeshivas; in 1925 he married and lived until WWII in Ostrov-Mazovyetsk (Ostrów-Mazowiecka).  A scholar with rabbinic ordination, he wished, however, not to make a living as a rabbi and instead made a difficult living from incidental work.  He was active in “Poele Agudat Yisrael” (Workers for [ultra-Orthodox] Agudat Yisrael).  Under the influence of Y. Emyot, he began writing initially Hebrew poetry, later reportage pieces and articles.  In 1931 he debuted in print with a series of descriptions of Jewish life in Polish towns for Ortodoksishe yugend-bleter (Orthodox youth sheets) in Warsaw, and later he contributed to: Dos yudishe togblat (The Jewish daily newspaper) in Warsaw; Der yudisher arbayter (The Jewish worker), Di yudishe shtime (The Jewish voice), and Beys-yankev zhurnal (Beys Yankev journal) in Lodz.  He also published in Hebrew in: Haderekh (The pathway), Darkhenu (Our way), and Deglanu (Our banner) in Warsaw; Dos vort (The word) in Vilna; and Idishe shtime (Jewish voice) in Cracow; among others.  He translated the well-known work of Yedaya Hapenini, Mivḥar hapenini (Selection from the dispenser of pearls [= Yedaya ben Avraham Bedersi, ca. 1270-ca. 1340]), into a popular Yiddish in rhyming verse, with an introduction (Premishle, 1938), 64 pp.  When the Germans entered Ostrów-Mazowiecka, he fled to the Russian-occupied zone.  He lived for a time in Slonim and later was confined in the Lakhve ghetto; from there the Nazis led him to the collection point and shot him.

Sources: Yisroel Emyot, in Beys-yankev zhurnal (Lodz) (March 1939); information from Rabbi Dr. M. Shvartzman in Winnipeg, Canada, and from Y. Emyot in Rochester, New York.
Khayim Leyb Fuks


LEYVI NYEMTSEVITSH (LEO NIEMCEWITSCH) (1876 or 1880-summer 1939)
            He was born in Lublin, Poland, descended from a well-pedigreed family.  He received a fervently religious education, was renowned as a child prodigy, and received ordination into the rabbinate.  In 1904 he traveled abroad and studied philosophy, history, and Semitic languages at the universities in Berlin, Berne, and Strasbourg.  In 1912 he received his doctor of philosophy degree for a dissertation entitled “Crescas contra Maimonides.”  He began his writing career in the Hebrew language Haivri (The Jew), edited by Rabbi Meir Berlin, in Berlin, and from that point he published—also using such pen names as L. Cohen and L. Y. Lazarson—in Hatsfira (The siren), Hazman (The times), and the like.  He also contributed to German-Jewish publications.  After returning from abroad, he was the chairman of Lubin’s Hazemir (The nightingale).  At the time of WWI he was rabbi in Homel (Gomel).  In 1918 he returned to Lublin and helped in the founding of the Orthodox “Aḥdut Yisrael” (Unity of Israel) which would later join “Agudat shalome emunat yisrael” (Unity of Faithful Jewry).  He also placed work in: Lubliner tageblat (Lublin daily newspaper), edited by Sh. Y. Stupnitski, and the Orthodox newspaper Dos yudishe vort (The Jewish word), edited by Nokhum-Leyb Vayngot, in Warsaw; Ortodoksishe yugend-bleter (Orthodox youth sheets); and Unzer veg (Our way) in Shedlets (Siedlce), edited by B. Huberman.  From 1919 he was living in Warsaw.  He was the founder and director of avatselet (Daffodil), the first religious high school for girls in Grodno, and he was a member of the central committee of the Unity of Faithful Jewry party.  He wrote journalistic pieces in: the Orthodox daily newspaper Der yud (The Jew), Darkhenu (Our path), and Deglanu (Our nabber) in Warsaw; Yavne (Yavneh) in Lemberg; Dos vort (The word) in Vilna; and Dos yudishe vort (The Jewish word) in Kalish (Kalisz); among others.  In the late 1920s and 1930s, he was the leader of the Orthodox teachers’ seminary Yavne in Grodno.  He died in Grodno several months before the outbreak of WWII.

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 2; Biblyografishe yorbikher fun yivo (Bibliographic yearbooks from YIVO), vol. 1 (Warsaw, 1928); M. Prager, Antologye fun religyeze lider un dertseylungen (Anthology of religious poems and stories) (New York, 1955); Prager, in Fun noentn over (New York) 2 (1956); R. Feldshuh, Yidisher gezelshaftlekher leksikon (Jewish communal handbook) (Warsaw, 1939), p. 521; written information from Rabbi Dr. Meyer Shvartsman in Winnipeg, Canada.
Zaynvl Diamant


            He was born in Lemberg, eastern Galicia, into a family that drew its pedigree back to Mahashal [Shlomo Luria, 1510-1573] and Rashi [Rabbi Shlomo Yitzḥaki, 1040-1105].  He studied in Lemberg under the supervision of Rabbi Yitskhok-Arn Etinger, later in Jassy (Iași), Romania, with his grandfather Shmuel-Mortkhe Nyemirover, and with Mendel Barasch.  After graduating high school, he studied philosophy, history, and literature at the Berlin Rabbinical Seminary and at the University of Berne.  He received his doctoral degree for a dissertation entitled Der Zusammenhang von Willensfreiheit, Gewissen, Belohnung und Strafe (The connection among freedom of the will, conscience, reward, and punishment).  It was published by Professor Ludwig Stein in Beiträge zur Philosophie (Contributions to philosophy) in Berne (1896); it also appeared in Romanian.  In 1896 he became rabbi and preacher in Jassy.  In 1897 he joined the Zionist movement and assumed a leading position in the Zionist organization in Romania.  He participated in several Zionist congresses, for which he served as both Hebrew and Yiddish secretary.  From 1898 he was active in the organization B’nai B’rith and was serving as the overall president of the entire Romanian district.  Over the years 1908-1910, he traveled through the world’s cities on behalf of Romanian Jewry.  He led the action (1908-1909) against the ugly “More Judaica” oath [required of Jews in court].  From 1911 he was chief rabbi of the Sephardic community in Bucharest, and a founder of Toynbee Hall (1912) and of the cultural association Yeshurun (1914).  In 1919 he took part in the Jewish delegations at the Paris Peace Conference, and from 1920 he was a member of the committee, later vice president, of the Jewish world aid conference.  In 1921 he became Chief Rabbi of the Jewish community of Bucharest and Grand Rabbi of the Jewish communities of Old Romania.  In 1926 he was chosen by the Jewish communities congress to serve as a senator in the Romanian parliament.  He was also a cofounder of the Judaica society for research on the history and culture of Jews in Romania.  Beginning in 1893 he published some 600 articles in Romanian, German, Hebrew, and Yiddish periodicals, among other: the Yiddish editions of the Zionist organ Di velt (The world) in Vienna (1899-1900); Di yudishe tsaytung (The Jewish newspaper) in Jassy (1900); Hayoets (The advisor) in Bucharest; and Yudishe gazetten (Jewish gazette) in New York (a series of articles on the Jews of Jassy, as well as historical surveys and other lightning fast surveys of Jewish history.  He edited the periodical Sinai (Sinai) and authored in German, Chassidismus und Zaddikismus (Hassidism and Tsadikism) (Bucharest, 1913), 166 pp. and other works in German and Romanian.  He died in Bucharest, Romania.

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 2; Dr. Shloyme Bikl, Rumenye (Romania) (Buenos Aires, 1961), pp. 71-77; Universal Jewish Encyclopedia, vol. 8 (New York, 1941), pp. 217-18.
Benyomen Elis


            He was born in Vinitse (Vinnytsa, Vinnytsya), Ukraine.  He received a Jewish and a general education.  In 1901 he left Russia and for a time traveled through Italy.  He studied philosophy and the dramatic arts at Naples University.  After returning to Russia in 1905, he was a pupil in Stanislavsky’s theatrical studio in Moscow.  He later lived in Geneva, Berne, and Zurich, Switzerland.  In 1913 he returned to Vinnytsa, where he spent the years of war, revolution, and pogroms against Jews in 1918-1919.  In those years he led a self-defense group which vigorously fought against the Ukrainian pogromists.  In 1919 he came to Paris, studied there at the Sorbonne, and started giving recitations and doing theater in Yiddish.  He began writing in Russian for Odesskie novosti (Odessa news) and later contributed to the Russian Jewish: Razsvet (Dawn) in St. Petersburg, Poslednie novosti (Latest news) in Paris, and others.  From 1926 he was writing in Yiddish for: Parizer bleter (Parisian leaves), Parizer haynt (Paris today), Arbeter-vort (Workers’ word), and Unzer vort (Our word) in Paris, among others.  In book form: Mayne zikhroynes (tipn fun amoliker alter heym) (My memoirs, types from the old country of bygone times), vol. 1 (Paris, 1958), 137 pp., vol. 2 (Paris, 1960), 160 pp, with a preface by the author (a third volume was due out soon thereafter).  He was last living in Asnières-sur-Seine, near Paris.

Sources: Biblyografishe yorbikher fun yivo (Bibliographic yearbooks from YIVO) (Warsaw, 1928), see index; L. Makovski, in Arbeter-vort (Paris) (March 7, 1959); M. Gotfrid, in Letste nayes (Tel Aviv) (June 12, 1959); Biblyografye fun yidishe bikher vegn khurbn un gvure (Bibliography of Yiddish books concerning the Holocaust and heroism) (New York, 1962), p. 164; The Jewish Chronicle (London) (August 25, 1960); La Terre Retrouvée (Paris) 56 (1962).
Khayim Leyb Fuks


PINKHES (PINYE) NYEMOY (December 10, 1895-December 1975)
            He was born in Monastyryshche, Kiev district, Ukraine.  He studied in religious elementary school and synagogue study hall, and secular subject matter on his own.  In 1922 he moved to Argentina and settled in Buenos Aires, where he was active in the Zionist movement, YIVO, and the H. D. Nomberg Jewish Writers’ Association, among other institutions.  Mostly, he was active in the realm of Yiddish language and literature.  He began journalistic work with features for Moment (Moment) in Warsaw (1915), for which he wrote until he left for Argentina.  He later contributed to Gut-morgn (Good morning), edited by M. Spektor, in Odessa, Der yud (The Jew), and other serials.  From 1924 he was an internal contributor and editorial board member of Di idishe tsaytung (The Yiddish newspaper) in Buenos Aires, through which he acquired a name for his daily column entitled “Farbaygeyendik” (In passing) and for his series of feature pieces and their heroes: “Guter bruder khayim” (Good brother Khayim), “Khave-leye” (Eve-Leah), and “Golde” (Golda).  He placed work as well in: Der immigrant (The immigrant) and Kleyn un groys (Little and big) in Buenos Aires; Der veg (The path) and Di shtime (The voice) in Mexico City; and Folksblat (People’s newspaper) in Uruguay; among others.  In Zamlbukh fun shrayber farayn h. d. nomberg in argentine tsu zayn yontev fun fertsik yor ekzistents 1922-1962 (Anthology of the H. D. Nomberg Writers’ Association in Argentine on the celebration of its forty years of existence, 1922-1962) (Buenos Aires, 1962), he wrote “A matros af der yaboshe” (A sailor on dry land), which described Jewish Argentina in the early 1920s.  With his productive pen, Nisentsvayg contributed to the enrichment of the Yiddish press in Argentina and thus influenced the development of Yiddish journalism and the published Yiddish word in South America generally.  In 1964 his seventieth birthday was prominently celebrated.  He died in Buenos Aires.

Sources: Sh. Rozhanski, Dos yidishe gedrukte vort in argentina (The published Yiddish word in Argentina) (Buenos Aires, 1941), p. 69; Zamlbukh fun shrayber farayn h. d. nomberg in argentine tsu zayn yontev fun fertsik yor ekzistents 1922-1962 (Anthology of the H. D. Nomberg Writers’ Association in Argentine on the celebration of its forty years of existence, 1922-1962) (Buenos Aires, 1962); information from Yoysef Horn in Buenos Aires; Idishe tsaytung (Buenos Aires) (December 17, 1964).
Khayim Leyb Fuks


KHAYIM NISENTSVAYG (b. February 25, 1895)
            He was born in Stashev (Staszów), Radom district, Poland.  The family later moved to Lodz.  He became as a theatrical amateur in 1910.  From 1916 he was playing in a variety of theaters.  He was secretary, 1931-1932, of the Jewish Artists’ Associations in Poland, and he served as administrative director of the Kaminsky Theater in Warsaw, later of “Ararat” [acronym for: Artistic Revolutionary Revue-Theater] in Lodz.  From German he translated Heinrich Zimmermann’s Di friling-nakht (The spring night) and from Polish Aleksander Fredro’s three-act comedy Man un vayb (Man and wife [original: Mąż i żona]); he also dramatized for the stage stories by Jack London.  At the time of the Nazi occupation of Poland (1940), he left for Russia, returning to Poland in 1959.  He also published his theatrical memoirs in the Warsaw’s Folks-shtime (Voice of the people).

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

Wednesday 24 January 2018


ARN NISENZON (AARON NISSENSON) (October 9, 1898-May 1, 1964)
            He was born in the village of Tshepeli (Chapyali), Minsk region, Byelorussia.  His father Hirshl was a miller; his mother Tsherne-Feyge (née Ashkenazi), owned farmland and a garden as a lessee.  Until age thirteen Nisenzon studied in religious elementary school Yiddish, Hebrew, Tanakh, as well as a bit of secular subject matter in Russian.  In March 1911 he came to the United States with his mother and sister Khane (Hannah) (wife of the poet Froym Oyerbakh) to join his father and two brothers.  In New York, he attended public school, middle school, and university.  He graduated as a pharmacist, but decided to turn to newspaper work instead.  He was associated with Morgn-zhurnal (Morning journal) in New York for over thirty years as a writer and—primarily—as the business manager of the newspaper.  He began writing poetry when he was fifteen.  At sixteen he began publishing them.  He debuted in print in Yidishes tageblat (Jewish daily newspaper) in New York with a Hanukkah-themed poem and soon thereafter began publishing in the Zionist weekly Dos idishe folk (The Jewish people), edited by Av. Goldberg.  He later published poetry, journalistic articles, essays, and reviews in: Fraye arbeter-shtime (Free voice of labor), Di tsukunft (The future), Literatur un lebn (Literature and life), Fun mentsh tsu mentsh (From person to person), Ist brodvey (East Broadway), Di feder (The pen), Poezye (Poetry), Unzer zhurnal (Our journal), Di tsayt (The times), Varheyt (Truth), Nay-yidish (New Yiddish), Oyfkum (Arise), Idish-sotsyalistishe monatshrift (Jewish socialist monthly writing), Morgn-zhurnal, and Der idisher kemfer (The Jewish fighter), among others, in the United States and other countries.  He was co-editor of the monthly Der onhoyb (The beginning) in New York (1918).  He was active in the Jewish community with the Jewish National Labor Alliance, with YIVO, with the World Jewish Culture Congress, and with the Y. L. Perets Writers’ Union.  In his last years he led the Yiddish press division of the Joint Distribution Committee.  He made a visit to the state of Israel in 1961.  In the summer of 1963 he visited Argentina as an emissary on behalf of the Joint.  Although Nisenzon came to poetry on his own, without any literary group, he nonetheless is added to the group that emerged with “Di yunge” (The young ones).  Poets in this group belonged to no school of literature; each of them came with his or her own tone and bent vis-à-vis social and national motifs.  In book form, he published: Hundert lider (One hundred poems) (New York: Unzer zhurnal, 1920), 109 pp.; Meteorn (Meteors), poetry (New York: Di feder, 1925), 79 pp.; Dos lebn vil a mayse hern (Life wants to hear a story), poetry (New York: A. Biderman, 1930), 140 pp.; Der veg tsu mentsh (The way to man), a dramatic poem in twenty-one scenes (New York: Yidish lebn, 1934), 184 pp.—“a beautiful, quiet, solemn and joyous spirit radiates out from every line,” wrote Dr. A. Mukdoni of this book, “a pious beaming belief of a man in his own heights and with him that of the world”; Dos tsugezogte land (The promised land), a dramatic poem in twelve scenes (New York: Idish bukh, 1937), 188 pp.; Dos lebn zingt afile in toyt (Life sings even in death), poetry (New York: Shrayber farlag, 1943), 224 pp.—“This is a collection of religious-philosophical poetry,” noted Y. Kisin.  “Distinctive questions are raised in the book of Job about the injustice of the savage fate of one individual.  Nisenzon, however, is a modern poet.  The eternal questions remain, in essence, the same, but an answer to them gives each era its own special language….  Nisenzon successfully turns not only prayers to song but also sermons.  In general, song for him may be the main idea in the book at hand.  He is a poet on a fixed, accepted religious-philosophical path.  He is profoundly Jewish with his language, style, and ideas, and he is a universalist”; In tsadeks trit (In the footsteps of the righteous), poems (New York: Um Publishing Co., 1950), 85 pp.—“Nisenzon has a keen sense,” writes Shmuel Niger, “for the expression of ideas and not only for them alone.  He knows that content and form unite in art and become one—and he attains a certain stage of this unification in a part of this book he called In tsadeks trit….  This is no ordinary series of poems.  This is more like a prayer book….  If not for the modern poetic technique and not for the contemporary Yiddish language, one might believe that the content derives from an ancient author.”  He also published in English a biographical novel about Eugene Victor Debs, entitled Song of Man: A Novel Based on the Life of Eugene V. Debs (New Haven: Whittier Books, 1964), 200 pp.  He died in New York.
            “The motif of humanity…,” stated B. Y. Byalostotski, “became the main motif in Nisenzon’s writings.  He believed in the essence of Creation.  Man had lost his way, stumbled, was no longer there.  But man would be, he will come, he must come, although he has been delayed.  The prayer for being was repeated in his poems; a voice of confidence, of the love of mankind, can be heard in his poems; with his poems, he touched the edges of the celestial, profoundly innovative Jewish optimism.  It was a belief, an optimism that once was perforce, the all-encompassing force of optimism, the obligatory optimism….  Nisenzon was devotedly optimistic, not because everything is fine now, but because it will be fine; not because the world is now redeemed, but because that day approaches.  It is the commencement of the redemption—the ‘time of times’ is coming, the time of the kingdom of the spirit is coming.”  “Nisenzon’s poetry,” noted Yekhezkl Bronshteyn, “was overloaded with substance, wisdom, and typical Jewish-ethical values, which suggests the Ethic of the Fathers and coincides with the attitude of the saintly man whose humility and perfect conceptions of God, the world, and mankind are not only not a drawback, but on the contrary the absolute driving force and the inspiring, domineering factor in the poetic interpretation of the contemporary poet in Yiddish, Arn Nisenzon….  Due to the authenticity of Nisenzon’s beliefs in the ethics of mankind, he finds a ‘sense in every thing of beauty’—in the realm of all who extol God’s name in prisons, cellars, on the gallows at dawn.”  “Nisenzon’s poems are permeated with beliefs and the hope,” wrote Froym Oyerbakh, “of the purification of man.  He saw reasoned visions.  He celebrated man in messianic times, which was for him in the seventh thousand of the creation of the universe.  He ignited his poem with a flare of reason.  He left behind the expressiveness of words.  He wanted the word to rise to nakedness of the burning bush in the desert, which burns and does not burn out.  His poems are dramatic.  Into his own time, though, it carries a sacred dream of man and the world.  The outside pathway brought about for him the drama Der veg tsu mentsh—a drama whose background was the purely human, socialist leader in America, Eugene V. Debs.  He rendered the great socialist martyr not as an idealistic, socialist fighter, but as a seeker approaching the very depths of man.  Three years before his passing from this world, he wrote on the same theme a long novel in English, which appeared when he had fallen ill and was deriving pleasure from the fact that American critics were responding to it with praise and appreciation.  He only derived this pleasure for a couple of weeks, as his end was already lurking in the shadows.”

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 2; Froym Oyerbakh, in Idish-sotsyalistishe monatshrift (New York) 4-5 (1920); Oyerbakh, in Letste nayes (Tel Aviv) (May 16, 1964); Y. Podruzhnik, in Renesans (New York) (April 1920); M. Grim (Menakhem Boreysho), in Tsayt (New York) (September 25, 1920); B. Grobard, in Fraye arbeter-shtime (New York) (February 2, 1923); Dr. A. Mukdoni, in Der amerikaner (New York) (May 1, 1925); Mukdoni, in Morgn-zhurnal (New York) (January 23, 1935; May 26, 1943; February 19, 1950); B. Y. Byalostotski, Lider un eseyen (Poems and essays), vol. 2 (New York, 1932); Byalostotski, Kholem un var (Dream and reality) (New York, 1956); Byalostotski, in Fraye arbeter-shtime (December 1, 1959; December 15, 1959; January 1, 1960); Y. Glants, in Yidishe shtime (Mexico City) (October 18, 1933; May 16, 1964); Shmuel Niger, in Tog (New York) (March 31, 1935; January 18, 1953); Y. Horovits, in Nyu yorker vokhnblat (New York) (April 12, 1935; April 19, 1935); Horovits, in Der shpigl (Buenos Aires) (February 1960); Horovits, in Di prese (Buenos Aires) (February 1960); M. Yofe, in Dos idishe folk (New York) (November 25, 1938); Yofe, in Hadoar (New York) (May 23, 1947); M. Basin, Amerikaner yidishe poezye (American Yiddish poetry) (New York, 1940), pp. 569-75; Sh. Tenenboym, in Der idisher kuryer (Chicago) (January 2, 1943; May 23, 1943); Y. Kisin, in Forverts (New York) (August 1, 1943); Y. A. Vaysman, in Epokhe (New York) (July 1947); Y. Rodak, in Idisher zhurnal (Toronto) (February 22, 1948); Rodak, Kunst un kinstler (Art and artists) (New York, 1955), see index; Y. Varshavski (Bashevis), in Forverts (January 15, 1950); Dr. Y. Shatski, in In Jewish Bookland (New York) (February 1950); Meylekh Ravitsh, in Keneder odler (Montreal) (September 18, 1950); Yekhezkl Bronshteyn, in Keneder odler (July 1956); N. Mayzil, Amerike in yidishn vort antologye (America in Yiddish, an anthology) (New York: Ikuf, 1955); Y. Botoshanski, in Di prese (August 2, 1963; August 23, 1963); Botoshanski, in Di idishe tsaytung (August 22, 1963); obituaries in the Yiddish press in New York (May 2-3, 1964); Dr. L. Zhitnitski, in Di prese (May 5, 1964); Who’s Who in World Jewry (New York, 1955); Who’s Who in the East (Chicago, 1957); American Jews: Their Lives and Achievements (New York, 1958); Harry Gilroy, in New York Times (April 11, 1964).
Mortkhe Yofe


            He came from Loyvitsh (Lovich, Łowicz), Poland.  He was the author of “highly interesting” novels which were published in the second half of the nineteenth century in Warsaw and in Hershenhorn’s publishing house in Lublin, among them: Di dray khaverim (The three friends), Erlikh un basheydn (Honest and unassuming), and Di sheyne khane (The lovely Hannah) (all in Lublin); Der kluger kop (The wise head), with a preface by the author (Warsaw, 1895), 96 pp.; and Zehr a sheyne geshikhte fun a graf mit dray zohne (A very beautiful story about a count with three sons) (Vilna, 1912), 22 pp.

Sources: According to the catalogues of Hershenhorn’s publications in Lublin and the Warsaw book catalogues from 1904 to 1907, as well as according to the “Harkavy Collection” at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Khayim Leyb Fuks

[Additional information from: Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 391.]


SHLOYME-BOREKH NISENBOYM (September 1, 1866-March 1926)
            He was born in Lublin, Poland.  He studied Talmud with commentaries and was a Hassid, but later became a follower of the Jewish Enlightenment and studied modern Hebrew, Polish, Russian, and German.  He evinced a special inclination for Jewish history.  In Hatsfira (The times, 1893/1894), he published a translation of Menachem Ussishkin’s Russian-language pamphlet on the development of Jewish colonies in the land of Israel.  He was among the first Ḥoveve-tsiyon” (Lovers of Zion), a member of “Bene moshe” (Sons of Moses), and later an active Zionist leader, close to Mizrachi, and a founder of a “cheder metukan” (improved religious elementary school) in Lublin (under the direction of Noyekh Pines).  During the Austrian occupation of Lublin during WWI, he brought out a Yiddish newspaper Lubliner togblat (Lublin daily newspaper), in which he published a series of historical articles, such as: “Di lubliner fargangenhayt” (Lublin’s past), “Gezeyres t’kh in lublin” (The slaughter [of Jews] in 1648 in Lublin)—published earlier in Przegląd historyczny (Historical overview) in a Polish translation by Professor Lopaczynski; and “Di bateylikung fun di yidn in oyfshtand (1863)” (The participation of Jews in the uprising of 1863); among others.  Among his books: Lekorot hayehudim belublin (On the history of Jews in Lublin) (Lublin, 1890), 180 pp., second edition (1921); Geshikhte fun di yidn in poyln (History of the Jews in Poland) (1903), 95 pp.; Yegar shehaduta (The mound of evidence), a collection of photographic images of the old and new cemeteries in Lublin from the sixteenth to the nineteenth centuries (St. Petersburg, 1912), 32 pp.  He also published historical articles in: Evreiskaia entsiklopediia (Jewish encyclopedia), Hatekufa (The epoch), and Reshumot (Records), among other works.  In 1922 he departed for the land of Israel, worked for nine months for the Jewish National Library in Jerusalem, but was unable to care for his family members there, and thus returned to Lublin, where they lived in great hardship.  He died while on a trip to Warsaw, and there he was buried.  He left behind in manuscript form: three large volumes on the history of Jews in Poland and Lithuania, primarily based on rabbinical responsa; a pamphlet “Likutim” (Collections); and “Midivre hayamim haivrim belublin” (From the chronicles of Lublin Jewry)—based on old records (in the possession of Professor Meyer Balaban).

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 2, with a bibliography; Dos bukh fun lublin (The book of Lublin) (Paris, 1952), pp. 19-20ff.

Tuesday 23 January 2018


            He was born in Kamenets-Podolsk, Ukraine, the son of the local rabbi.  He studied with his father, later in the yeshivas of Kletsk (Klieck) and Mir, where he received ordination into the rabbinate.  In 1913 he was rabbi in Lutshin (Luchyn), later a yeshiva headmaster in Pohast (Pahost, Pogost), Zvihil (Novohrad-Volynskyy), and Mohilev, where he lived until 1922.  For a short period of time he resided in Poland.  In 1924 he came to the United States.  Until 1931 he was rabbi of a synagogue in Chicago, and later (until 1934) he was rabbi in the Brownsville neighborhood in Brooklyn, New York.  He began writing in Hebrew and in 1920 took up writing in Yiddish.  He published articles on religious matters in: Der yud (The Jew) in Warsaw; and Dos vort (The word) in Vilna.  In America he contributed to: Morgn-zhurnal (Morning journal) and Dos idishe likht (The Jewish light) in New York; and Idisher kuryer (Jewish courier) in Chicago; among other venues.  Among the books he authored: Maamar mordekhai (Mordekhai’s essay) (Warsaw, 1923), second edition (Chicago, 1944), 64 pp.; Mosdot haemuna (Institutions of faith) (Chicago, 1924), 28 pp.; Hegyon lev (Logic of the heart) (New York, 1925), 48 pp.  In Yiddish: Kapital un arbayt, sotsyalizm min hatoyre (Capital and labor, socialism from the Torah) (Chicago, 1925), 43 pp.; Sotsyalizm fun di neviim (Socialism of the prophets)—“A very important book for everyone.  It provides an important logical explanation on the labor issue, the socialist program, and its critics” (Jerusalem, 1927), 48 pp. in Yiddish and 64 pp. in English (translated by B. Forman); Vos iz azoyns evolyushon? (What is this evolution?)—“This book gives an important, logical, scientific explanation of the issue of evolution from religious and scientific standpoints” (Jerusalem, 1927), 26 pp., second part (1928), 52 pp. in Yiddish and 6 pp. in Hebrew.  In 1935 he made his way to the land of Israel.  Further biographical information remains unknown.

Sources: Biblyografishe yorbikher fun yivo (Bibliographic yearbooks from YIVO) (Warsaw, 1928), see index; P. Vyernik, in Morgn-zhurnal (New York) (September 12, 1931; September 14, 1931); N. Bukhvald, in Morgn-frayhayt (New York) (September 14, 1931); Leah Mishkin, in Pinkas shikago (Records of Chicago) (1951/1952), p. 89.
Khayim Leyb Fuks


YITSKHOK NISENBOYM (YITZCHAK NISSENBAUM) (October 11, 1868-October 6, 1942)
            He was born in Bobruisk, Byelorussia.  He attended the Volozhin yeshiva, where he led a secret Zionist circle to which also belonged the friend of his youth, Ḥaim Nachman Bialik.  He established the yeshiva organization “Netsaḥ Yisrael” (Glory of Israel), served as secretary to Rabbi Shmuel Mohilever, and was a member of the Land of Israel Committee of Odessa.  As a writer and preacher, he called upon Polish Jewry for national revival and return to Israel.  He was rabbi in the Warsaw Moriya school, published texts on Torah in the spirit of “Ḥibat Tsiyon” (Love of Zion), participated in Zionist conferences and congresses, and was one of the founders of Mizrachi.  He mediated a peace in the Zionist camp at the time of the first elections to the Polish Sejm and to the Jewish community council of Warsaw.  He never sought to profit personally from his Zionist activities.  In 1935 he was elected president of the Polish Mizrachi and strove to create a united front of all Jewish parties.  He became quite ill in 1939, though he did not cease guiding his community activities.  In 1910 he contributed to Nokhum Sokolov’s Hatsfira (The siren), and when it later was published as a Mizrachi weekly, he served as its editor.  He also wrote for Hamelits (The advocate), Hatsofe (The spectator), Moment (Moment), and other newspapers and periodicals.  In 1920 there was published in Warsaw an 8-page speech of his entitled Erets yisroel arbayt (The land of Israel works), published by Mizrachi also in Polish; a pamphlet A vort tsum religyezn yudntum vegn geules-yisroel un geules erets-yisroel (A word to religious Jewry concerning the redemption of Israel and the redemption of the land of Israel) (Warsaw, 1935), 31 pp.; and he adapted a work by Moyshe Klaynman, Rabeynu shmuel mohilever, zayn lebn, shtrebn un virkn (Our Rabbi Shmuel Mohilever, his life, aspirations, and impact) (Berdichev, 1898), 20 pp.  In 1939 the public library Yavneh in Warsaw published a 31-page monograph in honor of Nisenboym’s seventieth birthday.  After his death, there was published in Jerusalem a collection of his letters, entitled Igrot harav nisenboym (The letter of Rabbi Nisenboym), compiled and edited by Yisrael Shapiro, with a preface by Eliyahu-Moshe Genaḥovski (1955/1956), 416 pp.  Nisenboym was also the author of a series of religious texts, among them: Ale ḥeldi (Pages of my world), an autobiography (Jerusalem, 1968/1969), 379 pp.; Hayahadut haleumit (National Judaism) (Warsaw, 1920), 256 pp.; Masoret veḥerut (Tradition and freedom) (Warsaw, 1939), 201 pp.; and Derashot lekhol shabtot hashana vehamoadim (Sermons for all the Sabbaths of the year and holidays) (Warsaw, 1922/1923), 263 pp.  During the Nazi occupation of Warsaw, he on no account sought to leave the city, only wishing to share the fate of Warsaw Jewry.  One theory has it that he was taken to Treblinka on September 10, 1942; a second report has this taking place on February 19, 1943; and as transmitted by Moyshe Floymenboym, the German shot him on January 1, 1943, when he refused to stand in the wagons transporting the Warsaw Jews to Treblinka.  We now know that he died in the Warsaw Ghetto.  He is said, before his death, to have yelled out to other Jews: “Do not go to Treblinka!”  As Arn Tsaytlin would later write:

Igrot harav nisenboym, the collection of letters, which comprises a large chunk of Jewish life, written from the beginning of the 1890s until the period of horrors in the Warsaw Ghetto, was compiled by a relative and student [Yisrael Shapiro] of Rabbi Nisenboym—this volume is, first and foremost, history.  It is a treasure trove for historians of the Zionist movement in Russia and Poland.  You will find here, in addition, valuable materials on the history of the Hebrew press and journalism.  Especially interesting are the letters that the young Nisenboym wrote to his friend, the young Bialik.  Bialik had no desire to hitch his wagon to doggerel propaganda.  Nisenboym, on the other hand, believed that a poet ought serve the movement.  He himself—from his earliest years—served it faithfully.  He was also a speaker, a preacher, an agitator….  The letter collection can serve as a complement to Nisenboym’s autobiographical work, Ale ḥeldi.  Rabbi Nisenboym dedicated his autobiography to his close friend, Dr. Yitskhok Rivkind, many of whose (Nisenboym’s) letters to him may be found in the Jerusalem volume.  Also in Ale ḥeldi there is a great deal of material on Jewish life in Russia and Poland, on Zionism, on the Hebrew press—and on Warsaw of more than one-half century ago.

Sources: Hadoar (New York) (February 26, 1943); Eliyahu-Moshe Genaḥovski, in Bemishor (Jerusalem) (December 2, 1943); Yidishe shriftn (Lodz) (1946); Moyshe Floymenboym, in Unzer veg (Paris) 2 (1946); Floymenboym, in Di tsukunft (New York) (November 1946); Y. Tsineman, in Der mizrakhi-veg (New York) (April 8, 1948); Arn Tsaytlin, in Tog-morgn-zhurnal (New York) (August 1957); M. Shtrigler, in Idisher kemfer (New York) (August 1957); Y. Grinboym, Fun mayn dor (From my generation) (Tel Aviv, 1959); Grinboym, Pene hador (The face of the generation) (Tel Aviv, 1959); A. Rimba, in the collection Haḥinukh vehatarbut haivrit beeropa (Hebrew education and culture in Europe) (New York, 1957); Rav Tsair, in Bitsaron (New York) (Nisan-Iyar [= March-May] 1956).
Yankev Kahan

Monday 22 January 2018


YANKEV NISENBOYM (ca. 1895-March 1942)
            He was born in Koriv (Kurów), Poland, to a father who was an itinerant school teacher.  He early on began to work.  Around 1917 he moved to Lublin.  Until 1924 he belonged to the left Labor Zionists, later becoming an active Bundist, although he official did not belong to the party.  From the earliest years of his youth, he dreamt of becoming a journalist and through self-education prepared himself for this objective.  He became one of the most important contributors to Lubliner togblat (Lublin daily newspaper) and later, when Sh. Y. Stupnitski, the first editor of the newspaper, left Lublin, he became editor.  He wrote editorial articles for it, as well as features under the pen name of A. Shvartser.  He was very active in community work in the city and helped in the construction of a large cultural building named for Y. L. Perets.  He was a member of the first management of Lublin’s “Home Manufacturers’ Bank” (Khalupnikes-bank) and was the director of the Lublin school organization.  He was the husband of the Bundist leader, Bella Shapiro.  In 1939 when the Nazis seized Lublin, he and his wife left the city on foot to Soviet-occupied territory, but soon they returned to Lublin.  He became an employee of the Judenrat (Jewish council) and, with his wife, carried on contact with the underground Bundist movement in Warsaw and the underground Polish movement.  In June 1941 he was arrested by the Gestapo, and two days late his wife was also arrested.  Both underwent excruciating torture, but revealed none of the illegal leaders.  After extraordinary efforts by the illegal Bundist leaders, Nisenboym was freed, but his wife was deported to the Ravensbrück concentration camp where she apparently died.  After being freed from jail, Nidenboym again worked as an employee of the Lublin Judenrat.  In late March 1942, two Gestapo men entered the office of the Judenrat, summoned Nisenboym into the street, and shot him.

Sources: M. Rashgold, Dos bukh fun lublin (The book of Lublin) (Paris, 1952), p. 397; Yizker-bukh koriv (Remembrance volume for Kurów) (Tel Aviv, 1955), pp. 553-56; B. Krempel, in Doyres bundistn (Generations of Bundists), vol. 2 (New York, 1956), p. 98 (under the biography of Bella Shapiro); Entsiklopediya shel galiyut (Encyclopedia of the Diaspora), volume on Lublin, p. 699.
Layb Vaserman


AVROM NISNEVITSH (1886-March 27, 1955)
            He was born in Pukhovitsh (Pukhavichy), Minsk district, Byelorussia.  He was the son of an itinerant school teacher.  He studied with his father in religious elementary school.  At age eleven he traveled to Minsk to study in yeshiva.  He became a regular visitor to Nayfakh’s Hebrew library and acquainted himself with the literature of the Jewish Enlightenment.  He also mastered Russian and read the works of the great Russian writers.  He became a socialist in 1902 and, together with his brother Daniel (a furrier), organized Jewish laborers in their town.  He was arrested in 1905 for distributing proclamations, spent nine months in jail, and afterward fled to the United States, later settling in Canada.  He was a delegate in 1907 to the founding conference of the Jewish Socialist Federation in Rochester.  He owned a small leather-goods factory.  In his later years, he was active in cultural work.  He began writing Hebrew poetry while still at the Minsk yeshiva.  Around 1904 he began to write poems in Yiddish (in Minsk he was known as “Avrom the poet”).  In America he published in various newspapers and magazines.  He wrote under the pen names A. Minsker and Alef Nun.  In books form he published: In loyf fun yorn (Over the course of years), poetry, with a foreword by M. Feldman (Toronto: Ikuf, 1942), 94 pp.; Af di vegn fun lebn (On the roads to life), poems, with appreciations by Y. Gershman and Z. Vaynper (Toronto: Ikuf, 1953), 199 pp.  Nisnevitsh’s poems dealt mostly with social themes: suffering from hunger and poverty and protest against the rich.  His pseudonym in English was A. Nesbit.  He died in Toronto.

Sources: N. Shemen, in Der veg (Mexico City) (November 20, 1954); Z. Vaynper, in Yidishe kultur (New York) (April 1955); N. Mayzil, Amerike in yidishn vort antologye (America in Yiddish, an anthology) (New York: Ikuf, 1955).
Leyb Vaserman


YITSKHOK NIMTSOVITSH (January 14, 1914-November 9, 1978)
            He was born near Pinsk.  He graduated from a Hebrew high school.  In 1932 he made aliya to the land of Israel.  He was active in pedagogical institutions, theater, and “Aliyat hanoar” (Youth aliya).  He published articles and depictions of Jewish figures in: Tog-morgn-zhurnal (Day-morning journal) in New York; Di prese (The press) in Buenos Aires; Oystralishe yidishe nayes (Australian Jewish news) in Melbourne; Letste nayes (Latest news) in Tel Aviv; Haarets (The land), Haboker (This morning), Yediot aḥronot (Late news), and Maariv (Evening)—in Tel Aviv.  He authored Bizekhutam, demuyot min hapinkas (For their sake, portraits from a notebook) (Tel Aviv, 1968), 332 pp.—concerning Jewish heroes from the Hitler era.  He died in Tel Aviv.

Sources: A. Kisri, in Maariv (Tel Aviv) (March 1, 1968); A. Barukh, in Hatsofe (Tel Aviv) (March 1, 1968); Moshe Kol, Anashim umaasim (People and deeds) (Tel Aviv, 1983), pp. 150-52.
Ruvn Goldberg

Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 390.


YEKHEZKL NAYSHLOS (EZEKIEL SCHLOSS) (July 27, 1912-March 30, 1987)
            He was born in Dvinsk (Dinaburg, Daugavpils), Latvia.  He studied in religious elementary school, in the municipal Jewish high school, and later in the Jewish evening high school in Riga.  In 1929 he became active in the Bundist youth movement and served as chairman of the self-defense and sports organization named for Y. L. Perets in Riga.  Over the years 1930-1933, he co-edited the monthly Arbeter yugnt (Laboring youth), published by Bundist youth in Latvia.  In 1934 he served in the Latvian army, but he was arrested by the military for political activities.  After the fascist coup of Kārlis Ulmanis in 1934, he worked with the underground Latvian movement.  In 1936 he was forced to flee.  He went through Estonia and Sweden and immigrated to France and lived in Paris, where he was active in the Medem Club.  He contributed to an assortment of group exhibitions of graphic design, and he painted frescoes for the pavilion of the secular Jewish school at the Paris World Exhibition in 1937.  He co-edited (1938-1939) the Parisian Bundist daily newspaper Unzer shtime (Our voice) and Di ilustrirte velt (The illustrated world).  From 1940 he was living in New York.  He published (1941-1942) caricaturist drawings in Forverts (Forward) in New York.  Over the years 1942-1953, he was political caricaturist for the New York-based, French-language newspaper Vie de France (Life in France), Victoire (Victory), and France américaine (Franco-American), He also published caricatures in Anglophone newspapers and magazines: Herald Tribune, New York Times, Nation, and New Republic.  In 1948 he administered a graphic design show for the World Jewish Culture Congress at the Jewish Museum in New York.  With articles on theater, art, literature, politics, and Jewish issues, he contributed to: Arbeter yugnt and Naye tsayt (New times) in Riga; Unzer shtime and Di ilustrirte velt in Paris; and Der veker (The alarm) and Kultur un dertsiung (Culture and education) in New York; among others.  In album format he published: Tipn fun y. y. trunks “khelemer khokhomim” (Types from Y. Y. Trunk’s “Wise men of Chełm”) (Buenos Aires: Yidbukh, 1951), 10 pp.; in English, The E. Schloss Collection of Chinese Pottery Figurines (New York, 1963), 32 pp., with his own introduction and explanations of his figurine collection.  Aside from illustrations and drawings in magazines in a variety of languages as well as books in Yiddish, Hebrew, and English, he also did drawings for works by Sholem-Aleykhem, Y. L. Perets, and for many publications with biblical themes.  Many of these drawings were republished in all manner of Jewish journals in an assortment of countries.  He was active year after year at the Jewish Art Center of the World Jewish Culture Congress in New York.  He was a member of the administrative committee of the Jewish Culture Congress.  Nayshlos was art director of the Board of Jewish Education in New York and from 1942 editor of the English-language Jewish children’s magazine World Over, which the Board of Jewish Education published.  Among his pen names: Y. Nay and Y. Kesl.  He died in New York.

Source: M. Dluzhnovski, in Fraye arbeter-shtime (New York) (January 1, 1964).
Benyomen Elis


ELEMEYLEKH-NISN NAYFELD (December 2, 1892-October 14, 1956)
            He was born in Novidvor (Nowy Dwor), Warsaw district, Poland.  He was the son of the local rabbi, Ruvn-Yude.  He studied with his father, in religious elementary school, and in yeshiva, and with private tutors for secular topics.  Over the years 1910-1913, he studied in Berlin at the Hildesheimer Rabbinical Seminary and at the university, later coming to Warsaw.  Until 1935 he was rabbi in the Sinai Synagogue and a member of the Jewish community council.  He was cofounder of the Mizrachi organizations: “Tnuva” (an agricultural cooperative), “Dat haavoda” (Religion of labor), “Tora veavoda” (Torah and belief), and “Poale hamizraḥi” (Mizrachi workers).  He participated in Zionist congresses (beginning with the twelfth one), was for many years a member of the presidium of the Zionist “Action Committee,” of the Jewish Agency, “Vaad Hapoel” (Zionist General Council) of World Mizrachi, and other groups.  He was a contributor and co-editor of Mizrachi periodicals in various countries, such as: Mizrakhi-veg (The Mizrachi way), Unzer tribune (Our tribune), Dos idishe lebn (The Jewish life), and Hamizraḥi (The Mizrachi)—in Warsaw; Hator (The turtle-dove), Mitspe (Watchtower), Hatsofe (The spectator), and Tnuva (Produce)—in the land of Israel; among others.  He also placed work in: Lodzer tageblat (Lodz daily newspaper); Haynt (Today) and Moment (Moment) in Warsaw; and Der veg (The way) in Paris).  He served as editor and co-editor of Tora veavoda biblyotek in yidish (Tora veavoda bibliography in Yiddish), fifteen pamphlets (Warsaw, 1926-1938); Biblyografisher araynfir farn yidishn un algemeynem visn (Bibliographic introduction for Jewish and general knowledge) (Warsaw, 1929), 80 pp.; E. Ben-Yehuda’s Datn un khronik (Dates and chronicle) (Warsaw, 1937); Dos religyeze erets-yisroel (Religious Israel), the work of Mizrachi and Hapoel Hamizraḥi (Mizrachi workers) in Israel based on numbers (Warsaw, 1938).  A number of his Hebrew-language articles are included in a pamphlet published in Tel Aviv in 1947 (44 pp.)  He died in Jerusalem.

Sources: Biblyografishe yorbikher fun yivo (Bibliographic yearbooks from YIVO) (Warsaw, 1928), see index; Tsienistisher leksikon (Zionist lexicon) (Warsaw, 1929); A. Shulvas, Datn un khronik (Dates and chronicle) (Warsaw, 1937); Sh. Pyetrushka, in Yidishe folks-entsiklopedye (Jewish people’s encyclopedia), vol. 2 (Montreal, 1943), p. 264; N. Shemen, Batsiung tsu arbet un arbeter, sotsyaler yoysher, loyt tanakh, talmud un yaades (Attitude of labor and laborers, social justice according to the Tanakh, the Talmud, and Judaism) (Toronto, 1963), vols. 1 and 2, see indexes; Who’s Who in World Jewry (1955), p. 551; Who’s Who in Israel (1956), p. 211; obituary notices in the press in the state of Israel.
Khayim Leyb Fuks


            He was born in Radom.  In Ondenk-bukh fun yidishn radom (Remembrance volume for Jewish Radom), p. 210, there is a poem from the Radom ghetto, whose author is given as: “probably Nostempl from Radom.”  According to the same source, he wrote “Di goldene nis” (The golden nuts).  No further information is available.

Source: Ondenk-bukh fun yidishn radom (Remembrance volume for Jewish Radom) (Stuttgart, 1948), p. 210.
Yankev Kahan


YANKEV NAYMARK (b. August 21, 1881)
            He was born in Torne (Tarnów), Galicia, into a Hassidic family.  Until age eighteen he studied in his synagogue study hall, and with a private tutor he learned German.  Early on he began to write poetry.  Over the years 1908-1911, he published poems and feature pieces in: Togblat (Daily newspaper), Yudishe arbayter (Jewish worker), and Yudishe interesante blat (Jewish interesting newspaper)—in Lemberg; Tog (Day) and Yudishe ilustrirte tsaytung (Jewish illustrated newspaper) in Cracow; Folks-fraynd (Friend of the people) in Sanok; and G. Bader and M. Frostig’s Kalendarn (Calendars) and Shapiro’s Yudishe zamlbukher (Yiddish anthologies).  From 1911 he lived on his own in the village of Kiskunhalas, southern Hungary, and there he died during WWII.

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 2; Dr. M. Naygreshl and Sh. Y. Imber, in Di tsukunft (New York) (February 1950); Torne, kiem un khurbn fun a yidisher shtot (Tarnów, the existence and destruction of a Jewish city) (Tel Aviv, 1954).
Yankev Kahan