Sunday 21 January 2018


            He was born in Yuzefov (Józefów), Lublin district, Poland.  He was raised in Zavikhost (Zawichost), Radom district, Poland, by his grandfather, Hershke Naymanovits, a follower of the Jewish Enlightenment from Zamość.  He studied Talmud, Hebrew, and foreign languages, preparing himself to enter the Breslau rabbinical seminary, but his maternal grandfather, Dovid Davidzon, a religious fanatic, would not allow it.  At age eighteen he settled in Lublin, where for a time he was manager of a business concern.  He contributed to local Polish newspapers, as well as to Izraelita (Israelite) in Warsaw.  In 1867 he began writing in Yiddish in Varshoyer yudishe tsaytung (The Warsaw Jewish newspaper).  According to Zalmen Reyzen, Naymanovits was “one of the first followers of the Jewish Enlightenment in Crown Poland who wrote in a vibrant, juicy folk language, contrary to Germanicized Yiddish which predominated in Varshoyer yudishe tsaytung.”  In 1886 he settled in Warsaw where he was a bookseller and a teacher.  He wrote for Hatsfira (The siren) and was very popular with his weekly feature pieces entitled “Berosh homiyot” (At the head of the noisy streets) under the pen name “Hanets.”  He also wrote stories and articles and contributed to M. Spektor’s Hoyzfraynd (House friend) and Haasif (The harvest), among other serials.  He published a collection in Hebrew entitled Hanetsarim (The descendants); published a series of textbooks under the title Der hoyz-lehrer (The home teacher)—to study Hebrew, Russian, German, and Polish (first edition: Warsaw, 1889); reworked into Yiddish and Hebrew Dr. Zamenhof’s work Di velt-shprakhe (The international language [Esperanto]) (first edition: Warsaw, 1888), 64 pp.; and he was said also to have published a periodical, to which contributors paid to have their works published (according to Dr. A. Mukdoni).  From his writings in Yiddish, we have the following in book form: Shulamis oder dos vizele und der brunen, a vundershehner und vahrer yudishe roman, iberzets by hanets (Shulamit or the weasel and the well, a beautiful and true Jewish novel, translated by Hanets) (Lublin, 1875), 72 pp.; Di beyde hershels un andere ertseylungen (The two Hershels and other stories) (Warsaw, 1898), 47 pp.—including a two-act play, Di beyde hershels oder keyn genayte zakhn (The two Hershels or no urgent items); Shabes in dorf (Sabbath in the village), from Varshoyer yudishe tsaytung; Take shoyn, a lebens bashraybung fun a poylishn yungerman (You don’t say! A life story of a young Polish man), from Hoyzfraynd; An alt geshrey mit der naye verter (An ancient scream with new words), on the non-normal quality of Jewish education; and Di yudishe tsdoke (Jewish charity), from Hoyzfraynd.  He died in Warsaw.

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 2, with a bibliography; Zalmen Zilbertsvayg, Leksikon fun yidishn teater (Handbook of the Yiddish theater), vol. 2 (New York, 1934); Dr. A. Mukdoni, In varshe un in lodzh (In Warsaw and in Lodz), vol. 1 (Buenos Aires, 1955), p. 268; Dov Sadan, in Moled (Tel Aviv) (October 1957), pp. 472-74; D. Perski, in Hadoar (New York) (Shevat 10 [= January 27], 1961).
Yankev Kahan

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