Monday 21 May 2018


SHLOYME SPIVAK (September 16, 1904-late October 1963)
            He was born in Zavyertshe (Zawiercie), Zaglembye (Zagłębie), Poland.  He received a traditional Jewish education.  Secular subject matter he acquired privately.  From 1923 he was living in Vienna, where he studied and was also active in the community culturally and as a scholar.  He served as secretary of the Vienna division of YIVO.  He developed an interest in the Yiddish language in Burgenland, a province which, after the collapse of the Communist government of Béla Kun, was incorporated into Austria.  He published a study, “Materyaln tsum burgnlander yidish, filologye un dialekt” (Materials on Burgenland Yiddish, philology and dialect), in Filologishe shriftn (Philological writings) (Vilna) 2 (1928), pp. 265-80 (according to M. Naygreshl, “the first work by an eastern Jew on Western ‘Yiddish’”).  Also, together with M. Naygreshl, he published: “A fortreflikhes gedikht fun r’ perets khokhem” (A splendid poem by R. Perets Khokhem), Pinkes fun amopteyl fun yivo (Records of the American division of YIVO), vol. 2 (New York, 1929), pp. 18-19.  He contributed work to: Die frankfurter Zeitung (The Frankfurt newspaper) in German, Sociál-demokrat (Social democrat) in Czech, Arbeiter-Zeitung (Workers’ newspaper) in German (Vienna), Di folks-tsaytung (The people’s newspaper), and Khmurner’s Kegn shtrom (Against the current) in Warsaw.  In 1930 he moved to the land of Israel, where he initially performed a variety of pioneer labors, later working as the librarian for Hitadut Baale Tushiya (Association of resourceful people), and he co-edited the newspaper of the industrial association in the state of Israel.  He also placed work in: Davar (Word) and Haarets (The land), and (with M. Tsanin and Y. Khadash) he founded Letste nayes (Latest news) which he later left.  He wrote as well for Moment (Moment) in Warsaw and Dos vort (The word) in Tel Aviv, and he edited the remembrance volume Zavyertshe un svive (Zawiercue and environs) (Tel Aviv, 1957/1958), 590 pp.  Later, with Y. Khadash, he founded and edited Di yidishe tsaytung (The Jewish newspaper) in Tel Aviv.  He translated a number of books into Yiddish and Hebrew, and he wrote under such pen names as: K. Rostal, R. Stalek, and K. Sharon.  He died in Tel Aviv.  When Spivak was living in Vienna (1923), he found the Ber Borokhov archive there: the correspondence between Shmuel Niger and Ber Borokhov when they were publishing Pinkes (Records) in Vilna (1912-1913), and the letters between Zalmen Reyzen and Shmuel Niger when the latter in 1914 was editing Reyzen’s first Leksikon fun der yudisher literatur un prese (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish literature and the press).  At the time, Spivak sent the archive (together with Dr. Rudolf Glants) to YIVO in Vilna.

Sources: M. Naygreshl, in Fun noentn over (New York) 1 (1955), pp. 392-93; obituary notice, in Yidish kultur (Tel Aviv) (November 1, 1963); Y. Khadash, in Yidishe kultur (November 1, 1963; November 8, 1963; November 11, 1963); Khadash, in Yidishe tsaytung (Tel Aviv) (October 30, 1963).

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