Thursday 31 May 2018


TANKHN EIDUS (b. July 17, 1884)
            He was born in Dvinsk (Dinaburg, Daugavpils), Latvia, to a merchant father who dealt in grains.  He attended religious elementary school and studied in senior high school in Rovno and Libave (Liepāja), later in the Riga Polytechnic from which he was expelled in 1906 for his political activities on behalf of the Bund.  In 1909 he was studying in the technical college in Dresden, Germany, before returning to Riga, where (1912) he graduated from the Polytechnic as a technical engineer.  Until 1920 he worked as a construction engineer in Moscow and in Persia.  His literary work began when he was still a student with Libavskie novosti (Libave news) in Russian, later publishing feature pieces and stories in the Russian Jewish Evreiskii mir (Jewish world), Razsvet (Dawn), Voskhod (Sunrise), and Budushchnost’ (Future), and in the Russian Zhurnal dlia vsikh (Journal for all).  He received first prize for a story in the competition run by the journal Vesna (Spring)—the jury consisted of A. Izmaylov and Aleksandr Blok.  He also contributed to Rizhskii novosti (Riga news) and edited the periodical Rizhskii kurant (Riga gazette).  In Yiddish he debuted in print with a feature in Di yudishe shtime (The Jewish voice), edited by Bal-Makhshoves, in Riga.  After returning to Riga from Russia in 1919, he wrote for the local Russian newspaper Sevodnya (Today).  In May 1920, he and H. Urmakher began publishing the newspaper Dos folk (The people), which over the course of years was extremely popular and the only Yiddish daily in Latvia.  The newspaper often changed its political direction, and the contributors twice went on strike against their bosses: November 1922 and December 1925, when all of the writers left Dos folk and helped found the new daily newspaper Frimorgn (Morning).  Under such pen names as T. Dvinskii, Amoliker Yoysef, Ayin, Reb Tankhn, A Riger, A Liber, and Liles, among others, Eidus wrote for Dos folk articles, features, notices, and the like.  In April 1926 he and Urmakher revived publication of Dos folk under the editorship of Latski-Bertoldi and Dr. Helman.  Soon thereafter, both editors moved over to Frimorgn, and once again Dos folk folded.  In October of that year (1926), the newspaper was again revived, this time as the organ of the Aguda, but soon after it shut down for good.  Eidus also edited Kol-boy (Catchall), a weekly newspaper of satire, humor, and literature.  In 1930 he serving as editor of Riger tog (Riga day).  He founded the weekly newspaper Fraytik (Friday) for which he regularly penned theater reviews.  He also led a battle against the Yiddish theater association which managed the Riga State “Minorities Theater.”  He also contributed to the Riga humor newspaper Der ashmodai (The Ashmodai), Kovno’s Vispe (Islet), New York’s Tog (Day), Warsaw’s Ilustrirte vokh (Illustrated week) and Literarishe bleter (Literary leaves), where he won recognition for his novella Zere avrom (Seed of Abraham) in a competition for fiction.  In book form: Der brilyantener ring (The diamond ring) (Riga, 1923), 64 pp.; Zere avrom (Riga, 1926), 166 pp.; Der nayer id, pyese fun modernem yidishn lebn mit gezang un deklamatsye in 3 aktn un 6 bilder (The new Jew, a play of modern Jewish life with singing and declamation in three acts and six scenes) (Riga, 1938), 84 pp.  In his translation there appeared Geklibene shriftn fun a. s. pushkin (Collected writings of A. S. Pushkin) (Riga, 1937), 31 pp.  He also wrote a drama in four acts: Der man mit di dolarn (The man with the dollars).  What happened to him during the years of WWII remains unknown.

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); M. Gerts, 25 yor yidishe prese in letland (25 years of the Yiddish press in Latvia) (Riga, 1933); Y. Rapaport, in Fray arbeter-shtime (New York) (April 8, 1955); Leksikon fun der nayer yidisher literatur (Biographical dictionary of modern Yiddish literature), vol. 2 (under the biography of M. Gerts: and vol. 4 (under the biography of Yitskhok Kharlash:
Benyomen Elis


  1. Hello Joshua. My name is Magali, I'm from Argentina. You have a post about Gregorio Gelman and I've just found out that that was my great great grandfather's name. Do you have more info about his book or have it in .pdf or .doc?
    There was a huge colony of jewish people in the 19th century, in the province of Buenos Aires.

  2. Dear Migali,
    Thanks for your note and I'm happy this entry was meaningful to you. These biographical entries are all translations from a Yiddish-language biographical dictionary published over 50 years ago. For copies of Mr. Eidus's book, check on; it will often tell you where the closest library holding the book you're interested in can be found.
    Best wishes,