YITSKHOK-YANKEV PROPUS (1880-May 3, 1943)
He was born in Mitave (Mitava), Courland (later, part of Latvia). Until age fifteen, he studied in Boysk (Bauska) and later in Kovno. He published poetry in: Tsukunft (Future) in New York (1906); Yud (Jew); and Fraynd (Friend). In the humorous publication (put out by Fraynd) called Der bezim (The broom) and in similar works, he also published satirical poetry under the pen names “Der mizinikl” (The little pinky), “Shmeterling,” and the like. Together with the editorial board of Der fraynd, he moved from St. Petersburg to Warsaw. He was a frequent visitor at the home of Perets, and at Perets’s suggestion he turned his attention to collecting Yiddish folksongs. He was cofounder and chairman of the “Artistic Corner” in Warsaw. When Der fraynd ceased publication, he worked for the newspaper Der morgenshtern (The morning star), which was at the time brought out by Hatsofe (The spectator). Later, he wrote for Moment (Moment) where he served as editorial board secretary until the outbreak of WWII. In book form: Lieder (Poetry) (St. Petersburg: Fraynd, 1905), 32 pp.; translation of Mordecai Zeev Feuerberg, Dos kelbl (The calf [original: Haegel] (St. Petersburg: Naye biblyotek, 1904); of M. Z. Feuerberg, In ovend, Di kameye (In the evening, the amulet [original: Beerev, Hakamia] (Minsk: Kultur-lige, 1905); and of Jack London, Di shtim fun blut (The sound of blood [original: Call of the Wild]) (Warsaw: Yidish, 1917), 139 pp. His poetry also appeared in Yankev Fikhman’s Antologye (Anthology), published in 1910. As a correspondent for Der fraynd, he helped to fortify a uniform Yiddish orthography which was effective until the initiation of a uniform spelling system. During the Nazi occupation he was confined in the Warsaw Ghetto. He was killed in a bunker at the time of the ghetto uprising.
Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 2; Y. Entin, Yidishe poetn, hantbukh fun yidisher dikhtung (Yiddish poets, a handbook of Yiddish poetry) (New York: Jewish National Labor Alliance and Labor Zionist Party, 1927), part 1; Avrom Reyzen, Epizodn fun mayn lebn (Episodes from my life), part 1 (Vilna, 1929); D. Tsharni (Daniel Charney), in Tsukunft (New York) (January 1943); M. Mozes, in Der poylisher yid (The Polish Jew), yearbook (New York, 1944); Meylekh Ravitsh, Mayn leksikon (My lexicon), vol. 1 (Montreal, 1945); Z. Segalovitsh, Tlomatske 13, fun farbrente nekhtn (13 Tłomackie St., of zealous nights) (Buenos Aires: Central Association of Polish Jews in Argentina, 1946); Segalovitsh, Gebrente trit, ayndrukn un iberlebungen fun pleytim-vanderung (Buenos Aires, 1947); Rokhl Oyerbakh, in Kidesh hashem (Sanctification of the name) (New York, 1948), p. 108; Yonas Turkov, Azoy iz es geven (That’s how it was) (Buenos Aires, 1948); B. Mark, Umgekumene shrayber fun di getos un lagern (Murdered writers from the ghettos and camps) (Warsaw, 1954); Pinkes varshe (Records of Warsaw), vol. 1 (Buenos Aires, 1955); B. Kutsher, Geven amol varshe (As Warsaw once was), vol. 1 (Paris, 1955), see index; M. Vaykhert, Varshe (Warsaw) (Tel Aviv, 1961), see index; A. Zak, In onheyb friling (In the beginning of spring) (Buenos Aires, 1962), p. 282.