Sunday 30 September 2018


SHIMEN FARBER (August 4, 1884-February 20, 1960)
            He was born in Goniądz, near Bialystok, Poland.  He attended religious elementary school and yeshiva.  He became involved with the Socialist Revolutionary party.  He worked in a cigarette factory, in a book bindery, and later he departed for Skidl (Skidzieĺ), near Bialystok, where he worked in a tannery, and with his comrades called a general strike.  He smuggled illegal literature and was compelled to flee from Russia.  In 1902 he arrived in London and became involved in the anarchist movement.  In 1904 he came to the United States, where he worked in various trades in New York and other cities.  He then returned to New York and began to work as a writer.  He was an editorial board member for Fraye arbeter-shtime (Free voice of labor) in New York, a regular contributor to Forverts (Forward) in New York, and from 1936 a member of the editorial board of Gerekhtikeyt (Justice), organ of the International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union.  He wrote about union issues and was active in the cooperative movement; he also edited various other publications that the ILGWU brought out.  He died in Miami, Florida.

Sources: Yoysef Kahan, Di yidishe anarkhistishe bavegung in amerike (The Jewish anarchist movement in the United States) (Philadelphia, 1945), chapter 13; Sh. Linder, in Fraye arbeter-shtime (New York) (August 13, 1954); Y. Fogel, in Forverts (New York) (January 14, 1958); A. Thorn, in Forverts (February 19, 1960; February 15, 1965); H. Lang, in Fraye arbeter-shtime (March 1, 1962).
Yankev Kahan


KALMEN FARBER (1879-August 1, 1951)
            The older brother of Khayim-Yitskhok Farber, he was born in the village of Brogishe (Bragishe?), Bessarabia.  At age thirteen he began working with his father as a house painter.  In 1904 he departed for Argentina (Casares) and worked there as a painter.  In 1940 he moved to Córdoba.  He participated in Jewish cultural and community activities.  He was a correspondent for: Der tog (The day), Di idishe tsaytung (The Jewish newspaper), and Di prese (The press) in Buenos Aires; and he published in them stories of life in Bessarabia and Argentina.  He also wrote a play, Af kidesh-hashem (Martyrdom).  He was the first Yiddish writer on Argentinian soil.  He died in Córdoba, Argentina.

Sources: Sh. Rozhanski, Dos yidishe gedrukte vort in argentine (The published Yiddish word in Argentina), vol. 1 (Buenos Aires, 1941), p. 174; V. Bresler, Antologye fun der yidisher literatur in argentine (Anthology of Jewish literature in Argentina) (Buenos Aires, 1944), p. 921; Di prese (Buenos Aires) (August 2, 1951); Davke (Buenos Aires) 8 (1951); Yankev Botoshanski, in Di prese (August 3, 1952).
Yankev Kahan


YERAKHMIEL FARBER (December 8, 1894-March 1878)
            He was born in Brisk, Poland.  He lived in Lodz, Odessa, the Crimea, and Paris.  In 1914 he came to the United States.  At age thirteen he became a worker in a tobacco factory.  He taught himself to read and write.  For several years he worked with the International Ladies’ Garments Workers’ Union in New York.  He began writing in Russian for Golos truda (Voice of labor) in New York (1915).  In 1918 he switched to Yiddish.  He placed work in Di naye velt (The new world) in New York (1918-1920).  He published poems, stories, journalistic articles, and essays on Yiddish culture and literature and on trade union issues in: Frayhayt (Freedom), Morgn-frayhayt (Morning freedom), Yidishe kultur (Jewish culture), and Zamlungen (Collections) in New York; Kamf (Struggle) in Toronto; Kalifornyer shtime (Voice of California), Kalifornyer shriftn (California writings), and Di naye prese (The new press) in Paris; and Fray yisroel (Free Israel), among others, in Tel Aviv.  He died in Los Angeles.

Sources: Kalmen Marmor archive, New York; Ikuf almanakh (IKUF almanac) (New York, 1961), p. 559.
Khayim Leyb Fuks


            The younger brother of Kalmen Farber, he was born in the village of Brogishe (Bragishe?), Bessarabia.  He studied with a private tutor.  In 1904 he moved to Argentina, settling in Buenos Aires.  From 1912 he was publishing lyrical and satirical poems, as well as nature descriptions and images from the lives of Jewish colonists, in the weekly newspapers: Der farteydiker (The defender) and Di yugnt (The youth) in Casares; and Avangard (Avant-garde), Blimelekh (Little flowers), Di idishe tsaytung (The Jewish newspaper), and Argentiner beymelekh (Little Argentinian trees) in Buenos Aires.  He also used such pen names as: Sofa, A Shtifer, Itsik Optimist, and Diksi.  He composed roughly 600 children’s poems and 800 fables.  To many of his poems, H. Volotitsh, Leyzer Klotsman, Arn Garishnik, and Leon Dreydl composed music.  In book form, he published: Far briderlekh un shvesterlekh (For little brothers and sisters) (Buenos Aires, 1925), 32 pp.; In a yidisher kolonye (In a Jewish colony), poems for children (Buenos Aires: N. Kaplanski, 1936), 29 pp.; Shlof-lid (Sleep song), music by Gorzhanski (Buenos Aires, 1936), 124 pp.; Fablen (Fables) (Buenos Aires: N. Kaplanski, 1936), 124 pp.; He also translated into Yiddish poems by aim Naman Bialik, Yaakov Fikhman, David Shimoni , and L. Kipnis, among others.

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 3; Penemer un penemlekh (Buenos Aires) (October 1925); Di idishe tsaytung (Buenos Aires) (December 25, 1935); Morgn-tsaytung (Buenos Aires) (November 28, 1935); Der shpigl (Buenos Aires) (1935); Rozaryer lebn (1935); Di prese (Buenos Aires) (April 1, 1936); Sh. Rozhanski, Dos yidishe gedrukte vort in argentine (The published Yiddish word in Argentina), vol. 1 (Buenos Aires, 1941), p. 168; Antologye fun der yidisher literatur in argentine (Anthology of Yiddish literature in Argentina) (Tel Aviv, 1944), p. 926.
Yankev Kahan


HERSH FARBER (b. 1893)
            He was born in Ukraine.  In his youth he was active in Yiddish theater, directing in drama circles in Ekaterinoslav.  During WWI he lived in Petrograd, and later until 1927 in Moscow.  He published articles and translations in: Petrograder togblat (Petrograd daiuly newspaper); and Emes (Truth) in Moscow; among others.  In book form: Der idisher premier, komedye in eyn akt (The Jewish premier, a comedy in one act) (Ekaterinoslav, 1917), 18 pp.  Among his translations which, according to A. Golomb, excelled in “authenticity and richness of language” were: A. P. Nechaev, Vunder fun der erd (Wonder of the earth) (Petrograd, 1917), 192 pp.; K. Bedit, Mayses fun vaytn indyen (Stories from distant India) (Moscow, 1919), 40 pp.; L. Trotsky, Der nayer etap, di velt-lage un unzere oyfgabn (The new stage, world conditions and our tasks [original: Novyi etap, mirovoe polozhenie i nashi zadachi]) (Homel, 1922), 156 pp.; K. A. Timiryazev, Dos lebn fun a geviks (The life of a plant [original: Zhizn’ rasteniia]) (Moscow, 1925), 162 pp.  Further details remain unknown.

Sources: Biography of Dovid Hokhberg in Leksikon fun der nayer yidisher literatur (Biographical dictionary of modern Yiddish literature) (New York, 1960), translation at:; A. Golomb, in Literarishe bleter (Warsaw) 89 (1926); Z. Ratner and Y. Kvitni, Dos yidishe bukh in f.s.s.r. in di yorn 1917-1921 (The Yiddish book in the USSR for the years 1917-1921) (Kiev, 1930), see index.
Khayim Leyb Fuks


NISN FARBMAN (February 18, 1891-November 20, 1921)
            He was born in Tarnobrzeg, Galicia, and worked as a watchmaker.  His feet were incapacitated, and he walked with crutches.  He died of a heart attack.  His poems, sketches, and articles were published in Lemberg’s Togblat (Daily newspaper) and mainly in Sanok’s Folks fraynd (Friend of the people), as well as in Shpirn’s Yidishe zamlbukher (Yidishe anthologies) and elsewhere.

Source: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksion, vol. 3.
Yankev Kahan


ALEKSANDER FARBO (July 23, 1888-1940)
            The adopted name of Sander-Zishe Farber, he was born in Kalushin (Kałuszyn), Warsaw district.  He attended religious elementary school and the yeshiva of Novominsk.  He worked as a teacher for a time.  He debuted in print with a poem in 1911 in Moment (Moment) in Warsaw; later, from time to time, he published poems in various publications.  His drama Benye kendzher (Benye Kendzher), concerning the life of the underworld, was staged in 1921 in Warsaw’s “Tsentral” (Central) theater.  He edited an entire series of collections for the publisher of Moment.  He brought out a couple of issues of the biweekly Unzer zhurnal (Our journal) in 1913—also an occasional journal of literature and criticism entitled Mayn shtender (My stance), which he wrote entirely on his own.  He was a proofreader for Haynt (Today).  Prior to the outbreak of WWII, he became very religious and wrote a mystical philosophical work which was never published.  He died in the Warsaw Ghetto in 1940; according to another source, he died in Warsaw on March 29, 1940.  In book form: Durkh glants un nebl, lider-zamlung (Through radiance and fog, poetry collection) (Warsaw, 1917), 62 pp., with a preface by Noyekh Pryłucki; Benye kendzher, drame in dray aktn (Benye Kendzher, a play in three acts) (Warsaw: Vanderer, 1923), 78 pp.; Di velt geyt unter, drame in dray aktn (The world goes under, a play in three acts) (Warsaw: Koykhes, 1929), 87 pp., concerning the striving of modern women to free themselves all the more from their duties as wives and mothers; Zeks un draysik konkurs noveln un dertseylungen (Thirty-sixth context of novels and stories), with Nakhmen Mifelev and others (Warsaw, 1929).  He also published a number of novels in various newspapers.

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 3; Dr. R. Feldshuh, Yidishe gezelshaftlekher leksikon (Jewish community handbook), vol. 1 (Warsaw, 1939); D. Tsharni (Daniel Charney), in Tsukunft (New York) (January 1943); M. Mozes, in Der poylisher yid, yearbook (1944); Elkhonen Tsaytlin, In a literarisher shtub (In a literary home) (Buenos Aires, 1946), pp. 51, 76, 78; Meylekh Ravitsh, Mayn leksikon (My lexicon), vol. 1 (Montreal, 1945), pp. 191-95; Y. Papyernikov, Heymishe un noente, demonungen (Familiar and close at hand, remembrances) (Tel Aviv: Perets Publ., 1958), pp. 248-50; Zalmen Zilbertsvayg, Leksikon fun yidishn teater (Handbook of the Yiddish theater), vol. 4 (New York, 1963), pp. 3114-15; Y. Varshavski [Bashevis], in Forverts (New York) (April 16, 1965).
Leyb Vaserman


SHMUEL FAKS (January 31, 1885-May 9, 1956)
            He was born in Płońsk, Warsaw region, into a wealthy Hassidic family of grain and timber merchants.  He received a Jewish education.  He was a close friend of David Ben-Gurion from their days in religious primary school, and he corresponded with him until the last days of his life.  In 1903 he left Poland for London, and there he began writing in Hebrew for Yitsak Suvalski’s Hayehudi (The Jew).  In 1904 he arrived in the United States and worked as a Hebrew teacher in New York.  In 1912 he graduated from New York University in dentistry.  He wrote stories and poetry.  He published in the anthologies: Literatur (Literature), Di naye heym (The new home), and Avrom Reyzen’s Dos naye land (The new country).  He also published a series of articles—entitled “Di yunge yidishe literatur” (Young Yiddish literature), concerned with Opatoshu, Ignatov, Mani Leyb, and M. L. Halpern—in Dos idishe folk (The Jewish people).  He belonged to the “Yunge” (Young) group.  Over the course of many years, he was active in the Yiddish cultural movement.  In his last years, he lived in Far Rockaway, New York.

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 3; D. Ignatov, in Tsukunft (New York) (December 1944); A. Leyeles, in Tog (New York) (May 5, 1956); Z. Vaynper, in Yidishe kultur (New York) (October 1956).
Leyb Vaserman

Friday 28 September 2018


Y. L. FAKS (FOX) (b. September 22, 1885)
            The Anglicized named on Y. L. Fuks, he was born in Vilna.  He came to the United States in January 1906.  He later moved to Canada and settled in Sainte Agathe, Quebec.  In 1900 he wrote his first poem and read it at an illegal workers’ meeting in Vilna.  In 1916 he published in Tog (Day) in New York a short occurrence taken from life.  He later published in: Keneder odler (Canadian eagle) in Montreal; Idisher zhurnal (Jewish journal) in Toronto); Di idishe velt (The Jewish world) in Cleveland; Idishe velt in Philadelphia; Arbet (Labor), Folks-zhurnal (People’s journal), and Keneder vokhnblat (Canadian weekly newspaper) in Montreal.
Leyb Vaserman


            He hailed from Bessarabia.  Over the years 1920-1922, he was editor of the daily newspaper Der id (The Jew) in Kishinev.  Details of his biography remain unknown.

Source: M. Y. Shaykevitsh, in Literarishe bleter (Warsaw) (September 11, 1927).
Benyomen Elis


            He came from Poland and until 1888 was a Russian-Yiddish house tutor in Warsaw, Grodno, Zhitomir, and Odessa.  Later, until 1906, he ran a book and newspaper shop in Odessa called “Yankev Post.”  Together with Yoyne Tubnik, he “translated and adapted” the Rusish-yudish khrestomatye (Russia-Yiddish reader), which appeared in numerous editions, the first: (Zhitomir, 1893), 100 pp.—one page in Russian and the next in Yiddish with vowel points indicated.  Fastovski published poems and other items in Sholem-Aleichem’s Yudishe folksbiblyotek (Jewish people’s library).  He contributed to: Hoyz-fraynd (House friend) and Der fraynd (The friend) in St. Petersburg, among other venues.  Together with Ben-Tsien Levin, he brought out a volume of poetry entitled Ziftsen funem hartsen (Sighs from the heart), eighteen poems by Levin and twenty-one by Fastovski (Odessa, 1904), 64 pp., among which may be found the poem “Di yudishe papirosen-makherin” (The Jewish girl who made cigarettes), which was sung as a folksong.  He also wrote under the name Y. Fas.

Sources: See the biographies of Y. Z. Trubnik and B. Ts. Levin, in Leksikon fun der yidisher literatur (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish literature), translated, respectively, at:; and
Khayim Leyb Fuks


            Her full surname was Foner-Meinkin.  She was a descendent of the Vilna Gaon and the wife of Meyer Foner.  She received both a Jewish and a general education.  For many years she worked as a private Hebrew and Yiddish teacher in Bialystok, Grodno, and Dvinsk, and until 1901 in Lodz.  She later lived in New York and Chicago.  From 1875 she was publishing stories and novels in: Hamelits (The advocate), Hatsfira (The siren), and Yidishes folksblat (Jewish people’s newspaper) in St. Petersburg, among other venues.  In Hebrew she published: Derekh yeladim o sipur miyerushalayim (The path of children or a story from Jerusalem) (Vienna, 1885/1886), 16 pp.; Ahavat yesharim, o hamishpaḥot hamerudafot, sipur min haet haḥadasha (The love of the righteous; or the persecuted families, a story from the modern era) (Vilna, 1881), 149 pp.; Beged bogedim (Clothing of traitors) (Warsaw, 1891), 36 pp.; Mizikhronot yeme yalduti, o mare hair dvinsk (Memoirs of my childhood days, or a view of the city of Dvinsk) (Warsaw, 1903), 52 pp.—images of Jewish life in Dvinsk in the 1860s.  She translated herself into Yiddish Eyne troyerike libe (A sorrowful love) (Lodz, 1889), 56 pp., which she signed Sheyn Feyge M. (her maiden name was Meinkin); and Di kleyd fun a ferreter (The clothing of a traitor) (Warsaw, 1892), 82 pp.  She also published under the pen name “A Dvinskern.”  A number of her stories were published anonymously in the late nineteenth century in Lodz.  She died alone and forgotten in Chicago.

Sources: Khayim Leyb Fuks, in Fun noentn over (New York) 3 (1957), see index; David Patterson, The Hebrew Novel in Czarist Russia (Edinburgh, 1964); Yankev Glatshteyn, and Khayim Leyb Fuks, in Idisher kemfer (New York) (January 15, 1965).
Khayim Leyb Fuks


MEYER FONER (1854-April 2, 1936)
            He was born in Braynsk-Podolsk (Brańsk-Podolsk), Grodno district, Poland.  He studied in yeshivas.  Until 1900 he worked as a Hebrew teacher in Bialystok and Dvinsk, later (until his death) in Lodz.  He was the husband of Sheyna Feyge Foner.  He contributed poems and articles to: Hamelits (The advocate), Hatsfira (The siren), and Yidishes folksblat (Jewish people’s newspaper) in St. Petersburg; and Lodzer nakhrikhtn (Lodz notices), Lodzer tageblat (Lodz daily newspaper), and in the publications of the agroup of young Lodz poets.  He was a patron of “Yung-yidish” (Young Yiddish group) and of modern Yiddish poetry, and at the time of the attack on Markish and the futurists in Poland in 1921, he published a sharply polemical article against the attackers.  He authored the following dramatic works: Yosef dela rena (Joseph Della Renna), Bet el (House of God), Yona ben amitai (Jonah son of Amitai), Yehuda haglila (Judah the Galilean), and Yeme hurdus (The days of Herod), among others.  Throughout his life he was writing a play entitled Gehenem (Hell) which he bequeathed before his death to Yitskhok Katsenelson.  He died in Katsenelson’s home in Lodz.

Sources: Y. K. and M. B., in Nayer folksblat (Lodz) (April 3, 1936); Hadoar (New York) (April 26, 1936); Y. Y. Trunk, in Poyln (New York) 6 (1951); Khayim Leyb Fuks, in Fun noentn over (New York) 3 (1957), p. 260.
Khayim Leyb Fuks


            He came from Poland, where he was a Communist leader and journalist.  During the Nazi occupation, he was active in the Warsaw Ghetto.  He co-edited the underground Warsaw Ghetto newspapers: Tsum kamf (To the battle), Morgn fray (Morning free), Morgn frayhayt (Morning freedom), and Eynikeyt (Unity).  Other details remain unknown.

Source: B. Mark, in Folksshtime (Lodz) (October 29, 1948).


HERSHL FANABERYE (FAYN) (1890-February 18, 1954)
            He was born in Brisk (Brest), on the Bug River, Poland.  He received both a Jewish and a general education.  He was a veteran of the secular Jewish school system in Poland.  In 1923 he emigrated to Canada, later moving to the United States where he worked as a teacher in the Workmen’s Circle schools in Rochester and Atlanta.  In the last years of his life, he took up business.  He published articles on education, culture, and school matters in: Lebnsfragn (Life issues), Folkstsaytung (People’s newspaper), Di naye shul (The new school), and Shul un lebn (School and life) in Warsaw; Brisker vokhnblat (Brisk weekly newspaper) (1917-1921); and Keneder odler (Canadian eagle) in Montreal; among others.  He was the author (with Shloyme-Fayvish Gilinski) of Aritmetisher rekhnbukh (Arithmetic textbook), part 1 (Warsaw, 1922), 114 pp.  He died in Atlanta, Georgia, and was buried in Montreal, Canada.

Sources: Shul un lebn (Warsaw) (1928); Kh. Sh. Kazdan, Di geshikhte fun yidishn shulvezn in umophengikn poyln (The history of the Jewish school system in independent Poland) (Mexico City, 1947); M. Ginzburg, in Keneder odler (Montreal) (February 21, 1954); Arbeter-ring boyer un tuer (Builders and leaders of the Workmen’s Circle), ed. Y. Yeshurin and Y. Sh. Herts (New York, 1962), p. 314 (under the name “Fayn”).
Khayim Leyb Fuks


            He was born in Dubne (Dubno), Volhynia.  He was highly adept at Talmud, philosophical speculation, and Kabbala, and in his youth he turned his attention to secular education.  He mastered several European languages and was one of the pioneers of the Jewish Enlightenment movement in Volhynia.  As a fine Hebrew stylist, he adapted in Hebrew Lessing’s Philotas, which he published under the title Avinadav (Odessa, 1868), 28 pp.  He lived the last years of his life in Odessa, where for an unknown reason he converted to Christianity, after which he remained even closer to Jewry.  To the anti-Semitic publication of the editor of Varshavskiy Dnevnik (Warsaw journal), he wrote in German an apologia entitled “Wort zur Zeit” (Word of the times), which he also translated into Hebrew; with the mediation of Gavriel Ravitsh, it was published in Radkinson’s Hakol (The voice) (1876/1877) under the title “Davar beito,” in which he argued against all the accusations and calumnies against Jews.  He also appeared at several blood-libel trials and demonstrated under oath the falsehood of the calumnies.  Dr. R. Kulisher, who was in correspondence with him, did not mention his conversion, but commended him strongly as a meritorious fighter for the Jewish Enlightenment and for his extraordinary knowledge of Hebrew literature.  According to Kulisher, Falkovitsh was a proponent of popularizing science in Hebrew, which he held higher than the useless, fictional, florid language of Hebrew writers.  In addition to essays in Hebrew-language journals, he published in Yiddish: Reb khayiml der katsin (Reb Khayiml the leader), a theater piece in four acts (composed in St. Petersburg, 1864 or 1866), published in Odessa (1867), 166 pp.; and Rokhele der zingerin (Rokhele the singer), a theater piece in four acts (Zhitomir, 1868), 125 pp.

Sources: Zalmen Reyzin, Leksikon, vol. 3; Zalmen Zilbertsvayg, Leksikon fun yidishn teater (Handbook of the Yiddish theater), vol. 3 (New York, 1959); Y. Dobrushin, in Tsaytshrift (Minsk) 2-3 (1928); Noyekh Pryłucki, Mame-loshn, yidishe shprakhvisenshaftlekhe forarbetn (Mother tongue, Yiddish linguistic research), vol. 1 (Warsaw, 1924), p. 113; Yisroel Tsinberg, Kultur-historishe shtudyes (Cultural historical studies) (New York, 1949), p. 163.
Benyomen Elis

Thursday 27 September 2018


ELYE FALKOVITSH (1888-June 9, 1979)

            He was a linguist, born in Homyel' (Gomel), and graduated from the department of linguistics at Moscow University. In the 1930s he was a lecturer on the Yiddish language at the Second Moscow University in the department of Yiddish linguistics. He began working as chair of the Yiddish language department at the University of the Peoples of the West (Mayrevke) as well as at the Moscow Pedagogical Institute. He started his publishing work in the field of Yiddish linguistics in 1927. He brought out important work in the journal Afn shprakhfront (On the language front) in Kiev and elsewhere. In 1929 he published his first book: Yidish, gramatik far dervaksene (Yiddish, grammar for adults) (Moscow: Emes, 1929), 104 pp., with a second enlarged edition (Moscow-Kharkov-Minsk, 1930), 208 pp.; a subsequent edition appeared as Yidish far dervaksene (Yiddish for adults) (Moscow: Emes, 1936), 326 pp., with a second component entitled Yidish, fonetik, grafik, leksik un gramatik (Yiddish, phonetics, script, lexicon, and grammar) (Moscow: Emes, 1940), 383 pp. In the late 1920s when a reform of Yiddish orthography was underway in the Soviet Union, he was among the scholars who implemented this in practice. He participated in the language conference in Moscow on December 15, 1936, concerning elevating Yiddish to an official, state language—in connection with the decision of the Soviet government to construct a Jewish autonomous area in Birobidzhan. During WWII, he was a member of the Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee in Moscow. When the Nazi armies were approaching Moscow, he volunteered to join the Red Army, in the Opolchenie (Home guard), a voluntary military defense detachment, and was involved in pitched battles. He demonstrated an example of personal courage, about which the press wrote, including Dovid Bergelson in a sketch, “Undzerer a mentsh” (A man, one of our own), in the newspaper Eynikeyt (Unity). On the road he and his men stumbled upon a company of Germans in a village and engaged them in battle. They captured thirty-five Nazis and another eight were shot; he also carried out eighty-eight wounded fighters under enemy fire and provided first aid. He was captured by the Nazis, but at night with some eighteen Red Army members he took command and broke out with them to freedom. For this heroic deed, he was awarded the Order of Lenin. After the war he returned from the front to Moscow and was appointed chief editor of the Emes (Truth) press. In the late 1940s when all Jewish cultural institutions were liquidated, he switched to work as a lecturer. When Sovetish heymland (Soviet homeland) commenced publication, Falkovitsh was one of its most active contributors. His article “Opshay farn loshn” (Respect for the language), published in the first two issues of the journal in 1961, was a call to responsible continuation of the language. His other articles were polemical and rich in content. In 1960 the Moscow publisher Gospolitizdat (State publisher for political literature) brought out in Russian his Iskusstvo lektora (The art of the lecture). His series of studies of Yiddish published in Sovetish heymland (1974-1978) were an innovative textbook for those who wished to acquire a deeper knowledge of the language. After his death, there was published his work “Vegn der shprakh yidish” (On the language, Yiddish), fifty-eight pages in length, as an afterword to his major work, Rusish-yidish verterbukh (Russian-Yiddish dictionary) (Moscow, 1984). In his last years he conceived a series of biblical jottings, one of which was entitled “Vegn der ‘megiles-rus’ un andere tanakhish sforim” (On the “Scroll of Ruth” and other biblical texts), which Sovetish heymland published in issue 6 of 1978. Other books include: Rusish-yidish verterbukh far der onfang-shul (Russko-evreiskii slovarʹ, dlia nachalʹnoi shkoly, Russian-Yiddish dictionary for elementary school) (Moscow: Emes, 1941), 175 pp.; Yidishe punktuatsye (Yiddish punctuation) (Moscow: Central Publishers, 1931), 48 pp.; editor, Mikhoels, 1890-1948 ([Shloyme] Mikhoels, 1890-1948) (Moscow: Emes, 1948), 174 pp. He died in Moscow.

Sources: L. Reznik, in Afn shprakhfront (Kharkov) 2 (1934); M. Gurevitsh, in Afn shprakhfront (Kharkov-Kiev) 2 (1934); P. Markish, in Eynikeyt (Moscow) (June 28, 1942); Y. Nusinov, in Eynikeyt (August 5, 1942); D. Bergelson, in Eynikeyt (May 27, 1943); T. Gen, in Eynikeyt (October 2, 1945); Y. Yanosovitsh, in Di naye tsayt (Buenos Aires) (October 22, 1953); Yankev Glatshteyn, in Idisher kemfer (New York) (September 29, 1961); Chone Shmeruk, comp., Pirsumim yehudiim babrit-hamoatsot, 1917-1961 (Jewish publications in the Soviet Union, 1917-1961) (Jerusalem, 1961), see index.

Leyb Vaserman

[Additional information from: Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 437-38; 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), pp. 289-90.]


RUVN FALK (b. 1912)
            He was born in Vilna, Lithuania, and received a secular Jewish education.  Early on he became a laborer.  In 1935 he departed for Russia.  He published poems in: Vilner tog (Vilna day); Literarishe tribune (Literary tribune) in Lodz; Oktyabr (October) and Shtern (Star) in Minsk; and elsewhere.  In book form: Banuola, lid in proze (Banuola, poem in prose) (Vilna, 1932), 32 pp.  There has been no information about him since 1937.

Sources: Meylekh Ravitsh, in Vokhnshrift (Warsaw) (November 11, 1932); Shtern (Minsk) (May-June 1935).
Khayim Leyb Fuks

Wednesday 26 September 2018


FELIKS (FELIX) FALK (1883-1942)
            Born in Germany, he descended from a rabbinical family.  He studied German philology and old German literature at the Universities of Jena and Berne, and modern German literature at the University of Berlin.  He also studied art history at the Universities of Genoa and Florence.  For a time he worked as a private tutor at Geneva University.  At the beginning of the twentieth century, he set to prepare a critical scholarly publication of the Shmuel-bukh (Samuel book).  In 1909 he published in French a study of Old Yiddish literature and, in particular, the Shmuel-bukh: Mélanges bibliographiques sur les Livres de Samuel en strophes de Nibelungen, précédés d’un exposé général sur la littérature judéo-allemande (Bibliographic miscellany of the books of Samuel in Nibelungen stanzas, preceded by a general presentation on Judeo-German literature) (Leipzig: M. W. Kaufmann), 53 pp.  The same work appeared in German under the title: “Die Bücher Samuelis in deutschen Nibelungenstrophen des XV. Jahrhunderts” (The Shmuel-bukh in German Nibelungen verse of the fifteenth century), Mitteilungen zur jüdischen Volkskunde (Communications on Jewish folklore) (Berlin) (1908), pp. 31-51, 79-85, 97-116, 128-50.  He lived for many years in Germany and wrote poetry.  He published two collections of his poems in German, but the entire time he was working on the Shmuel-bukh.  When the Nazis took power in Germany, he fled to Holland and gained a post there at the University of Amsterdam.  He also brought to Amsterdam the completed manuscript of his planned edition of the Shmuel-bukh.  He found a publisher for the book, but when the war broke out, the publisher rejected his work.  When the Germans occupied Holland, they arrested Falk and murdered him.  The manuscript was recovered in 1951 and passed into the domain of the Jewish division of the university library in Amsterdam.  The director of the division, Dr. L. Fuks, prepared the manuscript for the publisher and brought it out in book form under the title Das Schemuelbuch des Mosche Esrim Wearba (The Shmuel-bukh of Moses 24) (Assen: Van Gorcum, 1961), 2 vols.  It provided a photographic reproduction of the Shmuel-bukh from the Augsburg edition of 1544 and a treatise on the contents and character of the text.  Falk treated the Jewish and non-Jewish sources of the work, and he gave an analysis of the language and construction of the text in comparison with other editions and manuscripts of the Shmuel-bukh.  The preface, all notes, and the analysis were written in German.  The full title of Falk’s work was Das Schemuelbuch des Mosche Esrim Wearba, Einleitung und textkritischer Apparat von Felix Falk, aus Nachlass herausgegen von L. Fuks (The Shmuel-bukh of Moses 24, introduction and text-critical apparatus of Feliz Falk, from his estate, by L. Fuks).  On the eve of WWII, Dr. Falk made contact with YIVO and published in Yivo-bleter (Pages from YIVO) a work entitled: “Yidishe talmudishe agode fun shloyme hameylekh mitn ashmeday in dem shmir in tsvey alt-yidishe nuskhoes” (Yiddish homiletical pieces from the Talmud by King Solomon with the kings of demons in the emery of two Old Yiddish versions) (Vilna) 13.3-4 (1938), pp. 246-74.

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 3; Dr. Max Weinreich, Bilder fun der yidisher literatur geshikhte (Studies in the history of Yiddish literature) (Vilna, 1928), pp. 68-111; Maks Erik, Di geshikhte fun der yidisher literatur (The history of Yiddish literature) (Warsaw, 1928), pp. 112-21; Dr. Yisroel Tsinberg, Geshikhte fun der literatur bay yidn (History of Jewish literature), vol. 6 (Vilna, 1935); L. Fuks, in Yidishe kultur (New York) (January 1960); A. M. Haberman, in Hapoel hatsair 51-52 (1961); M. Gerstenfeld, “Samuelboek Tenachfiguren als Helden in Jiddisch Epos” (Biblical figures in the Shmuel-bukh as heroes of a Yiddish epic), Nieuw Israelitisch Weekblad (Amsterdam) (May 1, 1962); Mordekhai Amitai, in Al hamishmar (September 2, 1962); Aleksander Rozental (Dr. Elye Shulman), in Forverts (New York) (September 16, 1962); “Das Schmuelbuch,” Germanistik, Internationales Referatenorgan mit bibliographischen Hinweisen 4.2 (n.s. 872) (April 1963); J. Maitlis, “Ein biblisches Epos in Altjiddish” (A biblical epic in Old Yiddish), Israelitisches Wochenblatt fuer die Schweiz (August 6, 1963); Nosn Ziskind, Maḳs vaynraykhn tsu zayn zibetsiksṭn geboyrntog, shṭudyes ṿegn shprakhn bay yidn, vegn yidishe literatur un gezelshaft (For Max Weinreich on his seventieth birthday, studies in Jewish languages, concerning Yiddish literature and society) (The Hague: Mouton, 1964), pp. 30, 449-65; Ber Borokhov, Shprakh-forshung in literarishe geshikhte (Language research and literary history) (Tel Aviv: Peretz Publ., 1966), p. 96.
Elye (Elias) Shulman


L. FALK (1876-1925)
            He was born in Mitave (Mitava), Latvia.  He graduated as a medical doctor from the University of Berlin and from the Berlin Conservatory as a composer.  He moved to Lodz in 1907 to practice medicine.  Until 1910 he served as music reviewer for the German-language Neue lodzer Zeitung (New Lodz newspaper).  He became active in Jewish life later and was cofounder and the first chairman of Lodz sports association, “Hazemir” (The nightingale).  From 1910 until his death he published articles on music, song, and sports in Lodzer tageblat (Lodz daily newspaper).  He composed music to Hebrew and Yiddish poetry (among others for Yitskhok Katsenelson’s “Di zun fargeyt in flamen” [The sun sets in flames]).  He died in Lodz.

Source: Khayim Leyb Fuks, in Fun noentn over (New York) 3 (1957), p. 200.
Khayim Leyb Fuks


YOYSEF FALK (December 17, 1889-1968)
            He was born in Belz, Galicia.  He studied in religious elementary school and synagogue study hall, and in his childhood years lived with his grandfather in a village and there absorbed a love of the fields and animals.  Secular subject matter he acquired on his own.  He worked as a bookkeeper for a low-level merchant.  In 1936 he made aliya to the land of Israel.  He began writing in Hebrew and German in his youth, and in 1905 he published his first sketch in German.  From 1910 he switched to Yiddish.  He debuted in print in Yiddish with a soft, lyrical poem in Folksfraynd (Friend of the people) in Sonik (Sanok).  Thereafter he published poems, sketches, stories, Hassidic and folk tales, essays on literature, and translations from Hebrew poetry (aim Naman Bialik and Avraham Ben-Yitsak, among others) and prose in: Folksfraynd, Togblat (Daily newspaper), Der morgen (The morning), Dos fraye vort (The free word), Tsushteyer (Contribution), Literarishe bleter (Literary leaves), and Yidishe tribune (Jewish tribune) in Warsaw; Nayer folksblat (New people’s newspaper) in Lodz; Tog (Day), Morgn-zhurnal (Morning journal), and Tsukunft (Future) in New York; and Di goldene keyt (The golden chain), Nayvelt (New world), Folksblat (People’s newspaper), Davar (Word), and Adut haavoda (Union of labor), among others, in Israel.  He died in Tel Aviv.

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 3; Biblyografishe yorbikher fun yivo (Bibliographic yearbooks from YIVO) (Warsaw, 1928), see index; Shmuel Niger, in Tog (New York) (December 28, 1931); M. Naygreshl, in Fun noentn over (New York) 1 (1955), p. 302; Meylekh Ravitsh, Mayn leksikon (My lexicon), vol. 3 (Montreal, 1958), p. 331; Shimshon Meltser, in Al naharot (Jerusalem) (1955/1956), p. 436; Moshe alamish, Mikan umikarov, antologya shel sipure yidish beerets yisrael (From near and from far away, anthology of stories in Yiddish in Israel) (Meravya, 1966).
Khayim Leyb Fuks


            He hailed from Lemberg, Galicia.  He completed a Ph.D. at Lemberg University.  Over the years 1922-1939, he lived in Lodz, worked as a teacher in a Jewish women’s high school, and was active as a theater and art critic.  He was cofounder of the Jewish revue theater of Lodz.  He was a member of the Labor Zionist-Hitaḥdut Party of Poland.  Until 1935 he was a regular contributor to: Lodzer tageblat (Lodz daily newspaper); Der morgen (The morning) in Lemberg; and Folk un land (People and country) and Dos vort (The word) in Warsaw; among others.  He served as editor of the sole Polish Jewish daily newspaper Nasze Słowo (Our word) in Lodz (1927-1928).  He also placed work in the Polish Jewish serials: Opinia (Opinion) and Nasz Przegląd (Our overview) in Warsaw; and Chwila (Moment) in Lemberg; among others.    From the time of the German invasion of Poland in 1939, there has been no news about him.

Sources: Biblyografishe yorbikher fun yivo (Bibliographic yearbooks from YIVO) (Warsaw, 1928), see index; Khayim Leyb Fuks, in Fun noentn over (New York) 3 (1957), pp. 214, 254, 262.
Khayim Leyb Fuks

Tuesday 25 September 2018


YANKEV FAL(L)ER (April 15, 1885-August 24, 1951)
            The adopted name of Yankev Felhendler, he was born in Lukov (Maciejów), Shedlets (Siedlce) region, Poland.  He received a traditional as well as a secular education.  At age twelve he wrote in verse form a Hebrew play entitled Ester (Esther).  In 1906 he emigrated to London and from there to New York where he studied at Columbia University; he also took courses in dramatic technique and classical drama.  He published poetry, stories, sketches, and articles in: Lemberger tsaytung (Lemberg newspaper); Morgn-zhurnal (Morning journal), Tageblat (Daily newspaper), Tog (Day), Der amerikaner (The American), Idishe tsukunft (Jewish future), Fraye arbeter-shtime (Free voice of labor), Fraye gezelshaft (Free society), Familyen zhurnal (Family journal), and the anthology Amerike (America)—in New York; Ekspres (Express) in London; and Keneder odler (Canadian eagle) in Montreal.  In book form: Fraye libe (Free love), a drama in four acts, printed on a typewriter (New York, 1916), 83 pp.; Der sheliekh, komedi-drame in fir aktn (The emissary, a comedy-drama in four acts) (Warsaw, 1922), 113 pp.  He authored such plays as the following: Der eybiker plonter (The eternal middle), Di antlofene (The runaway), Der poresh (The recluse), Shotns (Shadows), Loynt es zikh? (Is it worthwile?), Tserisene neshomes (Torn apart souls), Halbe nakht (Half the night), Der kranker mentsh (The sick man), Dos ummeglekhe (The impossible), and Fraye libe.  Also, such one-act plays as: Der shabes-goy (The Sabbath gentile), Tsu sonims kep (On the enemies’ head), and On a nomen (Nameless).  Of his seventeen plays and one-acters that he composed in English, several were staged in English-language theaters in Washington, Pittsburgh, Atlantic City, and New York.  He worked for an insurance company.  He also wrote under the pen names: Ben-Dovid and Y. Berson.

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 3; Zalmen Zilbertsvayg, Leksikon fun yidishn teater (Handbook of the Yiddish theater), vol. 3 (New York, 1959).
Benyomen Elis


YEKHIEL FALIKMAN (December 31, 1911-June 10 [or May 9?], 1977)

            He was a prose author, born in the town of Lubar (Lyubar), Zhytomyr district, Ukraine, to a farming family. From an early age, he demonstrated a penchant for painting and wrote poetry as well. He completed a seven-year school in Lyubar. He went on to study at the Kiev Art School from 1928. He did not graduate but went to work at a steel foundry in the “Bolshevik” machine-manufacturing factory in Kiev. His literary activity began in 1931 in Kiev, when he debuted in print in the Kharkov journal Di royte velt (The red world) with a story entitled “Di stepes shitn zikh” (The steppes are crumbling). This piece provided early evidence of his later style: a talent for broad epic description, complex subject matter, realistic imagery, and romantic pathos. The editor of Di royte velt, Henekh Kazakevitsh, welcomed this young writer’s debut with a congratulatory note. Kazakevitsh was then appointed editor-in-chief of Birobidzhaner shtern (Birobidzhan star), and he summoned Falikman to join him there. He spent 1932-1933 in Birobidzhan as a contributor to the newspaper. As a result of his time spent in Birobidzhan, he brought out his first book: Tsvishn spokes, dertseylungen (Amid the hills, stories) (Kiev: Ukrainian State Publishers for National Minorities, 1937), 277 pp., second edition (Minsk, 1938), 280 pp.; a later book also concerned Birobidzhan, Onheyb friling, dertseylungen un noveln (Beginning of spring, stories and novellas) (Kiev-Lvov: Ukrainian State Publishers for National Minorities, 1940), 267 pp. During the years of WWII, he worked as a military correspondent for various army newspapers at the Russian front. He composed a series of war stories which were compiled in his book, Libe un fayer, front-dertseylungen (Love and fire, stories of the front) (Moscow: Emes, 1943), 88 pp. From that point, his basic work was dedicated to the war, the tragic fate that millions of people faced, the Holocaust of the Jewish people, and the heroism of its best sons and daughters. For his military distinctions at various fronts against the Germans, he was awarded medals and the rank of major of the guard. His novels—Di shayn kumt fun mizrekh, roman (The light comes from the East, a novel) (Moscow: Emes, 1948), 538 pp., second edition (Buenos Aires: IKUF, 1951), 472 pp.; Der shvartser vint (The black wind); Der urteyl iz oysgefilt (Judgment fulfilled); and Fayer un ash (Fire and ash)—formed a tetralogy, in which Falikman reached an extraordinary level of depiction. Together with these works, he published a series of other prose writings, originals and translations into Russian and Ukrainian. The critics noted that it was characteristic of Falikman to have a profound understanding of the historical background, embodied in his writings. In the Yiddish literature of his day, he was distinguished for the historical quality of his writings. About those things which he should not have addressed in his writing—village life, the shtetl, the city, the Taiga in the distant east—everywhere he described the fighting strength, the struggle of good and evil, and the triumph of the good over the malevolent. Already advised against war novels, which were not only for him a socio-political and socio-historical theme, but also an ethnic one, it was the history of the dreadful catastrophe of the Jewish people. He published stories in: Der shtern (The star) in Kiev; Tsum zig (To victory), Heymland (Homeland), and Sovetish heymland (Soviet homeland) in Moscow; Af naye vegn (Along new roads), Almanakh (Almanac), and Ikuf (IKUF [= Jewish Cultural Association]) in New York (1948); and Folksshtime (Voice of the people) in Warsaw; among others.

Among his other works: Mentshn fun mayn land, dertseylungen (Men of my country, stories) (Moscow: Emes, 1945), 166 pp. He also translated by himself into Russian his work Der geviter in tishaish (The tempest at Tishaish [original: Groza nad Tishaishei]) (Kiev: Radians'skii pis'mennik, 1957), 243 pp.—it also appeared in Ukrainian. He was a member of the editorial collective of Sovetish heymland. He was one of the most important Soviet Yiddish prose writers whom the liquidations of 1948-1952 managed to avoid. Together with Note Lurye and Elye Shekhtman, among others (from the generation of writers on the eve of WWII), Falikman created the backbone of contemporary Soviet Yiddish prose. He died in Kiev.

Sources: A. Velednitski, in Sovetishe literatur (Kiev) (February 1938); Y. Nusinov, in Eynikeyt (Moscow) (August 5, 1942); A. Kushnirov, in Naye prese (Paris) (July 27, 1945); A. Kipnis, in Eynikeyt (Moscow) (September 27, 1945); Yisroel Serebriani, in Eynikeyt (November 20, 1945); Noyekh Lurye, in Eynikeyt (April 20, 1946); N. Y. Gotlib, in Keneder odler (Montreal) (March 30, 1953); N. Mayzil, Dos yidishe shafn un der yidisher shrayber in sovetn-farband (Jewish creation and the Jewish writer in the Soviet Union) (New York, 1959); Chone Shmeruk, comp., Pirsumim yehudiim babrit-hamoatsot, 1917-1961 (Jewish publications in the Soviet Union, 1917-1961) (Jerusalem, 1961), see index; Biblyografye fun yidishe bikher vegn khurbn un gvure (Bibliography of Yiddish books concerning the Holocaust and heroism) (New York, 1962); A. Heldes, in Sovetish heymland (Moscow) (March-April 1962).

Benyomen Elis

[Additional information from: 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), pp. 288-89.]

Monday 24 September 2018


AVROM ABE FALIKMAN (b. January 19, 1892)
            He was born in Novoselits (Novoseltsa), Bessarabia.  He was among the first “Tseire Tsiyon” (Young Zionists) in Bessarabia.  He wrote for: Hatsfira (The siren); Unzer tsayt (Out times) in Kishinev; Tshernovitser bleter (Czernowitz leaves) in Czernowitz; and Yeshurun (Jeshurun) in Bucharest; among others.  He prepared for publication a book of remembrance for his hometown and a volume to remember his fallen son.  He was last living in Israel.

Source: D. Tidhar, in Entsiklopedyah lealutse hayishuv uvonav (Encyclopedia of the pioneers and builders of the yishuv), vol. 12 (Tel Aviv, 1962), pp. 49-50.
Yankev Kahan


            He lived in Warsaw.  He was a journalist, reviewer, and editor of a number of newspapers and magazines.  Over the years 1934-1935, he wrote pieces for Warsaw’s Fraynd (Friend).  During the Nazi occupation, he was confined in the Warsaw Ghetto.  Detailed biographical details remain unknown.

Sources: Yidishe shriftn (Lodz, 1946), remembrance section; B. Mark, Umgekumene shrayber fun di getos un lagern (Murdered writers from the ghettos and camps) (Warsaw, 1954), p. 217.
Benyomen Elis


YISOKHER FATER (b. April 9, 1912)
            He was born in Drobin, Poland.  He was a music critic and an orchestra conductor.  He graduated from the state teachers’ seminary in Warsaw and studied in the conservatory in Warsaw.  Over the years 1935-1939, he worked as a teacher in a high school in Mlave (Mława), Poland.  He spent the years of WWII in the Soviet Union.  From 1946 to 1950 he lived in Warsaw, Paris, and Antwerp; in 1951 he was in Rio de Janeiro, and from 1962 he was living in Israel.  He debuted in print in 1934 in Khazonim-velt (Cantors’ world) in Warsaw.  After 1945 he published theater and music criticism, as well as political articles, in: Unzer vort (Our word) in Paris; Idishe prese (Jewish press) in Rio; Idishe tsaytung (Jewish newspaper) in Buenos Aires; Nayer moment (New moment) in São Paolo; Letste nayes (Latest news) in Tel Aviv; and elsewhere.  In book form: Gedank (Thought) (Rio de Janeiro, 1954), 26 pp.; Yidishe muzik in poyln tsvishn beyde velt-milkhomes (Jewish music in Poland between the two world wars) (Tel Aviv: Federation of Polish Jews, 1970), 426 pp. + 78 pp.; Yidishe muzik un ire problemen (Jewish music and its problems) (Tel Aviv: Perets Publ., 1984), 248 pp.

Sources: P. Gelbart, in Al hamishmar (Tel Aviv) (March 4, 1968); Z. Vasertsug, in Idishe tsaytung (Buenos Aires) (October 15, 1968); Sh. Rozhanski, in Idishe tsaytung (October 27, 1968); R. Shushni, in Yisroel shtime (Tel Aviv) (May 27, 1970); M. Tsanin, in Letste nayes (Tel Aviv) (June 5, 1970); Dov Sadan, Avne miftan, masot al sofre yidish (Milestones, essays on Yiddish writers), vol. 3 (Tel Aviv: Perets Publ., 1971/1972), pp. 260-61.
Ruvn Goldberg

Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 437.