LAZAR FOG(E)LMAN (May 27, 1888-September 13, 1970)
The adopted name of Leyzer Feygelman, he was born in Nesvizh (Nesvyžius), Minsk district, Byelorussia. His father Simkhe, founder of the first “cheder metukan” (improved religious elementary school) in Nesvyžius, gave his son a Jewish and secular education himself. As an external student, Lazar put off his examinations to the Slutsk high school. In 1906 he entered the seventh class of Warsaw’s Second High School and graduated in 1908 with a medal. He then entered the law faculty of Warsaw University, graduated in 1912, and one year later submitted his dissertation on “author’s rights with literary works.” He went on to study at the [Bekhterev] Psychoneurological Institute in St. Petersburg. He debuted in print with a story “Na pliazhe” (At the beach) in a St. Petersburg-based, Russian-language literary journal, and at that time he became a lecturer in advanced courses in Russian literature. At the beginning of WWI in 1914, he was legal counsel for the submarine factory “Reks,” and he later worked for a petroleum firm “Mazut.” In the years of the Bolshevik Revolution, he worked as a teacher and administrator of secular schools in Vitebsk, Horodok, Slutsk, and finally in his hometown of Nesvyžius, where he was a teacher of Russian literature and Latin in an eight-level girls’ high school. In 1921 he emigrated to the United States, settled in New York, and after making preparations he entered the law school at Fordham University; he graduated in 1927 and planned to practice as an attorney. In the meantime, he worked as a teacher in Workmen’s Circle schools and contributed to the Labor Zionist daily newspaper Di tsayt (The times), edited by Dovid Pinski, until the paper ceased publication, and also for Tog (Day). He began publishing in Forverts (Forward) a series of descriptions of Jewish life in Bolshevik Russia, and the editor Ab. Cahan asked him to write on a regular basis. In 1927 he became an internal contributor to Forverts and published a series of biographies of great personalities in literature and theater, as well as stories and literary criticism, both under his own name and as Dr. F. Lazar, Tevelyez, F. Soloveytshik, and L. Eydelman. In the year following Cahan’s death in 1951, Hillel Rogof became editor and Fogelman administrative editor of Forverts. When Rogof resigned in 1962, Fogelman became editor. In the years of his intensive journalistic activity, he was also a lecturer and the first director of Workmen’s Circle courses, a teacher in the Workmen’s Circle middle school, a lecturer in the Jewish teachers’ seminary, a member of the educational division of the Workmen’s Circle, and treasury of this organization. He also contributed as a journalist, reviewer, and critic to a number of other serials, principally Der veker (The alarm), organ of the Jewish Socialist Union, and to Di tsukunft (The future). After the death of A. Lyesin, he edited Di tsukunft together with Hillel Rogof over the years 1939-1940. He also placed work in: the anthology Vilne (Vilna) (New York, 1935); the Russian-language collection Evreiskii mir (Jewish world), published by the association of Russian Jews (New York, 1944), a long treatment on Jewry in the United States; and the Russian journal Novyi zhurnal (New journal) (New York) 59 (1960), a lengthy study of Sholem-Aleichem. On several occasions, he served as president of the Y. L. Perets Writers’ Association, the professional organization of Yiddish journalists in New York. He prepared for publication a collection of essays on Jewish and non-Jewish writers, on personalities and political life, among them a number of American presidents. His weekly journalistic article in Forverts was dedicated to Jewish and non-Jewish issues of the day. In 1936 he published a series of travel narratives following a tour of a number of European countries; in 1951, after a trip to the state of Israel, at the request of the government of Israel, and as a member of a group of American journalists to participate in the first airplane trip by El Al Airlines from Lod Airport to New York, he published in the newspaper an important series of articles on the Jewish state. Fogelman’s first wife was Bella Damesek, sister of the Hebrew-Yiddish writer Shloyme Damesek. His second wife was the daughter of Berl Botvinik. Their firstborn son Simkhe (Simon) died in WWII fighting the Nazis. His books include: Buker t. vashington (Booker T. Washington) (New York: Workmen’s Circle, 1930), 29 pp.; Pavel akselrod, zayn perzenlakhkeyṭ, lebn un gezelshaftlakhe arbet (Pavel Akselrod, his personality, life, and community work) (New York: Jewish Socialist Union, 1928), 32 pp.; Unzer ring, geshikhte fun dem arbiter-ring (Our circle, history of the Workmen’s Circle) (New York: Workmen’s Circle, 1931), 32 pp. He died in Minneapolis.
Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 3; Hillel Rogoff, Der gayst fun forverts (The spirit of the Forward) (New York, 1954), pp. 163-65, first published in Forverts (New York) (May 16, 1953); Y. Sh. Herts, Di yidishe sotsyalistishe bavegung in amerike, 70 yor sotsyalistishe tetikeyt, 30 yor yidishe sotsyalistishe farband (The Jewish socialist movement in America, seventy years of socialist activity, thirty years of the Jewish Socialist Union) (New York, 1954), see index; Shloyme Damesek, Mipo umisham (From here and there) (New York, 1956), pp. 102-7; Arbeter-ring boyer un tuer (Builders and leaders of the Workmen’s Circle), ed. Y. Yeshurin and Y. Sh. Herts (New York, 1962), pp. 305-6; S. Regensberg, in Forverts (June 16, 1962); Y. Shmulevitsh, in Forverts (June 28, 1962; December 2, 1962); Korot haitonaim hayehudim (Jerusalem) 9 (November 25, 1965); Who Is Who in World Jewry (New York, 1938), p. 284; Who Is Who in World Jewry (New York, 1965), p. 265; Yefim Yeshurin, 100 yor moderne yidishe literatur, biblyografisher tsushteyer (100 years of modern Yiddish literature, bibliographical contribution) (New York, 1966).