Monday 24 September 2018


RUVN (REUVEN) FAHN (February 21, 1878-ca. late 1939)
            He was born in Starunye (Starunya), eastern Galicia.  His father had his own oil business and coal mines.  His mother descended from a great rabbinical lineage.  Fahn was educated in the village.  At age nineteen he married, moved to Halicz, and took up business.  Living in Halicz was an old Karaite community, and Fahn began to study its history.  He penned a series of historical and fictional works about the Karaites.  During WWI he fled to Vienna where he worked in the community library.  He served in the Austrian army and later returned to Galicia, living in Stanislaviv.  Under Ukrainian rule, he was secretary of the eastern Galician Jewish National Council.  He later reverted to his business affairs.  He was a follower of the Mizrachi movement.  In 1924 he traveled to the land of Israel as an agent for thirty-five Stanislaviv merchants to purchase land; he spent several months there and report a large number of reports from there.  In his early youth he wrote Hebrew poetry and debuted in print with a booklet entitled Bet yisrael, shir leumi al yisrael (House of Israel, national poem for Israel) (Drohobycz, 1896), 60 pp.  Over the course of forty-plus years, he contributed to virtually all Hebrew and Yiddish publications in Galicia, and additionally to: Hakedem (The vineyard) in St. Petersburg; Hatekufa (The epoch), Yidishes tageblat (Jewish daily newspaper), Morgn-zhurnal (Morning journal), and Forverts (Forward) in New York; as well as a number of German publications as well.  He served as editor (1924-1925) of Stanislaver nakhrikhtn (Stanislaviv reports), a supplement in the Sabbath issue of Lemberger tageblat (Lemberg daily newspaper).  We should also note: “Harav moshe kunitser” (Rabbi Moshe Kunitser), a cultural historical study of the Reform period, in Reshimot (Notes), edited by Bialik, Droyanov, and Ravnitski (1926).  In book form: Meḥaye hakaraim, tsiyurim vetipusim (From the lives of the Karaites, images and patterns) (Halicz, 1908); Fahn translated chapters from this volume into Yiddish and published them in various Yiddish-language serials.  The first volume of his collected writings on the Karaites appeared in 1929; the second volume in 1937.  Other books include: Tekufat hahaskala bevina (The Jewish Enlightenment period in Vienna) (Vienna and Brunn, 1919); Shelomo levinzohn, tsiyur toldoti-tarbuti (Shelomo Levinsohn, a cultural historical image) (Lemberg, 1922), 23 pp.; Geshikhte fun der yudisher natsyonal-oytonomye inem peryod fun der mayrev-ukraynisher republic (History of Jewish national autonomy in the period of the Western Ukraine Republic) (Lemberg, 1933), 257 pp.  At the beginning of WWII, the Red Army occupied Stanislaviv on September 17, 1939.  Several days later the N.K.V.D. (Soviet secret police) arrested Fahn, and from that point in time all signs of him vanished.

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 3; A. Kahana, in Lemberger tageblat 157 (1926); Dr. Y. Shatski, in Yivo-bleter (Vilna) 14.3-4 (1939), pp. 367-70; Yidishe shriftn (Yiddish writings), anthology (Lodz, 1946), remembrance section; Dr. F. Fridman, in Yivo-bleter (New York) 50 (1950); Y. Likhtnboym, Hasipur haivri (The Hebrew story) (Tel Aviv, 1955); Yorbukh fun der yidisher kehile in buenos ayres (1959/1960), p. 283; Genazim (Records) (Tel Aviv, 1961); Dov Sadan, Avne gevul, al ishim uderakhim (Boundaries, on personalities and ways) (Tel Aviv, 1964), pp. 118-29; Dr. A. Karalnik, Shriftn (Writings), vol. 2 (New York, 1940), pp. 137-43; Elchanan Indelman, in Udim (Firebrands) 1 (Jerusalem, 1960), p. 217.
Yekhiel Hirshhoyt

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