Friday 30 November 2018


YISROEL FRID (b. October 24, 1908)
            He was born in Bershad, Vinitse (Vinnytsa) region, Ukraine.  He attended religious elementary school and public school.  In 1921 he came to the United States and graduated from a middle school in Philadelphia.  From 1927 he was linked to Frayhayt (Freedom) in New York, and he published in it reportage pieces and local news.  From 1934 he became the news- and managing-editor of the newspaper.  He was in charge of a column entitled “Tog-tsu-tog” (Day to day), using the pen name “A Gastrolyor.”  He wrote stories and literary criticism as well for: Signal (Signal), Proletarishe dertsiung (Proletarian education), Yidishe kultur (Jewish culture), and Zamlungen (Collections), among others.  He was last living in New York.

Sources: A. Pomerants, in Proletpen (Kiev, 1935); R. Yukelson, in Morgn-frayhayt (New York) (March 13, 1959).
Khayim Leyb Fuks


SHIYE FRID (June 1908-mid-1945)
            He was born in Varklyen (Varakļāni), Latvia.  He published stories in the daily Yiddish press.  He contributed to the Latvian almanac, Riger shriftn (Riga writings) (Riga: Skola, 1936), pp. 29-38.  During WWII he was confined in the Riga ghetto.  His diary, which he kept in the ghetto over the course of a short period of time, was discovered under the ruins of the Riga ghetto.  He died in Stutthof Concentration Camp.

Sources: A. Riger, Almanakh fun riger relif (Almanac of Riga assistance) 3 (New York, 1948); B. Mark, Umgekumene shrayber fun di getos un lagern (Murdered writers from the ghettos and camps) (Warsaw, 1954), p. 210; D. Volpe, A vort in zayn tsayt (A word in its time) (Johannesburg, 1984), pp. 230-31.
Leyb Vaserman


            He was the author of Di idishe gliken, a tragedye in 5 akten un 6 kartines mit 3 zing-lider, a geshikhte vos hot zikh getrofen in an idisher shtodt in lito (Jewish luck, a tragedy in five acts and six scenes with three songs, a story that transpired in a Jewish city in Lithuania) (St. Petersburg, 1888/1889).

Sources: Z. Zilbertsvayg, Leksikon fun yidishn teater (Handbook of the Yiddish theater), vol. 6; Y. Kh. Ravnitski, in Yudishe folks-biblyotek (Odessa) 2 (1889).

Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 451.


DOV FRID (June 2, 1870-December 2, 1966)
            He was born in Moscow three months after his father’s death and therefore received the Jewish name of “Dov, son of Dov.”  His mother remarried in Sosnovitse (Sosnovitsa), a town in Ukraine, and Dov was raised by his grandfather in Moscow.  He studied in a Russian high school.  His grandfather brought a Jewish tutor from Vilna for his grandson to teach him Bible and Talmud.  At age eleven he left to join his mother.  At age thirteen he had already published a lengthy essay in Hamelits (The advocate).  He spent time with Perets in Warsaw, and the latter encouraged him to write.  He later became a major silk manufacturer.  He was a patron of Yiddish writers and in general a philanthropist and a leader in the Moscow Jewish community.  He spent time in prison under the Bolsheviks, and he experienced a miracle fourteen times of not being shot.  Over the years 1921-1932, he lived in Kovno, Lithuania.  In 1933 he made aliya to the land of Israel.  He opened a chemical factory in Jerusalem.  All these years, he never ceased writing (he also wrote in Russian).  His favored genre was the short story in good taste and with slight and refined humor.  He published in many Jewish and Gentile publications throughout the world: in Warsaw’s Haynt (Today), Lodzher tageblat (Lodz daily newspaper), and others in Poland; and in Heymish (Familiar) and Letste nayes (Latest news), among others, in Tel Aviv.  He was the author of several books in Yiddish and Hebrew.  In the last years of his life, he brought out: In a shturmish lebn (In a violent life) (Tel Aviv-Jerusalem, 1958), 240 pp.; Mentshn un tsaytn, skitsn un bilder (People and times. Sketches and images) (Tel Aviv, 1963), 238 pp.

Sources: A. V. Yasni, in Letste nayes (Tel Aviv) (May 30, 1958); Y. Shmulevitsh, in Forverts (New York) (June 3, 1963); Ilustrirte velt-vokh (Tel Aviv) (June 5, 1963); obituary notice in Letste nayes (December 14, 1966).
Benyomen Elis


            He came from Volhynia.  From the publishing company of Rozenkrants and Shriftzetser, he published Di traye liebe (The devoted love), “a novel of modern times” (also a play in four acts) (Vilna, 1891), 103 pp.  The play is written in verse.  Further information remains unknown.

Source: Zalmen Zilbertsvayg, Leksikon fun yidishn teater (Handbook of the Yiddish theater), vol. 4 (New York, 1963), p. 3153.
Yankev Kahan


            He was born in Telenesht (Telenesti), Bessarabia.  He studied in religious elementary school, a yeshiva in Odessa, and with private tutors.  In 1906 he moved to Argentina.  He worked on the land for a while, and later he was a business employee.  He became active in the first Labor Zionist group in Buenos Aires.  He was one of the first poets in pioneering Yiddish-language periodicals.  He published lyrical and ethnic nationalist poetry, short stories, and translations of midrashim in: Broyt un ere (Bread and honor), Der avangard (The avant-garde), and Di idishe hofenung (The Jewish aspiration) in Buenos Aires (1908-1913); later contributing to Di idishe tsaytung (The Jewish newspaper) and in Hebrew to Dorem (South), among others, in Buenos Aires.  In book form: Lider (Poetry) (Buenos Aires, 1920), 96 pp., with a preface by Moyshe Pintshevski.  In late 1933 he made aliya to the land of Israel.

Sources: Sh. Rozhanski, Dos yidishe gedrukte vort un teater in argentine (The published Yiddish word and theater in Argentina), vol. 1 (Buenos Aires, 1941), pp. 135, 176-77; Y. Botoshanski, Mame yidish (Mother Yiddish) (Buenos Aires, 1949), p. 212.
Khayim Leyb Fuks


YISRAEL-DOV FRUMKIN (October 29, 1850-May 10, 1914)
            The father of Avrom and Gad Frumkin, he was born in Dubrovna, Mogilev Province, Byelorussia, into a Hassidic Chabad family.  In 1860 he made aliya to the land of Israel with his parents and settled in Jerusalem.  His father hired for him special tutors and teachers of French, English, and German.  At age fifteen he was married to the daughter of R. Yisrael Bak, pioneer of the printing business in Israel.  In late 1870, his father-in-law revived the publication of the Hebrew-language periodical Haavatselet (The daffodil), and he (Yisrael-Dov) helped to edit it.  In 1874 he became its sole editor.  In 1877 he and Mikhl Hakohen published in Jerusalem the first Yiddish newspaper in the land of Israel, Di roze (The rose)—its full title was: avatselet di roze, a yidisher familyen blatt, far ale oyeve-tsien (Daffodil, the rose, a Yiddish family newspaper, for all lovers of Zion), “Jerusalem, to appear for the time being twice each month.  Published by Yisroel Dov Frumkin, Mikhl Hakoyen, Jerusalem, first year, number 1, Iyar 2 [= April 15], Trl”z [1877].”  Frumkin was an energetic community leader.  He struggled to create a healthy life in the land of Israel.  He founded the association “Tiferet Yerushalayim” (Glory of Jerusalem), aimed at improving the lives of the poor and to keep them away from the missionaries.  He contributed to Perets Smolenskin’s Hashaḥar (The dawn) in Vienna.  He also translated many items from Dr. Meir Lehman’s fictional writings.  He died in Jerusalem.

Sources: B. Koralnik, in Tsukunft (New York) (March 1928), p. 169; Y. Sh. Shpiglman, in Forverts (New York) (July 17, 1932); “Lua zikaron” (Calendar for remembrance), Hadoar (New York) (November 29, 1935); M. Unger, in the anthology Lekavod dem 250stn yoyvl fun der yidishe prese (In honor of the 250th anniversary of the Yiddish press) (New York, 1937), pp. 165-67; M. Kosover, in Lekavod dem 250stn yoyvl fun der yidishe prese, p. 213; D. Tidhar, in Entsiklopedyah lechalutse hayishuv uvonav (Encyclopedia of the pioneers and builders of the yishuv), vol. 1 (Tel Aviv, 1947), pp. 489-90; G. Kressel, Mivar kitve yisroel dov frumkin (Selected works of Yisrael-Dov Frumkin) (Jerusalem, 1953/1954); Y. Evri, in Keneder odler (Montreal) (August 8, 1955).
Yankev Kahan


GAD FRUMKIN (August 2, 1887-March 1960)
            The son of Yisrael-Dov Frumkin and the brother of Avrom Frumkin, he was born in Jerusalem.  He was a lawyer working for the Turkish government and later chief justice of the peace in Jerusalem.  He was also chairman of the youth organization “Bnei Yehuda” (Children of Judah).  From 1920 he was president of the society for Jewish law (Mishpat Haivri).  He served on the editorial board of his father’s Haavatselet (The daffodil), later becoming full-fledged editor.  He wrote journalistic articles in Yiddish and Hebrew under the pen name “Gefen.”  He died in Jerusalem.

Sources: Sefer haishim (Biographical dictionary) (Tel Aviv, 1937), pp. 396-97; A. R. Malachi, in Hadoar (New York) (June 6, 1947).


            He was born in Minsk, Byelorussia.  He completed his doctoral degree in humanities and philosophy at the University of Geneva.  He was a pioneer in the Jewish labor movement.  He was a member of the foreign committee of the Bund and secretary for the central bureau of the Bund’s organization abroad.  He took part in important Bundist conferences and meetings.  Together with F. Kurski and M. Vinokur, in 1913 he prepared a lengthy work on the Bund in the revolutionary years of 1905-1906, which was published in 1913 in German in Archiv für Sozialwissenschaft und Sozialpolitik (Archive for social sciences and social politics); it was translated into Yiddish by Yoysef Leshtshinski and published as “Der bund in di revolutsyonere yorn 1905-06” in Warsaw in 1930.  He published a research piece, “Zubatovshchina i evreiskoe rabochee dvizhenie” (The Zubatov regime [Tsarist secret police] and the Jewish labor movement) in Perezhitoie (The past) (St. Petersburg) 3 (1911).  He contributed to the illegal and legal Bundist press in Yiddish and Russian.  He was co-editor of: Arbayter bletel (Workers’ flyer) in the late 1890s and Der minsker arbayter (The Minsk worker) in the early years of the twentieth century—both illegal in Minsk; Der veker (The alarm), the first illegal, trade union publication in Warsaw (1898-1903), also editor for a time; Arbayter shtime (Workers’ voice), illegal (1897-1905); Folkstsaytung (People’s newspaper) in Vilna (1906-1907); Nasha tribuna (Our tribune); Di tsayt (The times); Unzer tsayt (Our times) in St. Petersburg (1913-1914).  He also placed work in Tsukunft (Future) and other serials in New York.  Among his pen names: Nelin.  At the time of the split in the Bund in 1920, he joined the “Kombund” (Communist Labor Bund).  Until the early 1930s he lived in Moscow.  Subsequent details remain unknown.

Sources: Vladimir Medem, Fun mayn lebn (Of my life), vols. 1 and 2 (New York, 1923); A. Kirzhnits, Yidishe prese in der gevezener rusisher imperye, 1823-1916 (The Yiddish press in the former Russian empire, 1823-1916) (Moscow, 1930), see index; John Mill, Pyonern un boyer (Pioneers and builders) vols. 1 and 2 (New York, 1946), see index; F. Kurski, Gezamlte shriftn (Collected writings) (New York, 1952), see index; Geshikhte fun bund (History of the Bund), vols. 1-3 (New York, 1960, 1962, 1966).
Khayim Leyb Fuks


AVROM FRUMKIN (1889-February 1961)

            He was a Soviet prose writer, editor, and literary researcher who lived in Moscow. He worked as the assistant to the director of the Moscow-based Yiddish press “Der emes” (The truth). He contributed work to the Moscow anthologies: Heymland (Homeland) and Tsum zig (To victory). Together with Nokhum Oyslender, he compiled, edited, and annotated three volumes of Sholem-Aleichem’s selected works (Moscow: Emes, 1948). He wrote explanations and notes to: Mendele’s Masoes benyomen hashlishi (The travels of Benjamin III) and Fishḳe der krumer (Fishke the lame) (Moscow: State Publisher for Artistic Literature, 1959), 422 pp.; and a volume of Y. L. Perets’s stories In keler-shtub (In a basement apartment) (Moscow: State Publisher for Artistic Literature, 1959). He also wrote occasional stories himself. He died in Moscow.

Sources: Y. Nusinov, in Eynikeyt (Moscow) (August 5, 1942); T. Gen, in Eynikeyt (October 2, 1945); obituary notice, in Folks-shtime (Warsaw) (March 2, 1961); 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), see index.

Benyomen Elis

[Additional information from: and 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), p. 298.]

Thursday 29 November 2018


AVROM FRUMKIN (April 1873-April 29, 1940)
            The son of Yisroel-Dov Frumkin and the brother of Gad Frumkin, he was born in Jerusalem.  In 1889 he became a teacher of Arabic in Yisroel Belkind’s school in Jaffa.  Around 1890 he left for Constantinople to study Turkish and law.  He began writing for his father’s Haavatselet (The daffodil), as well as for Hamelits (The advocate) and Hatsfira (The siren).  He debuted in print in Yiddish in 1896 in the anarchist serial Der arbayter fraynd (The worker’s friend) and was for a short time editor as well.  In 1897 he published in London an anarchist serial, Der propagandist (The propagandist), of which roughly eleven numbers appeared.  Between 1899 and 1904, he lived in New York and was a regular contributor to Forverts (Forward) and Di idishe velt (The Jewish world), as well as Chicago’s Hapisga (The summit).  He later settled in Paris and was an active correspondent and writer (using the pen name Aviv) for Fraynd (Friend) in St. Petersburg.  A few years later, he moved to London and took an active part there in the anarchist serials, Der arbayter fraynd and Der zherminal (Germinal), edited by Rudolf Rocker.  In these he published numerous translations from modern European and Russian literature (as a rule, probably not from the original).  Among his translations, the following books appeared in London, mostly from the presses of L. Fridman or “Arbayter fraynd”: Anton Chekhov’s comedies, Der ber (The bear [original: Medved’) and Der shidekh (The match [original: Predlozhenie]), published together (1905), 36 pp.; Henrik Ibsen’s drama, Di shtitsen fun der gezelshaft (The pillars of society [original: Samfundets støtter]) (1906), 109 pp., Di vilde ente (The wild duck [original: Vildanden]) (1910), Yohn gabriel berkman (John Gabriel Borkman), and Ven mir toyte ervakhen (When we dead awaken [original: Når vi døde vågner] (1906); Leonid Andreyev’s story, Azoy es iz geven (How it was); Maxim Gorky’s Dray menshen (Three men [original: Troe]), “Malva” (Malva [original: Mal’va]), “Der royter vaksa” (The red polish), Der khan un zayn son (The khan and his son [original: Khan i ego syn]), Di herren fun lebn (The masters of life [original: Khoziaeva zhizni]), and Di shtunden (The hours); Knut Hamsun’s novels, Hunger (Hunger [original: Sult]), Pan (Pan), and Misteryen (Mysteries [original: Mysterier]), and a collection of his short stories; Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson’s Ertsehlungen (Stories) (1909), 163 pp.; Gerhart Hauptmann’s drama, Eynzame menschen (Lonely people [original: Einsame Menschen]); Multatuli [pseud. Eduard Douwes Dekker], Liebes brief (Love letters) (1911), 194 pp.; Luize mishels lebens-beshaybung, geshriben fun ir aleyn (Louise Michel’s life story, written by herself [original: Mémoires de Louise Michel écrits par elle-même]) (1906); Israel Zangwill, Der eynzamer filozof, borekh shpinoza (The lonely philosopher, Baruch Spinoza), offprint from his series “Dreams of the Ghetto” (1907); Zangwill, Troymer fun ghetto (Dreamers of the Ghetto), 9 booklets (1909); John Henry Mackay, Di anarkhistn, kultur bilder fun 19-ten yorhundert (The Anarchists: A Picture of Civilization at the Close of the Nineteenth Century), 2 vols. (1908-1910); Octave Mirbeau’s drama, Gesheft iz gesheft (Business is business [original: Les Affaires sont les affaires] (1908), 162 pp.; Maurice Maeterlinck’s Der umgebetener gast (The uninvited guest [original: L’intruse (The intruder)]) (1906), Di blinde (The blind [original: Les aveugles]), and Mona vana (Mona Vana) (1909); Robert Louis Stevenson’s Mayselekh (Stories) and D”r dzhekel un m”r hayd (Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde), with B. Rouz (1911), 155 pp.; a volume of stories by Anatole France; Perets’s Di akhte opteylung in genehem un andere ertsehlungen (The eighth section of hell and other stories [original: Mador hashemini shebagehenom]), from Hebrew (1907), 103 pp.; Peter Kropotkin, Broyt un frayhayt (Bread and freedom [original: La Conquête du Pain]), with M. Katts (1906), 344 pp., Di anarkhistishe filozofye (The anarchist philosophy) (1907), 94 pp.; Elisée Reclus, Evolutsyon, revolutsyon un der anarkhistisher ideal (Evolution, revolution, and the anarchist ideal [original: Èvolution, la révolution et l'idéal anarchique]) (1908); Georg Büchner, Dantons toyt, a tragedye in dray aktn (Danton’s death, a tragedy in three acts [original: Dantons Tod]) (1905), 80 pp.; Stepniak-Kravchinski’s Dos untererdishe rusland (The underground Russia [original: Podpolʹnaya Rossiya]) (New York, 1921), 253 pp.; Rudolf Rocker’s Hinter grates (Behind bars); and Georg Brandes, Anatol frans (Anatole France), 54 pp.; among others.  In Fraye arbeter-shtime (Free voice of labor), he published his translation of Felix Hollaender’s “Der adoptirter zun” (The adopted son) and Bernard Kellerman’s “Benkshaft” (Nostalgia).  Frumkin’s original work in book form would include: R’ yisroel bal-shem-tov, der grinder fun khsidizmus, zayn leben, tetigkeyt un filozofye (Rabbi Israel Bal-Shem-Tov, the founder of Hassidism, his life, activities, and philosophy) (New York, 1903), 40 pp.; In friling fun yidishn sotsyalizm, zikhroynes fun a zhurnalist (In the spring of Jewish socialism, the memoirs of a journalist) (New York, 1940), 404 pp.  In addition, Frumkin participated in the Yiddish edition of Bernshteyn’s “Natur-visnshaftlekhe folks-bikher” (Popular books on natural science), published by L. Fridman (London, 1908-1913), in eighteen parts, which went through several editions—most of this was reworkings of the anarchist M. Shapiro.  He also published an entire series of stories concerning Jewish life in the land of Israel and Turkey in Forverts, Arbayter fraynd, and elsewhere, and he published in a variety of American Yiddish periodicals “Mayselekh fun der gmore un medresh” (Tales from the Talmud and Midrash).  During WWI he left London and moved to New York, and there he worked for the anarchist weekly Fraye arbeter-shtime.  In his final years he worked for a provincial Yiddish newspaper in the United States, later for Tog (Day), initially writing articles about theater, later still a regular contributor and theater reviewer for Morgn-zhurnal (Morning journal).  He was among the first to introduce European writers into Yiddish literature.  He died in New York.
            “Frumkin, who was no great theoretician,” wrote A. R. Malachi, “but primarily a capable journalist with a novelist’s talent, placed greater weight on the living written word, an artist’s depiction, elucidation, and agitational material, than on the difficult theoretical treatments that the masses at that time lacked the capacity to understand properly.”

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 3; Khayim Aleksandrov, in Tsukunft (New York) (June 1907); Benyomen Finkel, in Tsayt (New York) (August 1920); Avrom Reyzen, in Tsukunft (March 1930); Reyzen, Epizodn fun mayn lebn (Episodes from my life) (Vilna, 1935), pp. 48-49; A. R. Malachi, in Hadoar (New York) (May 17, 1940); Malachi, in Fraye arbeter-shtime (New York) (January 1, 1960; February 1, 1960; February 15, 1960; March 1, 1960; July 1, 1960; August 1, 1960; August 15, 1960; September 15, 1960; October 1, 1960; October 15, 1960; December 1, 1960; December 15, 1960; January 15, 1961; April 15, 1966); B. Rivkin, in Yidishe velt (Philadelphia) (June 27, 1940); Shoyel Ginzburg, in Tsukunft (June 1940); Elye (Elias) Shulman, Geshikhte fun der yidisher literatur in amerike (History of Yiddish literature in America) (New York, 1943); Rudolf Rocker, in Fraye arbeter-shtime (July 30, 1948); Kh. Gotesfeld, in Forverts (New York) (December 18, 1958); G. Kressel, Mivar kitve yisroel dov frumkin (Selected works of Yisrael-Dov Frumkin) (Jerusalem, 1953/1954);  Moyshe Shtarkman, in Hadoar (Sivan 4 [= May 23], 1947).
Yankev Kahan


SHIMEN-SHMUEL FRUG (1860-September 22, 1916)
            He was born in the village of Bobrovy-Kut, Kherson district, Ukraine.  This village was the first Jewish agricultural colony in Russia and was established in the days of Tsar Nicholas I.  (In the 1920s, in Soviet times, the village was incorporated into Kalinindorf and was the center of the first Jewish autonomous region in the Soviet Union.)  The subsequent national Jewish poet engulfed himself in this healthy Jewish national sensibility, and this became the seedling and the soil for his future poems.  He studied in the religious elementary school in the village.  Very little was taught there.  His only accomplishment there was that he did learn Tanakh and became attached to the Prophets.  Later, as a lad of fourteen or fifteen, he taught himself Hebrew grammar, and he spent days and nights with the books of Isaiah, Ezekiel, and Amos.  The familiar fields and the heroic times of the Bible years later became the foundational motifs of Frug’s poetry.  For four years, he attended the village Russian school.  At age fifteen he was obliged to think about food for his family, because his father was extremely ill.  The lad had a talent for writing, and he was sent off to the big city, Kherson, and he submitted to being a scribe for the local crown rabbi.  There with the rabbi, he confronted Jewish poverty, the persecuted and suffering, and this revealed to him the muse of a “persecuted people.”  He would later become the community spokesman for them.
            Frug’s first poetic attempts were in Russian.  In 1880 he debuted in print in the Russian Jewish journal Razsvet (Dawn) in St. Petersburg with a pair of poems.  For this first outing, he also won the hearts of the editors.  They summoned him to St. Petersburg to stay and contribute to their journal.  Because of the edict on residential rights, he was registered as a clerk for a lawyer named Varshavski.  Years of poetic glory ensued for Frug, and years as well of persecution and great need.  Frug became involved in the Bohemian life of the big city.  He had to sell his pen to the popular newspapers, and he squandered his talent writing trash.  For a certain period of time, he lived next door to Shimen Dubnov.  In Dos bukh fun mayn lebn (The book of my life), the great Jewish historian recounts as follows: “Compliments from the critics had a worse effect than a good one on Frug.  He was a poet who was in fashion….  He often wrote as a fine versifier and not as an enthusiastic poet.  He spun about in a whirlwind of the great world just fine.…  And I witnessed how in the poet’s soul, which was engrossed in the cares of the world of vanities, the fires of the spirit’s effusion flared up, and how the bridge stones of the capital city made him homesick for his fields of home.”  Frug survived yet another personal tragedy.  His wife was a Christian.  According to the laws of the land, she was not permitted to convert to Judaism.  He thus was obliged to live neither with Jews nor with Gentiles.  Around 1906 he came down with a kidney disease, and he had to leave St. Petersburg and return South.  In 1909 he settled in Odessa, and there he acquired the position of inspector for an insurance company and joined a circle of Odessan wise men.  He traveled about the Pale of Settlement and read his works aloud before Jewish audiences.  There, his only beloved daughter died at age thirteen, and he was unable to bury her in a Jewish cemetery.  Her death and his own frightful illness shortened his own bitter life, and he died at age fifty-six.
            Frug was a bilingual poet, Russian and Yiddish.  He switched to Yiddish when he was already a well-known Russian poet.  Russian was only his language in which to create.  In essence he was thoroughly Jewish.  He was the first and the last great national Jewish poet in Russian.  Not by accident did aim Nachman Bialik say of him: “As far as I was concerned, Frug did not write in Russian.  Reading his Russian poems, I feel in every single word the language of our fathers.”  He was a contemporary of the Russian bourgeois poets Nikolai Nekrasov and Semyon Nadson, and his poetic voice reverberates with theirs and with other contemporary Russian poets.  Frug, though, was Jewish to the core, in both languages in which he wrote.  His poetry had an expressive ethnic face.  His poetic performance coincided with the era of pogroms in the year 1881.  He became the poet of elegy of a persecuted people.  “Frug was atavistic,” noted Dubnov, “as the continuation of our best creators of penitential prayers and lamentations, whose elegiac beauty very few modern historians have appreciated (Zunz, Sachs, Geiger).  In him lived the soul of a salan [composer of penitential prayers] of the famed Sefardic school of Moshe Ibn Ezra.  He was, though, able to exalt the poetic pathos of R. Yehuda Halevi.”  At that time, poetry was a social mission, and a poet was the messenger, the voice of the people.  Frug was a born lyricist, though he often suppressed in himself his inner lyricism.  He wrote very few purely lyrical, subjective poems.  He was the flagbearer of a great ethnic idea in poetry: eternal Israel, in both Russian and Yiddish.  His poetry in the two languages, however, is not at the same artistic level.  He was weaker in Yiddish than in Russian, especially in his first period.  The character of his poetry formed the cardinal different language climates of Yiddish and Russian, and the mentality of the divergent reader-public: in Russian, the intellectuals; in Yiddish, the folk masses.  Uppermost for him was the idea: the elucidation, the Jewish Enlightenment.  And, a cross-section was made of Frug’s poetry, so that one could see quite clearly how authentic lyricism and tendentiousness, poetic immediacy and didacticism match up, and frequently stand side by side, bringing out the contrast between them.
            Frug introduced into Russian poetry biblical motifs: poetic translations of the Prophets, tales from the Tanakh, and historical figures.  Later, the ethnic quality in his poetry (and in his prose, as well) grew out not so much from the days of the ancients as it did from the Jewish way of life: from the workaday lives of the recent past.  Therefore, his poetry in Russian is solemn and passionate, while in Yiddish it is ironic, with a smile, and even more often with a groan.  He was the lugubrious cantor of our poetry.
            Frug published his first items in Yiddish—poems and feature pieces—in 1888 in Yidisher folksblat (Jewish people’s newspaper), eight years after his debut in Russian.  Dr. L. Kantor was drawn to him—the same Kantor who had eight years earlier brought him to St. Petersburg from Kherson.  The subsequent years found Frug writing in both languages.  In Yiddish he published in Spektor’s Hoyz-fraynd (House friend), in Perets’s Yudishe biblyotek (Jewish library), in Fraynd (Friend), and elsewhere.  He belonged to the last generation of Jewish writers who were followers of the Enlightenment.  He was at the same time laying the groundwork for modern Yiddish poetry.  He came from Russian to Yiddish on the same pathway as Yude-Leyb Gordon came from Hebrew to Yiddish.  Y. L. Gordon’s Siat ulin, lider in der folksshprakh (Ordinary conversation, poems in the vernacular) of 1886 was for Frug the poetry school of Yiddish, or “zhargon” as people called it at that time.  For the biblical themes and the bourgeois motifs, Frug initially had no language.  He thus arrived with the Enlightenment moral, with the feature piece, and with witticisms and satire—making a little amusement, with a bit of a teaching tone, a little mockery, and some groaning to boot.  He, the recognized Russian poet, descended from his St. Petersburg “troika” [three-horse-drawn chariot] and installed himself in the workaday “troika” which lacked so much as tails and manes.  It was, as he put it in his poem: “The Jewish troika: prayer, repentance, and charity.”  This was Frug’s beginning.  Later, though, he arrived at genuine poetic mastery in Yiddish.  As Dubnov noted: “Frug, who at that time had already been elevated to the Russian Parnassus by the great Russian critics, descended for a while to ‘zhargon.’  Although he began recklessly, in a scattered fashion, he later became all the more serious and profound.  A warm tide of the folk soul moved him, animated his language, and sent his lyrical thought soaring.  He was still blessed with twenty years of life to ascend in Yiddish to the heights of his Russian lyricism.”
            There fell to Frug an opportunity to execute a creation in Yiddish poetry, away from poring over and beginning to knead and form the poem anew in a poetry unknown to modernism.  In his poem “Mayn epitafye” (My epitaph), he recounts how he “with all my strength, with my last tooth, bit and tore up zhargon, shackled the beloved language of our mothers, peppered with caesura, salted with rhymes, to make it a little tenderer and rouse up that likable odor of Vilna’s marketplace and Dinaburg’s butcher shops.”  Not even once did Frug speak in an unrestrained manner, but this is more resentment than antipathy.  He concluded his introductory word to the edition of Yiddish poems (Odessa, 1904) with the words: “The poor, solitary Yiddish poem needs to live and prosper and grow and ring out!”
            Frug brought over from Russian a variety of poetic genres, the architectonics of the poem, the tonal verse-system—the entire poetic arsenal, the most complex and refined artistic means without which the modern poet cannot make do.  Frug’s achievement for modern Yiddish poetry was colossal.  “The best Yiddish authors of verse of his era,” wrote N. B. Minkov, “were primitive craftsmen…without any poetic cultivation or tendentious prose writers in rhymes.”  Frug’s influence on Yiddish poetry was, it would seem, much greater than his technical innovations.  He expanded the horizons of our poetry, and he introduced historical-romantic and historical-heroic genres of and themes for poetry.  He initiated modern ethnic and social motifs, and in this his service to Yiddish poetry was probably greater than his pioneering, technical precision.  He was the first to introduce into poetry the fresh air of fields and forests.  “In nature,” noted Bal-Makhshoves, “he sensed the great soul of the world, life, which flows in thousands of currents, with one source, from which a healthy people draw life and love of life, the strength to live.  And, thus, Frug was the new man in our literature, and hence the tone of his poetic fiddle was so wonderfully new, so wonderfully fresh.”  The poetic thread extends from him to Ḥ. N. Bialik and Sh. Tshernikhovski—in Hebrew poetry—and to Yehoash, Mani Leib, and right down to our own day—in Yiddish poetry.
            Frug’s selected Russian poems had a motto on the title page: “God destined for me doubly in life—striving for freedom and suffering from slavery.”  Striving for freedom and suffering from slavery were for Frug of a national character with a specific social hue.  Freedom meant for him national liberation, the land of our forefathers, the land of Israel; slavery meant the diaspora, the sufferings of the “persecuted people.”  At the time of the Russian Revolution in 1905, he wrote that the Jews should not allow themselves to be seduced by “bells of freedoms,” because these same bells that ring out liberation also call for striking the Jews.  Freedom was Zion.  The Jewish people could be redeemed from slavery only on their own land.  His book of poetry in Russian was titled Sionidy (Poems of Zion), and he also brought out a book in Yiddish called Tsien-lider (Poems of Zion).  In Dubnov’s words: “According to his moods, Frug was a Zionist much earlier that the movement in its name developed.  His well-known ‘March of Zion’ sounded from far off at the cradle of Ḥibat-Tsiyon (Love of Zion).  A child from a Jewish village, from the first step of his poetic activity, he dreamt of physically healthy Jews fixed to the soil; and brought up with the Tanakh and permeated by its beauty, he dreamt ceaselessly of the holy cradle of eternal glory.”
            Frug’s poetry contains no great number of poems on social topics.  And although in some of them, one senses a didactic tone, their fundamental tone is so genuinely of the people, so honest and naïve, that the more honest the poetic wine, all the stronger the taste.  His ballad “Dem shamuses tokhter” (The synagogue beadle’s daughter) is a poetic pearl.  “Der kos” (The goblet), “Lid fun der arbet” (A song about work), and “Di fon” (The banner) can be included in anthologies and readers even today.
            Frug’s poetry—the Russian and even more the Yiddish—were sung among the people, especially “Zamd un shtern” (Sand and stars) and “Lid fun der arbet,” among others.  A number of his feature pieces retain a permanent value.  He also demonstrates here a pioneering quality and a high level of attainment.  In addition, he brilliantly translated into Russian Bialik and Ravnitski’s Yiddish tales (from the Talmud and Midrashim) in four parts (1900).  Frug was among the first to translate Perets into Russian.  He also did editorial work.  Together with the agronomist M. Veler, he edited the Land-arbeter (Worker on the land), a calendar for colonists and gardeners: first yearbook (Vilna, 1901), 247 pp.  He was also the editor of the Russian editions of: Sholem Ash, Razskazy (Stories), 3 vols. (St. Petersburg, 1908-1909); and Y. L. Perets, Razskazy un skazki (Stories and tales) (St. Petersburg, 1909).  Frug’s work was represented in numerous anthologies and readers (in Yiddish, Russian, Hebrew, and other languages).  His own work was published in translation in Hebrew, Polish, English, and other languages as well.
            Schematically, Frug’s very first collaboration in Yiddish appeared as follows in: Baylage tsum yudishn folks-blat (Supplement to Jewish People’s Newspaper) 3 (1988) (at the time, Dr. Y. L. Kantor had already assumed the editorship of Yudishe folks-blat [Jewish people’s newspaper] from A. Tsederboym) in which Frug’s first Yiddish story, “A khosn” (A bridegroom), was published, and the editorial board remarked: “We are delighted to see that the widely recognized Russian poet Frug is devoting his pen to our vernacular as well.”  That same year, Frug published in the same organ a large number of poems and feature pieces.  He often filled out entire issues of the Baylage (Supplement).  In issue 42, Frug published what appears to be his first original Yiddish poem in blank verse, “Al tiftekh pe lesotn” (Don’t open your mouth to the devil): “An allegory with such fine rhythm which was Frug’s most important accomplishment for Yiddish poetry,” note Zalmen Reyzen.  His first nature poems (the first of this sort in Yiddish poetry) were published in the Baylage (issue 16).  In 1888 he also contributed to: M. Spektor’s Hoyz-fraynd; Sholem-Aleichem’s Yudishe folks-biblyotek (Jewish people’s library); the collection Dos heylike land (The holy land) and other Yiddish publications; in the anthology Yudishe biblyotek 2, he published his “Der bekher” (The wineglass), which Perets translated from Frug’s original Russian.  For a period of time, Frug fell silent.  In 1896 his first Yiddish book was published: Lider un gedanken (Poems and ideas).  He began to compose in Yiddish again when the journal Der yud (The Jew), later Der fraynd (The friend), commenced publication.  Frug contributed intensively to this journal.  When he moved to Odessa, his name no longer appeared on his Yiddish publications.  About 1914 he began to publish in Moment (Moment) his “Zikhroynes” (Memoirs).  Only a small portion of them saw the light of day in print, because of the eruption of WWI.  His many pseudonyms would include: Ben-Tsvi, Bobrovokutski, S. F., G. S., Slutsheyni Felyotonist, and Yeronim Dobri.  Shortly before he departed this world, he set to write a pair of poems in Hebrew—his first and last such poems—entitled “Al eresh dvai” (On one’s deathbed).  This was his life’s dream: settling an ethnic debt, departing this world a complete Jew.
            His books in Yiddish would include: Ale verk (Collected works), 2 vols. (St. Petersburg: Der fraynd, 1904), vol. 1, 156 pp., vol. 2, 149 pp.; Ale shriftn (Collected writings), 3 vols. (New York: Hebrew Publishing Co.), vol. 1 “Poezye” (Poetry) (1910), 336 pp., vol. 2 “Poezye” (1927), 312 pp.; vol. 3 “Proze un poezye” (Prose and poetry) (1927), 316 pp.—not a complete edition of his work but more complete than Ale verk; Oysgeveylte shriftn, far idishe shulen un heymen, mit der byografye fun frugn un a verterbikhl fun di shverere verter (Selected writings for Jewish schools and homes, with a biography of Frug and a little dictionary of the harder words) (New York: Hebrew Publishing Co., 192?), 136 pp.; Oysgeveylte shriftn (Buenos Aires, 1960), 212 pp., with an introduction by Sh. Rozhanski.  Separately—shorter and pamphlet-length works: Lider un gedanken (Odessa, 1896), 160 pp.; Der nayer rabiner (The new rabbi) (New York: Hebrew Publishing Co., 1909), 18 pp.; Dos shteysel (The mortar) (Kishinev-Vilna, 1913), 32 pp.; Hot rakhmones (Have mercy), music by H. Levkovitsh (New York, 1915), 5 pp. (folio); Zamd un shtern, music by A. Bernshteyn (New York, 1916), 5 pp. (folio); and Lid fun der arbet, music by Yankev Vaynshtok (New York, 1917), 5 pp. (folio); among others.
            In Hebrew: Yaakov Kaplan, trans., Shire frug (The poems of Frug), with a preface by Ruvn Brainin (Warsaw: Tushiya, 1898), 382 pp., another edition of this work appeared in 1913/1914 without the translator’s name.  A subsequent translation by A. Levinson, Sh. sh. frug (Sh. Sh. Frug), appeared in 1940/1941; and Y. Spivak, trans., Sipurim (Stories) (Tel Aviv: Amiai, 1955), 141 pp.
            In Russian (original works): Stikhotvorenia (Poems) (St. Petersburg, 1885, 1890, 1897); Dumy i pecni (Thoughts and songs) (St. Petersburg, 1887, 1890, 1897); Vstrechi i vpechatlenia (Encounters and impressions) (1898); Eskizy i skazki iz evreiskogo byta (Sketches and tales from the Jewish way of life) (St. Petersburg, 1898); Sionidy (St. Petersburg, 1901); Poemy i stikhi (Poetry) (Shanghai, 1943), 100 pp.  Frug’s collected Russian poetry was published in 1905—six volumes and an improved edition appeared in 1912.
            In English translation, we have: The Undying Fire (New York, 1938), 16 pp.
            “What Frug did in Russian,” wrote M. Y. Berditshevski, “I do not know.  But I do happen to know about his Yiddish poems.  It seems to me that they would make a genuinely great impression, if there were only a quarter of them.  One reads a poem by Frug and another, and one hears in them the voice of living Jews.  But, if one reads more and more, it seems as though they are liturgical hymns from a holiday prayer book.  These are not poems, and neither are these songs of a people; for they are prayers, true prayers from a prayer book, and as a simple Jew says his prayers and doesn’t understand them, it would be the same as praying with the words of Frug.  I believe this to be true.  And if Frug achieved only this much, then let his memory be for a blessing!”

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 3, with a bibliography; Bal-Makhshoves, Geklibene shriftn (Collected writings), vol. 1 (Vilna, 1911), pp. 123-30; Bal-Makhshoves, in Tsukunft (New York) (March 1922); Moyshe Olgin, in Tsukunft (February 1915); Olgin, in Yidishe literatur (Kiev, 1928); Shmuel Niger, in Tsukunft (May 1922); Niger, Bleter geshikhte fun der yidisher literatur (Pages of history from Yiddish literature) (New York, 1959); Z. F. Finkelshtein, Stürmer des Ghetto (Striker of the ghetto) (Vienna, 1924); Uri Finkel, in Tsaytshrift (Minsk) 1 (1926); Sh. Hurvits, in Der yidisher velt almanakh (The Jewish world almanac) (New York, 1927); 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; M. Gros, in Literarishe bleter (Warsaw) (July 22, 1927); Khayim-Dov Hurvits, in Yidishe literatur (Kiev, 1928), part 1; Kalmen Marmor, in Yidishe literatur (Kiev, 1928); A. Koralnik, Dos bukh fun vortslen (The book of roots) (Warsaw, 1928); Shimen Dubnov, in Literarishe bleter (December 28, 1928); Dubnov, in Tog (New York) (October 16, 1932; November 26, 1932; December 25, 1932); Dubnov, in Fun “zhargon” tsu yidish un andere artiklen, literarishe zikhroynes (From “zhargon” to Yiddish and other articles, literary memoirs) (Vilna, 1929), pp. 143-77; Dubnov, Dos bukh fun mayn lebn, zikhroynes un rayoynes (The book of my life, memoirs and thoughts) (New York-Buenos Aires: Kultur-kongres, 1962), pp. 179-81, 188, 278-79; M. Shalit, Lukhes in undzer literatur (Calendars in our literature) (Vilna: Alt-nay, 1929); H. D. Nomberg, Mentshn un verk (People and their writings) (Warsaw, 1930); Y. D. Berkovitsh, in Forverts (New York) (March 1, 1931); Avrom Reyzen, in Bodn (New York) (autumn, 1935); Yankev Glatshteyn, In tokh genumen (In essence) (New York, 1947); Glatshteyn, in Tog-morgn-zhurnal (New York) (January 22, 1960; October 16, 1966); Glatshteyn, in Idisher kemfer (New York) (October 30, 1966); Y. Shatski, in Di prese (Buenos Aires) (September 23, 1953); Y. Rodak, Kunst un kinstler (Art and artists) (New York, 1955); L. Kobrin, Mayne fuftsik yor in amerike (My fifty years in America) (Buenos Aires, 1955); Yosef Heftman, Am veadam (Nation and man) (Tel Aviv, 1956); B. Y. Byalostitski, Kholem in vor, eseyen (Dream in reality, essays) (New York, 1956); A. Dimov, in Tsukunft (April 1957); A. Levinson, Ketavim (Writings) (Tel Aviv, 1958/1959); L. Faynberg, in Tog-morgn-zhurnal (November 8, 1959); Faynberg, in Yidisher bukh almanakh (New York) (November 15, 1959); Faynberg, in Fraye arbeter-shtime (New York) (November 15, 1966; December 1, 1966); Meylekh Ravitsh, in Keneder odler (Montreal) (December 7, 1959); M. Yofe, in Keneder odler (January 1, 1960); Yofe, in Unzer vort (Paris) (January 23, 1960); Shimen frug biblyografye (Bibliography of Shimen Frug) (New York, 1960), 15 pp.; N. Mayzil, in Tsum hundertstn geburtstog fun shimen frug (On the 100th birthday of Shimen Frug), a collection of criticism concerning the poet (New York, 1960); Mayzil, Tsurikblikn un perspektivn (Retrospectives and perspectives) (Tel Aviv: Perets Publ., 1962), see index; Chone Shmeruk, comp., Pirsumim yehudiim babrit-hamoatsot, 1917-1961 (Jewish publications in the Soviet Union, 1917-1961) (Jerusalem, 1961), see index; Y. Rapaport, Zoymen in vint (Seeds in the wind) (Buenos Aires, 1961); Rapaport, in Di yidishe post (Melbourne) (January 13, 1967); Froym Oyerbakh, in Tog-morgn-zhurnal (September 22, 1961); Y. Klausner, Behitorer am (Amid the awakening of the people) (Jerusalem, 1962), see index; B. Ts. Kats, Zikhronot (Memoirs) (Tel Aviv, 1963); Moshe Basok, Mivar shirat yidish (Selected Yiddish poetry) (Tel Aviv, 1963); L. Yofe, Ketavim (Writings) (Jerusalem, 1964); Kh. Nadel, in Sovetish heymland (Moscow) (March 1965); Shmuel Shapiro, Asher leoram halakhti (Whose light I have followed) (Tel Aviv, 1965/1966), pp. 231-33; M. Hampel, in Idishe tsaytung (Tel Aviv) (September 14, 1966); Hempel, in Hapoal hatsayir (Tel Aviv) (Elul 26 [= September 11], 1966); Ben-Tsien Bruker, in Keneder odler (November 27, 1966); Yoysef Mendelson, in Di naye tsayt (Buenos Aires) (December 2, 1966; December 23, 1966); Sh. D. Zinger, in Yidisher bukh almanakh 24 (1966/1967), pp. 91-96; M. Ungerfeld, in Di goldene keyt (Tel Aviv) 57 (1966), pp. 229-33; G. Kressel, Leksikon hasifrut haivrit badorot haaḥaronim (Handbook of modern Hebrew literature), vol. 1 (Tel Aviv, 1966/1967), pp. 651-52.
Yankev Birnboym


SORE FRUME (1890-March 29, 1960)
            The pen name of Frume-Sore (Fanny) Volfov, she was born in Loyev (Loyew), Minsk district, Byelorussia.  In 1913 she came to the United States and went to work in a sweatshop.  She debuted in print with a story entitled “A tsirk fun shney” (A circus of snow) in Kinder zhurnal (Children’s magazine), edited by Shmuel Niger, in New York (1925).  From that point in time, she contributed stories, sketches, and impressions to virtually every issue of Kinder zhurnal.  She also placed work in: Kinder tsaytung (Children’s newspaper) in New York; Der shpigl (The mirror), Far groys un kleyn (For big and small), Kinderland (Children’s land), and Argentiner beymelekh (Little Argentinian trees) in Buenos Aires; Lomir kinder lerner (Let’s study, children) in Warsaw; and Far undzere kinder (For our children) in Paris; among others.  She died in New York.

Sources: Biblyografishe yorbikher fun yivo (Bibliographic yearbooks from YIVO) (Warsaw, 1928), see index; Biblyografye fun yidishe bikher vegn khurbn un gvure (Bibliography of Yiddish books concerning the Holocaust and heroism) (New York, 1962), see index; obituary notices in the Yiddish press (March 30, 1960).
Khayim Leyb Fuks


NOSN FRUKHTER (FRUCHTER) (September 21, 1891-March 1967)
            He was born in Bolekhov (Bolekhiv), eastern Galicia (Poland).  He studied in religious elementary school and completed six classes of public school.  In 1910 he moved to Germany, settling in Hamburg, and he began to write for Israelitisches Familienblatt (Jewish family newspaper) there.  Around 1914 he made his way to Argentina.  He published sketches and stories in the first daily [Yiddish] newspaper in Buenos Aires, Der tog (The day) as well as in Di idishe tsaytung (The Jewish newspaper).  In 1917 he became a regular contributor to the weekly Di gezelshaft (The society), in which, aside from sketches and stories, he published a novel about Jewish life in Argentina, entitled In der fremd (Abroad)—issues 33-58, though never completed.  He also gave weekly overviews of the war, also using the pen names: Yosem, Ben Khayim, and Ben Hagole.  He also edited the last twenty-four issues of the periodical.  From 1919 he was co-editor of Di prese (The press) and from February 1923 also of the illustrated weekly journal, Far groys un kleyn (For big and small) together with Y. Botoshanski and Sh. Glazerman.  In book form: Di geshikhte fun argentine (The history of Argentina), from Marco Polo and Columbus to the Peron government, 2 vols. (Buenos Aires, 1944-1945); General san martin, der bafrayer (General San Martin, the liberator) (Buenos Aires, 1950), 195 pp.; Iberlebungen fun yankev ovinu un yoysef, maysehlekh fun khumesh (Experiences of Jacob, our forefather, and Joseph, tales from the Bible) (Buenos Aires: Argentiner beymelekh, 1951), 91 pp.  Among his pseudonyms: Manis Soyfer, Niti Feter, and N. Binshtok.  He died in Buenos Aires.

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 3; Sh. Rozhanski, Dos yidishe gedrukte vort un teater in argentine (The published Yiddish word and theater in Argentina), vol. 1 (Buenos Aires, 1941), p. 102; Rozhanski, in Tsukunft (New York) (September 1945); Pinkes galitsye (Records of Galicia) (Buenos Aires, 1945), pp. 243-44; Meylekh Ravitsh, in Tsukunft (November 1946); P. Kats, Geklibene shriftn (Selected writings), vol. 7 (Buenos Aires, 1947), p. 68; Grigori Aronson, in Tsukunft (March 1951); Aronson, in Yorbukh tsht”v fun der yidisher kehile in buenos ayres (1954/1955 annual of the Jewish community of Buenos Aires) (Buenos Aires, 1955), p. 303; Aronson, in Tsukunft (February 1955).
Yankev Kahan

Wednesday 28 November 2018


            He was the author Farglaykh-kalendar un familyen rekord fir geburten, khasenes un yortsayten far 216 yohr (Comparison calendar and family record for births, marriages, and death anniversaries for 216 years) (New York: Hebrew Publishing Co., 1925), 370 pp.

Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 451.


            He came from Kotsk (Kock), near Warsaw, Poland.  Over the years 1934-1939, he worked as a laborer in Warsaw.  He published poetry in: Yugnt-velker (Youth alarm), Der yunger dor (The young generation), and Inzer hofening (Our hope), among others, in Warsaw.  In book form: Lider on perspektivn (Poems without perspectives) (Warsaw, 1935), 24 pp.  There has been no further information about him since WWII.

Sources: Y. P. (Y. Pat), in Foroys (Warsaw) (September 3, 1935); Pat, in Literarishe bleter (Warsaw) (September 13, 1935); information from Shloyme Zaydel in Paris.
Khayim Leyb Fuks

Monday 26 November 2018


KHATSKL FRAKER (1907-June 18, 1923)
            He was born in Vilkomir (Ukmergė), Lithuania.  He studied in religious elementary school and later in the Vilkomir Jewish high school.  He was crowned poet of the high school for the senior classes.  He began writing poetry at age thirteen.  He also translated poetry from Russian.  At age sixteen he drowned with three high school friends in the Vilkomir River.  In 1933, ten years after his death, there was published in Kovno under the editorship of Yudel Mark a collection of Fraker’s poems entitled Khatskl frakers lider, nokhn tsentn yor-tsayt (The poems of Khatskl Fraker, after the tenth anniversary of [his] death), 79 pp.
            “This is a noteworthy poetry collection,” wrote Yankev Glatshteyn, “which throws into relief the tragic elimination of a highly talented poet with a feel for word and music, which he demonstrated when he was a fourteen-year-old lad.  He fell firmly under the influence of classical Russian poetry.  He even innocently inserted lines of Pushkin and Lemontov, but he clearly had his own tone and had the makings of a poet who could electrify a mood with several well-chosen lines.”

Sources: N. Y. Gotlib, in Lite (Lithuania), vol. 1 (New York, 1951), p. 1104; Yankev Glatshteyn, in Idisher kemfer (New York) (January 24, 1964).
Yankev Kahan


MOYSHE FROSTIG (November 6, 1887-February 14, 1928)
            He was born in Zlotshev (Złoczów), eastern Galicia.  He studied in religious elementary school.  He later attended a Polish high school in Lemberg and graduated from the law faculty of Lemberg University.  His journalistic work began in 1905 in Zionist organs (in Polish) and in Lemberg’s Togblat (Daily newspaper).  In 1909 he became editor-in-chief of Togblat until it ceased publication in 1926.  Over the years 1909-1913, he also published scholarly literary yearbooks under the title Yudisher kalendar (Jewish calendar)—a kind of sequel to G. Bader’s Folks-kalendar (People’s calendar).  After the revival of the Lemberg daily Der morgn (The morning), he served as chief editor of it.  With numerous journalistic articles and notices, he contributed as well to other Zionist organs in Poland and Galicia.  From 1913 he was the Galician correspondent for Varhayt (Truth), later for Tog (Day) in New York, and later still for Morgn-zhurnal (Morning journal) in New York.  He published a series of pamphlets, such as: Di idishe ekonomik un der tsienizmus (The Jewish economy and Zionism); Di shenker-frage in galitsyen, a kurtse belehrung far di yudishe shenker in galitsyen (The issue of saloon-keepers in Galicia, a short explanation of Jewish saloon-keepers in Galicia) (Lemberg, 1909), 23 pp.; and Iber dem poyle-tsienizmus (On Labor Zionism).  In his booklet Di folks tsehlung un ir bedaytung far yudn (The people’s wealth and its significance for Jews) (Lemberg, 1910), 61 pp.—the third edition was published in 20,000-30,000 copies—he came out on behalf of Yiddish.  In 1922 he was elected to the Polish Sejm and was among the most active members of Kolo, the Jewish club of deputies and senators in the Sejm, especially in the field of economics.  As a journalist and community leader, he played a major role in forming the Jewish political and Zionist stance for Galician Jewry.  As Galicia became part of independent Poland after WWI, the influence of Lemberg as a press center dropped off markedly.  Using the pseudonym Morfa, he also published hectographically a drama in Polish under the title Powrót (Return).  He died in San Remo from a lung ailment.

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 3; Literarishe bleter (Warsaw) (February 17, 1928); M. Vaykhert, in Literarishe bleter (February 24, 1928); Vaykhert, in Hadoar (New York) (February 18, 1928); Dr. Yoysef Tenenboym, Galitsye, mayn heym (Galicia, my home) (Buenos Aires, 1952), p. 166; Dovid Klinghofer, in Letste nayes (Tel Aviv) (March 5, 1954).
Yankev Kahan