Wednesday 21 November 2018


BEN-TSIEN FESLER (FESSLER) (1894-September1942)
            He was born in Gwoździec, near Kosów, eastern Galicia, into a Hassidic family.  He studied in religious elementary school, high school, and university.  He held the title of doctor of law.  At the time of WWI, he left with the flow of refugees to Vienna.  There he served in the Austrian army.  In his student years, he befriended Dr. Nosn Birnboym (Nathan Birnbaum), was active in the Zionist student organization “Kadima” (Onwards), and later became involved in Birnboym’s circle.  He returned to Poland, settled in Kolomaye, and became a lawyer with a certain renown, as he played a leading role in the Agudat Yisrael movement, especially in “Poale Agudat Yisrael” (Workers of Agudat Yisrael).  He contributed journalistic pieces, essays, and poetry to an array of Orthodox newspapers and journals, among them: Der id (The Jew) in Warsaw; and Beys-yankev-zhurnal (Beys Yankev journal), Ortodoksishe yugnt bleter (Orthodox youth sheets), and Yidish arbeter-shtime (Voice of Jewish labor) in Lodz; among others.  In book form: Yidishe religye un di yidishe natsye, a kritisher pruv (Jewish religion and the Jewish nation, a critical attempt) (Warsaw: Yeshurun, 1929), 32 pp.; Fun malkhes yisroel biz malkhes shaday (From the kingdom of Israel to the kingdom of God) (1934); Arum dir! (Around you!), poetry (Warsaw-Lvov-Kolomaye: Yaades, 1938), 62 pp.  He was murdered by the Nazis in the Bełżec death camp.

Sources: Yoysef Volf, Kritishe minyaturn (Critical miniatures) (Cracow, 1939); Shloyme Bikl, in Tog-morgn-zhurnal (New York) (June 14, 1954); Moyshe Prager, Antologye fun religyeze lider un dertseylungen (Anthology of religious poems and stories) (New York, 1955), pp. 105-28; Hillel Zayman, in Ela ezkera (These I remember), vol. 3 (New York, 1959), pp. 175-81; Y. Sheyn, Biblyografye fun yidishe oysgabes (Bibliography of Yiddish publications) (Warsaw, 1963).
Yankev Kahan

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