Tuesday 4 December 2018


ALEKSANDER-ZUSHA FRIDMAN (FRYDMAN) (July 11, 1897-late April 1943)
            He was born in Sokhatshov (Sochaczew), Warsaw district, Poland, into a Hassidic family.  He acquired a reputation in his youth as a prodigy.  With the outbreak of WWI, he escaped to Warsaw.  At age twenty-two, he received ordination into the rabbinate, but he had no wish to become a rabbi.  For many years he was a leader of the Orthodox movement and its press in Poland.  He took part in all three meetings of Agudat Yisrael and was director of the youth faction.  He led a struggle in his local area for a positive connection with the rebuilding of the land of Israel.  His first years in Warsaw, he was employed as a bookkeeper, and later until WWII, he was director of education for Keren Hatorah (The Torah fund) center of Agudat Yisrael in Poland, a member of Vaad Hapoel (Zionist General Council) in Poland, and a member of the central world council of Agudat Yisrael, as well as being a member for many years of the presidium of the Jewish community council of Warsaw.  He began writing Torah novellae and Hebrew poetry at the time of his bar mitzvah.  Later, until WWII, he published hundreds of articles, impressions drawn from Jewish life, poetry in Yiddish and Hebrew, and translations from morality works, as well as aphorisms of the great Jewish minds in: Der yud (The Jew), Dos yudishe togbukh (The Jewish diary), the youth journal Tsayir (Youth), and Der flaker (The flare), among others, in Warsaw.  It was here that he published the beginnings of his Yiddish translations of Moshe Ḥaim Luzzato’s Mesilat yesharim (Path of the righteous).  He also contributed work to Beys yankev zhurnal (Beys Yankev journal) in Lodz—among other items, in the special Yiddish issue of May 1931, he published the start of his major work, “Di role fun yidish in khsides” (The role of Yiddish in Hassidism); and in the Hebrew journals: Haderekh (The road), Moriya (Moriah), Darkhenu (Our way), and Deglanu (Our banner), and as editor of the last of these.  In book form: Agudatenu (Our Agudat [Yisrael]), a booklet (Warsaw, 1921), in Yiddish and Hebrew, 24 pp.; Beys yankev, a ruf tsu di yidishe froyen un tekhter (House of Jacob, an appeal to the Jewish wives and daughters) (Warsaw, 1921), 28 pp.; Der toyre-kval, verter, rayoynes, hashkofes un aforizmen fun geoyne un gdule yisroel, af di volkhtlekhe sedres, haftoyres un af yomim toyvim (The wellsprings of Torah, words, ideas, opinions, and aphorisms, from the brilliant minds of Israel, to the weekly portions of Torah, the prophets, and holidays) (Warsaw, 1930-1939), 5 vols., 194 pp., initially published in notebooks; Tfiles yisroel, hilfs-bukh far limudim fun tfile un peyresh hatfile in di religieze shuln un heymen (Jewish prayers, auxiliary text for studying prayer and commentary on prayer in the religious schools and homes) (Lodz, 1938), 112 pp.  From the German he freely translated Samson Raphael Hirsch’s Tsu di yidishe muters (To the Jewish mothers) (Warsaw, 1922), 80 pp.  He was the author of Kesef mezukak (Refined silver) (Warsaw, 1923), 29 pp., the first section of a longer textbook of rule of the Talmud and foundations of subtle argumentation for the upper classes in school.  He was confined in the Warsaw Ghetto, where he directed a group of religious schools underground.  His speech, delivered before the meeting of Jewish leaders in the ghetto in July 1942, made an impression with its heartfelt call for an active resistance against the Germans.  In the final days of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, the Nazis seized him and sent him to the concentration camp at Poniatowa and there he was murdered.  The five volumes of his Der toyre-kval in Hebrew translation by M. Tsvi were published in Jerusalem in 1957.  A collection of his articles entitled Ketavim nivḥarim (Selected writings) appeared in Jerusalem (1959/1960), 160 pp.  He also wrote under such pseudonyms as: Paz, A Heymisher, Ish Shalom, Agudati, Aleksandroni, Ofer, A. Aharonzon, and Ben-Aharon.

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 3; Rabbi Y. S., in Moment (Warsaw) (November 25, 1938); Yankev Pat, Ash un fayer (Ash and fire) (New York, 1946), p. 58; Hillel Zaydman, Notitsn fun varshever geto (Notices from the Warsaw Ghetto) (Buenos Aires, 1947), p. 213; M. Ginzburg, in Keneder odler (Montreal) (May 13, 1956); M. Prager, in Fun noentn pover (New York) 2 (1956), pp. 491-95; M. Vaykhert, Yidishe aleynhilf (Jewish self-help) (Tel Aviv, 1962), pp. 328, 394; Shloyme Bikl, in Tog-morgn-zhurnal (New York) (November 8, 1963); Bikl, in Dos yidishe vort (New York) (Tamuz-Av [= June-August] 1964).
Khayim Leyb Fuks

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