Sunday 9 December 2018


FILIP FRIDMAN (PHILIP, FILIP FRIEDMAN) (April 27, 1901-February 7, 1960)
            His Yiddish first name was Yerukhem-Fishl, born in Lemberg, eastern Galicia.  There he received his high school diploma and proceeded to study history at the University of Vienna over the years 1920-1925, while at the same time talking courses in Jewish subject matter at the local Hebrew institute (1920-1922).  In 1922 he received his teacher’s diploma from the pedagogical institute, and in 1925 his doctor of philosophy degree.  For a short time, he served as director of the Tarbut school in Volkovisk (Wołkowysk), later working as a teacher of Hebrew and history at the Jewish high school in Konin.  From 1925 to 1939, he was a teacher at the Jewish high school in Lodz.  He was a lecturer at the YIVO courses for research students in Vilna (1935-1936) and instructor in Jewish scholarly history in the Judaic institute in Warsaw (1938-1939).  He spent the years of WWII in Poland, and after liberation, in the autumn of 1944, he was in Lublin where he (together with several colleagues, who were historians) founded the Central Jewish Historical Commission in postwar Poland.  From that point, he dedicated himself to research work on the Holocaust at the time of Nazi rule.  Until 1946 he was director of the Historical Commission and at the same time a lecturer in Jewish history at Lodz University (1945-1946).  He left Poland in 1946 and worked for a time as an expert on Jewish affairs for the International Court for War Criminals in Nuremburg.  Over the years 1946-1948, he was director of the culture and school department of the Joint Distribution Committee in the American Zone in Germany.  In October 1948 he came to the United States, and he was soon appointed as an instructor in Jewish history at Columbia University in New York.  He served as director (1949-1954) of the Jewish teachers’ seminary, and from 1954 until his death, director of the bibliography section at YIVO and Yad Vashem.  This bibliography section was a gigantic project established at Fridman’s initiative and on the basis of a massive collection of materials that he, with the assistance of his wife, Dr. Ada Eber-Fridman, amassed over the course of years.  The goal of the project was to publish a full bibliography of all books, essays, articles, and the like, which are connected to the Jewish Holocaust.  In his lifetime, the first volume of the bibliography was published, and it was comprised of books in the Hebrew language.  Ready for publication was as well the “Guide” to the English books (in partnership with Dr. Y. Robinzon [see below]).  Fridman began writing in 1918, and over the years 1918-1920 he published a number of articles in various Zionist youth publications in Lemberg.  His first historical work was: “Die Judenfrage im galizischen Landtag 1861–1868,” Monatsschrift für Geschichte und Wissenschaft des Judentums 72 (1928), pp. 379-90, 457-77.  He later published a great number of research works, articles, and reviews in numerous periodicals and collections, among them: Yunger historiker (Young historian), Landkentnish (Agriculture), Haynt (Today), Yivo-shriftn (Writings from YIVO), Yivo-bleter (Pages from YIVO), Tsukunft (Future), Idisher kemfer (Jewish fighter), Kultur un dertsiung (Culture and education), Kiem (Existence), Dos idishe bukh (The Yiddish book), Fun noentn over (From the recent past), Tsien (Zion), Bitsaron (Fortress), Sefer hashana leyehude galitsiya (Annual of Galician Jewry), Kriyat sefer (Republic of letters), Metsuda (Citadel), and Gilyonot (Tablets), among others.  In other languages he published in: Kwartalnik Historyczny (Historical quarterly), Miesięcznik Żydowski (Jewish monthly), Opinia (Opinion), and Przegląd Historyczno-Wojskowy (Historical and military review), among others in Polish; Jewish Social Studies, Historia Judaica, Jewish Frontier, Jewish Book Annual, American Historical Review, and Proceedings of the American Academy for Jewish Research, among others, in English.  Fridman’s research work on WWII was initially linked to themes in general Jewish history, but later he concentrated on more specific topics, such as the history of Jews in Galicia, and ultimately he dwelt on the history of Jews in Lodz.  After the war the center of Fridman’s interests remained solely on the topic of the Holocaust.  To this group of research works belongs, first and foremost, his monographs on destroyed Jewish communities (Bialystok, Bełchatów, and others), his work on Auschwitz, the Warsaw Ghetto, and Zaglada Zydow polskich w latach 1939–1945” (The destruction of Polish Jews, 1939–1945), Biuletyn Komisji Badania Zbrodni Niemieckich w Polsce (Bulletin of the Commission for the Investigation of German Crimes in Poland) (Warsaw) 6 (1946), pp. 165–206; and other work.  He also penned a great number of reviews of and responses to Holocaust books in various languages.  His last work that was published posthumously was: “Ukrayinish-yidishe batsiungen in der tsayt fun der natsisher okupatsye” (Ukrainian-Jewish relations in the time of the Nazi occupation), Yivo-bleter (New York) 41 (1958).  The aforementioned works, though, still did not raise Fridman’s visibility in the field of Holocaust research.  A much greater impact was exerted by his work on the collection of bibliographical materials from the Holocaust, a work that gave him the comprehensive opportunity to take command over the field of Holocaust research.  Over time he edited or contributed to editorial collectives of a number of history periodicals and anthologies: Nasze Życie, pismo młodzieży (Our life, a youth magazine) in Lodz (1928-1932); Landkentenish (Agriculture) in Warsaw (1932-1934); Lodzher visnshaftlekhe shriftn (Lodz scholarly writings), a division of YIVO (1938); about twenty publications of the Central Jewish Historical Commission in Poland which appeared over the years 1945-1946; Hamshekh (Continuation) in Munich (1948-1949); Shriftn far literatur, kunst un gezelshaftlekhe fragn (Writings for literature, art, and community issues) (together with B. Ts. Hibel) in Munich (1948); Yivo-bleter 37 (1953); Fun noentn over 1 (1955); Yankev shatski tsum ondenk (To the memory of Yankev Shatski) (New York, 1957); an anthology for Salo Baron on his sixtieth birthday; and the trilingual Jewish Book Annual (1959); among others.  A mimeographed pamphlet entitled Writings of Philip Friedman, a Bibliography (New York, 1955), 34 pp., including 304 items and indexes, is the fullest guide to Fridman’s works.  In book form: Kadmoniyot hayehudim beeropa, haayim hapolitiyim (Antiquities of the Jews in Europe, political life) (Warsaw: Ever, 1928), 46 pp.; Kadmoniyot hayehudim beeropa, haayim hakalkalim vehapenimiyim (Antiquities of the Jews of Europe, economic and domestic life) (Warsaw, 1929), 44 pp.; Die galizischen Juden im Kampfe um ihre Gleichberechtigung (1848-1868) (The Galician Jews in the struggle for their equal rights, 1848-1868) (Frankfurt-am-Main: J. Kauffmann, 1929), 212 pp.; Korot hayehudim betekufa haadasha, 1789-1814 (History of the Jews in the modern era, 1789-1814) (Lodz, 1934), 88 pp., second edition (Warsaw, 1937); Dzieje żydów w Łodzi od początków osadnictwa żydów do r. 1863 (The history of Jews in Łódź from the beginning of the Jewish settlement until 1863) (Lodz, 1935), 390 pp.; Zagłada Żydów lwowskich (The destruction of Lemberg’s Jews) (Lodz, 1945), 38 pp., Yiddish edition as Der umkum fun di lemberger yidn (Munich, 1947), 40 pp.; German Crimes in Poland (Munich, 1947), 40 pp.; To jest Oświeçim! (This is Auschwitz!) (Warsaw, 1945), 106 pp., English translation by Joseph Leftwich as This Was Oswiecim. The Story of a Murder Camp (London, 1946), 86 pp., Yiddish translation Oshvyentshim (Auschwitz) (Buenos Aires, 1950), 223 pp., Spanish translation by Dr. A Zinger (Buenos Aires, 1952), 170 pp.; Martyrs and Fighters: The Epic of the Warsaw Ghetto (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1954), 320 pp.; Their Brothers’ Keepers (New York, 1957), 224 pp.; editor, Bibliografiya shel hasefarim haivriyim al hashoa vehagevura (Bibliography of Hebrew books on the Holocaust and heroism in Europe) (Jerusalem: Yad Vashem-YIVO, 1960), 433 pp.; Guide to Jewish History under Nazi Impact, with Dr. Y. Robinzon (New York, 1960), 425 pp.; Biblyografye fun yidishe bikher vegn khurbn un gvure (Bibliography of Yiddish books on the Holocaust and heroism) (New York: YIVO, 1962), 330 pp.; Roads to Extinction: Essays on the Holocaust (New York, 1980), 610 pp., edited by his wife.

Sources: Avrom Reyzen, in Di feder (NewYork) (1949); Y. Hirshhoyt, in Yivo bleter (New York) 35 (1951); Hirshhoyt, in Tsukunft (New York) (July-August 1965); Hirshhoyt, in Der veg (Mexico City) (April 26, 1966); Meylekh Ravitsh, in Keneder odler (Montreal) (November 17, 1952; July 29, 1958; February 22, 1960; November 5, 1962); M. Khinoy, in Der veker (New York) (June 1, 1958); M. Khizkuni, in Bitsaron (New York) (Adar [= February-March] 1960); A. V. Yasni, in Letste nayes (Tel Aviv) (February 2, 1960); Y. Shmulevitsh, in Forverts (New York) (February 11, 1960; July 7, 1962); Ber Mark, in Yidishe shriftn (Warsaw) (February-March 1960); Y. Rabinovitsh, in Keneder odler (February 10, 1960); Y. Pat, in Tsukunft (March 1960); Shloyme Bikl, in Tog (New York) (March 10, 1960); D. Sahn, in Byalistoker shtime (New York) (April 1960); Y. Trunk, in Yediot bet loame hagetaot (Haifa) (April 1960); Trunk, in Tsukunft (October 1961); Trunk, Geshtaltn un gesheenishn (Images and events) (Buenos Aires, 1962); A. Shin, in Fraye arbeter shtime (New York) (April 1960); L. Shpizman, in Keneder odelr (November 14, 1960); Shpizman, in Der veg (December 3, 1960); Shpizman, Geshtaltn (Images) (Buenos Aires, 1962); Rokhl Oyerbakh, in Di goldene keyt (Tel Aviv) 37 (1960); Y. Mark, in Jewish Book Annual (New York) (1960-1961); Froym Oyerbakh, in Tog-morgn-zhurnal (New York) (November 19, 1961); Dr. E. Noks (Knox), in Tsukunft (February 1962); Dr. N. M. Gelber, in Ḥokhmat yisrael bemaarav eropa (Jewish studies in Western Europe) (Jerusalem-Tel Aviv, 1962), pp. 206-10; M. Bauminger, in Hadoar (New York) (June 21, 1963); A. Lurye, in Afn shvel (New York) (July-August 19660.
Yekhiel Hirshhoyt

[Additional information from: Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 454.]

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