YEKHEZKL FREYLIKH (CHARLES A. FREILICH) (August 11, 1905-September 23, 1955)
He was born in Ostrov (Ostrów), Lomzhe district, Poland. He studied in religious elementary school and yeshiva. From Poland he moved to Argentina. He graduated from the Jewish teachers’ seminary and New York City College, and received the degree of “bachelor of social science.” He attended Syracuse University, and he received an M. A. degree from New York University. He worked as a teacher in the Workmen’s Circle and Sholem-Aleichem schools. He was a member of the central committee of “Aḥdut Avoda-Poale-Tsiyon (Unity of labor and Labor Zionism), a member of the Zionism Council, and the Education Commission. He began writing in the 1930s. In 1939 he debuted in print with an essay on Sholem Asch’s Der man fun natseres (The man from Nazareth) in Chicago’s Yidisher kuryer (Jewish courier)—he later published essays and stories over the course of several years in this same serial. He also contributed work to: Tsukunft (Future) and Tog (Day) in New York; Kiem (Existence) in Paris; Di goldene keyt (The golden chain) in Tel Aviv; and the English-language journal Opinion; among others. Over the years 1949-1953, he served as literary editor of Undzer veg (Our way) in New York (using the pen name Y. Gil). In book form: Viderklangen, dertseylungen (Echoes, stories) (New York, 1948), 319 pp.; Yoysef opatoshus shafungs-veg (Yoysef Opatoshu’s creative approach) (Toronto: Gershon Pomerants essay library, 1951), 164 pp.; Doyres, dertseylungen (Generations, stories) (Buenos Aires, 1955), 308 pp. In Hebrew: Metsada verom (Masada and Rome), a historical novel, translated from a posthumous manuscript by M. Aram (Tel Aviv: Perets Publ., 1962), 83 pp.
“The influence of Opatoshu on Freylikh was not accidental,” noted Shloyme Bikl, “for there was without a doubt a certain creative kinship of spirit between the stormy literary strider, the teacher [rebbe] Yoysef Opatoshu, and the quiet and restless stepper [talmid], the pupil Yekhezkl Freylikh. As was true of Opatoshu, so too Freylikh possessed his own capacity in the ancient religious texts, and also a passion for literary ‘ex-libris’ motives, namely he was happy to weave his narratives around figures whose design was to be found somewhere in a story of the distant past. As was true of Opatoshu, so too Freylikh had a subtle sense of history, and the images and figures of spiritual heroism in Jewish history attracted and captivated him. And there was somewhere in Freylikh, as there was in his teacher Opatoshu, the chief endowment of an artistic, picturesque quality lying as it were in the shape of the spiritual side of his heroes.”
Sources: Shmuel Niger, in Tog (New York) (May 16, 1948; September 16, 1952); Avrom Reyzen, in Di feder (New York) (1949; 1951-1952); Dr. A. Mukdoni, in Morgn-zhurnal (New York) (January 16, 1949); A. Glants-Leyeles, in Undzer veg (New York) (June 1951); Y. Berliner, in Der veg (Mexico City) (March 3, 1956); Shloyme Bikl, in Tog-morgn-zhurnal (new York) (September 16, 1956); Bikl, Shrayber fun may dor (Writers of my generation), vol. 2 (Tel Aviv, 1965); Sh. D. Zinger, Dikhter un prozaiker, eseyen vegn shrayber un bikher (Poets and prose writers, essays on writers and books) (New York, 1959), pp. 325-31; Zinger, in Undzer veg (December 1962; January 1963; September 1965).