Thursday 6 December 2018


YISROEL FRIDMAN (April 11, 1878-March 18, 1934)
He was born in Botoșani, Romania.  He attended religious elementary school and high school in Botoșani.  In his youth he joined the socialist movement.  His journalistic activities began after his student years in Romania.  From 1893 to 1899, he wrote for the major daily newspapers in Bucharest and Jassy (Iași).  He began writing in Yiddish in romanization.  He wrote poetry, sketches, and articles for Arbayter (Worker) in Przemyśl and Idish folks blat (Jewish people’s newspaper) in Lemberg.  He was arrested for writing articles against the Romanian government, and in 1900 he was expelled from the country.  He survived a great deal until he made his way in July 1900 to the United States.  There he wrote for the Yiddish press: Forverts (Forward), Abendblat (Evening newspaper), Abendtsaytung (Evening newspaper), Tsukunft (Future), Morgn-zhurnal (Morning journal), Amerikaner (American), and Abendpost (Evening mail), among others.  For most of these years, he was a regular contributor to Yidishes tageblat (Jewish daily newspaper).  He wrote theater criticism under the pen name Yisroel der Yanki (other pseudonyms include: Ben-Yitskhok, Diogenes, Kritikum), as well as feature pieces and stories—mostly drawn from theatrical life.  He made a trip in 1911 through Europe and published interviews with Max Nordau, Alfred Dreyfus, Y. L. Perets, Professor Oppenheimer, August Bebel, Wilhelm Liebknecht, Jean Jaurès, and others.  Around 1918 he edited a weekly journal Teater un muving piktshurs (Theater and moving pictures).  His son, DAVID FRIDMAN, who died young, was the author of the Mendel Marants, an English-language novel translated into many languages, among them Yiddish.

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 3; Avrom Reyzen, in Tsukunft (New York) (May 1931); Amerikaner yor-bukh (American annual) (Philadelphia, 1934), pp. 244-98; Moyshe Shtarkman, in Hadoar (New York) (May 23, 1944); Literarishe bleter (Warsaw) 15 (1934).
Yankev Kahan

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