Tuesday 22 January 2019


Y. B. TSIPOR (January 20, 1888-early 1942)
            The literary name of Yitskhok Shter(k)man, he was born in Faleshti (Fălești), Bessarabia.  At age four he moved with his parents to Paris.  He studied there in a French school, graduated from university, and received his Ph.D. degree.  In 1912 he moved to Warsaw and until WWI worked as a teacher.  He later settled in Vlotslavek (Włocławek), and from there in 1928 he left for Paris, later still for Belgium.  He was the founder of and teacher at Y. L. Perets schools in Brussels and Antwerp.  He composed children’s poems for the students.  He was active as a speaker, mainly among Labor Zionists (right) in Poland, France, and Belgium.  His activities as a writer began for the French journal Revue bleu in Paris (1908).  Under the influence of Y. L. Perets, he switched to Yiddish and debuted in print with a series of fifteen articles entitled “Psikhologishe batrakhtungen” (Psychological considerations)—a kind of introduction to universal philosophy—in Idishe vokh (Jewish week) in Warsaw (1912).  He published poems, stories, children’s plays, dramas, articles on literature and art, and translations in: Lodzher tageblat (Lodz daily newspaper), the anthology Literatur (Literature), and Folksblat (People’s newspaper), among others, in Lodz; Varshever tageblat (Warsaw daily newspaper), Dos folk (The people), Ilustrirte velt (Illustrated world), Yudishe zamelbikher (Jewish anthologies) which he edited with Y. M. Vaysenberg, and Literarishe bleter (Literary leaves), among others, in Warsaw; the weekly Unzer rayon-tsaytung (Our local newspaper), Vlotslavek (Włocławek) which he also edited, Di naye prese (The new press), and Dos vort (The word) in Paris; Di yudishe prese (The Jewish press) and Belgishe bleter (Belgian leaves) which he co-edited, in Antwerp; among others.  His books included: Di shkhine in goles, a misterye in finf teylen (The divine presence in the diaspora, a mystery in five parts), concerning the legend surrounding Joseph Della Reina (Warsaw, 1913), 163 pp.; In bovl, dramatishe poeme in ferzen (In Babylonia, a dramatic poem in verse), with five parts and seven scenes (Warsaw, 1921), 189 pp.; Nakhes fun kinder, kinder-shpil in tsvey bilder (Pleasure from children, a children’s play in two scenes) (Warsaw, 1922), 49 pp.; Der ligner, kinder-shpil in tsvey bilder (The liar, a children’s play in two scenes) (Warsaw, 1922), 51 pp.—both of the last two children’s plays also appeared in Hebrew (Warsaw, 1923); Bay di toyern, dramatishe legende in fir teyln mit a prolog (At the gates, a dramatic legend in four parts with a prologue), the third part of his tragedy, Di shkhine in goles (Warsaw, 1923), 135 pp.; considerable attention was paid to his drama, Oyfshtand (Uprising) which played at the “Nayer teater” (New theater) in Warsaw in 1930, at the “Kunst-teater” (Art theater) in New York in 1933, and elsewhere.  Of his translations—among them Molière’s Tartuffe and Victor Hugo’s Lucrèce Borgia—the only one to be published was the first volume of Hippolyte Taine’s Philosophie de l’Art as Filosofye fun kunst (Warsaw, 1933).  Remaining in manuscript was: his novel Der ziveg (The match [marriage]); the dramas Der fuks (The fox), Naye doyres (New generations), and Daytshland iber ales (Germany above all others) which was in 1939 ready to be staged in Paris; the dramatic poem Hener (Roosters); a volume of critical articles Yunger yidishe dikhter in likht fun der pozitiver visnshaft (Young Yiddish poets in the light of positive science); and other works.  When the Nazis invaded Belgium in WWII, Tsipor left Brussels and lived in villages where he lived doing business; later, he lived for a time in Antwerp, from whence he was deported to the concentration camp at Malyn.  There he composed a number of poems which were popular among the Jews in the ghetto.  He was subsequently transported to Auschwitz where he was murdered.  A number of his last poems, written in the concentration camp, are included in: Shaye Zandberg, Funken in der nakht (Sparks in the night) (Tel Aviv, 1965).

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 3, with a bibliography; G. Ratner, in Arbeter tsaytung (Warsaw) (January 10, 1930); B. Shefner, in Folkstsaytung (Warsaw) (January 21, 1930); Dr. L. Fogelman, in Forverts (New York) (January 20, 1933); William Edlin, in Tog (New York) (January 20, 1933); Dovid Lehrer, in Tsukunft (New York) (April 1943); Meylekh Ravitsh, Mayn leksikon (My lexicon), vol. 1 (Montreal, 1945), pp. 209-11; F. Blank, in Unzer vort (Brussels) (June 20, 1947); B. Feder, in Naye prese (Paris) (April 2, 1948); M. Valdman, in Arbeter vort (Paris) (June 15, 1953); Khayim Leyb Fuks, in Fun noentn over (New York) 3 (1957), see index; Dr. M. Vaykhert, Varshe (Warsaw) (Tel Aviv, 1961), see index; Y. D. Lemel, in Unzer vort (Paris) (November 26, 1963); A. Dorf, in Unzer vort (Paris) (April 18, 1964); Shaye Zandberg, Funken in der nakht (Sparks in the night) (Tel Aviv, 1965), pp. 17-30; Y. M. Biderman, Seyfer vlotslavek (Volume for Włocławek) (Tel Aviv, 1967), see index.
Khayim Leyb Fuks

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