FRITZ MORDECHAI KAUFMANN (December 13, 1888-March 2, 1922)
A German Jewish journalist and scholar, he was born in Eschweiler, Germany. After becoming acquainted with the lives of Eastern European Jews, he became a Zionist and fighter on behalf of Yiddish. In 1913 he published the journal Die Freistatt (The free state), which was the first German organ to help cultivate the Yiddish language and literature. He also learned to read and speak Yiddish. In his journal he set up a section entitled “Jiddische Dichtung” (Yiddish poetry), in which he introduced examples of Yiddish poetry in Romanized transcription with German translation of: Ḥaim Naḥman Bialik, Y. L. Perets, Shimen Frug, Avrom Reyzen, Zalmen Shneur, A. Tsunzer, Morris Rozenfeld, Morris Winchevsky, Yehoash, Menakhem, Y. Fikhman, Dovid Eynhorn, Zusman Segalovitsh, and others. He also delved into Yiddish folklore and published several studies in this field: Das jüdische Folkslied (The Jewish folksong) (Berlin, 1919), 31 pp.; and his Die schönsten Lieder der ostjuden (The most beautiful songs of Eastern Jews) (Berlin, 1920), 100 pp. He died by his own hand in Berlin.
Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 3; Mikhl Vaykhert, in Letste nayes (Tel Aviv) (August 4, 1959); Shmuel Niger, in Tog-morgn-zhurnal(new York) (August 8, 1964).