Tuesday 23 April 2019


YISROEL-ZEV KREYER (ca. 1860-ca. 1919)
            Known by the name Y-Z Ben-Arye, he was born in Stoklishok (Stakliškės), Lithuania.  He was the son of an orchard guard.  He studied in Vilna yeshivas.  As an autodidact, he passed courses in a local school and later passed the examinations to be a public teacher.  In the late 1880s he was a teacher in a Vilna Talmud Torah, close to a circle of Jewish socialists and Vilna.  After the German occupation of Vilna during WWI, he left for his hometown, and there he died alone and forgotten.  He published: A velt mit veltelakh, a hekhst interesante ertseylung, velkhe makht erfahren menshin tsu zehen di velt mit ofene oygn (A world with microcosms, a highly interesting story which enables people to see the world with open eyes) (Vilna: Widow and Brothers Romm, 1894), 64 pp.  This is a semi-fictional reworking of Ivanov’s Russian pamphlet concerning elementary concepts in astronomy and geography, but set with a Jewish storyline with examples drawn from Jewish life.  It went through five or six printings and made the author very popular.  The publisher M. Katsenelenboygen contracted a booklet with him entitled A mensh mit menshelakh (A man with little men), though it is unclear if it ever appeared in print.  He translated the Pentateuch into Yiddish according to the interlinear system (published?), and he was also said to have published a storybook entitled Der futer (The fur coat).  Kreyer’s pamphlet Mayse ben arye (The tale of Ben-Arye) went through some fifty printings (forty-eighth printing: Warsaw, 1898/1899).  He also translated and published Sh. An-ski’s Di milkhome farn leben, eyne ertseylung fun dem yudishen folks-leben (The war for life, a story drawn from Jewish folk life) (Vilna: Sh. Shreberk, 1903/1904), 94 pp.

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 3; A. Litvak, in Royter pinkes (Red records) (Warsaw, 1921), p. 17; Litvak, Vos geven, etyudn un zikhroynes (What happened, studies and memoirs) (Vilna-Warsaw: B. Kletskin, 1925), p. 94.
Berl Cohen

No comments:

Post a Comment