Wednesday 10 July 2019


SHMUEL RESSER (d. after 1880)
            He was born in Vilna.  He later settled in southern Russia, where he worked as a teacher in the crown Jewish schools of Bakhmut and Taganrog.  He began publishing in Kol mevaser (Herald), for which he wrote, in addition to correspondence pieces, popular science and Jewish Enlightenment articles—issues: 29 (1863); 34 (1864); 18 and 38 (1865); and 15 (1871), among others.  He was one of the first history popularizers in Yiddish, although in a seriously Germanized language.  His first work in this field was Eyne kurtse allgemeyne velt geshikhte (A short general world history), “from Russian into ‘German’ in language pure and simple, in stories translated for children (Vilna: Joseph Reuven Romm, 1863), 237 pp.  At the advice of Avrom-Ber Gotlober “to translate the ancient history of the people of Israel into simple Yiddish,” Resser published his book Koyres yisroel, di alte geshikhte fun dem folk yisroel (Annals of Israel, the ancient history of the Jewish people) (Vilna, 1870), 104 pp.  The “Khevre mefitse haskole” (Society for the promotion of Enlightenment) gave him a subvention for this work—truly a rare instance in which the Society supported the publication of a book in Yiddish.  The second request from Resser to help publish his finished translation of Studnitsky’s Russian geography was rejected by the Society.  Of Resser’s other works, the following are known: Rabe, eyne vunderlikhe ertsehlung fun dem groysen yudishen lehrer rabe bar nakhmani, in der tsayt fun reysh galuse mar ukve (Rabah, a wonderful story of the great Jewish teacher Rabah bar Naḥmani, in the time of Exilarch Mar Ukva) (Warsaw, 1876), 66 pp.; Di yeger und di indishe banditen in amerika, a roman in tsvey theyl (The hunter and the Indian bandits in America, a novel in two parts) (Warsaw, 1878), 168 pp., subsequent printings (1880; Lublin, 1881); and a translation of Gustav Emar, Di fartsaytige retsikhes (Ancient persecutions).  His work, In der ṭoydter ṿistenish, a kampf tsvishn foter un zohn (In the dead wasteland, a struggle between father and son) (New York: Hebrew Publ. Co., n.d.), 168 pp., may possibly be a translation of someone else’s work.

Source: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 4.
Berl Cohen

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