Thursday 11 July 2019


YUDE-HIRSH SHAYAK (April 10, 1892-August 7, 1958)
            A journalist and author of stories, he was born in Vlotslavek (Włocławek), Poland.  He received a religious education.  At age twelve he entered public school where he studied Russian, Polish, and German.  He lost a foot in electrotechnical work.  He worked as a teacher of Yiddish and Polish.  He lived in Warsaw, Paris, London, Stockholm, Copenhagen, Berlin, and Danzig.  In 1939 he settled in Sydney, Australia.  He debuted in print in 1912 with poems and stories in the weekly newspaper Der telegraf (The telegraph) in London, as well as articles and reviews in Tsayt (Times) in London and Lodzer tageblat (Lodz daily newspaper).  He co-edited the literary monthly Yugend shtrahlen (Youth beams [of light]) in London (5 issues) and the anthology Dos naye lebn (The new life).  From 1916 he was in Copenhagen, and he began intensive journalistic work, using the pen name Sh. Pen, in: Keneder odler (Canadian eagle) in Montreal, Idisher zhurnal (Jewish journal) in Toronto, Tog (Day) and Idisher kemfer (Jewish fighter) in New York, Viner morgentsaytung (Vienna morning newspaper), Morgenpost (Morning mail), and Haynt (Today) and Moment (Moment) in Warsaw, among others.  In 1917 he published Di idishe velt (The Jewish world) in Stockholm (1 issue).  From 1922 he was editing the weekly Dantsiger leben (Danzig life) and later Dantsiger togblat (Danzig daily newspaper).  In 1928 he took over the editorship of the London daily newspaper Di post (The mail), earlier known as Idisher ekspres (Jewish express).  From 1953 he was writing for the Australian Jewish press.  In book form: Tsvey dertseylungen (Two stories) (Copenhagen: Di idishe velt, 1921), 63 pp.  He translated: Knut Hamsun’s Letste kapitl (Last chapter [original: Siste Kapitel]) and Vagabondn (Wayfarers [original: Landstrykere]); Peter Nansen, Maria (Maria); Henry Nathanson, Daniel Herts; and Herman Bang, Di tsvey brider (The two brothers).  He also authored two plays: Der redaktor (The editor) and Ven der friling ervakht (When spring awakens).  Both were staged in London’s Yiddish theater.  He died in Sydney, Australia.

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 4; Zalmen Zilbertsvayg, Leksikon fun yidishn teater (Handbook of the Yiddish theater), vol. 6 (Mexico City, 1969).
Berl Cohen

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