Thursday, 25 May 2017


MOYSHE LEVIN (BER SORIN) (1907-March 2, 1942)
            He was born in Vilna, Lithuania, into a family of a poor glazier.  During the years of WWI, he wandered homeless through Russia, before returning to Vilna.  In 1922 he graduated from the seven-class secular, Jewish public school of L. Gurevich, worked for a time as a touch-up man in a photography studio, and later (in 1928) graduated from the Vladimir Medem Teachers’ Seminary.  Until 1934 he worked as a teacher in Jewish secular schools in the Vilna region, and later the police (because of his revolutionary activities) revoked his right to continue teaching.  From his early youth he was blessed with a painter’s talent, and he thus took up painting portraits, drawing posters, and making illustrations for Yiddish-language books.  He worked with a publisher of children’s literature, while at the same time becoming a member of the literary group “Yung-vilne” (Young Vilna).  While in his school years, he published poems in Yugnt-veker (Youth alarm) in Warsaw (1922) and in Folkstsaytung (People’s newspaper) in Warsaw.  From 1927 he also published stories and novellas in: Vilner tog (Vilna day) (1927-1939); Yung-vilne (1934-1935); Etyudn (Studies) in Vilna (1935-1937); Zibn teg (Seven days) in Vilna (1935-1936); Literarishe bleter (Literary leaves), Folkstsaytung, Vokhnshrift far literatur (Weekly writing for literature), Foroys (Onward), and Der fraynd (The friend), among others—in Warsaw; and Forverts (Forward) in New York, from which he received a prize in 1937 for his story “Dray shpiglen” (Three mirrors).  In book form: Friling in kelershtub, noveln un humoreskes (Spring in the basement, stories and humorous sketches), with drawing by Bentsye Mikhtam (Vilna, 1936), 110 pp.; and children’s stories in verse: A denkmol baym taykhl (A monument by the brook) (Warsaw, 1937), 16 pp.; Der vagon (The railroad car) (Warsaw, 1938), 14 pp.; and Di kats dertseylt (The cat recounts) (Warsaw, 1939), 16 pp.—all with his own illustrations.  Using the pen name Ber Sorin, he published from his own press in Vilna kindergarten booklets: Makhn mir a shneymentsh (Make me a snowman) (1937), 8 pp.; A mayse vegn mayzelekh vayse (A tale of little white mice) (1937), 8 pp.; and Kitsi un murele (Kitsi and Murele) (1938), 9 pp.—all with colored illustrations.  Until the German invasion of Russia in June 1941, he was living in Vilna, where he was politically active in the leftist labor and cultural movement.  He was the Vilna delegate to the first conference of Yiddish writers in the Lithuanian Soviet Republic in Kovno (May 1941).  In those years he placed work in Vilner emes (Vilna truth), Kovner emes (Kovno truth), the weekly Shtraln (Beams [of light]), and the anthology Bleter (Leaves) in Kovno.  When the Nazis were approaching Vilna, he fled on foot to Minsk, and then was confined in the Minsk ghetto, serving as a liaison between the partisan movement in the forest and the underground resistance organization in the ghetto.  He forged fake Nazi documents and passports.  On March 2, 1942 when the Nazis led the prisoners from the Minsk jail out to be shot, the commandant wanted to let him live (Levin was a painter in the Minsk jail), but Levin had no wish to be exceptional and declined.  He was thus shot to death with his comrades in the prison courtyard.  His unpublished stories and poems, his novel Revolutsye 1905 in smargon (The 1905 Revolution in Smargon [Smorgon]), and his play Dos farnumene ort (The occupied place) were all lost during the Holocaust years.  In 1958 a collection of his children’s stories and verses was published in Warsaw: Kh’vil dertseyln a mayse (I’d like to recount a story), 80 pp., with his own illustrations, in which was included portions of his published and unpublished items.  In Di goldene keyt (Golden chain) (Tel Aviv) 42 (1962), his novella “Shmulyes shtub fort avek” (Shmulye’s household runs off) was published with notes by A. Sutskever.

Sources: Sh. Katsherginski, in Vilner tog (Vilna) (October 20, 1936); Katsherginski, Khurbn vilne (The Holocaust in Vilna) (New York, 1947); Sh. Kahan, in Literarishe bleter (Warsaw) (February 26, 1937); M. Taykhman, in Literarishe bleter (April 2, 1937); A. Y. Grodenski, in Tsukunft (New York) (November 1937); Sh. Lastik, in Foroys (Warsaw) (March 4, 1938); Shtraln (Kovno) 20 (1941); M. Mozes, in Der poylisher yid (The Polish Jew), yearbook (New York, 1944); Elye Shulman, in Yung-vilne (Young Vilna) (New York, 1946), pp. 16, 28-29; H. Smolyar, Fun minsker geto (From the Minsk ghetto) (Moscow, 1946), pp. 27, 71; A. Golomb, in Yivo-beter (New York) 30 (1947), pp. 155-56; Y. Y. Trunk, Di yidishe proze in poyln in der tekufe tsvishn beyde velt-milkhomes (Yiddish prose in Poland in the era between the two world wars) (Buenos Aires, 1949), p. 154; Lerer-yizker-bukh (Remembrance volume for teachers) (New York, 1954), p. 230; D. Tsharni (Daniel Charney), A litvak in poyln (A Lithuanian in Poland) (New York, 1955), p. 36; A. Vogler, in Di goldene keyt (Tel Aviv) 23 (1955), pp. 177-78; A. Sutskever, in Di goldene keyt 42 (1962); Yoysef Gar and Philip Fridman, Biblyografye fun yidishe bikher vegn khurbn un gvure (Bibliography of Yiddish books concerning the Holocaust and heroism) (New York: YIVO and Yad Vashem, 1962).
Khayim Leyb Fuks


MOYSHE LEVIN (b. 1900?)
            He was born in Vilna.  He was the author of Fun vilne keyn yohanesburg (From Vilna to Johannesburg) (Johannesburg, 1966), 178 pp.

Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 348.


            He came from Verzhbalove (Virbaln, Virbalis), Lithuania.  He was a small-scale merchant and follower of the Jewish Enlightenment.  He was also among the first local Ḥoveve-tsiyon (Lovers of Zion).  He published stories in Kol mevaser (Herald) in Odessa and Hamagid (The preacher) in Lik, among other serials.  He wrote pamphlets in Yiddish with a moral, such as: Reb moyshele der tsadek, oder der tsugetrofener shidekh (Reb Moyshele the saintly man, or the desired match), a “beautiful story” (Vilna, 1881), 68 pp.; Shnay akhim, oder a mayse shehoye in der lite (Two brother, or a story that transpired in Lithuania) (Vilna, 1883), 54 pp.  He also published under the pen name MM”L.
Khayim Leyb Fuks


LIPMAN LEVIN (1877-April 25, 1946)
            He was born in Mohilev, Byelorussia, the great-grandson of the Mohilev rabbi, R. Khayim Smolyaner.  While quite young he demonstrated enormous diligence in his studies, and at age ten he was holding forth from the synagogue pulpit.  As he grew older, he began to consult secular books, learned a great deal of Hebrew, and turned his attention to pedagogy.  At that time, he began writing in Hebrew, and under the influence of Dovid Pinski, he took to writing in Yiddish as well.  He moved to Warsaw in 1900.  On the first Sabbath there, he read before Perets, Nomberg, and Avrom Reyzen a monologue (“Der oytser” [The treasure]), which was a big hit.  Bal-Makhshoves saw in him a major literary talent and recommended him to Dr. Yoysef Lurye, editor of Der yud (The Jew), in which Levin debuted in print with a story entitled “Dos yoseml” (The little orphan).  He also contributed to Hatsfira (The times), while publishing stories in: Der yud, Di velt (The world), and Di yudishe folks-tsaytung (The Jewish people’s newspaper) which was edited by M. Spektor and Levin’s brother-in-law Kh. D. Hurvits, as well as in the Hebrew language Hashiloa (The shiloah), Luaḥ aḥiasef, and Hazman (The time), among other publications.  In 1904 he moved to St. Petersburg and became a regular contributor to Fraynd (Friend), for which he took charge of the provincial division.  In 1908 he settled in Vilna.  For the Vilna publisher Sh. Y. Fink, he compiled the holiday magazines: Khanike-blat (Hanukkah newspaper), Lekoved peysekh (Honoring Passover), Zangen (Stalks), and Nay-yor (New year), among others.  He also edited: F. Margolin’s Idishe tsaytung (Jewish newspaper); Der holtshendler (The timber merchant) (from 1909), a trade newspaper of the timber business and timber industry; and Vilner vokhenblat (Vilna weekly newspaper) (1909-1914).  He also penned journalistic articles under the pen names: Antik, Dekadent, Der Eygener, A Fremder, and Even Saadya.  During WWI he worked with F. Margolin’s daily Der fraynd (The friend) and with Had hazman (Echo of the times).  Later, after these newspapers ceased publication, he left for St. Petersburg where he was plenipotentiary for Yekopo (Yevreyskiy komitet pomoshchi zhertvam voyny—“Jewish Relief Committee for War Victims”) for Mohilev and Smolensk districts.  He was drafted in early 1916 into the Tsarist army, and until the March Revolution (1917), he was living in Smolensk, later coming to Moscow where he was hired as a secretary for the Jewish community.  As a writer of the pre-revolutionary generation, for many years Lipman Levin was unable to adapt to the new conditions under the Soviet regime and wrote next to nothing.  He went on to write original work, mainly is memoirs from the era of the early twentieth century through WWI, memories of Y. L. Perets and the writing environments in Warsaw and Vilna, but not all of these works were published.  In book form he published: Shriftn (Writings), vol. 1 (Vilna: Shreberk, 1909), 208 pp.; vol. 2 (entitled Elende [Miserable]) (Vilna: Shreberk, 1914), 178 pp.; Or vatsel, sipurim vetsiyurim (Light and shadow, stories and paintings) (Warsaw: Tushiya, 1903), 85 pp.  He also wrote (in Hebrew) a three-volume novel which he also translated into Yiddish, and it dealt with the epoch from before the first Russian Revolution, between the two revolutions of 1917, and then after October 1917.  This work provided the basis for his novels: Doyres dervakhte (Generations awaken), vol. 1 (Moscow: Emes, 1934), 135 pp., vol. 2 (Vilna, 1934), 373 pp.; and Dem shturem antkegn (Into the storm) (Moscow: Emes, 1939), 310 pp.  From these same novels he published the pieces: Di zorg-bank, proklamatsye (Bank of worries, proclamation) (Moscow: Emes, 1935), 45 pp.; and Der ershter shtrayk (The first strike) (1935), 36 pp. (both in the series “Masn-biblyotek” [Library for the masses], nos. 47 and 48); Merke di pyonerke (Merke, the pioneer) (Moscow, 1939), 14 pp.; Di konstitutsye oysnveynik (The constitution memorized) (Moscow: Emes, 1940), 15 pp.; Teg fargangene, noveln (Days gone by, stories) (Moscow: Emes, 1941), 198 pp.  He translated among other works: Maxim Gorky, Der lezer (The reader [original: Chitatel’]) (Warsaw, 1902); Dzhuzepo garibaldi, der folks-held un befrayer fun italyen (Giuseppe Garibaldi, the folk hero and liberator of Italy) (St. Petersburg, 1905), 48 pp.; Lev Osipovich Levanda’s two novels, In shturm (In turbulent times [original: Goryachee vremya]) (Warsaw: Tsentral, 1912), 435 pp., and A groyser remiz (A huge fine [original: Bol’shoi remiz, roman iz kommercheskoi zhizni evreev (A huge fine, a novel from the commercial life of Jewry)]) (Warsaw: Tsentral, 1914), 331 pp.  He also published a translation of Levanda’s Der poylisher magnat (The Polish magnate [original: Pol’skii magnat]) (Vilna), 63 pp., and other works as well.  He did not write for fifteen years under the Soviets.  Finally, in 1932 he surfaced and began to publish in Soviet journals.  During the years of WWII, he was much weakened and out of date.  In 1946 his seventieth birthday was marked with articles in the Soviet Yiddish press.  He died shortly thereafter in Moscow.  His body was cremated on April 26.  At his funeral, L. Kvitko, Y. Dobrushin, and Y. Nusinov gave addresses.

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 2, with a bibliography; Avrom Reyzen, in Tsukunft (New York) (1920), pp. 506-8; A. Reyzen, Epizodn fun mayn lebn (Episodes from my life), part 2 (Vilna, 1929), pp. 13017; A. Reyzen, in Forverts (New York) (April 25, 1931); B. Orshanski, in Emes (Moscow) 144 (1935); A. Abtshuk, Etyudn un materyaln (Studies and materials) (Kharkov, 1934), p. 25; D. Tsharni (Daniel Charney), in Tsukunft (October 1935); Charney, Vilne (Vilna) (Buenos Aires, 1951), pp. 174-76; N. Mayzil, Doyres un tkufes in der yidisher literatur (Generations and epochs in Yiddish literature) (New York, 1942), pp. 17, 81, 86; Y. Nusinov, in Eynikeyt (Moscow) (April 1947); obituary notice signed by many Soviet Yiddish writers, in Eynikeyt (April 27, 1946); B. Mark, in Dos naye lebn (Warsaw) 96 [377] (1949); Y. Likhtenboym, ed., Hasipur haivri (The Hebrew story) (Tel Aviv, 1955), p. 520; Chone Shmeruk, comp., Pirsumim yehudiim babrit-hamoatsot, 1917-1961 (Jewish publications in the Soviet Union, 1917-1961) (Jerusalem, 1961), see index.
Zaynvl Diamant

[Additional information from: Chaim Beider, Leksikon fun yidishe shrayber in ratn-farband (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers in the Soviet Union), ed. Boris Sandler and Gennady Estraikh (New York: Congress for Jewish Culture, Inc., 2011), pp. 216-17.]


LILKE LEVIN (d. 1945)
            She was born in Vilna, the daughter of a paper merchant.  She was deported from the Vilna ghetto to concentration camps in Latvia and later in Germany.  She was killed in the days of the camp liberation by rampant Soviet soldiers.  In Lider fun getos un lagern (Songs of the ghettos and camps), p. 261, Sh. Katsherginski makes note of her song “In dinaverk” (In Dinaverk), a camp in Latvia.  She died in the Dinaverk concentration camp.

Source: Sh. Katsherginski, Lider fun getos and lagern (Songs of the ghettos and camps) (New York, 1948), p. 261.
Yankev Kahan

[Additional information from: Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 348.]


LEYZER LEVIN (December 2, 1891-1967)
            He was born in Lodz, Poland.  In 1906 he joined the Labor Zionist party, was later active in the left wing of the party, and from 1922 was part of the right Labor Zionists.  From 1926 he was a member of the Labor Zionists-Zionist Socialists in Poland and chairman of their Lodz committee.  He was one of the builders of the Borokhov School and the Borokhov Collective in Lodz.  Until 1939 he lived in Lodz, and thereafter he was one of the leaders of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising and one of the group that was rescued by using the underground canals to make it to the Aryan side.  He published in: Lodzer folksblat (Lodz people’s newspaper) (1909-1939); Arbeter-tsaytung (Labor newspaper), Bafrayung (Liberation), and Dos vort (The word)—in Warsaw.  He contributed to the underground Labor Zionist-Zionist Socialist press in the Warsaw Ghetto.  After liberation he placed work in: Bafrayung and Der morgn (The morning) in Munich (1947-1950).  In the collection Varshever geto-oyfshtand (Warsaw Ghetto uprising) (Landsberg, 1947, pp. 29-36), he published portions of his memoirs under the title “In di teg fun oyfshtand” (In the days of the uprising), which was reprinted in the Yiddish press throughout the world.  He lived in Israel from 1945 until his death in Kibbutz Yagur.  He was blind during his last years.

Sources: M. Nayshtat, Khurbn un oyfshtand fun di yidn in varshe (Holocaust and uprising of the Jews in Warsaw) (Tel Aviv, 1948), p. 326; L. Tarnopoler, in Al hamishmar (Tel Aviv) (December 12, 1961); M. A., in Davar (Tel Aviv) (January 19, 1962).
Khayim Leyb Fuks

Wednesday, 24 May 2017


LEYZER LEVIN (1889-August 1940)
            He was born in Warsaw, Poland.  Until age seventeen he studied in a religious primary school, in the yeshiva of the Chofetz-Chaim in Radin (Raduń), and in the Lomzhe yeshiva, and through self-study he acquired secular knowledge.  In his youth he became active in the illegal Bundist organization in Warsaw, was arrested several times by the Tsarist authorities, spent time in Warsaw and Radom prisons, and was also exiled to Siberia.  Over the years 1912-1916, he lived in Buenos Aires, Argentina, working in various trades, and then he returned, lived in Paris, and from there in 1917, after the outbreak of the Russian Revolution, he made his way to Russia, lived for a time in Minsk, and appeared on stage to speak at Bundist meetings.  When the Bolsheviks later took power in Russia (late 1917-early 1918), Levin returned to Warsaw where he was active in trade unions and political work of the Bund.  He was a member of the central bureau of the Jewish trade unions.  He began his journalistic activities with reportage pieces on workers’ lives in Der tog (The day) in Buenos Aires (1913).  In 1917 he wrote from time to time in Der veker (The alarm), a daily newspaper of the Bund in Minsk.  In Warsaw he was a regular contributor to the Bundist daily Folks-tsaytung (People’s newspaper), in which he edited the city’s reportage, the news of the trade union movement, and also published “Bilder fun der yidisher provints” (Images from the Jewish hinterland).  In early September 1939, he fled Poland, lived for a time in Vilna and Kovno, where he wrote a series of description of the first weeks of the war in Poland for Idishe shtime (Jewish voice), which was republished in New York’s Forverts (Forward) and other Yiddish newspapers throughout the world.  He died of a heart attack in Kovno.

Sources: H-t, in Unzer tsayt (New York) (April-May 1941); M. Manes, in Der poylisher yid (The Polish Jew), yearbook (New York, 1944); Z. Segalovitsh, Tlomatske 13, fun farbrentn nekhtn (13 Tłomackie St., of scorched yesterdays) (Buenos Aires, 1946), pp. 156-57; P. Kats, Geklibene shriftn (Collected writings), vol. 4 (Buenos Aires, 1946); B. Kutsher, Geven amol varshe (As Warsaw once was) (Paris, 1955), see index; P. Shvarts, in Fun noentn over (New York) 2 (1956), p. 427; B. Shefner, Novolipye 7, zikhroynes un eseyen (Novolipye 7, memoirs and essays) (Buenos Aires, 1955), p. 77; Y. Sh. Herts, Doyres bundistn (Generations of Bundists), vol. 2 (New York, 1956), pp. 291-92, with a bibliography; Rokhl Oyerbakh, Beḥutsot varsha, 1939-1943 (In the streets of Warsaw, 1939-1943), trans. Mordekhai Ḥalamish (Tel Aviv: Am oved, 1954), p. 357.
Khayim Leyb Fuks