Saturday, 26 May 2018


MEYER EBNER (September 18, 1872-December 12, 1955)
            He was born in Czernowitz, Bukovina.  He studied in religious elementary school, in a community public school, and later in a German state high school.  He was active in Ḥoveve-tsiyon (Lovers of Zion).  He was a cofounder of the Hasmonean society among Jewish students.  In 1891 he entered Czernowitz University and became a regular contributor to Dr. Nosn Birnboym’s (Nathan Birnbaum’s) newspaper Selbstemanzipation (Auto-emancipation).  After graduated from the law faculty of the university, he practiced as an attorney in Czernowitz.  He served as a delegate to the first Zionist congress and was selected onto the first “Action committee.”  He was also a delegate to practically all subsequent Zionist congresses.  He wrote for Herzl’s central weekly newspaper Die Welt (The world).  When the Russians occupied Czernowitz during WWI, he was deported to Siberia, from whence he was freed following the intervention of the Austrian government in 1917.  After moving to Vienna, he published his memoirs of Siberian captivity in Die Zeit (The times) and Jüdische Zeitung (Jewish newspaper).  In 1918 he was selected to serve as president of the council of Bukovina Jewry.  In 1919 he founded and edited Ostjüdische Zeitung (Eastern Jewish newspaper) in Czernowitz.  He also participated in the founding conference of the World Jewish Congress.  In 1926 he was elected to the Romanian parliament, where he fought bitterly against Romanian anti-Semitism.  He was selected onto the Romanian senate in 1928.  In 1930 he helped to establish a general Jewish party in Romania.  On his sixtieth birthday in 1932, the Czernowitz city council decided to name a street after him.  Ebner visited the land of Israel six times and settled there in 1940.  He wrote in Yiddish, Hebrew, English, and German.  He placed work in: Haloam (The world), Haarets (The land), Davar (Word), Yediot maariv (News of the West), Yediot hayom (News today) in German—in Israel; Di tsienistishe shtime (The Zionist voice) in Paris; Dos idishe folk (The Jewish people) and Idisher kemfer (Jewish fighter) in New York; and Tsienistshe bleter (Zionist pages) in Tel Aviv; among others.  He died in Givatayim in the state of Israel.

Sources: Universal Jewish Encyclopedia, vol. 3 (New York, 1941), p. 620; L. Shpizman, in Idisher kemfer (New York) (Rosh Hashana issue, 1956); D. Tidhar, in Entsiklopedyah lealutse hayishuv uvonav (Encyclopedia of the pioneers and builders of the yishuv), vol. 4 (Tel Aviv, 1950), pp. 1648-59; P. Shteynvak, Tsienistn (Zionists) (Buenos Aires, 1960), p. 249; A. Alperin, in Tog-morgn-zhurnal (New York) (December 17, 1955).

Friday, 25 May 2018


PATI SREDNITSKI (MATLE KREMER) (January 2, 1867-1943)
            The wife of Arkadi Kremer, she was born in Vilna.  She received a Jewish education.  She graduated from high school in Vilna and Vizhinsky’s dental school in St. Petersburg.  At age fifteen she became active in the community.  After returning to Vilna, she joined the social democratic center (1889).  In 1894 she was arrested, spent a short time in the Vilna jail, and was later sent to Chaussy (Chavusy), Mogilev district, for five years.  There she founded a literary group to aid the socialist press.  She penned several articles for the illegal Arbayter shtime (Workers’ voice).  Together with Arkadi, she co-authored the pamphlet Arbetsteg (Work days).  In 1898 she traveled to Kovno, where she took part in the second Bundist congress.  In 1902 she fled from Chavusy and wandered through the world (England, the United States, Switzerland).  She returned to Vilna in 1921.  She was employed as a proofreader by the Vilna publisher B. Kletskin.  She published memoirs in Arkadi-zamlbukh (Arkadi anthology) (Vilna, 1939), pp. 22-42.  She also penned a preface to the pamphlet Di skhires (Wages) by Shmuel Gozhanski.  She would also have written poetry.  She lived under the Soviet occupation of Vilna.  After the entrance of the Germans into Vilna, she was “di neshome fun bund” (the soul of the Bund) in the Vilna ghetto.  She remained courageous, aided her friends in danger, and contributed to all the cultural activities in the ghetto.  In September 1943 (roughly the 22nd-23rd), she departed on the final road to her death.

Sources: Ab. Cahan, Bleter fun mayn leyn (Pages from my life), vol. 4 (Vilna, 1928), p. 416; L. Martov, in Vilne (Vilna), anthology, ed. Y. Yeshurin (New York, 1935), see index; Historishe shriftn (YIVO, Vilna-Paris) 3 (1939), p. 598; Kh. Sh. Kazdan, in Der veker (New York) (August 1, 1945); John Mill, Pyonern un boyer (Pioneers and builders) vol. 1 (New York, 1946), pp. 78, 79, 83; Mill, in Doyres bundistn (Generations of Bundists), vol. 1 (New York, 1956), pp. 130-37; Hela Klyatshko, in In di yorn fun yidishn khurbn (In the years of the Jewish Holocaust) (New York, 1948), pp. 323, 348; Dina Abramowicz, in Lite (Lithuania), vol. 1 (New York, 1951), p. 1674; F. Kurski, Gezamlte shriftn (Collected works) (New York, 1952), see index; Di geshikhte fun bund (The history of the Bund) (New York, 1960), pp. 58-60, 73, 98, 111; Herman Kruk, Togbukh fun vilner geto (Diary from the Vilna ghetto) (New York, 1961), pp. 36, 43.
Yankev Kahan


LEYB SREBRENIK (1917-1942)
            He was born in Shedlets (Siedlce), the younger brother of Yitskhok Kaspi.  His father Khayim Yoysef, a businessman, gave him a traditional and, at the same time, a secular education.  From his youth he was active in Zionist work, as well as in the “Hashomer hadati” (The religious guard) movement.  He was secretary of the local united Jewish National Fund commission.  He was a cofounder and secretary of the Yavne school in Siedlce.  Over the years 1936-1939, he published articles in Shedletser vokhenblat (Siedlce weekly newspaper).  He contributed as well to the Mizrachi press in Poland.  He was active in the community and cultural life of the Siedlce ghetto.  He was murdered in the gas chambers of Treblinka.

Source: Information from Yitskhok Kaspi in New York.


            He was born in the town of Novouzhitse (?), Kamenets-Podolsk, Ukraine.  He studied in the town of Khust, Hungary [now, Ukraine], in the yeshiva of Rabbi Moyshe ben Amrom Grinvald, the author of Arugat habosem (The bed of flowers).  He spent many years at the court and the synagogue house of study of the Husatiner Rebbe, and he later studied in Odessa in the rabbinical seminary of Rav Tzair [aim Tshernovits].  He arrived in the United States in 1910 with the task of performing ritual slaughtering and ordaining rabbis.  He endured great hardships in settling in, and a short time later became a highly successful businessman.  He was active in the Jewish National Labor Alliance and the Jewish public schools.  He was a cofounder of both the Knesses day schools in Brooklyn and the Bronx.  In 1945 he founded the “A. Sklarin Matones Fund” to distribute stipends and prizes for the best students and graduates of the Knesses day schools and middle schools in the Zionist labor movement.  For many years he collected Yiddish folk expressions, jokes, and anecdotes and from time to time published them in the daily Yiddish press.  In book form, he published: Toyznt un eyns, vitsn anekdotn un mayselekh (1001, jokes, anecdotes, and stories), with a preface and a foreword by Y. M. Biderman (New York: A. Sklarin Matones Fund, 1958), 408 pp.  He was last living in New York.

Sources: Y. M. Biderman, foreword to Sklarin’s Toyznt un eyns (New York, 1958); D. Segal, in Forverts (New York) (May 12, 1958); Tog-morgn-zhurnal (New York) (July 20, 1958).
Leyb Vaserman


AVROM SKURNIK (b. March 10, 1913)
            He was born in Lodz, Poland.  He studied in religious elementary school and later in a public school.  From 1928 he was active in political life, initially in the Communist youth movement, later in the Labor Zionist-Hitaḥdut (Unity) party.  He was imprisoned in Polish jails for a long period of time.  From 1937 he was in Paris, serving as secretary of the Parisian organization of the Labor Zionists.  During WWII he volunteered to serve in the French army, was wounded in fighting against the Germans, and fell into German captivity.  After the war he was a cofounder and central committee member of the Jewish combatants’ association and a member of the executive of the Jewish writers and journalists’ association in France and a regular contributor to Unzer vort (Our word) in Paris, in which he published literary essays, political articles, and reportage pieces.  He placed work in: both the first and second issues of the Almanakh (Almanac) of the Jewish writers’ association in Paris, Unzer kiem (Our existence), and Der triko-fabrikant (The tights factory) in Paris; Di naye tsayt (The new times) in Buenos Aires; Ilustrirte vokh (Illustrated week) in Tel Aviv; and Di yidishe post (The Jewish mail) in Melbourne; among others.  He was the author of a pamphlet concerning Khrushchev’s flattery of Stalin (Paris, 1962), 16 pp.  He also published under such pen names as: A. Uri and Alef Samekh.  He was last living in Paris.
Khayim Leyb Fuks


SHLOYME SKULSKI (September 9, 1912-July 3, 1982)
            He was born in the town of Pitshayev (Pochayiv), Volhynia.  During WWI (while he was still a child), he was evacuated with his parents to central Russia.  Just after the war they returned home, and he was soon attending religious elementary school.  He also studied in a state school.  He later attended the Vilna Hebrew teachers’ seminary (run by Dr. Sh. Y. Tsharno).  In 1933 he received his teacher’s diploma and left Vilna.  In 1939 he again came to Vilna and was active in Zionist work.  In 1941 he made his way, via Russia and Turkey, to the land of Israel and became a teacher in the Ben-Yehuda high school in Tel Aviv.  After the Holocaust he wrote a long poem concerning the town of Pochayiv entitled: “Nishto shoyn s’shtetl” (This town is no more), published in Pitshayever yizker-bukh (Remembrance volume for Pochayiv) (Philadelphia, 1960), pp. 143-88.  He also placed an article there concerning his fellow local Charles Zalts.  He later published in Hebrew a series of volumes of poetry, such as: Ben habetarim (Among the Betar members) (Tel Aviv, 1942), 119 pp.; and Ashira lakh, tel-aviv (I shall sing to you, Tel Aviv) (Tel Aviv, 1946/1947), 97 pp., (Jerusalem, 2002/2003), 95 pp.; among others.  He also translated into Hebrew poems by Adam Mickiewicz.  He died in Ramat Gan.
Leyb Vaserman


            He came from a town in Poland.  By trade he was a cobbler.  In Warsaw’s Folks-shtime (Voice of the people) (August 1956), he published in installments a long story entitled Ester (Esther), a description of Polish Jewish life in a small town on the eve of WWII.  He lived in Lodz, Poland, where he worked in a shoemaking workshop.

Source: Folks-shtime (Warsaw) (August 11, 1956).
Benyomen Elis