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


            He was born in Skud (Skuodas), Lithuania, and worked as a cantor.  He composed songs which were sung in Lithuania but never published.  Only two poems—“Shir vos er hot gezogt koydem yom hamise mit ruder yisroelke skuder” (A poem he enunciated for the first time on the day of his death with Ruder Yisroelke from Skuodas) and “Shiker-lidl” (Drinking ditty)—were published by Daniel Perski in Yivo-bleter (Pages from YIVO) (New York) 17.2 (1946), pp. 402-4.  In the first poem (forty-four lines, excluding the refrain), there is a sense of remorse running through it for why he never in his life attached any important to good deeds and will have nothing to take with him into the next world.  Most of the lines have an immediate folk quality, with associated, individually tragic senses of his premature, coming death.  The second poem is a cheerful-sad song to a glass of wine, for which he would run “even into a dark mine.”  There were two different tunes for the first poem, and for the second poem one.  The musical notation may be found in Yivo-bleter, in an article by Khane Gordon: 18.2 (1946), pp. 411-12.  Further biographical information remains unknown.

Sources: D. Perski, in Yivo-bleter (New York) 27.2 (1946), pp. 304-9; Khane Gordon, in Yivo-bleter 28.2 (1946), pp. 411-13.
Leyb Vaserman


            A Yiddish folklorist in the Soviet Union and a collector and researcher of Jewish folklore and poetry.  He was born in Zhitomir, Ukraine.  He graduated from a Jewish work school in 1922 and from the Kiev Jewish pedagogical technicum in 1926.  He then became a teacher of Yiddish language and literature in Kiev schools.  In 1929 he joined the ethnographic section of the Kiev institute for Jewish culture in the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences as a research student.  From 1931 he was a scholarly contributor to the institute, and he joined expeditions to the towns in Ukraine to collect and publish a folklore collection.  In Tsaytshrift (Periodical) (Minsk) 5 (1931), he published a piece entitled “Vegn folks-iberarbetunger fun gotlobers lider” (On popular revisions of Gotlober’s poetry).  In the anthology Problemen fun folkloristik (Issues in folkloristics) (Kharkov-Kiev) of 1932, he placed “Vegn folklorishn arbeter-lid” (On folkloric workers’ poems).  He also contributed to the quarterly journal, Visnshaft un revolutsye (Science and revolution) (Kiev) 2.6 (April-June 1935), with an essay: “Vegn ukrainishe virkungen in der yidishn folklor-lid” (On Ukrainian influences on the Jewish folkloric poem).  He translated S. Grigor’ev’s Tonkes tank (Tonke’s tank [original Ton’kin tank]) (Kiev: Kultur-lige, 1930), 27 pp., and V. Vladimirskii’s A kop in shtaygl, dertseylungen fun lebn in mayrev-ukraine (Head in a cage, stories of life in Western Ukraine) (Kiev: Kultur-lige, 1930), 47 pp.  In the anthology Folklor-lider, naye materyaln zamlung (Folkloric poetry, new material collection), edited by M. Viner, Skuditski prepared the poems for publication and wrote an introduction and annotations (Moscow: Emes, 1933), 142 pp.  In book form, he also published: A khaver in shlakht (A comrade in battle) (Kharkov-Kiev: State publishers for national minorities, 1934), 54 pp.  In the second volume of Folklor-lider, he penned the preface (80 pp.) (Moscow: Emes, 1936), 392 pp.  Together with A. Velednitski, he compiled Literarishe khrestomatye, farn VI klas fun der mitlshul (Literary reader, for the sixth school year in middle school) (Kharkov-Kiev: State publishers for national minorities, 1933), 230 pp., second improved edition (Kharkov-Kiev, 1934), 280 pp.  He also compiled the reader Literatur (Literature), second improved edition (Kharkov-Kiev, 1934), 124 pp., third edition (1935), 124 pp., fourth edition (1936), 130 pp.  In 1937 he was purged together with a number of other contributors at the institute and exiled to a camp in the north.  He was rehabilitated in the 1950s and lived in Sverdlovsk.

Sources: Sh. Z. Fife, in Yivo-bleter (Vilna) (14.3-4 (March-April 1939); Kalmen Marmor, Dovid edelshtat (Dovid Edelshtat) (New York, 1942); Chone Shmeruk, comp., Pirsumim yehudiim babrit-hamoatsot, 1917-1961 (Jewish publications in the Soviet Union, 1917-1961) (Jerusalem, 1961), see index.
Benyomen Elis

[Additional information from: Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 412; 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), p. 270.]

Thursday, 24 May 2018


BENYOMEN SKUDITSKI (May 19, 1904-August 26, 1957)
            He was born in Slonim, Byelorussia, into a working class family.  He studied in religious elementary school, the Slonim yeshiva, and later on his own.  At age fourteen he became a print shop worker.  He belonged to “Hanoar Hatsiyoni” (Zionist youth) and to “Kleyner Bund” (Little Bund), and he was later active in the “Communist Youth Association” and the Communist Party (until 1931, and from that point he was more sympathetic to the Labor Zionist “Unity” group.  In 1922 he was arrested, stood for court martial, and spent four years in jail in Slonim and Grodno.  In 1928 he made his way to Argentina, and there he worked as a linotypist for the newspaper Di prese (The press) in Buenos Aires.  In 1930 he settled in Montevideo, Uruguay.  He initially wrote articles and appeals in the illegal, hectographically-produced publications in Poland (using the name Oktyabrski); later, in 1928 he published the story “Der malekh un der tayvl” (The angel and the devil) in Di prese, and from that point in time he published stories, reviews of books and theater, and political articles in: Argentiner tog (Argentinian day), Royter shtern (Red star), Royte hilf (Red relief), Di prese, the monthly Nay-velt (New world), Ilustrirte literarishe bleter (Illustrated literary leaves), and Argentiner beymelekh (Little Argentinian trees)—in Buenos Aires; Tsum oktyaber (To October), Tsayt-fragn (Issues of the day), and Unzer fraynt (Our friend)—in Montevideo; Morgn-frayhayt (Morning freedom in New York.  His works were republished in: Keneder odler (Canadian eagle) in Montreal; Meksikaner lebn (Mexican life) in Mexico City; and Havaner lebn (Havana life) in Havana; among others.  He also published in Monetvideo’s Folks-blat (People’s newspaper), at which he worked (1931-1955) as a linotypist and proofreader.  On his fiftieth birthday (1954), there appeared in Montevideo the jubilee publication: A zester baym yidishn tsaytung-vezn, a shrayber in der yidisher literatur, tsum 50 yorikn geboyrntog fun benyomen skuditski (A typesetter at a Yiddish newspaper, a writer of Yiddish literature, on the fiftieth birthday of Benyomen Skuditski), published by honorary committee, with articles dedicated to Skuditski’s service on behalf of Yiddish and for the Yiddish press in Montevideo.  In 1933 he was a member of a cooperative which brought out the daily Morgn-tsaytung (Morning newspaper) in Montevideo.  After his death there appeared a literary collection of his: Fun a gants lebn, lider, dertseylungen, zikhroynes (From an entire life, poetry, stories, memoirs) (Montevideo, 1958), 275 pp.  His pen names included: B. S. Doben, S. Aktya, Aleksander, and Gitlinski.  He died in Montevideo.

Sources: Y. Botoshanski, in Folks-blat (Montevideo) (August 17, 1954); Sh. Grinberg, in Ilustrirte literarishe bleter (Buenos Aires) (July-August 1957); obituary notices in Der moment (Montevideo) (August 30, 1957) and Keneder odler (Montreal) (September 18, 1957); Y. Zhelenyets, in Meksikaner lebn (Mexico City) (October 11, 1958); A. Lazdayski, in Keneder odler (August 24, 1961); Der veg (Mexico City) (April 8, 1961).
Benyomen Elis


SHLOYME-TSVI SKOMOROVSKI (June 30, 1858-ca. 1921)
            He was born in Zhitomir, Ukraine, where his father operated a bookshop.  In his youth he earned a reputation as a prodigy, at age thirteen entering rabbinical seminary, at seventeen graduating with a gold medal, and then continuing his studies in Leipzig where (1879) he received his degree as a medical doctor.  After returning to Russia, he passed the state examinations and became a doctor in Kiev.  In the early 1890s he married the daughter of a wealthy resident of Vilna, Moshe Rozenson, author of Miḥama veshalom (War and peace), in which he implemented semi-Christian ideas and propagandized for the notion of one faith for all peoples.  For his public opposition to his father-in-law in the name of traditional Judaism, he was compelled to divorce his wife, and he returned to Zhitomir, where he served as rabbi for many years.  He wrote articles for the Hebrew press, such as in: Hamagid (The preacher), Hatsfira (The siren), Hamelits (The advocate), and Haasif (The harvest), and in the Russian Jewish Russkiy Evrey (Russian Jew), as well as in German periodicals.  In Yiddish he published the historical essay “Di gzeyre fun gonta in uman un ukrayna” ([Ivan] Gonta’s evil decree in Uman and Ukraine), in Sholem Aleichem’s Yudishe folks-biblyotek (Jewish people’s library) 2 (1889), which included mainly citations from the Yiddish booklet, “Mayse gedoyle min uman umin ukrayna” (The great tale of Uman and from Ukraine)—according to specimens from the Asiatic Museum in St. Petersburg (the booklet was, as is well known, published twice: in Sedelkov in 1838 and in Vilna in 1845).  He spent his final years in Kiev.  A chapter of his memoirs from Zhitomir (concerning the blind followers of the Jewish Enlightenment, Yosef Bernshteyn and Moti Perltsvayg) was published Yevreiskaia letopis’ (Jewish chronicle) (St. Petersburg) 3 (1924).

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 2, with a bibliography; Reyzen, in Morgn-zhurnal (New York) (October 5, 1931).


            He began writing before WWII, contributing to Ekspres (Express) in Warsaw and other serials.  In 1936 he published a volume of stories entitled Vayse hent, palestine dertseylungen (White hands, Palestine stories) (Warsaw: Azil), 156 pp.  In 1937 he published in the Warsaw monthly Shriftn (Writings) a novella entitled “Griln” (Crickets).  In 1938 he published Tsaytn baytn zikh, dertseylungen (Times change, stories) (Warsaw: Literarishe bleter), 165 pp.  Under the Nazis he was confined in the Warsaw Ghetto.  He was a contributor to the underground Ringelblum archive, at whose request he wrote up a series of reportage pieces on life in the ghetto at the time.  Using the name H. Gril, he composed a social novel, Der haknkrayts, di hak on krayts (The swastika, the hatchet without a cross), 146 pp. of literary works from the ghettos and camps, collected, compiled, and with an introduction by B. Mark (Warsaw: Yidish bukh, 1944)—a fragment from this work appeared in Varshever shriftn (Warsaw writings) (April 1954).  In the underground archive of the Warsaw Ghetto, he left a number of items: “A shpatsir iber di punktn” (A walk through the sites), “In keynems land” (In no one’s land), “Arbet fun a sakh” (Work of many), and reportage pieces about life in the places for homeless people.  People thought of him as a vigorous talent, a man of courage, and a writer with his own mind.  He demonstrated extraordinary perseverance throughout all the Aktions.  He was seized by the Nazis from a brush shop in 1942.  “Z. Skalov, the only author of an authentic ghetto novel—Haknkrayts, to be sure—…was a sickly man,” wrote Meylekh Ravitsh, “who spent a number of years as a pioneer in the land of Israel and another period in Paris.  According to B. Mark, he had an inclination toward the leftist movement.  On the whole his subject matter was social.  The novel itself quickly leaves the impression of fragmentary notes to a novel.  Figures come and go, stage scenes, and disappear.  There is no narrative chord.  The protagonist is the times, the protagonist is the ghetto of Warsaw, which holds up in form.  The novel begins with the outbreak of the war early in the fall of 1939 and ends in the first days of June 1941, before the great Aktions.  It is not clear each time if the modest reporting is factual or literary images built on the basis of facts.  You are always in doubt: are these documents in which every word is important and sacred; or is it a literary creation which should be gauged with the ruthless criteria of aesthetics; indulgence of the documents or the full severity of the law of art.”

Sources: Avrom Reyzen, in Di feder (New York) (1937); B. Mark, in Literarishe bleter (Warsaw) (July 15, 1938); B. Mark, Umgekumene shrayber fun di getos un lagern (Murders writers from the ghettos and camps) (Warsaw, 1954), pp. 67, 75, 76, 77; Di arbeter tsaytung (Warsaw) (March 3, 1939); Di tsukunft (New York) (July 1940); Y. H., in Unzer tsayt (New York) (August 1943); Rokhl Oyerbakh, in Eynikeyt (New York) (June 1946); Yanos Turkov, Azoy iz es geven (That’s how it was) (Buenos Aires, 1948), see index; Yidishe shriftn (Warsaw) (April 1954); Sh. Shtern, in Yidishe kultur (New York) (November 1954); Di tsukunft (November 1955); Meylekh Ravitsh, in Keneder odler (Montreal) (April 4, 1955); Sh. Slutski, Avrom reyzen-biblyografye (Avrom Reyzen’s bibliography) (New York, 1956); M. Flakser, in Fun noentn over (New York) 3 (1957), p. 379; Ikuf-almanakh (New York) (1961).
Yankev Kahan


DOVID SFARD (July 5, 1905-September 10, 1981)
            He was born in Trisk (Turiysk), Volhynia, into a rabbinic family.  In his youth, he moved with his parents to Ozeryan (Ozeryany), where his father was rabbi.  Until age fourteen he studied with his father and with itinerant schoolteachers, later until 1923 in a Polish Hebrew high school in Kovel (Kovle) and Lutsk where he received his graduating degree.  In 1924 he moved to Warsaw, and until 1928 he studied in the philosophy department of Warsaw University, later leaving for France and until late 1931 studying at the University of Nancy where he received his doctorate for a dissertation entitled: Du rôle de l’idée de contradiction chez Hégel.  He was active in France in the association of Jewish students and general political life.  In early 1932 he returned to Poland and lived in Warsaw until WWII.  He was a cofounder of the Jewish leftist writers’ group and its representative on the managing committee of the association of Jewish writers and journalists, “Tłomackie 13.  He was also a member of the Jewish office in the Polish Communist Party.  When the Nazis captured Poland, Sfard departed for Bialystok, where he served as vice-chair of the Bialystok division of the Soviet Writers’ Union.  From late June 1941 until early 1946, he lived in Russia, for a time in a collective farm in Novouzensk, later in Alma-Ata, and then in Moscow where he was an active contributor to Związek Patriotów Polskich (Union of Polish Patriots) during the administration of repatriation of Polish Jews from Russia to Poland.  From 1946 he took a leading role in community life of the Jews of Poland.  He was a member of the central committee of Jews in Poland, vice-chair of the Jewish writers’ association, secretary general of the Jewish cultural association, and founder and editor of the publisher “Yidish-bukh” (Yiddish book) which published over 200 books in Yiddish.  He was also active in Yiddish theater in Poland.  In 1955 he received from the Polish government a medal for “ten years of work on behalf of the people of Poland.”  His literary activities began with Hebrew poems, “Levadi-levadi” (Alone, alone) and “Lean” (Whither), published in Al hamishmar (On guard) in Warsaw (1923).  From 1924 he switched to writing in Yiddish.  He was a cofounder and co-editor of the literary journal for young writers, Shprotsungen (Sprouts) in Warsaw (1925-1926), and he went on to publish poems, stories, translations from French, Polish, and other languages, and literary critical essays about writers and books, as well as journalist articles in: Literarishe tribune (Literary tribune) in Lodz-Warsaw (1931-1935); the daily newspaper Fraynd (Friend) in Warsaw (1934-1935); the biweekly Literatur (Literature) in Warsaw (1935); Farmest (Competition) in Warsaw (1936)—in all of these he was either a member of the editorial board or co-editor; Literarishe bleter (Literary leaves), Varshever shriftn (Warsaw writings), and Foroys (Onward)—in Warsaw; Lebn un kamf (Life and struggle), an anthology of the leftist pioneer inclination in Poland (Minsk, 1936); Zibn teg (Seven days) in Vilna; the anthology Volin (Volhynia) in Lutsk (1934); Byalistoker shtern (Bialystok star); Oktyabr (October) and Shtern (Star)—in Minsk (1939-1946); and Tsum zig (Toward victory) and Eynikeyt (Unity) in Moscow.  From 1946 he was internal contributor to: Yidishe shriftn (Yiddish writings), a monthly and its two anthologies (1947-1948), in Lodz-Warsaw, of which he was initially secretary of the editorial board and from 1950 the editor; and to Folksshtime (Voice of the people), Dos naye lebn (The new life), and Oyfgang (Arise) in Warsaw.  He also placed work in: Di naye prese (The new press), Oyfsnay (Afresh), and Parizer tsaytshrift (Parisian periodical)—in Paris; Morgn-frayhayt (Morning freedom), Yidishe kultur (Jewish culture), Eynikeyt, Nay lebn (New life), Zamlungen (Collections), and Landslayt (Countrymen).  Also, such one-off publications as: Lomir haltn di fon fun di geto-kemfer (Let’s raise the banner of the ghetto fighter) in New York; Fray yisroel (Free Israel) and Kol haam (Voice of the people) in Tel Aviv; Sovetish heymland (Soviet homeland) in Moscow; as well as in the Yiddish, Communist-oriented publications in Latin America.  He was living in Israel from 1969.  His books would include: Shtaplen, lider (Rungs, poetry) (Warsaw, 1929), 64 pp.; Vegn tsegeyen zikh, dertseylung (On dispersal, a story) (Warsaw, 1934), initially appeared in Fraynd in Warsaw; Yitskhok-leybush perets, 1852-1915 (Yitskhok-Leybush Perets, 1852-1915) (Warsaw, 1947), 11 pp.; Shrayber un bikher (Writers and books) (Lodz: Yidish bukh, 1949), 136 pp., with a drawing by B. Hekhtkop—this work, in two parts, contains five articles entitled “Problemen fun der hayntiker yidisher literatur” (Problems with contemporary Yiddish literature) and eleven essays on Yiddish writers and books connected to Poland; Shtudyes un skitsn (Studies and sketches) (Warsaw: Yidish bukh, 1955), 253 pp.—including his works: “In krayz fun y. l. perets” (In the circle of Y. L. Perets) which concerned I. M. Vaysenberg (Weissenberg), Kaganovski, Alter Kacyzne, and others of Perets’s generation; “Poezye” (Poetry) which concerned B. Heler, M. Shulshteyn, Hadase Rubin, and others; “Proze” (Prose) which involved L. Olitski, B. Shlevin, Y. Guterman, B. Mark, M. Mirski, and others; “Dramaturgye” (Playwriting) which dealt with Khayim Sloves, B. Smolyar, and B. Heler; “Di teater-oyftuen fun ida kaminska” (The theatrical accomplishments of Ida Kaminska); and “Fragn fun literatur” (Issues in literature); Lider (Poetry) (Warsaw: Yidish bukh, 1957), 146 pp., with drawings by L. Mergashilski and Y. Tselniker; A zegl in vint (A sail in the wind), poetry (Warsaw: Yidish bukh, 1961), 127 pp., with drawings by Mane Kats; Borvese trit (Barefoot steps) (Warsaw: Yidish bukh, 1966), 201 pp.; Brenendike bleter (Burning sheets) (Tel Aviv: Hamenorah, 1972), 176 pp.; Shpatsirn in der nakht (Walks at night) (Tel Aviv: Yisroel-bukh, 1979), 173 pp.; Mit zikh un mit andere, oytobiografye un literarishe eseyen (With myself and with others, autobiography and essays) (Tel Aviv: Jerusalem Almanac, 1984), 540 pp.  Translations from French include: Honoré de Balzac, Foter goryo (Father Goriot [original: Père Goriot]) (Vilna: Tomar, 1937), 373 pp.  From Polish: Julian Stryjkowicki, Der loyf keyn fragale (The race to Fragala [original: Bieg do Fragalà]) (Warsaw: Yidish bukh, 1955), 390 pp.; Dos tog-bukh fun dovid rubinovitsh (The diary of Dovid Rabinovitsh [original: Pamiȩtnik Dawida Rubinowitcza]) (Warsaw: Ḳsianzshḳa i Ṿiedza, 1960), 127 pp.; Stanislaw Wygodzki, Vuhin di oygn trogn (Where the eyes carry) (Warsaw: Yidish bukh, 1963), 424 pp.  He penned prefaces to E. Gozhanski’s Der mentsh hot gezigt (The man was victorious) (Warsaw, 1949) and to the writings of Alter Kacyzne and Y. M. Weissenberg (Warsaw, 1955), among others.  His poetry appeared in Joseph Leftwich’s anthology in English, The Golden Peacock (1961).  As Yankev Glatshteyn noted: “I have on several occasions remarked positively of Sfard and have enjoyed it when the opportunity arises to do so….  Sfard commands his poetic material.  One hears the voice of a distinctive poet in a chorus of Yiddish poets.  Even the narrowly semantic poems of his read calmly.”  He died in Jerusalem.

Sources: Biblyografishe yorbikher fun yivo (Bibliographic yearbooks from YIVO) (Warsaw, 1928), see index; Sh. Zaromb, in Literarishe bleter (Warsaw) (February 7, 1930); Alter Kacyzne, in Mayn redndiker film (Warsaw) (1936); A. Damesek, foreword to Sfard, Lebn un kamf (Life and struggle) (Minsk, 1936); B. Mark, in Shtern (Minsk) (November-December 1940); Mark, in Yidishe shriftn (Warsaw) (June 1949; July 1949; October 1961); A. Kvaterko, in Folks-shtime (Lodz) (May 21, 1948); Y. Grudberg, in Nidershlezye (Lower Silesia), anthology (Wrocław, 1949); M. Shklar, in Dos naye lebn (Lodz) 72 (1949); Shklar, in Folksshtime (Warsaw) (September 30, 1961); M. Mirski, in Folksshtime 33 (1949); H. Vaynraykh, Blut af der zun (Blood on the sun) (New York, 1949), p. 90; B. Kutsher, Geven amol varshe (As Warsaw once was) (Paris, 1955), see index; B. Ts. Goldberg, in Tog-morgn-zhurnal (New York) (September 30, 1961; October 1, 1961; October 2, 1961); Yankev Glatshteyn, in Tog-morgn-zhurnal (October 8, 1961); Sh. Shtern, in Morgn-frayhayt (New York) (November 12, 1961; May 31, 1962); Chone Shmeruk, comp., Pirsumim yehudiim babrit-hamoatsot, 1917-1961 (Jewish publications in the Soviet Union, 1917-1961) (Jerusalem, 1961), see index; Kh. Ayalti, in Yidisher kemfer (New York) (June 5, 1962); Y. Gar and F. Fridman, Biblyografye fun yidishe bikher vegn khurbn un gvure (Bibliography of Yiddish books concerning the Holocaust and heroism) (New York, 1962), see index; L. Leneman, in Keneder odler (Montreal) (June 21, 1964); Leneman, in Forverts (New York) (July 7, 1964), concerning Sfard’s “Kholem khalamti” (I dreamed a dream), published in Yidishe shriftn (Warsaw) 5 (May 1964).
Khayim Leyb Fuks

[Additional information from: Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), cols. 412.]

Wednesday, 23 May 2018


MORTKHE SPEKTOR (MORDECAI SPECTOR) (May 5, 1858-March 15, 1925)
            He was born in Uman, Kiev district, Ukraine, into a family that descended from the prominent Galician Chayes (Chajes) family.  His father Yankev Spektor was a fiery Talner Hassid, an intimate of the rebbe.  “On my mother’s side,” Mortkhe Spektor recounted, “I had five uncles, as strong and healthy as oak and as tall as pine trees.”  His mother was his father’s second wife, and Mortkhe was the youngest child.  When he was two years old, his father died.  He grew up a robust lad, more outdoors than in the home, and even more in the fields and woods than in religious elementary school.  Until age thirteen he was at home with his mother, studying in synagogue study hall with a Talmud teacher, a Lithuanian, but his teachers implanted in him no excessive eagerness to study.  When he became bar mitzvah, his mother sent him to her step-son-in-law in Heissen, and later she sent him to his older brother Moyshe in a town near Vinitse (Vinnytsa).  Later still, this brother and his family along with Mortkhe moved to Vinnytsa.  In a small synagogue there, he met the Vinnytsa rabbi, R. Yosin, the father of Y. Y. Linetski, and Mortkhe had pity on him because his son had become a “heretic,” but a short time later Spektor himself began to befriend “heretics.”  There arrived in their city for a short time two “esteemed Germans”—in capes and top hats—they were Avrom Goldfaden and Yitskhok-Yoyel Linetski, and they made quite an impression on Spektor.  Also, on one occasion he was with his brother in a dry goods shop when he met Dovid Engelshteyn, the son-in-law of Leyzer Tsvayfl (Eliezer Zweifel), a teacher at the “Shkola” (School), a follower of the Jewish Enlightenment, and a poet.  Spektor became a frequent visitor at his home and read Enlightenment literature with him.  The more he became “caught up in the Enlightenment,” the less his fanatical brother wished for him to be around, and thus sent him home—to Uman and his mother.  He was fourteen at the time.  He had read through Linetski’s Dos poylishe yingl (The Polish lad), Ruvn-Osher Broydes’s Hadat vehaayim (Religion and life), Ayzik-Meyer Dik’s stories, and Mendele’s Dos kleyne mentshele (The little fellow).  With every penny he saved, he bought “modern booklets.”  He was contemplating the idea of going to study in the Zhitomir rabbinical seminary, but the answer he received from there was that they had no open places in the school.  By chance he became acquainted at the time with a Russian engineer, who for a long time studied secular subject matter with Spektor.  Meanwhile, his mother remarried, and Spektor again traveled to his brother in Vinnytsa and for a short time there was a partner in a flour business.  When he was nineteen years of age, his mother died, and he then moved to Odessa, where he was among M. L. Lilienblum and other Jewish writers and followers of the Jewish Enlightenment.  When his small bit of money that he brought with him from Vinnytsa began to run out, he set out to do common labor in a paper factory.  “I was proud that I was earning my bread not by teaching or giving lessons, not through commerce or brokerage or other empty livelihoods, as all Jewish youth who’d come to Odessa were engaged in—but through hard work!”  At that time in St. Petersburg a Russian Jewish newspaper commenced publication, Russkiy Evrey (Russian Jew), and Spektor published several correspondence pieces concerning workers’ lives.  After the pogroms of 1881, he left for Medzhybizh (Międzyboż) with the aim of learning a trade, while at the same time preparing for university and going abroad.  He did not, however, learn a trade in Międzyboż, where he gave private lessons, read a great deal, and wrote even more.  “I would sit and write all night long, not noticing that time had flown by….  I wrote up short impressions of living people and also began writing a long novel, and as the style was at the time—in several parts….  I gave the long novel the title Der yudisher muzhik (The Jewish peasant).”  Having written the first part of the novel, Spektor felt that the work was now not for him, and he put the manuscript aside and launched into writing another novel about town life—“A roman on a nomen” (A novel without a title).  He sent the first chapter of the novel to Aleksander Tsederboym’s weekly Yudishes folks-blat (Jewish people’s newspaper) in St. Petersburg.  This was in late 1882.  Tsederboym praised Spektor highly and urged him to write subsequent chapters; from the first week of 1883, this “novel without a title” began to appear in Yudishes folks-blat.  In the same newspaper, Spektor also published a series of feature pieces.  In 1884 his novel Der yudisher muzhik was published there as well—a period novel with ibat Tsiyon” (Love of Zion) tendencies, which had extraordinary success; Spektor was invited to St. Petersburg to serve as assistant editor of Yudishe folks-blat.  During his time in St. Petersburg, Spektor wrote a great deal.  He published features, travel impressions, holiday stories, reviews, and longer works, such as: “Aniim veevyoynim” (The indigent), “R’ traytil” (Reb Traytil), “A shturmer guter-yid” (A silent Hassid), and “A velt mit veltelekh” (A world with little worlds), among others.  There he married the daughter of the Hebrew and Yiddish writer and censor A. Sh. Fridberg—Izabella, herself a writer—she was a great aid to Spektor in his work.  A writer with a great inclination toward newspaper work and journalism, Spektor gained considerable journalistic experience at Yudishes folks-blat, and he agreed to publish a newspaper on his own.  He left his job with Yudishes folks-blat and expended everything he possessed—2500 rubles—to get permission for a Yiddish newspaper, but he ended with nothing.  In 1887 he and his family moved from St. Petersburg to Warsaw and there published the first volume of his annual Der hoyz-fraynd (The house friend).  At about the same time, incidentally, Sholem Aleichem, a close friend of Spektor’s, began publishing in Kiev his Yudishe folks-biblyotek (Jewish people’s library) and paid his writers 100-200 rubles or more for an article, while Spektor was paying nothing and in special cases almost nothing.  Thus, Sholem Aleichem’s Yudishe folks-biblyotek was a big blow for Spektor.  In 1894 he, together with Y. L. Perets and Dovid Pinski, began publishing Di yontef-bletlikh (Holiday sheets), but Spektor took some material from the first numbers of the periodical and himself published several issues of Vokhedige bletlikh (Weekly sheets), among them: Der lamtern (The lantern) and Dos vider-kol (The echo) in Warsaw (1895).  He also published Varshever yudisher kalendar (Warsaw Jewish calendar) (1893/1894 and 1895/1896).  Later when Der yud (The Jew) was founded (January 1899), he began to contribute to it, among other items, the stories: “Kalikes” (Cripples), “A shtrayk fun kabtsonim” (A strike of paupers), “Brilen” (Eyeglasses), and (using the pen name “Emes”) he ran a regular column entitled “Shtedt un shtedlekh” (City and towns)—“feature pieces on the life in the Jewish provinces” (this very column he also ran in other newspapers, when he had left Der yud).  In early August 1899 (according to N. Mayzil), Spektor and Y. L. Perets were arrested because of their presence at illegal meetings of labor revolutionaries.  They spent their time in prison in the Warsaw Citadel.  In 1902-1903, Spektor together with Dr. Kh. D. Hurvits edited the weekly Di yudishe folkstsaytung (The Jewish people’s newspaper) and the supplement Froyen-velt (Women’s world), published by Tushiya.  In 1903 he edited the anthology Hilf (Help), the revenue from which went to victims of the Kishinev pogrom.  In 1906 he served as editor for Tsayt (Time) in Vilna, and in 1907 for Warsaw’s Fraytog (Friday), at the same time that he was contributing to: Fraynd (Friend), Tog (Day), and other serials.  Together with Sh. Hokhberg, he founded in 1907 and edited the newspaper Unzer leben (Our life).  In 1909 he was publishing the daily newspaper Di naye velt (The new world)—later, it merged with Moment (Moment) and Spektor was one of its principal contributors.  In late 1914 when the German military was approaching Warsaw, Spektor left for Odessa, contributed to Hokhberg’s Unzer leben (using the pen name “L-n” he had published in 1913 a series in this serial on Jews who converted, entitled “Yidishe neshomes” [Jewish souls]).  Spektor survived numerous state uprisings in Odessa.  He was the founder of “Kultur-lige” (Culture league) in Odessa.  In the first years of the Russian Revolution and civil war, Spektor and his second wife (a sister of Dovid Pinski’s wife) suffered from great deprivation.  He underwent two operations at this time, and he barely escaped with his life.  In late 1920 he stole across the Soviet-Romanian border, and from there set out for the United States via Romania, Hungary, Yugoslavia, Italy, Switzerland, and France—and everywhere the Jewish community welcomed him enthusiastically.  He reached America in the autumn of 1921.  Initially, he published in Di tsayt (The times) in New York, later becoming a regular contributor to Yidishes tageblat (Jewish daily newspaper) in New York; he published short pieces and a series of descriptions of what was going on in Russia and Ukraine under the title “Fun yener velt” (From the other world).  He also published several new novels, as well as memoirs entitled Mayn lebn (My life).  He died in New York.
            Spektor represents the midpoint between the classical Jewish writers and pulp fiction.  He “built the bridge from Shomer [N. M. Shaykevitsh] to Mendele, to Perets, Sholem Aleichem,” noted A. Mukdoni, and “from Shomer’s novels to Spektor’s Yidisher muzhik, the transition is natural and intelligible, for when your path is pure and simple, you can feel it without the developmental process.”  “Spektor was the writer of the timely theme,” wrote Shmuel Niger, “even the daily theme.  He was rooted in life and loved life.  He initially saw utility in literature, substantive achievement, and not art for art’s sake.  He was…a born journalist, and his goal was not the creation of new lives or types of lives, but the improvement of the surrounding daily way of life….  He was in general interested only in the facts of life, in life’s issues, and only in such facts and issues that are genuine and cast before everyone’s eyes.”  Spektor was the only member of his generation who lived off of his writing.  He was part of the Yiddish newspaper universe.  He was the writer of daily affairs.  As he described it himself: “From 1883 there were no newspapers in Russia, in which I was not one of the most important contributors or editors.  The Yiddish press was raised on my shoulders.”  He was a man of the people, in his healthy observance of life, in the entirety of his character, in his common sense, in his not racking his brains and ruminating, in his love for the enjoyment of life, and in his genuine, uncontrived simplicity.  “I had earlier lived for decades,” stated Ruvn Brainin, “in a circle of refined, shrewd, clever, and culturally-rich writers and artists, who always persevered in both rumination and psychologizing.  The majority of them were people with irritated, pent-up nerves, with morbid emotions, with a burning hunger for recognition and popularity, with bizarre whims and ambitions.  Coming out of such circles, I was delighted to see before me a Yiddish storyteller and portrayer who had remained primitive his entire life, with a full, healthy soul, without any internal ruptures or tears, a Yiddish novelist, a man of the people who found joy in everything, bore no one animosity or jealousy, [a man] who sincerely rejoiced in his portion.”  “He may be the only natural talent,” commented Dovid Frishman, “to which our modern literature can attest.  I can think of no one else among us who has allowed himself to be so little misled by a culture than he….  Such a talent will not, naturally, create something immense and mighty, but what it does create has a hand and a foot.”  Initially, Spektor was devoted to folklore collection: already in 1886, when he took his first steps into the realm of literature, he published in Yudishes folks-blat (no. 4) an article on “Yiddish folk expressions,” and he turned to his readers and encouraged them to collect folk sayings, incantations, and the like and to send them to him.  He received over 1000 letters with a great deal of material.  A portion of this collection was published in alphabetical order in Hoyz-fraynd and a separate publication also appeared: Di yidishe shprikhverter (The Yiddish sayings).  He later included his collection of sayings in Ignatz Bernstein’s unpublished folklore collection.  Also, his historical novel, “Der bal-shem-tov” (The Bal-Shem-Tov) (Hoyz-fraynd 4 [1895]), was structured along Hassidic folk motifs.  People dubbed Spektor “the father of Yiddish literature”—for, as Arn Tsaytlin put it, “more than a father or one of the fathers of Yiddish literature, Spektor was a good-natured uncle who loved to tell stories.  Uncle Mortkhe, a man with broad diction, would chat with the reader seriously….  He would actually write truisms frequently, but over time those truisms acquired the coloration and aroma of the past, and in the present they possessed a considerable cultural-historical interest.”  “An honest realist with a sharp eye,” noted Zalmen Reyzen, “a man knowledgeable of the lives of the Jewish people, himself a breadwinner, with a warm full-blooded love for the concrete, tangible world, with a simple, healthy sense of its manifestations, he played a strong part in fortifying the artistic element of common depiction in Yiddish literature and improving the literary taste of the Yiddish folk reader.  He was especially successful with shorter items—sketches and stories, in which he described intimate Jewish family life, holidays and Sabbaths, the Jewish shtetl, the sufferings and joys of ‘little people,’ tradesmen, laborers, merchants, shopkeepers, and the like.  There is in his depictions of the old well-established Jewish way of life an epic simplicity, a warm sincerity.  Cozy and easy-going, as if chatting with a reader, with whom he was as if internally bonded, fraternally close and familiar, Spektor the storyteller often glowed with a kind of compassion for his poor heroes.  His longer works, the full-length novels, which he wrote over the course of more than forty years of his literary activity, were artistically much weaker, but their role in the history of the development of modern Yiddish literature is immense, irrespective of their faults.”
            His work in book form would include: Der yudisher muzhik (St. Petersburg, 1884), second, improved edition (Vilna: Y. Funk, 1894), 304 pp.; Der yudisher erdarbeter (The Jewish farmer) (Warsaw: Shreberk, 1921), in the series “Masterworks from Yiddish literature,” edited by Sh. Rozhanski (Buenos Aires, 1963), 268 pp.; R’ traytil, a geshribene mayse fun dem kleynem yudishen shtodtil zlidniṿke (R. Traytil, a written tale from the small town of Zlidnivke) (St. Petersburg: Yeshay Tsederboym, 1884), two parts in one volume, subsequent editions (Vilna: Almone vehaakhim rom [The widow and the brothers Romm], 1896), (Warsaw: Razumovski, 1904), part 1, 80 pp.; Aniim veevyoynim, oder gliklikhe un umgliklikhe (The indigent, or happy and unhappy) (St. Petersburg: Ts. H. Pines, 1885), 258 pp., second improved edition (Vilna, 1905); A shturmer guter yud, an ertsehlung fun der letster rusish-tirkisher milkhome (A silent Hassid, a story from the recent Russo-Turkish war) (St. Petersburg, 1885), 64 pp.; A velt mit kleyne veltlikh, a lebens ertsehlung (A world with little worlds, a story from life) (St. Petersburg: Yisroel Lev and partner, 1886), 174 pp.; Yudish! ertsehlung fun hayntige tsayten (Yiddish! a story of our time) (St. Petersburg: Ts. H. Pines, 1886), 72 pp.; A vaybershe neshome, roman (A woman’s soul, a novel) (Berdichev: Yankev Sheftil, 1891), 32 pp.; Yudishe studenten un yudishe tekhter (Jewish students and Jewish daughters) (Berdichev: Meyer Epshteyn, 1892), 124 pp., subsequent edition under the title Di freylin klara oder yudishe studentin un yudishe tekhter (Ms. Klara, or Jewish students and Jewish daughters) (Berdichev: Sheftil, 1903), 124 pp.; Khayim yentes, ertsehlung (Khayim, Yente’s son, a story) (Berdichev, 1892), 32 pp.; Der hayntiger yudisher muzhik, roman (The contemporary Jewish peasant, a novel) (Berdichev: Sheftil, 1892), 32 pp., later edition (New York: Hebrew Publishing Company, 1910), 29 pp.; Di yudishe velt, a zamlung ertsehlungen (The Jewish world, a collection of stories) (Warsaw: Y. Funk, 1903), 203 pp.; Dray parshoyn, ertsehlung fun di 70-er un 80-er yohren (Three persons, a story from the 1870s and 1880s) (Warsaw: Boymriter, 1896), 71 pp., a supplement to Hoyz-fraynd (vol. 5), subsequent editions (Brooklyn: Hebrew American Publishing Company, 1901), 63 pp. and (New York: Hebrew Publishing Company, 190?) 63 pp., and under the title Helden fun der tsayt (Heroes of the time) (Warsaw: Progres, 1909), 71 pp.; Yontef shtimungen (Holiday moods) (Warsaw: Hashaar, 1900), 229 pp., later edition (Warsaw: Hatsfira, 190?), 232 pp. and (Warsaw: Hashaar, 1910), 232 pp.; Kalikes, ertsehlung (Cripples, a story) (Vilna: Y. Funk, 1902), 144 pp.; A shtrayk fun kabtsonim, ertsehlung (A strike of paupers, a story) (Warsaw: Bikher far ale, 1905), 11 pp.; A regen, ertsehlung (A rain, a story) (Warsaw: Bikher far ale, 1909), 18 pp.; A finstere khasene, ertsehlung (A sinister wedding, a story) (Warsaw: Bikher far ale, 1905), 21 pp.; Shteht oyf tsu slikhes, ertsehlung (Stand up for slikhes [a High Holiday prayer], a story) (Warsaw: Bikher far ale, 1905), 12 pp.; In shtub un in gas (At home and on the street) (New York: Hebrew Publishing Co., 1909), 15 pp.; Goldele (Darling) (New York: Hebrew Publishing Co., 1909), 13 pp.; Sorele (Little Sarah) (New York: Hebrew Publishing Co., 1909), 11 pp.; An eytse (A piece of advice) (New York: Hebrew Publishing Co., 1909); Yudishe ashires (Jewish wealth) (New York: Hebrew Publishing Co., 1909), 53 pp.; Yudisher nakhes (Jewish pleasure) (New York: Hebrew Publishing Co., 1909), 27 pp.; Man un vayb (Man and wife) (New York: New York Publishing Co., 1909), 19 pp.; Shmerls simkhe (Shmerl’s happy event) (New York: Hebrew Publishing Co., 1909), 24 pp.; Tsvey feslekh vayn (Two casks of wine) (New York: Hebrew Publishing Co., 1909), 13 pp.; Vegs-layt (Travelers) (New York: Hebrew Publishing Co., 1909), 62 pp.; Erets yisroel pushke (Alms box for the land of Israel) (New York: Hebrew Publishing Co., 1909), 20 pp.; Sore peyse (Sarah Peyse) (New York: Hebrew Publishing Co., 1909), 11 pp.;Sholem fayvishke (Sholem Fayvishke) (New York: Hebrew Publishing Co., 1909), 12 pp.; A roman ohn a nomen (A novel without a title) (Warsaw, 1909), 155 pp., subsequent editions (1910; Warsaw, 1911, 1913); Moment-fotografyes, vi azoy shrayben yudishe shriftshteler (Moment-photos, how Yiddish authors write) (Warsaw: A. Gitlin, 1911), 81 pp.; Mit y. l. perets in festung (With Y. L. Perets in the Fortress) (Odessa, 1919), 80 pp.  In addition, we should include the separate editions of his shorter stories, which do not always indicate publisher, or when and where published, such as, by way of example: Sheyn un mies, oder tsvey khavertes (Beautiful and ugly or two girlfriends) (Warsaw: ?, 1895); Der modner shuster (The strange cobbler) (Warsaw: ?, 1894); Der raykher feter, ertsehlung fun izabella (The rich uncle, a story by Izabella) (Warsaw: ?: 1894); Purim un peysekh (Purim and Passover) (Berdichev: M. Epshteyn, 1893), 36 pp.; Der vaybersher erev yontef (The women’s holiday eve) (Warsaw: M. Epshteyn, 1892); Gut gelebt un sheyn geshtorben (Lived well and died beautiful) (Warsaw: A. Boymriter, 1894); and a series of new stories entitled “Oys lebn fun di letste umgliklekhe yorn” (From life over the recent unhappy years): “Dos shvebele” (The match), “Der toyt fun heymlozer” (The death of a homeless man), “Gospodin balebos” (Mr. Householder), “Kaboles shabes” (Welcoming the Sabbath), and others (published in Odessa?).  Important works by Spektor, which may be found in various other publications, would include: “Dos yidishe teater amol un haynt” (The Yiddish theater then and now), Yudishe folk (Jewish people) (Vilna) 6-7 (1906); “Zikhroynes vegn sholem aleykhem” (Memoirs of Sholem Aleichem), in Tsum ondenk fun sholem aleykhem, zamlbukh (To the memory of Sholem Aleichem, anthology) (Petrograd: Y. L. Perets fond, 1917) and in Kultur (Culture) (Czernowitz, 1921): on Perets, in Di tsukunft (The future) (New York) (April, August, December 1922); and memoirs of Y. Martov-Tsederboym, in Yidishes tageblat (New York); among others.  Spektor’s Ale verk (Collected writings) appeared in two editions: (1) three volumes (discontinued mid-way) (Warsaw: Progres, 1912-1913)—vol. 1: Tog un nakht (Day and night), 160 pp.; vol. 2: Heymishe bilder (Familiar images), 165 pp.; vol. 3: Yontef ertsehlungen (Holidays stories), 252 pp.—(2) this edition appeared after Spektor’s death (Warsaw: Aisefer, 1927-1929)—vol. 1: Mayn lebn, kinderyorn (My life, childhood years), 297 pp.; vol. 2: Mayn lebn, yugntyorn (My life, youth), 168 pp.; vol. 3: Soydes, roman in tsvey teyln (Secrets, a novel in two parts), 449 pp.; vol. 4: Di klole fun sheynkeyt, roman (The curse of beauty, a novel), 497 pp.; vol. 5: Elnte un farshtoysene, roman (Despised and cursed, a novel), 259 pp.; vol. 6: Shmad un fartsveyflung, roman (Apostasy and despair, a novel), 414 pp.; vol. 7: Kalikes, roman (Cripples, a novel), 145 pp.; vol. 8: Yidishe tekhter, roman (Jewish daughters, a novel), 150 pp.; vol. 9: Afn shliakh fun lebn, roman (On the direct road of life, a novel), 197 pp.; vol. 10: Spektor-bukh (Volume for [Mortkhe] Spektor), comp. David Kassel, 262 pp., including a bibliographic listing.  Spektor’s writings have been translated into Hebrew, Russian, Polish, German, French, Hungarian, and English.  In Hebrew: Otot umoftim (Signals and exchanges) (Warsaw, 1887), 62 pp.—written originally in Hebrew with help his father-in-law A. Fridberg; Sipurim vetsiyurim (Stories and portrayals), trans. Gnessin (Warsaw: Tushiya, 1900), 76 pp.; Ashir varash (Rich and poor) (Jerusalem: Moriah, 1922), 25 pp.  Among the pseudonyms he used: Emes, L-n, and M. K. Shneefal.

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 2, with a bibliography; Spektor-bukh (Volume for [Mortkhe] Spektor) (Warsaw, 1929), 262 pp.; B. Gorin, in Di tsukunft (New York) (December 1894), pp. 7-13; Yoyel Entin, in Di tsukunft (February 1906), pp. 63-66; D. Frishman, Shriften (Writings), vol. 3 (Warsaw-New York, 1911), pp. 71-95; Frishman, in Di tsukunft (January 1928); E. R. Malachi, ed., Igrot david frishman (The letters of David Frishman) (New York, 1927); Malachi, in Yidishe kultur (New York) (August-September 1963); M. Y. Freyd, Yamim veshanim (Days and years), part 2 (Tel Aviv, 1938/1939); Freyd, in Literarishe bleter (Warsaw) 18 (1927), pp. 340-42; Avrom Reyzen, in Di tsukunft (1920), pp. 732-33; A. Reyzen, Epizodn fun mayn lebn (Episodes from my life), part 1 (Vilna, 1929), pp. 226, 227, 230, 235, 288, part 2, pp. 30-33, 36-37, 138, 160-62, 164-65, 196-97, part 3 (1935), pp. 111, 151-60, 235-237; Reyzen, in Di tsukunft (December 1934); N. Oyslender, in Tsaytshrift (Minsk) 1 (1926); Oyslender, in Yidishe literatur (Yiddish literature), a reader (Kiev, 1928); A. Gurshteyn, “Sakhaklen fun der mendele-forshung” (Summaries of Mendele research), Tsytshrift 2-3 (1928); Shmuel Niger, “Zhurnalistishe element in spektors verk” (Journalistic elements in Spektor’s work), in Yidishe literatur (Kiev, 1928); Niger, “Di oytobiografye fun m. spektor” (The autobiography of M. Spektor), Di tsukunft (June 1930; September 1938); Dertseyler un romanistn (Story-tellers and novelists) (New York, 1946), pp. 111-29; Niger, Bleter geshikhte fun der yidisher literatur (Pages of history from Yiddish literature) (New York, 1959), pp. 382-403; M. Shalit, Lukhes in undzer literatur (Calendars in our literature) (Vilna: Alt-nay, 1929), p. 38; Dr. Yankev Shatski, in Pinkes (New York) 2 (1929), pp. 93-94; Shatski, in Yivo-bleter (New York) 28.1 (1946), pp. 72-73; Shatski, Geshikhte fun yidn in varshe (History of Jews in Warsaw), vol. 3 (New York: YIVO, 1950); Tsvi Hirshkan, in Di tsukunft (February 1929); Hirshkan, Unter eyn dakh (Under one roof) (Warsaw: Bzhoza, 1931), pp. 39-40; Sh. Dubnov, Fun “zhargon” biz yidish (From “jargon” to Yiddish) (Vilna: B. Kletskin, 1929), pp.17-23; Dubnov, in Tog (New York) (January 21, 1933); Y. D. Berkovitsh, in Forverts (New York) (April 19, 1931; February 7, 1932; March, 6, 1932; March 27, 1932; May 15, 1932; June 19, 1932; June 16, 1932; August 7, 1932; August 14, 1932; September 4, 1932; October 2, 1932; November 27, 1932); Y. Riminik, in Tsaytshrift 5 (1931); N. Mayzil, Perets (Perets), vol. 1 (Vilna, 1931), pp. 117ff; Mayzil, Doyres un tkufes in der yidisher literatur, bletlekh tsu der geshikhte un tsu der kharakteristik fun der yidisher literatur (Generations and eras in Yiddish literature, on the history and the character of Yiddish literature) (New York, 1942), see index; Mayzil, Yitskhok-leybush perets un zayn dor shrayber (Yitskhok-Leybush Perets and his generation of writers) (New York, 1951), see index; Mayzil, Tsurikblikn un perspektivn (Retrospectives and perspectives) (Tel Aviv: Perets Publ., 1962), see index; B. Ts. Kats, in Morgn-zhurnal (New York) (January 21, 1932); Sh. Ginzburg, in Forverts (July 12, 1932); Dovid Pinski, in Yorbukh fun semeteri-department fun arbeter-ring (Annual of the Cemetery Department of the Workmen’s Circle) (New York, 1934); Pinski, in Di tsukunft (1945); E. Almi, in Yubiley-oysgabe fun moment 1910-1935 (Jubilee publication of Moment, 1910-1935) (Warsaw); Almi, in Keneder odler (Montreal) (September 10, 1942); Almi, in Poylisher yidisher yorbukh (Polish Jewish yearbook) (New York, 1944); Almi, Momentn fun a lebn (Moments in a life) (Buenos Aires, 1948), pp. 114-20, 175-87; Elkhonen Tsaytlin, In a literarisher shtub (In a literary home) (Warsaw, 1937), pp. 149-60, 172, 190-91; Tsyatlin, “Briv fun paltiel zamoshtshin tsu m. spektor” (Letter from Paltiel Zamoshtshin to M. Spektor), Yivo-bleter (New York) 29 (1947); A. A. Roback, The Story of Yiddish Literature (New York, 1940, pp. 163-64; Mendele un zayn dor (Mendele and his generation) (Moscow, 1940), pp. 23, 50; R. Granovski, Yitskhok-yoyel linetski un zayn dor (Yitskhok-Yoyel Linetski and his generation) (New York, 1941), pp. 119-20; Y. A. Rontsh, Amerike in der yidisher literatur (America in Yiddish literature) (New York, 1945); Moyshe Shtarkman, in Hadoar (New York) (May 23, 1947); R. Faygenboym, in Di goldene keyt (Tel Aviv) 4 (1949), pp. 172-79; Dr. A. Mukdoni, Yitskhok leybush perets un dos yidishe teater (Yitskhok Leybush Perets and Yiddish theater) (New York: IKUF, 1949), pp. 138, 145, 146; Mukdoni, In varshe un in lodzh (In Warsaw and in Lodz), vol. 1 (Buenos Aires, 1955), p. 24; Kh. Lif, Hasefer haivri (Hebrew volume) (1948); Sh. Noble, in Jewish Book Annual (New York, 1948/1949); “Finf briv tsu d. pinski fun m. spektor” (Five letters from D. Pinski to M. Spektor), Yivo-bleter 36 (1952), pp. 253-58; Y. Ragav, in Entsiklopediya shel galiyut (Encyclopedia of the Diaspora), vol. 1 (Jerusalem, 1953), p. 500; M. Turkov, Di letste fun a groysn dor (The last of a great generation) (Buenos Aires, 1954), see index; Zikhronot hamotsi laor shelomo shreberk (Memoirs of a publisher, Shelomo Shreberk) (Tel Aviv: Sh. Shreberk, 1954), 232 pp.; Pinkes varshe (Buenos Aires) 1 (1955), pp. 494-95; Sh. Slutski, Avrom reyzen-biblyografye (Avrom Reyzen’s bibliography) (New York, 1956), nos. 4508, 4583, 4633, 4650, 5273; Chone Shmeruk, comp., Pirsumim yehudiim babrit-hamoatsot, 1917-1961 (Jewish publications in the Soviet Union, 1917-1961) (Jerusalem, 1961), see index; M. Unger, in Tog-morgn-zhurnal (New York) (October 8, 1961); M. Shveyd, in Forverts (July 15, 1962); A. Zak, In onheyb friling (In the beginning of spring) (Buenos Aires, 1962), pp. 74ff; Zak, in Di yidishe tsaytung (Buenos Aires) (May 12, 1963); Sh. Rozhanski, foreword to Der yudisher muzhik (Buenos Aires, 1953); Yefim Yeshurin, Mortkhe spektor-biblyografye (Mortkhe Spektor bibliography) (New York, 1963), 8 pp., including a bibliography of Spektor’s writings, contributions to Spektor-bukh of 1929, works on Spektor in books, readers, and textbooks, and works about Spektor in biographical dictionaries and encyclopedias; facsimile copies of Spektor’s letters to Ruvn Brainin, in Keneder odler (October 11, 1964).
Yankev Birnboym