Icchok Lejbusz Perec

He was born on 18th of May 1852 in Zamość. He was creating poetry, dramaturgy, prose and publicist in Yiddish, Hebrew and Polish. He was recognized as classic of Jewish literature. He cooperated with press connected to Bund and PPS. When he was 20 years old, he tried to start school, brewery and even a mill, sadly without success. He was leading law office in his hometown for 11 years until Russian authorities took away his license because he was using and propagating Polish language as well as defending Polish “rebels”. In 1888 he moved to Warsaw, where he worked as clerk in Jewish Community for 25 years. In 1899 he was arrested for his political activity and spent a few month in warsaw citadel prison. After the first World War started, he devoted himself to helping victims of the conflict. He died on 3rd of April 1915 and was buried in Warsaw in Mauzoleum Trzech Pisarzy (Mausoleum of the Three Writers) in main alley of the Jewish cemetery.

Jehoszue Kaminski

Pedagogue, writer of books and manuals for children, activist of the Yiddish School Movement. He was born on 15 August 1884, in Malin, in Kiev Governorate. He moved to United Stated when he was 22. Connected with the Institute of Szolem-Alejchem, he was one of the founders of schools named after that writer as well as famous Camp Boiberick Jork in 1923-1979 near Rhinebeck in New York. It was a secular Yiddish summer camps for children. He co-created publishing house Matones (Gifts) and magazine for kids “Kinder Żurnal”. Since late 30ties he was working with secular Yiddish cultural organisation Arberter-Ring and magazine „Kinder Cajtung” (Kid’s Newspaper). He died on 30th of November 1958 in New York.

Leib Kvitko

He was one of the most important Yiddish writers, mostly renowned for his poetry for children. He was born on 15th October 1893 in Oleskow, nowadays Ukraine. He came from really poor and traditional Jewish family. He was going to Cheder. He became an orphan early and due to bad financial situation of his family, he started to work as shoemaker and porter when he was 10 years old. In 1917 he moved to Kiev where he started his cooperation with Jewish writers from so called “Kiev Group”. Since 1921 he was living in Germany. He came back to USSR in 1925 as communist activist. He was member of Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee. Becaouse of this, he got arrested along with 30 other Jewish writers and artists that were working in USSR. In 1952, he got accused of espionage for western countries, anti-soviet propaganda and Jewish nationalism. By the order issued by Lavrentiy Pavlovich Beria, he got sentenced and was executed together with other poets: Icyk Ferer, Dawid Hofsztajn, Perec Merkisz, wirter Dawid Bergelson and actor Wieniamina Zuskina. Execution took place on 12 of August 1952 in Łubianka In a massacre that was later known as The Night of Murdered Poets.

Kadie Mołodowska

Poet and novelist that wrote mostly in Yiddish. She was born in 1893 in Byaroza, modern day Belarus. She came from traditional family that was influenced by Haskalah. She learned Yiddish from her grandmother and her grandfather taught her Hebrew. She got secular education and became Hebrew and Yiddish teacher. She also worked as pedagogue with mentally disabled children in Otwock. Her life choices, as well as her works were full of paradoxes. She supported Zionism as well as Yiddishizm. She was convinced that literature should reflect individualism of the writer and show one’s connection to the Jewish community rather than political views. She wrote a lot about situation of women but she opposed being classified as the one who writes “women’s poetry” or being the “women’s writer”. In 1935 she moved to USA, but during 1950-1952 she moved to Israel. She died in New York. For her works she received The Itzik Manger Award.

Ida Maze

Yiddish writer, active in Montreal’s literary circles between 1920 -1960. She was acknowledged as important Yiddish-writing poet and her devotion to promote this languge will be remember for future generations. She was born on 9th of July 1893 in Ugli, small village near Kopyl in Belarus. Before she moved to North America with her parents, she attended traditional religious school for about a year. She was also self-taught. As a child she learned Russian ,Hebrew; an later on classic English, while eavesdropping to her brother’s lessons. She was known as friendly, caring person always ready to help those in need. She helped publishing works of young and not known Jewish writers which acquired her a name as “mother of Yiddish poets”. During Second World War and after it she helped getting Canadian visas for Jewish writers and cultural activists that she helped to settle down in Montreal. Her house became the meeting place for poor writers and painters. As her son Irving described it – the house was in ‘thick cultural atmosphere”.

Samuel Czesler

Teacher and poet writing in Yiddish. He was born on 5th of December 1904 in Zabludowe (near Bialystok, Poland). After finishing pedagogical courses in Warsaw he worked as a teacher for 10 years in his hometown. He was also active in Poalej Syjon. His debut was when he was only ten years old, publishing in local newspaper “Dos Naye Lebn” in 1925. Ten years after this he moved to Argentina where he worked as a teacher and his poems were published in Yiddish textbooks. His works, from which most have happy rhythm , were widely recited and sung in both Americas and Europe. In 1984 he received “Ryfka & Jacob Lewin Konger Kultur” award. He died 13th of September 1987 in Buenos Aires and will be remembered as a poet who understood child’s world.

Project supported by:

Sigmund Rolat Ministerstwo Spraw Wewnętrznych i Administracji The Kronhill Pletka Foundation The Morris J. and Betty Kaplun Foundation The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee Taube Foudation for Jewish Life & Culture The Duch Jewish Humanitarian Fund Ministerstwo Administracji i Cyfryzacji

© by Czulent Jewish Association, Krakow 2013