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Union of Yiddish Writers and Journalists in Vilna

Title: Union of Yiddish Writers and Journalists in Vilna
Inclusive Dates: 1919-1939
ID: RG 55
expand icon Abstract
The Yiddish Writers and Journalists Union (Yid. Fareyn fun yidishe literatn un zhurnalistn in Vilne) was active in Vilna from 1916 until ca.1940. Over the years, its membership rose to 47 people. Union members were employed in a variety of Yiddish dailies and periodicals, and in publishing houses. The Union was dissolved during the Soviet occupation of Vilna, 1939-1941.
expand icon Administrative/Biographical History

The Fareyn fun yidishe literatn un zhurnalistn in Vilne – Union of Yiddish Writers and Journalists in Vilna, was a professional association, active in Vilna from 1916 until the outbreak of the Second World War. Its membership was comprised of newspaper editors and writers employed in Yiddish-language publishing enterprises, and other Yiddish-language authors residing in Vilna.

The union was founded in 1916 in wartime Vilna, which was then under German occupation. The proponent of the union was the Bundist leader, Beinush Michalewicz (Izbicki), and 15 writers who declared their support for it. However, the group remained inactive until the end of the war. The union was revived in 1919 by S. Ansky, who wrote the by-laws of the new association.

Ansky became its honorary chairman, and A. Waiter, its secretary. In April 1919, Waiter was killed during a pogrom perpetrated by the Polish military. The leadership of the union was passed on to S. Niger, and after his departure to the U.S., to Zalman Reisen. In subsequent years, the post of chairman was occupied by Reisen, S.L. Zitron, Moishe Zilburg, Falk Halpern, Dan Kaplanovich, and Moishe Shalit. For most of the union's existence, A.I. Grodzenski served as its secretary.

Among its activities, the union arranged for the publication of books by its members, established a loan “kassa”, introduced pensions for retired writers, organized strikes, conducted negotiations with publishers and newspaper owners, and arbitrated disputes between its members. The union maintained contact with Poland’s Union of Yiddish Writers and Journalists in Warsaw, as well as with regional unions. It was also instrumental in establishing a Yiddish Pen-Club center in Vilna, and in organizing, in June 1927, a land conference of the Yiddish press. Finally, it maintained for its membership a well-stacked reading room.

The Union of Yiddish Writers and Journalist in Vilna was dissolved, ca. 1940.

expand icon Administrative Information
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Collection Material Type: Official Records
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