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Books by Avrom Reisen
Avrom Reisen was a prolific Yiddish poet and short story writer for the American Yiddish dailies.
He was born in Minsk but emigrated to the United States in 1914. His poems express the feelings of the exploited Jew and the sufferings of the Jewish community.
By the year 1909 the Reisen family became split in two: Rivka and Hirsh were already in the U.S. to which they emigrated sometime around 1895, and Kalman, Abraham, Sarah (now married to the writer David Kassel) and Zalman settled in Warsaw. Zalman, barely 20, had already to his credit the publication of the first of his groundbreaking textbooks of Yiddish grammar, and he completed the Yiddish translation of Dostoyevski’s Crime and Punishment (with Sarah’s help). Afterward he set out to do a project with which he would be preoccupied for the rest of his life: to bring together in one publication the bio-bibliographic information about all past and current authors who wrote and published in Yiddish – going as far back as medieval times. His passion for Yiddish and the goal to defend Yiddish against its detractors found a powerful outlet in this endeavor: a literature this old cannot be a product of a “jargon”; it must be a product of a sustained national creativity. Thus, in 1914 a one-volume Leksikon fun der yidisher literatur un prese came out, and then, between 1926 and 1929, a greatly expanded four-volume Leksikon fun der yiddisher literatur, prese un filologie, Zalman Reisen’s main opus, was published in Vilna. Zalman was determined to publish an additional fifth volume devoted to the contemporary Yiddish writers, and he continued collecting biographical data from the writers themselves. In the end the volume was not realized, but the huge collection of documents which Zalman assembled is now preserved in the YIVO Archives.