Yiddish Writers and Journalists Union, Vilna. Records.
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 comprised newspaper editors and writers employed in Yiddish-language publishing enterprises, and other Yiddish 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 declared their approval. However, the group remained inactive until the end of the war. The union was revived in 1919 by S. Ansky who wrote by-laws of the new association. Ansky became its honorary chairman, and A. Waiter its secretary. In April 1919 Waiter was killed during the 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 the subsequent years the post of the chairman was occupied by Reisen, S.L. Zitron, Moishe Zilburg, Falk Halpern, Dan Kaplanovich, and Moishe Shalit. A.I. Grodzenski served as the union’s secretary for most of the time.
Among its activities, the union arranged for publication of books by its members, established a loan fund ( “kassa”), introduced pensions for retired writers, organized strikes, conducted negotiations with publishers and newspaper owners, and arbitrated disputes between its members. The union maintained contacts 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 organizing in June 1927 a national 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.
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