Guide to the Records of the Union of Yiddish Writers and Journalists in Vilna RG 55

Processed by Marek Web. Additional processing carried out with the assistance of a grant from the Gruss Lipper foundation

YIVO Institute for Jewish Research
15 West 16th Street
New York, NY 10011

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Electronic finding aid was encoded in EAD 2002 by Sarah Ponichtera in January 2012. Description is in English.

Collection Overview

Title: Guide to the Records of the Union of Yiddish Writers and Journalists in Vilna RG 55

ID: RG 55 FA

Extent: 7.5 Linear Feet

Arrangement: This collection has been arranged into one series.

Languages: Yiddish, Polish


The Yiddish Writers and Journalists Union (Yid. Fareyn fun Yidishe Literatn un Zhurnalistn in Vilne) was active in Vilna from 1916 until ca.1940. Its membership rose over the years to 47 persons. 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.

Scope and Contents of the Materials

These are administrative records of the Fareyn fun Yidishe Literatn un Zhurnalistn in Vilne, Union of Yiddish Writers and Journalists in Vilna. They represent a fraction of the original union records but are nevertheless extensive enough to document the main activities of this organization, and the role of the Yiddish press and publishing in Vilna in the interwar period. Included are minutes of meetings, 1919-1939; correspondence about the Yiddish Pen Club; correspondence with newspapers; memoranda to the JDC (American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee) and the Vilna Kehillah about relief funds; general correspondence.

Historical Note

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.

Subject/Index Terms

An-Ski, S., 1863-1920, Documents - Correspondence, Documents - Financial records, Documents - Minutes, Ephemera, Grodzenski, A. I., Newspaper publishing, Rejzen, Zalman, 1887-1941, Schalit, M.A. (Moishe Aaron), 1874-1957, Union of Yiddish Writers and Journalists in Vilna, Vilnius (Lithuania), Zitron, Samuel Leib, 1860-1930

Administrative Information

Access Restrictions: Permission to use the collection must be obtained from the YIVO Archivist.

Use Restrictions: Permission to publish part or parts of the collection must be obtained from the YIVO Archives. For more information, contact: YIVO Institute for Jewish Research, Center for Jewish History, 15 West 16th Street, New York, NY 10011 email:

Acquisition Method: These records were originally part of the YIVO Archives in Vilna and were received by YIVO in 1947 from the Offenbach Archival Depot (OAD), along with other surviving collections from the YIVO Institute in Vilna .

Related Materials: This collection contains correspondence from the Union of Yiddish Writers and Journalists. A significant amount of correspondence addressed to the Union can be found in RG 3 (Yiddish Literature and Language).

Preferred Citation: Published citations should take the following form:Identification of item, date (if known); Records of the Union of Yiddish Writers and Journalists in Vilna; RG 55; box number; folder number; YIVO Institute for Jewish Research.

Box and Folder Listing

Series 1: The Records of the Union of Yiddish Writers and Journalists in Vilna
Box 1
Folder 1: Statutes
Folder 2: Minutes
Folder 3: Minutes
Folder 4: Memorandum  to JDC  about material assistance for the members of the union
ca. 1925
Folder 5: Yiddish Pen Club
Folder 6: Memoranda, circulars
Folder 7: Yiddish Pen Club, Translators Section
Folder 8: Correspondence with state and local government
Folder 9: Correspondence: Di Tsayt
Folder 10: Correspondence: Unzer fraynd
Folder 11: Correspondence: Unzer ovnt kurier
Folder 12: Correspondence: Vilner tog
Folder 13: Correspondence: Folks-gezunt
Folder 14: Correspondence
Folder 15: Correspondence
Folder 16: Correspondence
Folder 17: Correspondence
Folder 18: Correspondence
Folder 19: Correspondence
Folder 20: Correspondence
Folder 21: Correspondence, miscellaneous
Folder 22: Organization Committee for the Conference of the Jewish Press in Poland
Folder 23: Arbitration Court
Folder 24: Memoranda to the Joint Distribution Committee and the Kehillah
Box 2
Folder 25: Financial reports and bookkeeping (notebooks)
Folder 26: Financial reports and bookkeeping (annual balances)
Folder 27: Membership lists and dues; misc. bills
Folder 28: Miscellaneous
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