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David Frischmann

1859 - 1922.


Source: Wikipedia.

David Frischman was an influential figure in the literary world, as a writer, poet, and translator who wrote in Hebrew and Yiddish. In addition to editing several significant Hebrew periodicals, he wrote extensively across various genres, including fiction, poetry, essays, feuilletons, literary criticisms, and translations.


Born and raised in Poland, Frischmann received a private education combining Jewish and general studies and showed literary talent at a young age. He learned French and German and studied philosophy and art history at the University of Breslau in Poland.


When he was 16, he published his first article in the journal Ha-Tsfira.


He published articles and poems in Ha-Tsfira, Ha-Shachar, Ha-Melitz, and Ha-Yom and later edited Ha-Dor and Ha-Tkufa. In 1883 he published Tohu va-Vohu ('Chaos and Emptiness'), a scathing criticism of Hebrew journalistic methods, particularly directed at Ha-Melitz.


He moved to Warsaw in the mid-1880s, where he wrote Otiyot Porhot ('Flying Letters'), a series of long stories. In 1886, he became editor of Ha-Yom in St. Petersburg.


At the same time, he worked as a Yiddish journalist for the Warsaw Jewish newspapers Hoys-Fraynd, Der Yud, and Fraynd.


David Frishman opposed the movements that promoted the return to the Land of Israel: he associated the Hovevei Zion movement with the Messianic awakening during the Shabbatai Zevi era (17th century) and completely dismissed Herzl's political Zionism.

He visited the Land of Israel in 1911 and 1912 on behalf of Ha-Tzefira and Haynt newspapers. Reports from his visits to Israel were collected in the book 'In the Land of Israel' (1913) in which he described the landscapes, sacred places, and the revival of the Hebrew language.


Although he remained faithful to classical Hebrew throughout his life, the impressions he gained there led him to believe in the future of Hebrew as a spoken language.


After being imprisoned in Berlin at the outbreak of World War 1, he was deported to Odessa by the Russian authorities when German troops approached in 1915. In Odessa, he translated many European writers' works (such as Pushkin, Nietzsche, Oscar Wilde, and Shakespeare).


He died and was buried in Berlin, in August 1922.


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