Jacob Dinezon’s Funeral

Haynt (Today)

6 Elul, 5639, parshas teytsa
Monday, 1 September, 1919
Warsaw, Poland
Translated from the Yiddish by Tina Lunson

 
[Due to legibility issues there are several missing words in this translation. We would be grateful to anyone who can help us “fill in the blanks.” This issue of Haynt is available online at Historical Jewish Press.]

Memorials to Yankev Dinezon

The administration of the Yiddish Writers’ and Journalists’ Society, with sympathy for the sister and family; Sh. An-ski, with a broken heart I accompanied him to his final rest; Helena Peretz, with Dinezon’s death Peretz has died again for me; The Vilne Jewish Writers’ and Journalists’ Society, in grief we pay honor to our beloved old member; Khane and Shmuel and _____ and Beni Beysim; the Folks-shul at Tvarda 22; the Folks-shul named after Y. L. Perets; the Folks-shul at Nolevki 11; the Jewish Teacher’s Union; [and a few others that are illegibles].

The Funeral of Yankev Dinezon of Blessed Memory

Yesterday’s Funeral

Yesterday’s procession of mourners was not an ordinary funeral. It was the first time that a sad event has affected all of Warsaw Jewry. If ever there could be one event that could make us all feel as one, this was it. All parties feel it; all share the loss—a loss to Jewish literature. Everyone came into the streets unified in their mourning. Just as Yankev Dinezon stood both within and outside all the political parties, so yesterday was a day for the whole people [folk]. —A. Aynhorn

At the Home of the Deceased

Beginning very early in the morning, thousands of people came to the residence of the deceased.

From seven o’clock on people were permitted in to see the coffin. A broad, unending stream of people circled the coffin and left the house. That went on until forty-five minutes to one. There were watchers to keep the public from going further into the house and to maintain a respectful order.

From forty-five minutes to one, no outside people were permitted to enter the house.

Thousands of people came from all the surrounding streets, so that the sidewalks of Dzielna, Karmelicka, and Nowolipki were crowded with people.

Members of the Groser [?] Club and the Peretz Club kept exemplary order around the house. The public was organized onto both sides of the street so that the tram might operate normally through the street.

On Leszno Street the order was kept by the “Meyikim.”

According to the order established earlier, all the delegations assembled at the corner of Nowolipki ____. The children were assembled on Dzilena. Organizations were gathered on the nearby streets.

The funeral procession was scheduled to leave the house at exactly one o’clock, but it was delayed because the strikers would not let through the wagon sent from the cemetery, and they insisted that we use their wagon. That went on for half an hour until we finally allowed them the honor of carrying the body of the dead Yankev Dinezon. So the transport arrived three-quarters of an hour late.

Before the Funeral

The members of the Yiddish Writers’ and Journalists’ Society had gathered at eight that morning to meet with the technical committee about the arrangements. Then they all went to the site. Meanwhile there were many delegations at the Society that had come to take their assigned places in the procession. Among them were delegations from the provinces.

All of the members had come to the Society and put signs of mourning on their lapels, then gone to the house of mourning.

The Funeral

____ left the residence of the deceased ____. The sister of the deceased followed the coffin, followed by her daughters and grandchildren. After the family came the members of the Yiddish Writers’ and Journalists’ Society with their wives.

At the same time the delegations gathered on Karmelicka joined in. The first was a delegation of literati and administrators; then the Sejm [Parliament] Deputies Grinboym, Farbshteyn, and Hirshhorn. After that were several delegations from labor organizations and workers’ societies, wearing red ribbons with black inscriptions; then delegations from various unions and groups with white and black ribbons, delegations from educational institutions and societies with different kinds of ribbons.

Among the delegations were the American mission, the _____ Hirshfeld, Captain Gershtenzang, and ___ Dr. Bogen [Bonen?], and the famous attorney Mr. Goldshteyn.

The delegations stretched the length of Karmelicka Street to Leszno. All around the delegations were the youth organizations. There was a double chain of Maccabi [sports club] and city orderlies around the entire procession.

From time to time trams broke the order of the procession, but the procession was quickly restored. Except for unseemly comments by a few passengers on the trams there was no real disruption to the procession.

The procession took the route: Karmelicka, Leszno, Tlomacka, Bielanska, Nalewki, and Gesia [usually pronounced Gensha in Yiddish] to the cemetery, stopping twice along the way at the Yiddish Writers’ and Journalists’ Society at number 13 and at the synagogue.

Before the Cemetery

The Technical Committee had given some effort to avoiding thousands of people gathering in the cemetery while the funeral was passing through the city streets and before the procession itself actually arrived at the cemetery.

They decided to close the gates of the cemetery and not let anyone inside, and thanks to that plan the funeral was able to enter the cemetery.

At the Cemetery

It was only with special effort that the wagon bearing the coffin of the deceased was able to pass through the dense crowds near the cemetery. Then an argument broke out between the honorary and the regular burial attendants. After some negotiations the administration decided to have the regular attendants do the tahore [ritual washing].

After that the coffin was carried to the synagogue and the cantor, Mr. Sherman, accompanied by an enlarged choir, sang the appropriate prayers.

Then the pall-bearers carried the coffin to the grave, encircled by an honorary guard.

At the Grave

It took great effort to get to the grave, as the enormous crowd filled the main avenue of the cemetery leading to the grave that had been dug for Dinezon. It was difficult for the coffin and those accompanying it to make a path through the people to reach the open grave.

When the coffin had been set down over the open grave, the chairman of the Yiddish Writers’ and Journalists’ Society, Mr. Shalkovitsh spoke; then Mr. Sh. An-ski lamented the beloved and devoted friend of all literati and the father and caretaker of many young talents.

So the unforgettable, beloved, and respected Yankev Dinezon was accompanied to his eternal rest.

Around the Funeral

The administration of the Yiddish Writers’ and Journalists’ Society had asked the city first aid organization to assign a vehicle and personnel for the entire duration of the funeral, because with so many thousands of people over such a period of time there may be need for urgent care. The first aid manager replied that they had only one vehicle and only a few personnel trained in first aid. But if the Committee would telephone in the case of an incident, they would send a car right away.

It is thanks to Dr. Bogen that the Technical Committee had the use of two automobiles that helped greatly in keeping order during the funeral.

A Film Taken

The film company “Sphinx” recorded the funeral at three stages: On Karmelicka, when the coffin was brought out of the residence; on the corner of _____ l and Nalewka where there was an overview of the entire funeral procession; and at the grave as the coffin was lowered into the grave with the family standing around it.

The film is the property of the Yiddish Writers’ and Journalists’ Society.

Expressions of Sympathy

Yesterday the Yiddish Writers’ and Journalists’ Society received many sympathy dispatches, including those from the Jewish faction of the Lodz City Council and from the editorial staff of the “Lodzer togblat.

Among the delegations from outside the city was a delegate from the Lodz Yiddish Writers’ and Journalists’ Society, Mr. Viner, and Mr. Kahn, the editor of the “Lodzer folksblat.” In answer to the dispatch that the Warsaw Society send to the Lodz Yiddish Writers’ and Journalists’ Society, we received the answer that there was no such address.

The Grave

The grave of the deceased is located beside the grave of the great deceased writer Y. L Peretz. While he was still alive, Dinezon had arranged a place beside his best friend, and in the last night of his life, Dinezon had expressed his wish that he be laid beside Peretz and that one tombstone be placed over both of them.

His wish was fulfilled and he was buried beside his friend.

Apparently the Last Letter that Dinezon Wrote

Our reader Mr. Rafoel Gutman has given us a letter that he received from Y. Dinezon, dated 22 August, that is Friday a week ago, that may be the last letter that the deceased wrote before he took to his bed, from which he did not arise.

We print _____ the letter _____ that shows the tenderness that he had toward the children.

“Dear and honorable friend Mr. Rafoel ish-tov! [“good-man” in Hebrew],

I welcome the opportunity to discuss your student Shaye Peys’ hardship. I know the boy as a smart and capable child; but I also know that he could not find a better teacher than you, and I would question why the mother wants to put him in a different school. . . .

[Hard to read lines]

I am interested in the child, and so I hope _____ your advice _____.

Best regards,

Y. Dinezon”

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