Jacob Dinezon’s Funeral

Der Moment (The Moment)

Monday, September 1, 1919
Warsaw, Poland, pp. 1–3
Translated from the Yiddish by
Mindy Liberman


The Funeral Of Jacob Dinezon

An exceptional phenomenon took place in Jewish Warsaw with yesterday’s funeral of the beloved Yiddish author Jacob Dinezon, of blessed memory, in which all of the Jewish civic and proletarian perspectives participated.

The funeral was transformed into an enormous demonstration of Jewish grief not seen in Warsaw for a long time.

In the Street

Even though the dawn was gloomy and rain hung in the air, an exceptional activity of schoolboys and girls was still seen in the Jewish streets from early morning on. They hurried in answer to the call of their organizations and schools to keep order at the funeral.

There was a lively flurry in the centers of the Jewish Gymnastics and Sports Association. The same thing was noticed in the centers of the civic and proletarian cultural organizations, where the people assembled in great numbers and waited for instructions from the Technical Operations Commission that undertook to organize and maintain order at the funeral.

The main person responsible for conducting and maintaining order at the funeral was Mr. Nekhemye Finkelshteyn; as his assistants were Misters Dovid Eynhorn, A. Kacyzne, A. Gavze, and others.

Beginning early in the morning, the ushers took all necessary steps to keep order at the funeral as well as possible so that everything would take place without any unwanted accidents.

The director of the American Jewish Food Commission, Dr. B. Bogen, gave permission to the Technical Committee for two automobiles, which were at the house of mourning of the deceased since morning.

At the House of Mourning

In front of the house of mourning at Karmelitska 29, a large crowd gathered to wait to enter the home of the deceased in order to see him one last time. Among them were many older men with prayer shawls under their arms, who rushed from him to the synagogue.

Keeping order at the entrance to the house, on the stairs, beside the catafalque, and inside were school boys and those who were brought up in Dinezon’s children’s homes.

Beside the head of the deceased lay a wreath of living flowers with the signature, “To Dear Uncle, Bella and Paula.” This was a wreath from the children of the sister of the deceased, whom he brought up and took care of always.

Until after 11 o’clock, strangers were allowed into the home of the deceased. Afterwards the entrance was blocked. Exceptions were made only for relatives, close acquaintances, and fellow writers of the deceased.

Accompanying Dep. Heschel Farbshteyn, members of the American Jewish Food Commission, Dr. B. Bogen, Attorney Hershfeld, Shane, and Leo Gershtenzang (?) also came. They stood for a short time beside the dead body and remained in the house until the funeral.

After a heavy rain that lasted from 10 to 11 in the morning, the strangers were asked to leave the house of the deceased. Relatives of Jacob Dinezon, of blessed memory, and his fellow writers approached to sew the shroud and make the other preparations for the burial.

From 11:30 on, the public began to gather in front of the house of mourning. From all the side streets, people streamed onto Karmelitska: young and old, school boys and girls, intellectuals, military personnel, workers, craftsmen, and the like. By 12:30, Karmelitska, Dzielna, and the neighboring streets along the length of Karmelitska until Leszno, as well as the balconies and windows, were packed full of thousands of people.

Jewish military personnel, police from three departments, and about 500 ushers maintained order. The ushers from the Technical Commission of the Funeral Committee wore black mourning badges with a white ribbon in their lapels, and the members of Bar Kokhba in white sports caps with organization badges decorated with black crepe. The ushers from the proletarian parties—red bands on their arms or in their lapels and with the inscription of the party to which they belonged.

The police made sure the trams would not speed, and there would be no accidents. Therefore, a senior police officer rode on the platform of every tram and guided them through the masses that besieged Karmelitska Street and presented a sea of human heads.

The various Jewish delegations assembled on Novolipki Street. The members of the Grosser Club and other proletarian movements on Dzielna. The Jewish Writers and Journalists gathered in the courtyard.

The Funeral

At 1:15, the casket with the deceased was carried from his house. The casket was carried by Mr. Tsvi Pryłucki, Mr. Hillel Zeitlin, Mr. Levi Levin-Epstein, Mr. Nehemye Finklshteyn, relatives of the deceased, and others.

The hearse remained standing for some time in the street, waiting until the delegations left Novolipki street.

First went several police officers who stopped the trams so that they would not drive into the crowd. Next the ushers and school children in a closed chain.

Next came the delegations: 1) The Association of Jewish Writers and Journalists in Warsaw represented by their whole board; 2) The Association of Jewish Writers and Journalists in Vilna represented by Mr. S. An-sky and Mr. S. Niger; 3) The Association of Jewish Writers and Journalists in Lodz; 4) The Central Council of the Folkist Party in Poland with Mr. Noah Prylucki who came especially for the funeral from (Szczecinek?), at the head; 5) the city council of the Folkist Party; 6) Folkist Party Women’s Organization with a black banner on which was written “To the Folk-Writer and Quiet Friend”; 7) (unclear) Youth Organization “Peretz” with a black band and inscription “To the Educator of Jewish Youth”; 8) the Editors of Lebens-fragn—a red band with the inscription “To our dear J. Dinezon” carried by V. Medem, W. Szulman, and Kastelanski; 9) Grosser Children’s Home; 10) Grosser Club; 11) the socialist youth club Tsukunft (The Future)—a red band with the inscription “To the Author of Yosele and Hershele”; 12) “Self-Help” from the Jewish Community Handworkers School; 13) The Editors of Unzer veg (Our Way) represented by Mr. S. Gutman, Mr. Davidovitch, Mr. S. Zusman and others; 14) Fareynikte (United Jewish Socialist Workers Party) School and Children’s Home; 15) Fareynikte Workers Courses; 16) Fareynikte Workers Club; 17) Jewish Socialist Youth Organization; 18) Free Union of Jewish Sejm Deputies represented by deputies Yitzhak Gruenbaum, Hershel Farbstein, and Samuel Hirschhorn; 19) The Fareynikte Organization with its institutions; 20) The Zionist Central-Committee represented by Mr. Abraham Podlishevsky, Dr. Klumel, B. Mintz, Leon Lewite, Dr. Portner, and Dr. Gottlieb; 21) Merkaz, 22) Ivrit represented by S. L. Gordon, Yoel Dunayevski, and Machlis; 23) C. C. (Central Committee) of Mizrachi represented by Messrs. Zlotnick, Shteranski, and Huberband; 24)Warsaw Committee of Poale Zion; 25) Editors of Arbeter Tsaytung (Workers Newspaper); 26) Workers Home; 27) Praga Workers Home; 28) Workers Home Public Schools and Children’s Homes; 29) Workers Home evening courses for workers; 30) Borochov Library; 31) Professional Union of Trade Employees of the Manufacturing Sector; 32) Central Jewish Small Trades Union; 33) Jewish Socialist-Democratic Organization Youth; Borochov School Youth Association; 34) Jewish Academic Home; 35) Professional Association of Jewish Newspaper Employees; 36) Jewish Teachers Union; 37) Professional Association of Jewish Artists; 38) Vilna Troupe; 39) Union of Choir Singers and Stage Technicians; 40) C. C. (Central Committee) and Warsaw Committee of Tseirey Zion (Young Zionists;) 41) The Central Council of the Jewish Artisans Unions in Poland; 42) Central Artisans Council; 43) Central Handworkers Union; 43) Union of Master Craftsmen Hat Makers and Merchants; 44) Jubilee Society; 45) Maccabi; 46) Bar Kokhba; 47) Forward Academic Youth; 48) Sholem Aleichem Public School; 49) Kadimah; 50) People’s House in Pelzovizna; 51) Hador Hatzair; 52) Herzliya; 53) Hashomer Hatzair; 54) A company of Jewish under-officers, older, and younger soldiers.

Next came ushers organized in several rows, then the hearse, followed by a wreath from the nieces of the deceased and an honor guard of members of the People’s House.

Right behind the hearse from the center of the street came Mr. David Frishman, Mr. S. An-sky, Dr. Gershon Levin, and Deputy H. D. Nomberg. Then the relatives of the deceased.

After them, a group of Jewish journalists carried a white ribbon with black borders with inscriptions in Hebrew and Yiddish in the name of the Association of Jewish Writers and Journalists. Next came almost all of the Jewish writers in Warsaw: the editors-in-chief of the Jewish daily press and the employees of the newspapers. Then delegations from the schools of the children’s homes in I. L Peretz’s name, which were under the supervision of the deceased, Jacob Dinezon; the schools of the School and Education Society; and a large crowd which reached so far that when the delegation from the Writers and Journalists Association found themselves at the Gensher Cemetery, the last group of people attending the funeral could still be found on Nalewki.

A delegation from the schools of the School and People’s Education Society carried Dinezon’s picture draped in black and red ribbons with the inscription: “Our Dear Friend.”

All the proletarian institutions carried red ribbons with inscriptions. The funeral proceeded through Karmelitska, Leszno, Tlomackie, Bielańska, Nalewki, Gensha. Along the entire route, the balconies and windows were lined with people. The same on the sidewalks, where the school youth had constructed a traffic lane. The Jewish businesses on the streets where the funeral procession passed were closed. The crowding was immense, especially close to and at the cemetery, which was overflowing even before the hearse arrived.

Police from the third and fifth commissariats made an effort to keep order and calm with success and thus avoided collisions and accidents. Therefore, the funeral transpired calmly.

At 4 o’clock, the hearse reached the cemetery. The coffin was carried to the Ceremonial Hall by Dr. Klumel, Rep. Y. Gruenbaum, A. Gavze, Dr. Gottlieb, A. Goldberg, and others.

Once they had purified the body, Cantor Sherman and the choir sang the appropriate verses from the Psalms. The writers and activists carried the casket while the cantor and the choir sang Yoshev beseter, Psalm 91.

The Burial

At 4:30, they lowered the casket into the grave. A dead silence descended. The huge crowd that flooded a wide area around the cemetery and stood in terrifying density, held its breath.

At the open grave, the first to speak was Mr. Shalkovich on behalf of The Association of Jewish Writers and Journalists. In a few words, he recalled the stature of the deceased, his creating the Yiddish reader, his tenderness, gentleness, and affability in his style, and with the same virtues in life. He spoke of Dinezon’s love for the Jewish child, his last words about bringing up the children in his children’s homes, his loyal friendship for which he was so beloved in the literary world, his dedication to young writers whom he mentored, and the bringing about his constant desire during his last years that after death he would be closely reunited with his friend Peretz in the grave, as he was closely bound to him in life.

Following Shalkovich, S. An-ski gave a short and moving speech.

S. An-ski’s Speech

(See translation in Haynt.)

S. Anski, who was barely able to control himself and hold back tears throughout his talk, broke down and cried at the last words.

The first handfuls of earth fell onto the coffin of the unforgettable Dinezon. The cantor and the choir began to sing the prayers and the grave was slowly filled. The relatives of the deceased deposited the last shovels-full of earth into the grave.

Choking with tears, Mr. Levi Levin-Epstein said Kaddish.

By 5:30, the grave was filled, and the great crowd that had begun to disperse still passed through the paths of the cemetery for some time.

Flowers were laid on the adjoining grave of I. L. Peretz during the funeral.

The funeral was recorded for Cinematograph.


The Board of the Association of Jewish Writers and Journalists in Warsaw commiserates in their grief and sorrow with the sister and family of its late unforgettable honorary chairman, Jacob Dinezon, his soul is in Paradise.

In deep grief we bow our heads and mourn the death of the beloved folk writer and friend of the Yiddish Theater, Jacob Dinezon. —Professional Association of Jewish Artists in Poland.

With deep grief and sorrow we mourn the death of our dear friend, the unforgettable folk writer Jacob Dinezon. —The Vilna Troupe, Union of Yiddish Dramatic Artists in Vilna.

On the death of the unforgettable friend of the people and my personal friend Jacob Dinezon, his soul is in Paradise, I express my deep sorrow.—B. Bienshtock in my own name and in the name of Mr. P. Grobard, also present. Instead of a wreath, 100 marks for the schools in the name of the deceased.

With passionate tears we mourn the death of our dear friend Jacob Dinezon. —Shmuel Shmurak and Family.

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