Janovsky, Saul Joseph

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JANOVSKY, SAUL JOSEPH (1864–1939), Yiddish journalist, editor, and activist. Born in Pinsk, Janovsky early became interested in the *Haskalah. After arriving in New York in 1885 he became active in the labor movement. In London in 1890, he edited a radical Yiddish weekly, Der Arbeter Fraynd, before returning to New York (1895). When he joined the anarchist movement, he switched from writing Russian to Yiddish, helping to found the Pionere der Frayhayt ("Pioneers of Freedom"), and edited anarchist Yiddish periodicals – the weekly Di Fraye Arbeter Shtime (1899–1919), the daily Di Ovnt Tsaytung (1906), and the monthly Di Fraye Gezelshaft (1910–11); he edited the monthly Gerekhtigkayt, organ of the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union (1919–26) and also contributed to Tsukunft and Forverts. He wrote under many pseudonyms, including Y.Z., Anonymous, Bas-Kol, and Yoysef Ben Gershon. Janovsky wrote about political events and trade union problems, reviewed books and plays, and translated works by Tolstoy and others. His reviews and editorial correspondence were sharp but understanding, demonstrating a flair for recognizing talent; many Yiddish writers were discovered and first published by him.


Rejzen, Leksikon, 1 (1926), 1219–24; lnyl, 4 (1961), 186–9; E. Shulman, Geshikhte fun der Yidisher Literatur in Amerike (1943); A. Gordin, Sh. Janovsky (1957).

[Elias Schulman /

Marc Miller (2nd ed.)]