Libin, Z.

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LIBIN, Z. (pseudonym of Israel Zalman Hurwitz ; 1872–1955), Yiddish novelist. Libin escaped Czarist military service by immigrating to London (1891) and on to New York, where he worked three years in sweatshops. Although he began his literary career in Russian, he became a pioneer of Yiddish literature in the U.S., publishing his first story in 1892; in over half a century of creative work, he contributed to newspapers and periodicals, such as Tsukunft, Arbeter Tsaytung, and especially Forverts, writing light articles about daily events, hundreds of realistic, compassionate stories and sketches about immigrant life and the struggles and the suffering of sweatshop workers, and some 50 plays, which were produced in the U.S. and Europe. His most famous play, Di Gebrokhene Hertser ("Broken Hearts," 1903), was first produced with Jacob and Sarah *Adler in the lead roles and was later played by various companies throughout the world. It was filmed in 1926 by Maurice *Schwartz, who inaugurated his Yiddish Art Theater in 1918 with Libin's play Der Man un Zayn Shotn ("The Man and His Shadow"). Many of Libin's stories and plays remained uncollected. Among his published books are Geklibene Skitsn ("Selected Skits," 1902), Geklibene Shriftn ("Selected Works," 2 vols., 1910), and Gezamlte Verk ("Collected Works," 4 vols., 1915–16), and his tragicomedy Kolegn (Engl. trans. Colleagues, 1915).


Rejzen, Leksikon, 2 (1927), 113–16; lnyl, 5 (1963), 44–49; Z. Zylbercweig, Leksikon fun Yidishn Teater, 2 (1934), 1026–38; S. Niger, Dertseylers un Romanistn (1946), 204–16; B. Bialostotzky, in: jba, 11 (1952/53), 169–71. add. bibliography: B. Gorin, Geshikhte fun Yidishn Teater, 2 (1918), 208–10; A. Cahan, Bleter fun Mayn Leben, 4 (1928), 468–69; Bal Makhshoves, Geklibene Shriftn, 3 (1929), 122–26; A. Mokdoni, Yorbukh fun Amopteyl, 1 (1938), 257–72; E. Schulman, Geshikhte fun der Yidisher Literatur in Amerike, (1943), 133–36.

[Elias Schulman /

Marc Miller (2nd ed.)]