WARSHAWSKI, MARK (1848–1907), Yiddish poet and song-writer. Born in Odessa, he practiced law in Kiev. He wrote both the words and the music of his songs, improvised couplets and sang them at various gatherings, but remained unaware of the literary and folk quality of his songs until *Sholem Aleichem encouraged him to publish them and wrote the introduction to Warshawski's Yudishe Folkslider mit Notn ("Jewish Folksongs with Music," 1900). A second edition, with additional poems and biographical information, was published in Odessa (1914) and a third edition in New York (1918). A fourth edition, edited by S. Rozhansky (Rollansky), appeared in Buenos Aires in 1958. Warshawski's songs and poems, written in a simple, unsophisticated style, describe the joys and sorrows of everyday life. In contrast to many writers of his period, who were generally critical of Jewish ways, he wrote with enthusiasm about customs and modes of life. "Oyfn Pripetshik," glorifying the old-fashioned ḥeder, became one of the most popular Jewish songs, attaining the status of a folk song. His wedding songs and his hymns to Zion brought cheer, comfort, and hope to Russian Jews under czarist oppression.
Rejzen, Leksikon, 1 (1928), 918–21; lnyl, 3 (1960), 316–8; Liptzin, Flowering of Yiddish Literature (1963), 72–5; I. Manger, Noente Geshtaltn (1938), 163–9; E.H. Jeshurin, Mark Varshavski-Bibliografye (1958); J. Leftwich (ed.), The Golden Peacock (1961), Eng. trans. add. bibliography: S. Leichter (ed.), Anthology of Yiddish Folksongs, 6 (2002).
[Elias Schulman /
Tamar Lewinsky (2nd ed.)]