WELNER, PINCHES (1893–1965), Yiddish and Danish author and journalist. Born in Lodz, Poland, he joined the *Bund in 1904, emigrated first to Argentina, then to Denmark in 1913, and earned his livelihood as a weaver and tailor. Later he made his name as a Yiddish writer and as Denmark's chronicler of East European Jewish life. He also wrote for the general and Jewish press in Scandinavia and other countries and contributed to Yiddish journals in many countries.
Welner's books only appeared after World War ii (his early works were generally written originally in Yiddish, but published first in his Danish translation). In Yene Teg ("In Those Days," 1958; Danish tr. I hine Dage, 1949) deals with the Nazi persecution of the Danish Jews and their famous escape across the Øresund in 1943, a theme that also inspired a later work, Bay di Bregn fun Oresund ("On the Shores of the Øresund," 1957; Danish tr. Ved Øresunds bredder, 1953). The Polish shtetl, with its traditional Jewish types, retained its hold on Welner's imagination and provides the setting for Den Brogede Gade ("The Confused Street," 1960); there is also some vivid description and autobiographical material in Fra Polsk jøde til dansk ("From Polish to Danish Jew," 1965), which depicts Jewish refugee life in Denmark before and during World War i. Welner published several other books, the last of which, Fremmed fugl ("Strange Bird," 1966) is a collection of short stories. A vice president of *yivo, Welner was an active Zionist, serving as president of the Danish branch of the Iḥud Olami (*Po'alei Zion), which he himself had founded. In 1946 he published Krigen mod jøderne ("War against the Jews"), an attack on the British policy in Palestine.
Dansk skønlitteraert forfatterleksikon 1900–1950, 3 (1964), s.v. add. bibliography: lnyl 3, (1960), 483–5.
[Torben Meyer /
Jerold C. Frakes (2nd ed.)]