A literary journal written edited and published by Alter Kacyzne (Alter Sholem Katsizne, Alter Szołom Kacyzna, 1885-1941), a writer, playwright, editor and translator, one of the prominent figures of Yiddish cultural life in interwar Warsaw.
Kacyzne participated as writer and editor in a number of journals and literary collections published in Warsaw, some of them short lived or single volume enterprises. He founded and edited the literary collection "Di Teyve" ("The Ark", one volume. 1920, with Dovid Eynhorn); the short lived journal "Glokn" ("Bells, 1921, with Yankev Vaserman); and "Ringen" ("Links", published irregularly 1921-1922, with Michał Weichert). Kacyzne was associated with the literary group that founded and edited the journal "Literarishe Bleter" ("Literary Pages", 1924-1939), where he published routinely, and was also briefly a member of the editorial board from December 1924 till March 1925, when the board was replaced by a single editor as the publication was taken over by the "Vilner Ferlag" under Boris A. Kletskin (Borys A. Kleckin). Kacyzne's material was published in the dailies "Unzer Express" and "Folkstsaytung", and in many other journals and newspapers in Warsaw as well as in Vilna.
At the same time Kacyzne worked as a professional photographer. He opened his own studio, and later was employed as a documentary photographer. He was commissioned by HIAS in 1921-1922 to record the wave of Jewish emigration from Poland. In 1924 he was hired by the editor of the New York based Yiddish daily "Forverts" (The Forward) as its official photographer in Poland, and began sending series of photographs taken in different locations in Poland, and later photographs taken while travelling in other countries. The regular salary in American Dollars provided Kacyzne economic security and professional freedom.
In 1934-1935 Kacyzne joined a group of writers and poets who participated in editing several communist newspapers, published in sequence under different names, disguised as legitimate publications, and regularly shut down by the authorities (the communist party and the publication of communist literature were considered illegal). The first in this series was "Literarishe Tribune" (April 1930 - March 1933, 43 issues published monthly and then biweekly, operated by Yankev Vaserman and Berl Mark, among others). It was replaced by "Tribune" (closed down after 15 issues in January 1934). Kacyzne joined the group when it issued the daily "Der Fraynd" ("The Friend" or "The Comrade", officially published by Boris A. Kletskin, Warsaw, 20 April 1934 - 28 March 1935). Kacyzne was an editor of "Der Fraynd", alongside Ber (Berl, Bernard) Mark, Symcha Lew, Kadia Molodowski, Dawid Sfard, and Zalman Elbirt. After "Der Fraynd" was closed down, it was followed by "Literatur" ("Literature"), a biweekly published in Warsaw and edited by Kacyzne, Michal Mirski and Dawid Sfard (June-August 1935, 5 issues).
Kacyzne published a regular column in "Der Fraynd", under the title "Mayn redndiker film" ("My talking film"). The title reflects one of the technological innovations of the period - the production of talking films - that arrived in Poland in 1929. Kacyzne himself was invovled in the early production of one of the first Yiddish talking films created in Poland, the film "Der Dibek" (The Dybbuk, Dybuk). Filming began in Warsaw circa May 1937, and the film was released in September 1937. The first three Yiddish films in Poland were produced in 1936, three more, including "Der Dibek", in 1937. Kacyzne, who was one of the literary executors of S. An-ski (Shloyme Zaynvl Rapoport, 1863-1920), the author of the play "Der Dibek" (which premiered in Warsaw in 1920), was invited (together with theater director Mark Arnshtayn), to write the screen adaptation of the play.
After the authorities closed down the "Der Fraynd", and at the time "Der Dibek" started filming, Kacyzne began to publish a new journal, using the same title given to his old column in "Der Fraynd": "Mayn redndiker film" (the title in Polish: "Majn redndiker film"), with the subtitle: "Notitsen un skitsen fun Alter Katsizne" ("Notes and sketches by Alter Kacyzne"). This was a personal publication, under his full responsibility and private funding, in which he used his experience as writer and editor, and the presence of a pre-existing readership already familiar with his column. He thus continued his column and his extensive journalistic activities independently, and added a selection of his writings, articles on current matters, eulogies of people he knew (including one for Boris A. Kletskin), review notes, and literary pieces, including serialized plays he wrote ("Shvartsbard" and "Ester"), exclusively published in that form. As was the custom at the time, the readers would collect the published pages of the plays and have them bound as a separate book.
As a private literary enterprise, a one man journal, with no editorial board and no additional writers, the publication completely depended on Kacyzne's literary, economic, and commercial skills, as well as his well-being. Thus, for example, a short break in publication was attributed to the author's illness. The first issue was published in 15 May 1937, and until May 1938 the journal was published fairly regularly every two weeks. In the second year, starting on 1 July 1938, the span between issues stretched to one month, and the biweekly practically became a monthly. Until 10 November 1938, the date of the last issue presented here, 27 issues have been published. Issue nr. 27 does not include an announcement about the end of publication, and the serialized story was promised "to be continued" (some sources note that publication continued into 1939 and reached 33 issues). The published issues bear the marks of censorship - missing lines, missing articles, and one issue that was confiscated and replaced by an approved second edition. Kacyzne used his extensive network of contacts in the literary and the publishing worlds to expand the circle of subscribers and readers, which spanned beyond the local cultural scene of Warsaw.
This journal is indexed in the "Index to Yiddish Periodicals" database:
Dr. Shuki Ecker