Aaron Itzhak Grodzenski
G. was born in 19 October 1891 in Vekshnya, Kovno
region, Lithuania. He is descended from chief rabbis.
His grandfather was a rabbi in Ivye. His father's
brother was the well-known Gaon R' Chiam Uzer Grodzenski
in Vilna. His father was qualified as a rabbi, but he
took up business instead. Due to an incident at birth,
and through an error by a town doctor, he had to live for
his entire life with a deep-tseshedikte vocal
volume. As a child of three his parents took him to
Vilna, where he learned in a cheder. At the age of
thirteen he entered a Russian progymnasium, where he
learned for four to five years. He read much, and at an
began to write.
At age seventeen he published his first song in Yiddish,
and in 1910 he went away to Antwerp, where he learned to
sharpen his instruments, and he became the co-founder of
the local society "Kultur" and worked with various
Yiddish periodicals in Western Europe.
In 1913 he returned to
Vilna, where he began to contribute to the local
Yiddish newspapers, issuing in 1914 his first book of
songs "Eynzame klangen." During the First World War,
together with his parents, he was evacuated to Yekaterinoslav, where he fell down in 1916,
under a tramway and both of his legs became paralyzed. Nisht gekut
deroyf, he threw himself with great energy into
writing. He worked with the local Yiddish press,
translating Pushkin's "Poltava" and "Yevgeni oniegin,"
which since 1923 was a Yiddish opera production in Vilna. He
returned in 1921 to Vilna, where there he became active
in the periodicals, put out a novel, a "muterlekhe
gefiln," a lebenspiel in four scenes
(Vilna, 1923, 49 pp.), published several translations,
and since 1924 until the
outbreak of the Second World War,
he published the
afternoon newspaper "Der ovnt-kurier," which
and a very high nationwide circulation. There he also
very often published reviews and articles about the
In November 1936, when the
Germans were in Vilna, G., together with his wife and
children, were in the Vilna Ghetto.
Sh. Katsherginski wrote
about his last stage:
"Secretary of the union of
Yiddish literature and journalism in Vilna, with his
wife and children, were in the ghetto. In bloody chaos,
1941, he was constantly tempted to endure (?), and to
the end had the murderer caught. He stood against
them, saying that "no one living shall
take me." They hit him and carried him from his home and
threw him into a farmakhtn automobile. which took
him away to Ponar with the old and the sick who could
not go on foot. In a short time he was murdered there,
as was his wife (a dentist), with their two children."
"Lexicon of the
Yiddish Theatre," New York, 1931, vol. I, p.
"Lexicon of the New
Yiddish Literature," New York, 1958, Vol. II,
Sh. Katsherginski --
"Khurbn vilne (The Destruction of Vilna)," New
York, 1947, p. 186.