In "European Literature"
(Warsaw, N' 32, 1910), K. published a highly interesting
critique of Joel Entin's Yiddish translation of Ibsen's
In March 1915, during the
German occupation, K founded a Yiddish daily newspaper,
"Dos Lodzer Folksblat," and in October in 1915 in
Warsaw, with H. D. Nomberg as literary editor, he
founded the "Warshaver Togeblat," in 1917 for a
half-year published in Warsaw the weekly "Dos Folk,"
which later was taken over as an organ of the "Dos
folk," which later was taken over as an organ of the
"Folks Party," where K. became one of the directors. In
July 1917 K. returned to Lodz and continued to take over
the editing of the "Lodzer folksblat" and found in 1918
a publishing house, in which he also gave out his large
translation of "Tayvels voyb" by Karl Shenher.
In 1922-23, together with
his wife, [Rose] Shoshana, he directed with the "Skala"
Theatre, and in 1922 together with Zalmen Zylbercweig
issued and edited in Lodz the weekly "Theatre and Arts,
illustrated weekly for theatre, music, arts and film (6
October-2 November 1922), and in 1923: "Theatre and
Arts" (4 January-16 February 1923), where he often wrote
about Yiddish theatre. K. also, together with his wife,
translated the play, "Di reter fun moral" by Profan.
K. even edited several
newspapers and journals, put out several books, an
important book about the textile pioneers in Lodz, and
settled with his family in Warsaw, where he was since
1926 one of the editors and main contributors of the
daily newspaper, "Express," displaying with each
opportunity a great interest for Yiddish theatre. At the
same time K. is a correspondent for the "Forward" and
Argentinean newspapers. In 1937 K. visited America .
During the outbreak of the
First World War he fled across Lita to Soviet Russia,
and from there across Siberia to Japan, where he
performed in Kobe (Japan) for the first time in Yiddish,
on 6 November 1941, during a literary evening in honor of
S. Dubnow, and from there he went to Shanghai (China.)
There he was locked by the Japanese into a ghetto, where
he suffered from hunger, need and illness, performing at
the same time in forums, wrote for the local Yiddish
newspaper in Russian "Nasha Zhizn," the literary head of
the Yiddish theatre productions, which his wife arranged
and wrote about, and together with her, from memory, the
plays that she acted in. After the liberation K. was the
initiator to issue through the Yiddish writer-refugees
in Yiddish a weekly "Unzer Velt" (written on a
typewriter, photographed and then lithographed), where
he was the main editor, with contributions by
Moshe Elbaum and Jacob Fishman et al. At the same time,
K. wrote a series of articles in the Russian-Yiddish
newspaper "Yevreyskaya Zhizn" in Harbin. Finally there
arrived a contract from America so he could travel
there, but K. was ill, and he was taken away to a local
hospital, where he died of typhus on 26 May 1946.
Melech Ravitch characterized
him as such:
"...Kahan had a love for
literature and theatre and was a good friend of every
poet from Lodz and who had wished that they had used him to
write for their newspaper. ...Kahan thought that a
writer could write on every theme. With him completing
an entire newspaper [in] under seven[?] names was a trifle.
By nature, a gutmutiker, a human being, whose
business was not a 'fly on the wall,' he was due to his
leykhtkeyt in writing was always entangled in
polemics, which he had not sought and did not want. Due
to his wife, the beautiful actress [Rose] Shoshana,
[and] furthermore he was always ensnared in theatre
intrigues. With one word: a journalist in a
French-Parisian style on the poor Jewish street in Lodz
The writer Moshe Elbaum, who
was together with K. in a wandering way in Japan and in
"....It was a heylung
and a genezung the tzuzamenzayn with Lazar
Kahan to enjoy his eternal optimism and to look at his
constant smile, which never left him, even on his
death-bed. ...It was a tragic irony of the fate that
grod the folks mensh and writer Lazar Kahan,
who was for his entire life mitgangen with the
public and struggling with the wider masses, that his
body should lay in a cemetery of a veyter town,
who remained a Jew, and It is not there any[one] that
might make a "El maley rachamim.1"
Reyzen -- "Lexicon of Yiddish Literature," Vol.
IV, pp. 392-396.
D. Kromin --
Geshtorbn in elnt, "Forward," N. Y., 9 June
Melech Ravitch --
"Mayn leksikon," Montreal, 1947, pp. 139-41.
Shoshanah-Kahan -- "In feyer un flamen," Buenos
Moshe Elbaum --
Lazar Kahan --- tsen yor nokh zayn toyt baym
tragishe umshtendn in shankhai, "Forward," N.
Y., 26 May 1956.
"El malei rachamim"
is a funeral prayer used by the Ashkenazi Jewish
community. The chazzan recites it, for the ascension of
the souls of the dead, during the funeral, going up to
the grave of the departed, remembrance days, and other
occasions on which the memory of the dead is recalled.