Born in 1884 in Molodetshne,
Vilna region, Polish-Lita. He learned in a cheder and
yeshiva. Then he became a teacher in Minsk. Since 1906
he lived in Vilna and debuted with stories in "Hazman."
In 1912 he was arrested for belonging to the "Bund."
After being freed he was forced to leave Russia, and
until the First World War he lived in Krakow and
Lemberg. In 1918-23 he was in Vienna, where he was a
Hebrew teacher and one of the editors for the publishing
house, "Der kval (The Source)," also editor of the
monthly journal "Kritik."
In 1923 he returned to
Vilna. In 1926 (together with N. Mayzil), he co-edited
the "Literarishe bleter" in Warsaw, and since 1927
worked in Warsaw's "Ekspres." In 1925 Z. published in
Vilna a weekly page for theatre and film, under the
name, "Di bimah (The Stage)" (published sixteen
At the beginning of the
Second World War, in September 1939, Z. fled from Warsaw
to Bialystok, then settled in Vilna, suffering in great
need, but in the end he was killed at Ponar. So too his
wife and daughter. His son remained alive in the Soviet
About his last period and
tragic death, S. Kaczerginski writes in "The Destruction
"He ran away from
Warsaw in 1939 and headed for Bialystok. Afterwards he
settled in Vilna. He never showed signs that he wanted
to return to his old hometown. Zilburg was born in 1844
in Molodetchno, in the area of Vilna, which the Germans
had already captured. Having no means to live (Zilburg
left all of his possessions for the Germans in Warsaw)
during the first Occupation, Zilburg went hungry.
Knowing a bit about his probable future, which was in
the hands of the Germans, the old writer searched for
means to save himself. However, old age and his weakened
resistance to illness, which was the result of his
constant wanderings, cut off all possibilities to find
salvation. He remained in the second ghetto in Vilna,
into which were driven thousands of other Jews, who were
already selected to be killed. Yet he attempted to save
himself. He let his friends in the first ghetto (Vilna
had two ghettos), pleading with them to take him to
their ghetto. But the horrible abyss swallowed up every
chance of rescue. Frightened, an unknown, a nobody, the
sixty-year- old print setter, was sent to the great
communal cemetery in Ponar."
Herman Kruk in his "Diary
of a [Vilna] Ghetto" notes that the library, which worked under
his supervision, became a true cultural center, and that
all in all was a cultural activist, and it had their
culture, literature, etc.... Also many came to obtain
employment, not so because of the employment, that no
one should sit at home, and also it was important to get
a sparkle. Begging and crying will be heard, and among
them he is talking about Moshe Zilburg.
"Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre,"
New York, 1931, Vol. 1, p. 775.
"Lexicon of the New Yiddish
Literature," New York, 1960, Vol. III, pp. 604-606.
Sh. Katsherginski -- "The
Destruction of Vilna," New York, 1947, pp. 192-193.
Herman Kruk -- "Togbukh fun vilner
geto," New York, 1961, p. 81.