Find more information about

at the Center for Jewish History:

NOTE: you will be redirected
to the Web site for the

Karlinski, Ber

(1886–1935), journalist. Ber Karlinski was born in the provincial town of Kolno, in the Białystok district. He also used the first name Boaz, as well as the aliases B. Karlinius, B. K-I, and B. Karliner. The son of a wealthy and learned family, Karlinski received a traditional Jewish education. Subsequently, he acquired a general education independently, in Warsaw as of 1904.

In 1906, Karlinski began to work as a journalist for Der telegraf, the daily newspaper of Naḥum Sokolow. In 1908, he published what seems to be his only original work in prose, Dos togbukh fun a gevezener partey-firerin (Diary of a Former [female] Party Leader), a sentimental novel written as a diary covering three years. It is about a young woman who, after devoting her life to the party and its ideology, meets a childhood friend and falls in love with him. When she becomes ill (probably with tuberculosis) he leaves her; the feeling of emptiness and disappointment with life and other people leads her to commit suicide. He also wrote the play Shturem bleter (Leaves of Storm), which was performed at the Jewish culture club Hazomir. In 1909, he served as editor of the classical book translation series Shimins Groyse Velt Bibliotek (Shimin’s Great World Library), issuing 66 classics over a three-year period for publisher Benjamin Shimin. As part of this task, Karlinski translated works by Arthur Schnitzler, Knut Hamsun, Max Nordau, Yehudah Steinberg, and others. He also wrote bibliographic reviews, articles, and stories for various periodicals. In 1911, he published Fremd verterbukh, a dictionary of foreign words and expressions; several editions were subsequently printed. In 1919–1920, he edited Ilustrirte velt, a popular Warsaw cultural weekly.

As of 1915, Karlinski was one of the leading correspondents of the daily newspaper Der moment, to which he regularly contributed articles on current affairs as well as essays and literary criticism. Between 1924 and 1932, he served as editor of the paper’s literary supplement, publishing articles on literature and the theater. Although he was employed by the official bulletin of the Folkist party, Karlinski was unaffiliated politically and was known as a person who avoided controversy. Accordingly, his journalistic writing was unbiased and achieved a degree of quality uncommon in the Yiddish press of Poland in those years. Froyim Kaganovski later called him “one of the truly righteous men of the interwar generation of Yiddish authors” (Kaganovski, 1956, p. 436).

Karlinski’s public prestige led to his election to the first board of the Association of Jewish Writers and Journalists in Warsaw (1916), which he headed from 1929 to 1931. In this capacity, he did his best to maintain his neutral position and the public prestige of the union, while encouraging distribution, sales, and reading of Yiddish books during a period when Yiddish literature was in constant crisis. When the Jewish branch of the Syndicate of Polish Journalists was founded in 1926, he was elected to its board, on which he remained active until the end of his life. An incurable blood disease ultimately forced him to reduce his workload. As he required constant medical care, he moved to the resort town of Otwock, where he died at the age of 49.

Suggested Reading

Natan Cohen, Sefer, sofer ve-‘iton: Merkaz ha-tarbut ha-Yehudit be-Varshah, 1918–1942 (Jerusalem, 2003); Ephraim Kaganowski (Froyim Kaganovski), Yidishe shrayber in der heym (Paris, 1956), pp. 436–437; “Karlinski, Ber,” in Leksikon fun der nayer yidisher literatur, vol. 8, cols. 134–135 (New York, 1981); Melech Ravitch (Melekh Ravitsh), “B. Karlinius,” in Mayn leksikon, vol. 2, pp. 72–74 (Montreal, 1947).



Translated from Hebrew by Rami Hann