Staff of Der moment, Warsaw, 1920s. (Back row, left to right) Mordkhe Spektor, A. Almi, Yoysef Tunkel, Moyshe Bunem Yustman, Tsevi Pryłucki, D. Druk,  Sh. Janowski, Yisroel Khayim Zagorodski (front), Bentsion Chilinowicz, Yisroel Khayim Zagorodski, and Hillel Zeitlin. (YIVO)

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Pryłucki, Tsevi

(Hirsh-Sholem Prilutski, 1862–1942), journalist, editor, and early Zionist. Born and raised in a merchant family in Kremenets, Ukraine, Tsevi Pryłucki was educated in the spirit of the Haskalah by his father, a personal friend and pupil of Yitsḥak Ber Levinzon.

Pryłucki studied both Jewish subjects and Russian, German, and French before auditing courses at the Universities of Kiev and Berlin. Active in the organization Ḥibat Tsiyon and the elite Zionist Bene Mosheh, he traveled throughout Volhynia in the 1880s and 1890s to canvas support for Jewish colonization in Palestine. He also actively promoted the cultivation of Hebrew as a spoken idiom. By the 1890s, he was contributing regularly to the Hebrew daily Ha-Melits.

Following some unsuccessful business dealings, Pryłucki abandoned his dry goods store and moved to Saint Petersburg in 1898 to devote himself fully to journalism. He contributed articles, largely on Zionist subjects, to Ha-Melits, Ha-Tsefirah, and Ha-Zeman; in Russian to the Jewish journal Budushchnost’ and the annual Evreiskii ezhegodnik; and in Yiddish to the journal Bleter fun a togbukh.

In 1905, Pryłucki obtained a government concession to start Der veg, a Yiddish newspaper with a general Jewish nationalist orientation. He soon transferred the publication to Warsaw, where a larger audience and significant writers were to be found. As the first Yiddish daily in Poland, Der veg enjoyed great popularity before closing in 1907, largely due to competition from the city’s first one-kopek paper, Shmuel Yankev Yatskan’s sensationalist Idishes tageblat.

Between 1907 and 1910, Pryłucki edited and contributed articles on politics to various newspapers, including Di naye tsaytung and Unzer lebn in Yiddish and Ha-Yom in Hebrew. In 1910, he assumed duties as editor in chief of the newly founded Yiddish newspaper, Der moment, which took its name from the weekly column he wrote for Unzer lebn. Until it ceased operations with the outbreak of World War II, Der moment competed chiefly with Haynt, edited by Pryłucki’s archrival Yatskan, to be the most popular Yiddish daily in Warsaw.

Despite his lifelong devotion to Zionist activities, Pryłucki never formally joined the Zionist party. Under his editorship, Der moment was sympathetic to both Zionism and the Folkspartey, which was headed by his son Noah. Prior to his death in the Warsaw ghetto, Pryłucki dictated his memoirs to one of his daughters, and the document serves as an invaluable source for the history of the Jewish press. Part has been lost and part is preserved in the Ringelblum collection at the Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw. It was published with omissions in the Warsaw Yiddish newspaper Folks-shtime in 1983. A copy is also found at Yad Vashem in Israel.

Suggested Reading

Natan Cohen, “Zikhronot Tsevi Prilutski: Te‘udah merateket le-ḥeker ‘itonut yidish be-Varshah,” in Mi-Vilna li-Yerushalayim: Meḥkarim be-toldotehem uve-tarbutam shel Yehude Mizraḥ Eropah mugashim li-Profesor Shemu’el Verses, ed. David Assaf, Israel Bartal, Shmuel Feiner, Yehuda Friedlander, Avner Holtzman, and Chava Turniansky, pp. 385–402 (Jerusalem, 2002); Yosef Heftman, “Tsevi Prilutski,” in Pinkas Kremnits: Sefer zikaron, ed. Avraham Shemu’el Shtayn, pp. 189–190 (Tel Aviv, 1954); Zalman Rejzen (Reisen), “Prilutski Tsvi” in Leksikon fun der yidisher literatur, prese un filologye, vol. 2, cols. 967–970 (Vilna, 1927).