||History of the Vilna Community from World War I, through the occupation, until 1922. This communal record and history was prepared by three scholars from Yivo, Zalman Reisen, Samuel Leib Zitron, Zemah Shabad. The title page has an attractive artistic frame. It is followed by a second title page and a table of contents. Organized by subject, it covers in detail such subjects the occupation by the Poles, health conditions, Vilna in the summer of 1921, schools, the Yiddish and Hebrew presses, music, culture, the first royal Yiddish gymnasium, the Hebrew gymnasium, the Talmud Torah, Yiddish student organizations, Jewish hospitals, badhanim, Jewish folklore. The text is in two columns in square letters.
Zalman Reisen (Rejzen, 1887–1941), a Yiddish philologist and literary historian. He helped prepare the Yiddish textbook Muter-Shprakh (1908). That year he also published a widely used Yiddish grammar, which he expanded to the more definitive Gramatik fun der Yidisher Shprakh (1920), thus helping to standardize Yiddish grammar. He also helped to bring greater uniformity to Yiddish spelling by editing a book on Yiddish orthography prepared by a group of Yiddish teachers in 1913. But his most important contributions were in literary history. His Leksikon fun der Yidisher Literatur un Prese appeared in a single volume in 1914 under the editorship of S. Niger and became the basis for his monumental bibliographic Leksikon Jan der Yidisher Literatur, Prese, un Filologi, published in four volumes in Vilna (1926–29). Settling in Vilna in 1915, Reisen soon assumed a leading role there as journalist, editor, scholar, and stimulator of cultural life. When he became the editor of the Yiddish daily Vilner Tog in 1920, he fought for Jewish cultural autonomy and fostered new literary talents. In 1928 he was imprisoned for two months because of his opposition to the Polish government's attempt to compel Jews to accept Sunday as their day of rest. He also edited the linguistic journal Yidishe Filologi and several books, including the handbook for the history of Haskalah literature, Fun Mendelssohn biz Mendele (1923). With A. Fridkin he coauthored a study on Abraham Gottlober and wrote on the life and works of I. L. Peretz (I. L. Peretz—Zayn Lebn un Zayne Verk, 1931). He translated European classics into Yiddish. In 1925 he helped to found the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research, edited several of its important scholarly publications, and was especially active in its sections on philology and literature. His Yidishe Literatur un Yidishe Shprakh (1965) includes a full bibliography. When Soviet troops occupied Vilna in 1939, he was arrested and when Vilna was handed over to the Lithuanian Republic, he was taken to Russia where he was shot in June 1941. No reason was ever given for his imprisonment or execution.
Samuel Leib Zitron (1860–1930), Hebrew and Yiddish writer and journalist. The son of a distinguished merchant family in Minsk, Zitron was educated at Lithuanian yeshivot. While studying at the Volozhin yeshiva, he became attracted to the Haskalah and in 1876 moved to Vienna, where he became friendly with P. Smolenskin. After studying for several years in Germany, he began his journalistic career, and for more than 50 years contributed to the Yiddish press and to nearly all the Hebrew periodicals in the Diaspora. In the 1880s to 1890s, he wrote short stories, one of which, Yonah Potah (1887), aroused popular attention. He joined the Hibbat Zion movement in its early days and translated L. Pinsker's Autoemanzipation into Hebrew (it appeared in a censored version, under the title Im Ein Ani Li Mi Li). From 1904 Zitron lived in Vilna and edited various newspapers and anthologies. Of special interest are a series of articles on the Hebrew press published in Haolam, 4 (1911–14, 1927–30). Based mainly on Zitron's personal experiences and recollections, the articles contain material of historic value, particularly on Ha-Maggid, Ha-Meliz, Ha-Zefirah, Ha-Karmel, Ha-Levanon, Ha-Emet, and Ha-Kol. He also wrote about the history of the Yiddish press in the 19th century (Geshikhte fun der Yidisher Prese, 1923). With the decline of the Hebrew press in Eastern Europe, Zitron wrote extensively for the Yiddish press, and published many monographs written in a popular style, some of which were later published in book form. Zitron also translated many books into Hebrew (including the works of An-Ski and the stories of L. Levanda).
Zemah Shabad (Szabad) (1864–1935), physician, communal leader, and publicist, one of the heads of the Vilna community, known for his cultural and political activities. Born in Vilna, in 1881 Shabad moved with his family to Moscow where he completed his studies in the faculty of medicine at Moscow University (1884–89). In 1894 Shabad settled in Vilna, devoting himself to work in a hospital, where he became a director and a well-known internist. For many years he was chairman of YEKOPO. Believing in the principle of "productivization" in Jewish occupations, he promoted the development of ORT, serving as its chairman until 1925. Shabad was distinguished for his manifold activities in the field of public health. During World War I he worked to save the Jewish masses in the battle areas from epidemics and hunger. In 1919–20 he served as president of the democratically elected community council, and between 1919 and 1927 was a member of the Vilna municipal council. Politically he was close to the Folkist Party (Folkspartei) in Poland; he cultivated ideological and personal relations with S. Dubnow before the Russian Revolution and also later when Dubnow left Russia. Following a disagreement with Noah Prylucki a split occurred in the party in 1926. Later Shabad, as head of the dissidents whose center was in Vilna, made contact with the Minority Bloc led by Y. Gruenbaum and in 1928 was elected a member of the Polish Senate. There he fought manifestations of anti-Semitism and discrimination by the government. At the end of his life he became close to the neo-Territorialist (see Territorialism) movement. Supporting Jewish cultural and national autonomy (see Autonomism), and as one of the active members of the Central Yiddish School Organization (CYSHO), he struggled for the rights of secular schools with Yiddish as their language of instruction. He was one of the founders of the YIVO research institute which was established in Vilna.