Falek Zolf

Joshua Falek Zolf, writer and teacher, was born in 1898 in Poland, where he attended yeshivah from 1909 until the start of World War I. He found work at a leather factory in Yaroslavl, Russia, in 1916 so that he would not be forced into compulsory military service, but the Kerensky revolution led Zolf to volunteer for the Russian army. He was captured by the German army on the Galician front, and was a prisoner of war in East Prussia in 1918. He returned to his home village of Zastavia after the war, only to find the area consumed by civil war following the Bolshevik Revolution. He participated in the Jewish reconstruction of Poland starting in 1920, and became a teacher. Zolf emigrated to Canada in 1926 to escape Poland’s antisemitism. His wife and children joined him in 1927 and they settled in Winnipeg’s North End, where their fourth child, Larry Zolf, was born in 1934. After working as an itinerant teacher, he was appointed teacher and later principal at the Isaac Loeb Peretz Folk School. He was very active in the Yiddish literary community in Winnipeg, and frequently contributed essays to the Yiddish press. The memoirs of Zolf’s early years in Europe were published in 1945 under the title, “Oyf fremder erd = On foreign soil,” which was translated by Martin Green and re-published in 2000. Zolf also wrote “Di lets·te fun a dor : heymishe gesh·tal·tn = Last of a generation,” 1952, and “Undzer ·kul·tur hemshekh : eseyen = Our eternal culture : essays,” 1956. Falek Zolf died in 1961.

Fonds consists of handwritten and typescript manuscripts for Falek Zolf’s memoirs, handwritten notes for his memoirs, newspaper articles about Zolf and the Jewish literary community in Winnipeg, a report that quotes from his work in a review of the historical context associated with the Canada Post Corporation’s Rural Conversion Program in Saskatchewan, a review of the Yiddish edition of Zolf’s autobiography, “On foreign soil,” and information regarding its publication in English.

Finding aid available.

The majority of the fonds is written in Yiddish, with some newspaper articles in English.

No restrictions on access.

Inventory number: F0614

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