Tower of Yiddish world dies at 81

NEW YORK (JTA) — Joseph Mlotek, a Yiddish educator, folklorist and writer, died Sunday at the age of 81.

A longtime director of the Workmen’s Circle Yiddish school system, he published several collections of Yiddish songs with his wife, Chana.

The most recent collection was titled, “Songs of Generations.”

He was also an editor of the Yiddish Forward newspaper.

Mlotek was born in the town of Proszowice, Poland, and moved with his family to Warsaw at the age of 7.

As a young man, he was active in the Bund and other Jewish labor and socialist organizations and published Yiddish poetry in newspapers.

He spent World War II in Shanghai and moved to the United States in 1949.

“He was a towering figure of his generation” in the Yiddish world, said Paul Glasser, a research associate at the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research in New York. “It’s a cliche, but it’s true. He’s irreplaceable.”

NEXT STORY