Page 166 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 11 (1952-1952)

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DAVID FRISCHMAN
(On the 30th Anniversary of his Death)
By E. R.
M
a l a c h i
*
F
OR forty years he struggled with his generation, b itterly
combatting triviality and lack of taste. In his essays and
feuilletons
he attempted to purify Hebrew literature of all the
dross and vapors th a t were stunting its growth, and sought to
elevate th a t literature to a more respectable level. Calling for
an appreciation of the beautiful, he taught Hebrew authors the
value of good taste and in his own poetry and stories developed
the artistic sensitivity of Hebrew readers. At the time of his
death in August, 1922, he left a large gap in Hebrew literature
which has not been filled to this day.
The year of Frischman’s birth is not known precisely. Accord-
ing to him, he was born in December, 1864. From one of his
early poems which he wrote a t the age of fifteen and which was
published in 1878, it would follow th a t he was born in 1862.
He was born in the city of Zgiers; when he was two years old
his parents moved to nearby Lodz, a lively, busy industrial and
manufacturing center.
Frischman’s parents were conservative, pious folk; bu t they
adapted themselves to the currents of the time and gave their
son David, already noteworthy for his intelligence and diligence
as a child, an education th a t was both traditional and modern:
together with the Talmud he studied Hebrew, German and French.
Frischman’s literary talent began to reveal itself while he was
still a child. At the age of eight he wrote stories and poems and
even translated M apu’s
Ayit Tzavua
from Hebrew into German
and Dumas’
Monte Christo
from French into Hebrew.
At th a t tender age he already began to study the Bible inten-
sively. The “ Book of Books” never left his side — particularly
the Book of Isaiah and the other prophetic books whose style was
his exemplar all his life.
His fame as a child prodigy reached the ears of all the
Maskilim
,
and they cherished and delighted in him. Veteran Hebrew writers
like Gottlober and Zweifel treated him as though he were their
* Translated by Jacob Sloan.
160