1878 — 8 September, 1949
Humorist writer, cartoonist
Joseph Tunkel is a Jewish humorist and cartoonist, known under the pseudonym Der Tunkeler (dark). He wrote in Yiddish.
He was born in Bobruisk in the family of a poor melamed teacher. From an early age, he showed the ability to draw.
At the age of 16, Joseph entered the Vilna drawing school headed by Ivan Petrovich Trutnev (the Jewish community of Bobruisk sent him there to study, giving him 5 rubles), which he successfully graduated from in 1899. After graduation, he left for Odessa in order to continue his art education.
However, due to his short-sightedness, Joseph Tunkel could not devote himself to painting and instead devoted himself entirely to literature. Living in Odessa in an atmosphere saturated with literature and art, Joseph Tunkel became interested in poetic creativity.
In 1901, his first poems were published in the newspaper der Yud (Warsaw; editor. Luria), and from that moment he gradually turned into a very prolific writer, the author of numerous poems, short stories, feuilletons, humorous sketches, plays and children’s stories in Yiddish. Most of them were published in Jewish newspapers in Europe and America and served as material for announcers and performers to perform on stage.
In 1906, Joseph Tunkel visited New York, where he gained fame as a humorist and founded two humorous newspapers der Kibbitzer and Di Groyser Kundes (1908). The second lasted for quite a long time, even after Joseph returned to Warsaw.
Crooked Mirror Tunkel becomes the editor and author of the humorous weekly Der moment and its satirical weekly supplement Krumer Der Spiegel (Crooked Mirror). “Krumer Der Spiegel”. Then for the first time he appeared under the pseudonyms Heuschech and Der Tunkeler (a collection of parodies and imitations by Joseph Tunkel called “The Crooked Mirror” was published in Russia in 1911). Joseph’s first humorous book was also published in Warsaw: “Der Griner Papugai” (“The Green Parrot”, Warsaw, 1912).
After the outbreak of the First World War, Joseph Tunkel left Warsaw and moved first to Bobruisk, and from there to Kiev and Odessa, where he collaborated in various Jewish publications; made attempts to publish humorous newspapers “Ashmedai” and “Sambation” and published in “Red Hagada” (“Red Hagada”, Odessa, 1917).
His return to Warsaw occurs only after the cessation of hostilities, where in the next two decades Joseph Tunkel published a number of humorous books: “Katoves” (“Jokes”; Warsaw, 1923, a collection of humorous jokes and parodies), “Mitn kop Arope” (“Upside Down”, Warsaw, 1924, 2nd edition Vilnius, 1931), “Mit Di FIS Aroyf” (“Upside Down”, Warsaw, 1926), “their kyat pleasure Aykh” (“I Laugh at you”, Vilnius, 1930) and many others, as well as several books for children, including reworkings of children’s books by the German poet Wilhelm Busch (for the first time in Jewish literature).
In the spring of 1931, Der Tunkeler visited Israel (Palestine) and later described this trip in his book “Fort Jew Kane Eretz Israel” (“A Jew Goes to Eretz Israel”, Warsaw, 1932).
In 1932-1933, Der Tunkeler made a long trip to America, in 1937 he visited Paris.
In 1939, Der Tunkeler was on vacation in Belgium when the Second World War began. Here he became an employee of the Jewish weekly “Unzer Ishev” (Brussels), the body of the Council of Jewish Organizations in Belgium.
In May 1940, after the Nazi invasion of Belgium, Joseph Tunkel crossed the border into France, where he was later detained by Vichy police and placed in a center for displaced foreign Jews in Strasbourg.
After Der Tunkeler managed to escape from the camp, he made a long way back to the United States and in the spring of 1941 ended up in New York, where he became a regular employee of the newspaper Jewish der Forverts (Forverts — front).
In 1943, Joseph Tunkel published the book “Goles. Ksovim von Flichtling” (“Exile. Notes of a refugee”, New York), in which he told about his ordeal in occupied Europe. Joseph Tunkel also published in the magazine “Svive” (New York; editor Kadya Molodovskaya).
Shortly before his death, Joseph Tunkel published a small book of ironic prose “Der Groyser Genits Oder a Nudner Tag at New York University” (“A Big Yawn or a Boring Day in New York”, New York, 1948).
In the last years of his life, he was ill a lot and almost lost his sight.
After the death of Joseph Tunkel, his autobiographical essay “Dos kapitl Vilna in mein lebn” (“Vilna period of my life”) was published in the almanac “Lita” (New York, 1951)
Books by Joseph Tunkel
• Yo Hason Haben, The Nonentity Hason Haben
• Der Kromer Spiegel: Parodien, Shorushen, und Nacahemungen, Warsaw, 1911. 58 p.
• Fleder Mays … Filietonen, Lieder un Parodien, Verlag A Gittlin, Warsaw, 1912. 71 p.
• Der Griner Papugai: A Zamlung fon Monologen, Satiren, un Parodien, Published by Y. Holter, Warsaw, 1912. 72 p.
• Der Goldener Aeroplan Oder Chaim-Yankel Der Hanig Kvetscher, Levin-Epstein Publishing House, Warsaw, 1914. 96 p. Illusions.
• Di Roite Agada, N. Galperin, Odessa, 1917. 16 p .
• Di Bolshevik Haggadah, merry Tunkelen Mit… Macios un Meshalim. Mit Perushim un Dinim Wegen Bdikat Chametz un Biur Chametz un Seder-Preven… M. Goldfein Publishing House, Kiev, 1918. 16 p.
• Yiddishisten, Kiev?, 1918? 15 p.
• Molines — in a boarding house, Kiev?, 1918? 15 p.
• Zomer-Loeb, Kiev, 1918. 15 p.
• Purim Holiday, Odessa, Blimeloh, Odessa, 1919. 22 p .
• Der Humorist. Shpas in ein-Act, Farlag Levin-Epstein Brothers. and partners, Warsaw, 1920, 28 p.
• Masaot Benjamin Harevii (“Ukrainische Kaos Foundation”), Farlag “Mizra un Maarav”, New York, 1920, 91 p.
• Der Hasan, Shpas in ein-Act, Farlag Levin-Epstein Brothers. and Partners, Warsaw, 1920. 26 p .
• Vihne-Dvoše Fort Kain America, Farlag Humorous Library, Warsaw, 1921. 91 p. (NUC1)
• Kopel un di Gentz, Warsaw, 1921 (2nd edition, 1928). 14 p . Illusions.
• Der Regenboygen, Warsaw, 1922. 267 p.
• Chaim Getzel Der Reformer Mit Zainen 25 Reformen, Farlag “Humorous Library”, Warsaw, 1922. 74 p. Illusions.
• Katoves, Warsaw, 1923, 134 p.
• Mit di Fis Aroif: New humoresques, Skits and parodies, Achisefer Publishing House, Warsaw, 1926?. 211 p .
• Mitn Kop Arope: Parodies, Farlag “Center”, Warsaw, 1924 (2nd edition, Wilno, 1931). 189 p.
• Oif-zu-kleumerst: Humoreski von Der Tunkeler, B. Klatskin Publishing House, Warsaw and Wilno, 1931. 216 p.
• Ikh Lakh fun Ikh: Humoresken, Stzenkes, Gramen, Bucher, Warsaw, 1931. 212 p. (HUC)
• Gelechter on Zayte. Satirical, Humorous, Stzenkes, Achisefer, 1931. 95 p. (193 pp written in LNYL)
• Das Freylike Teater: Eynakters, Stzenkes, Declamatziyes, Bucher Publishing House, Warsaw, 1931. 246 p.
• Fort Yiddish Kane Eretz Israel: “Rise-Beshreibung”, M. Nomberg Publishing House, 1932. 278 p. Illusions.
• In Gutn Mut: A Zamlung background of Homosexuals, Satires, Grotesques, Parodies and Scenes, Kultur Buch, Warsaw, 1936. 222 p.
• At the Gala: Humoreski Skitzen, Ferun un Gramen, Warsaw, 1939. 188 p.
• Goles: Ksovim fun a Flichtling, Schreiber Farlag, New York, 1943. 95 p.
• Der Groyser Genits: Oder Nudner Tag at New York University, Humorist Derzeilung von Tunkel, Schreiber Farlag, New York, 1948, 63 p.
• Humorous Library, 5 vols., (Vol. 1: Gelechter un a Zat, Vol. 2: Ich Lach fun Aych, Vol. 3: Miten Kop Aroip, Vol. 4: Oif-zu-kleumerst, Vol. 5: Das Freiliki Teater (volumes 3 and 4, printed in Vilna).
• “Dos Kapital Vilna In My Life” in Lite edition, Dr. Mendel Sudarsk and Uriah Katzenelenbogen, Volume 1, 1951, pp. 1279-1289.
• “Zichrons” in Bobruisk: Sefer-Zicharon Lekehilat Bobruisk u Venoteah, Yehuda Slutsky, ed. Volume 2, 1967, pp. 538-9.
Tunkel ‘s translations
• Bush, Wilhelm, 1832-1908. Notl un Motl, Farlag Levin-Epstein Brothers. and Partners, Warsaw, 1928 (First edition, 1920). 74 p . Illusions.
• Bush, Wilhelm, 1832-1908. Di Papiren Hose, Farlag Levin-Epstein Brothers. and Partners, Warsaw, 1921. (2nd edition 1928) 22 p. Illusions.
• Bush, Wilhelm, 1832-1908. Kopel un di Gentz, Farlag Levin-Epstein Brothers. and Partners, Warsaw, 1921. 14 p. Illusions.
• Mann, Thomas, Jacob and Esau.
Newspapers and magazines
• Der Kibitzer: Monatlicher Illustrter Humor Magazine, Wits un Kibetz, Volume 1-8, New York (1908-1914). Illusions.
• Der Groyser Kundes: Journal of Humor and Satire, 12/15/1908 — 9/9/1927, New York.
• Der Kromer Spiegel, editor of the weekly humorous supplement to the magazine Der Moment.
Reference: Wikipedia, 2020