Bintel Blog

Mr. Katz Is Famous

By Daniel Treiman

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This Sunday’s New York Times featured a great profile of the Yiddish Forward’s Mr. Katz:

BORN in Poland in 1936, Louis Katz was at a young age smuggled out of the Warsaw ghetto to a farm outside the city, where he lived with a family that treated him as a grandchild. To shield him from mounting anti-Semitism, they concealed his Jewish heritage to outsiders, saying he was a Christian.

Upon immigrating to the United States in 1962, Mr. Katz knew he wanted to work for one of New York’s Jewish newspapers. After three months at another Yiddish-language daily, he passed the typesetter exam at The Jewish Daily Forward at its old location, 175 East Broadway on the Lower East Side.

Forty-five years later, Mr. Katz is at his same job, though the paper, now a weekly, moved its offices in 1974 to East 33rd Street and now publishes an English supplement in addition to the Yiddish.

Mr. Katz is among the honorees of Place Matters, a public art project initiated by City Lore and the Municipal Art Society, which celebrates city locations by sharing stories of their people. This month, the project’s directors installed signs in Straus Square, near The Forward’s old building, that include a photograph from the paper’s archive and a brief autobiography of Mr. Katz, in both Yiddish and English. Other signs elsewhere on the Lower East Side feature other contributors to the neighborhood’s history.

Read the full article for more, including a great anecdote about working with Isaac Bashevis Singer.


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