Lis, Kalman: 1903-1942

Born in Kovel, Wolin to a family with rural roots, Lis studied in a traditional kheder, then in a Polish gymnazie, and in Vilna and Warsaw high schools. He specialized in care of Special Needs Children. From 1937 until his death, he was in charge of the Tsentos Institution for Defective Children in Otwosk, near Warsaw. He began publishing in his school years. He moved to Warsaw in 1927. His first book in 1930 in Warsaw was Woliner Shliakhn, (“Roads of Wolin”). His book, Ershte Internatsionale Antologie fun Yiddishe Lider, (“First International Anthology of Yiddish Modern Yiddish Poetry”) was to have been published in Warsaw, 1939 but never came out because of outbreak of WWII. In 1939 he won the I.L. Peretz Award for Young Poets from the Yiddish Pen Center in Warsaw. He was wounded in his feet during the bombing of his Childrens Institution on September 1, 1939. He recovered in a Warsaw hospital, then returned to the Otwosk Childrens Institution. When in 1942 it was attacked by Germans, he and some of the children ran away. His hiding place was found and he was shot and killed together with the children. There are two different accounts of his death: 1) he was killed by Nazis and 2) he was killed by local Polish peasants.