MOYSHE BLEKHMAN (MOSES BLECHMAN) (1896-February 27, 1952)
He was born in a town near Brisk (Brześć) in Lithuania to poor parents. He attended the Brisk yeshiva, and at age thirteen he began writing Hebrew and Yiddish poetry. In 1911 he emigrated to the United States, and there he graduated from a middle school and high school. He became a contributor to Der yidisher kemfer (The Jewish fighter) in which he published essays and poems. He was also a teacher in the Workmen’s Circle schools. From 1926 to 1939, he was a regular contributor to Frayhayt (Freedom) and Morgn-frayhayt (Morning freedom), and for a time he was also a member of the editorial board of Hamer (Hammer) in New York, as well as a member of “Proletpen” (Proletarian Pen Club) and the Communist Party. He wrote current events essays, as well as popular science and literary critical articles, stories, and longer works such as Vatertaun (Watertown)—the story of Jewish socialist life in a typical American provincial city. Following the Stalin-Hitler pact, he left the Morgn-frayhayt—together with Melekh Epshteyn, Moyshe Nadir, Louis Heyman, Froym Shvartsman, and L. Faynberg—and together they published the journal Hofenung (Hope). Later he became a member of the National Jewish Workers Alliance, and also contributed to Forverts (Forward) in New York and just before his death to the Chicago edition of Forverts. Among his books: Vatertaun, noveles un dertseylungen (Watertown, novellas and short stories) (New York, 1937), 254 pp. He also translated Shelley’s Prometeus, der goyel (Prometheus, the redeemer [original: Prometheus Unbound], with an introductory essay entitled “Sheli, der zinger fun geule” (Shelley, the singer of liberation) and Naftali Kravets’s appreciation of the late author (Chicago, 1953), 166 pp. He also compiled and edited (as well as wrote a critical introduction to) Yoysef Grinshpan’s Lider un poemen (Songs and poems) (*New York, 1937), 199 pp., and to Arn Mayzil’s Geklibene dertseylungen (Selected stories) (Chicago, 1939), 312 pp.
Sources: M. Olgin, in Hamer (New York) (March-April 1931); A. Pomenrants, Proletpen (Kiev, 1935), p. 199; L. Khanukov, in Hamer (November 1938); “Moyshe blekhman geshtorbn” (Moyshe Blekhman deceased), Kultur un dertseylung (New York) (March 1952); B. Grobard, in Tsukunft (New York) (April 1955).