AVROM-LEYB GORIN-GERMANISHSKI (August 21, 1910-May 13, 1936)
He was born in Sventsyan (Svencionys), Vilna region. Half a year after his birth, his parents divorced. His mother supported herself and her only son with a small shop. He studied in religious primary school and later in the town’s Talmud-Torah. In 1919 he entered the newly opened secular Jewish school, which in 1925 changed into a high school, and he graduated from it in 1928. In the upper classes, he read and wrote a great deal, primarily his favorites: Nietzsche and Fichte. His teachers were stunned by his knowledge of literature, artistic taste, and the vivid style of his essays and poems. For a short time, he was attracted to Zionist strains of thought. In 1928 he studied at the Warsaw Judaic Institute. Earlier, after his secular subjects he would study at the Tłomackie Synagogue library the source materials for work he was doing on the Essenes and on “Perets Smolenskin, the pamphleteer.” Because of his dire financial situation, he cut short his studies and returned to Sventsyan. In 1929 he went through the eighth class of the Polish Jewish baccalaureate high school—the “TRO-Gymnasium” (Tagen Religiöser Orientierung Gymnasium, or Secondary school with daily religious orientation)—and over the years 1931-1934, he attended the law faculty of Vilna University. For the law faculty, he prepared a number of studies, such as “Ricardo” and “On Anti-Semitism and the Theory of Value in the Classical School.” At university, he became close to the leftist movement. For two years he was secretary of the left-wing dominated Jewish Student Union. After completing his examinations in 1934, he was arrested on charges of Communist activities. He was freed after two months in jail, but consequently he lost the possibility of practicing law. When he was set free, he was disappointed in the leftist movement and withdrew from political work. In 1928 he first published—using the pseudonym A. L. Germo—a poem in Oyfgang (Arise) 4 (Warsaw). Under the same pen name he published in 1929 several poems in Arbeter tsaytung (Workers’ newspaper) and Yugnt-veker (Youth alarm) 7 (April 1). With the pen name A. L. Gorin, he published over the years 1934-1936 a wide array of articles, literary critical treatises, essays, and poems in Vilner tog (Vilna day), Vokhnshrift (Weekly writing), and Der kritiker (The critic) in Warsaw. In 1934 he submitted an application to be a research student at YIVO in Vilna, with a research topic of “Economic and Material Destruction of the Jewish Masses in Poland.” After the deadline had passed, he received the task of revising a monograph on the life of Jewish youth in Sventsyan. At his mother’s wish, he planned to travel to France and there qualify as an engineer. On May 6, 1936, he was suddenly arrested and sent to a camp in Kartuz-Bereza where he was tortured in the first week there. Dying, he was brought to the Kobrin city hospital where he died. His martyr’s death aroused a profound sadness and sharp protest in Jewish cultural circles. Disregarding the menacing Polish political police, the Jewish newspapers and magazines published obituaries and articles about the young murdered writer. Vilner tog published his remaining poems and essays. His last essay appeared in the issued dated July 31, 1936, under the heading: “Dos rekht af lebn” (The right to live). Because of Chaim Grade’s poem “Tsvey khaverim” (Two friends), about the deaths of A. L. Germanishski and M. Natish, the third issue of Yung vilne (Young Vilna) was confiscated and the publishers sentenced. With his essays—such as those concerning Moyshe Knapheys, A. Vogler, and Chaim Grade in Vilne tog of March 6, April 29, and June 5, 1936—which excelled in their acute analysis, serious approach, and enormous proficiency concerning literary issues—he distinguished himself as one of the most promising young critics. The fragments of his long autobiographical poem, “Krume vent” (Crooked walls) in Vilner tog (September 29 and November 20, 1936), which were both a poetic and though-provoking call with Moyshe Kulbak’s “Shtot” (City) and “Bunye un bere afn shlyakh” (Bunye and Bere on the road), demonstrated Germanishski’s profound poetic gift.
Sources: Chaim Grade, in the anthology Yung vilne (1936); A. Khaver, in Vilne tog (May 31, 1936); Alexander Pomerants, Tserisene keytn (Broken chains) (New York, 1943), p. 62; notices in Vilner tog (April 29, June 5 and 14, 1936); notices in Literarishe bleter (Warsaw) (June 24, 1936); notices in In zikh 21 (New York, 1936); E. Shulman, in Inzikh (September 1936); Shulman, Yung vilne, 1929-1939 (Young Vilna, 1929-1939) (New York, 1946), pp. 20, 50; Sh. Zhirman, “Azoy hobn zey gevildevet” (That’s how they rampaged), Vilner emes (November 5, 1940); Sh. Katsherginski, Ondenk bukh (Memory book) (Buenos Aires, 1955), p. 278; L. Ran, 25 yor yung vilne (25 years of Young Vilna) (New York, 1955); Kaci Faszystowscy porwali jeszcze jedna Ofiare (Fascist executioners kidnap another victim)—Wil. Okr. Komitet K. P. Z. B., Wilno 4 szerwca, 1936.
Zeynvil Diamant and Leyzer Ran