Wednesday, 23 March 2016


MOYSHE HELMOND (1907-1973)
            He was the son of Arn Helmond, born in the town of Kutuzovo, Zhitomir district, Ukraine.  He graduated from a pedagogical senior high school and worked as a teacher.  For several years he was an educator in a children’s town (kindergarten) dubbed “Komintern” (Comintern, or Communist International).  He traveled through the Soviet Union to collect material for an anthology of folk poetry, principally from peoples in the south.  During in a trip to the Dagestan Republic, he got to know the local mountain Jews and their distinctive “Yiddish”—the Tat language, from which over the course of years he translated into Yiddish.  He debuted in print in Yungvald (Young forest) and Pyoner (Pioneer)—in Moscow (1925).  He placed work in: Der royter shtern (The red star), Der shtern (The star), and Der emes (The truth), among other serials.  Together with his older brother Shmuel, he published translations from Russian poetry in various periodicals in Soviet Russia.  Together with D. Hofshteyn, he translated songs from various peoples in Russia (the translations were included in the publication Felker zingen [Peoples sing], Kiev, 1939); with M. Khashtshevatski he translated the poems of Aleksander Blok, Tsvelf (The twelve [original: Dvenadtsatʹ]) and Foterland (Fatherland [original: Otechestvo]), published in an ensemble volume of poetry entitled Zibn portretn (Seven portraits) (Moscow, 1946); and he translated into Yiddish poetry by Aleksander Pushkin, included in the volume entitled Satire (Satire) (Kiev, 1940), 282 pp.  During WWII he compiled in Yiddish an anthology of folklore and literature by Caucasus mountain Jews and songs from Caucasus Jews, published at the front during the fighting with the Germans.  He also prepared for publication a collection of songs from the front by Dagestani Jewish poets, translated into Yiddish from the Tat vernacular.  A portion of this work was published in Soviet Jewish works, in Yidishe kultur (Jewish culture) (New York, 1946-1947)—among others, “Fun di shirafas,” a poem of the mountain Jews, and from their folk epic, “Shimshen hasheni” (Samson II)—as well as in Yidishe shriftn (Yiddish writings) in Warsaw (1957).  Helmond also published poetry in Russian in various Russian army newspapers during the years of WWII.

Sources: Oyfboy (Riga) (June 1941); Eynikeyt (Moscow) (April 13, 1944; April 14, 1945); Tsukunft (New York) (January 1946); Landsberger togtsaytung (Landsberg) (April 2, 1946); M. Kats, in Yidishe kultur (New York) (November 1946); Y. Yonasovitsh, in Folks-shtime (Lodz) (March 8, 1947); Y. G. in Yidishe shriftn (Warsaw) (December 1957).
Khayim Leyb Fuks

[Additional information from: Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 222.]

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