LEYB TALALAY (1906-Summer 1943)
He was born in Baranovich, Byelorussia. During WWI he moved with his parents to Zaverezhye, a village near Minsk, where his parents became farmers and he established a connection with agriculture; he later lived in Minsk, where he graduated from a middle school and then completed a course of study at the Jewish Technicum in Vitebsk. He worked as a laborer for a time and went on to become a teacher of Yiddish language and literature at a school in Minsk. Over the years 1924-1926, he served in the Red Army. He debuted in print with a poem in Der yunger arbeter (The young worker) in Minsk (1924), and from that point on he contributed poetry and stories to: Der yunger pyoner (The young pioneer), Oktyabr (October), Shtern (Star), Atake, almanakh fun roytarmeyishn landshuts-literatur (Attack, almanac of the Red Army’s national defense literature) in 1934, and Sovetishe vaysrusland, literarishe zamlung (Soviet Byelorussia, literary collection) in 1935—in Minsk; Yungvald (Young forest), Emes (Truth), Pyoner (Pioneer), and Eynikeyt (Unity)—in Moscow; and Di royte velt (The red world) and Prolit (Proletarian literature) in Kharkov; among others. In book form: Mayn snop, mayn ershtling, lider (My sheaf, my firstborn, poetry) (Minsk, 1932), 75 pp.; In marsh (On the march), poems (Minsk, 1940), 74 pp. In June 1941 he was mobilized into the Red Army as an officer; he took part in fighting against the Germans and fell at the front in 1943. His poems and stories were published after his death in Yiddish works in Russia and abroad. His work was also represented in: Bafrayte brider, literarishe zamlung (Liberated brethren, literary anthology) (Minsk, 1939). His poetry celebrated work on the land and military themes.
Sources: L. Tsart, in Shtern (Minsk) 3 (1932); N. Levin, in Der yunger arbeter (Minsk) 104 (1932); Levin, in Oktyabr (Minsk) 263; Levin, in Shtern (November-December 1940); N. Rubinshteyn, Dos yidishe bukh in sovetn-farband in 1932 (The Yiddish book in the Soviet Union in 1932) (Minsk, 1933); N. Oyslender and Y. Dobrushin, in Eynikeyt (Moscow) (May 13, 1944); A. Kushnirov, in Naye prese (Paris) (July 27, 1945); N. Mayzil, in Dos yidishe shafn un der yidisher arbeter in sovetn-farband (Jewish creation and the Jewish worker in the Soviet Union) (New York, 1959), see index.
[Additional information from: Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 275; and Chaim Beider, Leksikon fun yidishe shrayber in ratn-farband (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers in the Soviet Union), ed. Boris Sandler and Gennady Estraikh (New York: Congress for Jewish Culture, Inc., 2011), p. 157-58.]