YOYSEF TRAKHTNBERG (1912-1941)
He was born in Britshan (Briceni), Chotin (Hotin) district, Bessarabia. He was a member of the literary group “Yung-rumenye” (Young Romania). His poems “Besarabish” (Bessarabian) and “Katsovim” (Butchers) were published in Oyfgang (Arise) (Sighet-Marmației) 4 (1933). His “first-fruits work” in book form—“concerning my Bessarabian home which I have incubated with special love over the course of years”—was Af besaraber erd (On Bessarabian soil), a poem in two parts, “printed in 3,000 copies in the publishing house of Oyfgang” in Sighet (Chicago: M. Tseshinski, 1935), 59 pp., with a cover designed by Lazar Dubinovski. The poem—epic in tone and character—consisted of: “Part 1: Prologue, Summer in the Village, Winter in the Village, Years Fly by; Part 2: Under the Tsarist Yoke, Red Spring, Last Flare, Shadows, Epilogue.” Part 1 which occupied forty-one of the book’s fifty-nine pages contains the most substantial portion of the poem. The depiction of the “little Jew Moldevan,” a Bessarabian farmer, a simpleton in writing, yet a healthy, joyful toiler; and given the rural and, to be sure, un-Jewish surroundings, it is that much stronger poetically, as is the description of his youngest son Benyomen, the agronomist, book-reader, and overturner of worlds in the second part of the book. He prepared for publication a second poem of 3,000 lines, entitled “Di letste vanderung” (The final wandering), Oyfgang (May-June 1935). Together with Yosl Lerner he wrote a series of scenes for the variety theater in 1936, and he acted in “Der katerinshtshik” (The organ-grinder), “Der vaser-firer” (The water carrier), and “Reyzeles kholem” (Reyzele’s dream), among other plays. He disappeared in the years of “fire and flame.” He died in Kamenets-Podolsk.
Sources: B. Shnobl, “Yung-rumenye” (Young Romania), Oyfgang (Sighet-Marmației) (May-June 1934); Y. Barg, in Tshernovitser bleter (Czernowitz) (September 26, 1935); Y. Yakir, in Literarishe bleter (Warsaw) (October 4, 1935); Z. Bagish, in Inzl (Bucharest) (November-December 1935); Bukareshter zamlbikher (Bucharest anthologies) (1947); L. Mishkin, in Pinkes shikago (Records of Chicago) (Chicago, 1952), p. 97; Sh. Slutski, Avrom reyzen-biblyografye (Avrom Reyzen bibliography) (New York, 1956), no. 4840; Dr. Shloyme Bikl, in Tog-morgn-zhurnal (New York) (January 6, 1957).
[Additional information from: Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 287.]