LEYVIK KHANUKOV (L. CHANUKOFF) (February 3, 1892-September 25, 1958)
He was born in Gut-Olkhovo, Pskov district, Greater Russia, which his father, a flax merchant, held in lease. He studied with private tutors in the community, later in a Russian elementary school in the city. At age eleven or twelve, he left home and lived in Odessa and later in Vitebsk. He worked for a time as a teacher in Nevel (Vitebsk district). In 1913 he entered military service in Revel (later in Estonia). In late 1914 he fled to the United States, settled in Philadelphia, was a peddler of lamps, and worked in sweatshops, shipbuilding, and with locomotives. His literary work began in Russian, when he was still shy of fifteen years of age. He contributed poems and stories to the Russian newspapers: Odesskie novosti (Odessa news) and Birzhevie vedomosti (Stockbroker’s gazette), as well as in the journal Solntse rossii (Sunny Russia), among other serials. He began publishing stories in Yiddish at the end of 1916 in Idishe velt (Jewish world) in Philadelphia, and later he wrote pieces for: Tog (Day), Fraye arbeter-shtime (Free voice of labor), Morgn-zhurnal (Morning journal), Der amerikaner (The American), and Morgn-frayhayt (Morning freedom)—in New York; Idisher kuryer (Jewish courier) in Chicago; Keneder odler (Canadian eagle) in Montreal; Idishe shtime (Jewish voice) in California); and in the journals: In zikh (Introspective), Der tsvayg (The branch), Baym fayer (At the fire), Ineynem (Altogether), Kultur (Culture), Oyfkum (Arise), Dos vort (The word), Der hamer (The hammer), Signal (Signal), Yidishe kultur (Jewish culture), and Zamlungen (Collections), among others. Over the course of forty years, he wrote stories, essays, critical treatments of both Jewish and Gentile writers and their work, and articles about pedagogy. He worked for many years as a teacher in New York schools of the Sholem-aleykhem folk-institut (Sholem Aleichem Institute). In the 1940s he carried out experiments and later excelled as a wood sculptor. His books include: Shvere himlen, noveln (Difficult skies, stories) (New York, 1923), 320 pp.; In frume shoen, minyaturn (In pious times, miniatures) (New York, 1925), 192 pp.; Der mentsh, dertseylungen (The man, stories) (New York, 1929), 329 pp.; Di submarin z-1 (Submarine Z-1) (New York, 1932), 230 pp.; In klem fun tsayt, dertseylungen (In the throes of time, stories) (New York: IKUF, 1958), 316 pp.; Literarishe eseyen (Literary essays) (New York: IKUF, 1960), 333 pp.; Krizis, roman (Crisis, a novel) (Tel Aviv: Perets Publ., 1963), 350 pp.; Letste shriftn (Latest writings) (Tel Aviv: Perets Publ., 1966), 165 pp. Particular attention was drawn by his novel Di submarin z-1, which was new both in its theme and in its terminology. In his other fictional work, one senses courage in his depiction of figures.
Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 2; M. B., in Di vokh (New York) 4 (1929); Kh. Krul, Arum zikh (Around itself) (Vilna, 1930); Shmuel Niger, in Tog (New York) (May 15, 1932); B. Y. Byalostotski, Lider un eseyen (Poems and essays) (New York, 1932), pp. 210-11; N. Mayzil, in Literarishe bleter (Warsaw) 23 (1932); P(erets) Vyernik, in Morgn-zhurnal (New York) (May 22, 1932); Sh. Slutski, Avrom Reyzen-biblyografye (Avrom Reyzen bibliography) (New York, 1956); obituary notices in Forverts, Tog-morgn-zhurnal, Morgn-frayhayt, and New York Times (all New York) (September 26, 1958); M. Gitsis, in Yidishe kultur (New York) (January 1959); M. Mirski and Sh. B., in Yidishe shriftn (Warsaw) (September 1960); Sh. Belis, in Yidishe kultur (New York) (December 1960).
[Additional information from: Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 314.]