SHLOYME (SALOMON) LASTIK (March 14, 1907-1977)
He was born in the town of Aleksandrye (Oleksandriya), near the Horyn River, Volhynia, to a father who was a tailor. At age two he moved with his parents to Rovno. He studied in religious elementary school and a Russian public school, and he later graduated from a Polish senior high school. Over the years 1926-1929, he studied at the Jewish teachers’ seminary in Vilna. He was later a teacher in Tsisho (Central Jewish School Organization) schools in Bialystok, Lunevolye (Lune-Volie), Haydutsishok (Haduciški), and Warsaw. He began writing under the influence of his teacher, Moyshe Kulbak, and debuted in print with an article about painting in Dos naye leben (The new life) in Bialystok, and then published a work about Moyshe-Leyb Halpern in Vilner tog (Vilna day), where he was a regular contributor until 1938. He wrote for the semi-legal and illegal publications of leftists in Vilna, Warsaw, and Lemberg: Zibn teg (Seven days), Kurts (Short), and the like. In 1935 he wrote for YIVO a monograph entitled “Di shul vi a sotsyaler factor in shtetl” (The synagogue as a social factor in the town), Yivo-bleter (Pages from YIVO). He published articles, literary criticism, and book and theater reviews in: Dos kind (The child), Shul-vezn (School system), Literarishe bleter (Literary leaves), Foroys (Onward), Naye folkstsaytung (New people’s newspaper), and Shriftn (Writings)—in Warsaw. From 1946 he was a regular contributor to: Folksshtime (Voice of the people), Dos naye lebn (The new life), Bleter far geshikhte (Pages for history), Yidishe shriftn (Yiddish writings), Oyfgang (Arise), Lomir (Let’s), Kinder (Children), and Lernen (Study)—in Lodz and Warsaw. From 1952 he was publishing articles and reviews in Polish serials as well: Nowa-kultura (New culture), Przegląd kulturalny (Cultural overview), Twórczość (Creativity), and Pamiętnik Teatralny (Theater album), among others; in the Polish Encyklopedia Współczesna (Contemporary encyclopedia) (Warsaw), he published the entries on Sholem Asch, Sholem-Aleykhem, and other Yiddish writers. Outside of Poland, he placed work in: Naye prese (New press) and Parizer shriftn (Parisian writings) in Paris; Ikuf-bleter (Pages from IKUF [Jewish cultural association]) in Bucharest; Eynikeyt (Unity), Naye vegn (new ways), Yidishe kultur (Jewish culture), and Morgn-frayhayt (Morning freedom) in New York; Fray-yisroel (Free Israel) and Kol-hoom (Voice of the people) in the state of Israel, as well as in the leftist Yiddish press in Brazil, Argentina, and other countries. He edited a number of books by murdered Jewish writers with the publishing house “Yidish bukh” (Yiddish book) in Warsaw. He wrote the preface to Mikhl Burshtin’s volume Bay di taykhn fun mazovye (On the rivers of Mazovia) (Warsaw, 1951). He was one of the leaders of the Jewish Culture Association, and for the publication “Tsu hilf dem yidishn kultur-tuer” (Helping the Jewish cultural leader), he wrote popular biographies: Mendele moykher-sforim (Warsaw, 1947), 24 pp.; and Y. l. perets (Warsaw, 1953), 24 pp. He was also the author of textbooks and readers which were used in the Polish Jewish state schools in Poland, such as: Mayn leyenbukh farn dritn klas (My textbook for the third year) (Warsaw, 1950), 220 pp.; Mayn leyenbukh far fertn klas (My textbook for the fourth class), initially published together with Shaye Shpigl (Warsaw, 1948), 238 pp., second enlarged edition (Warsaw, 1960 or 1961), 267 pp. In the field of Yiddish literary criticism he published the books: Di yidishe literatur biz di klasikers (Yiddish literature up to the classic writers), with an introduction, afterword, and bibliography (Warsaw, 1950), 227 pp.; Mitn ponem tsum morgn (Facing the morning), with a foreword (Warsaw, 1952), 254 pp. He also published a number of books in Polish, such as: Z dziejów oświecenia żydowskiego, ludzie i fakty (The history of the Jewish Enlightenment, people and facts), with illustrations and bibliography of the early literature in Yiddish (Warsaw, 1961), 294 pp. He translated from Polish into Yiddish: Dr. Joseph Kermish, Der oyfshtand in varshever geto, 19-ter april-16-ter mai 1943 (The uprising in the Warsaw Ghetto, April 19-May 16, 1943 [original: Powstanie w getcie warszawskim, 19. IV.-16. V. 1943]) (Buenos Aires, 1948), 159 pp. He also published under the pen names: Sh. Viner, Shel, Sh. L-kh., A Rovner, A Vayzer, A Lerer, Sh. Mishkes, and the like. He survived the war years in Kazakhstan. In 1946 he returned to Poland and lived in Warsaw where he worked as a school teacher.
Sources: B. Mark, in Yidish shriftn (Lodz) (June 1949); D. Sfard, in Yidishe shriftn (January 1951); M. Tsanin, in Forverts (New York) (July 4, 1955); M. Mirski, in Folksshtime (Warsaw) (September 9, 1961).
Khayim Leyb Fuks