ISAK LYUMKES (ILYA LYUMIS) (1908-1992)
He was born in a town near Kiev, Ukraine. He later worked in a factory. He began writing as an “Arbkor” (worker-correspondent) and published reportage pieces on factory life in Yunge gvardye (Young guard) in Kharkov (1925) and other newspapers in Kharkov and Kiev. From that point, the scope of his work expanded and his name could be found in reportage pieces and reviews of books for: Pyoner (Pioneer), Yungvald (Young forest), Der emes (The truth), and Eynikeyt (Unity)—in Moscow; Der shtern (The star), Royte velt (Red world), and Prolit (Proletarian literature) in Kharkov; Proletarishe fon (Proletarian banner) in Kiev; and Birobidzhaner shtern (Birobidzhan star); among others. In book form he published: Pyanist, fartseykhenungen (Pianist, notes), about Jewish music in Russia, with a foreword by Yakob Magaziner (Kiev, 1939), 62 pp.; Eshelonen geyen keyn birobidzhan (Troops go off to Birobidzhan) (Moscow, 1948), 120 pp., notes on his travels together with Jewish immigrants from Ukraine to Birobidzhan in 1947 and 1948, published initially in installments in Eynikeyt (1947-1948). He translated (with M. Shapiro) Giovanni Germanetto’s Shriftn fun a sherer (Writings of a barber [original: Memorie di un barbiere]) (Kiev, 1934), 186 pp.; and Rudyard Kipling’s Riki-tiki-tavi (Kiev: Kultur lige, 1924), 33 pp. In the serial Sovetish (Soviet) 12 (Moscow, 1941), he published (under the pen name N. Lyum) a work on Sholem-Aleykhem. The last two years before the coming of war to Russia in June 1941, he lived in Czernowitz, Bukovina, as a special correspondent for Der shtern in Western Europe. He went from there to the front when the war started. Near the end of the war he made his way to Moscow where he was (1946) editorial board secretary of Eynikeyt and ran the cultural department. In 1948 he accompanied the first troops traveling to Birobidzhan. In late 1948 he moved to Riga where he had a brother and was arrested there for “nationalism.” He was deported to a northern camp and sentenced to fifteen years of penal hard labor. He was freed in 1956 and returned suffering and ill to Riga. He never returned to Yiddish.
Sources: N. Rubinshteyn, Dos yidishe bukh in sovetn-farband 1932 (The Yiddish book in the Soviet Union, 1934) (Minsk, 1935), see index; Y. Magaziner, foreword to Pyanist (Pianist) (Kiev, 1939), pp. 3-4; Y. Shternberg, in Eynikeyt (Moscow) (November 2, 1948); Y. Ben-Yosef, in Yad vashem (Jerusalem) 3 (1959/1960), p. 155; Chone Shmeruk, comp., Pirsumim yehudiim babrit-hamoatsot, 1917-1961 (Jewish publications in the Soviet Union, 1917-1961) (Jerusalem, 1961), see index.
Khayim Leyb Fuks.
[Additional information from: 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), pp. 204-5.]