SHOYEL MALTS (SAUL MALTZ) (June 1906-June 27, 1985)
He was born in Gritse (Grójec), not far from Warsaw, Poland. He studied in religious elementary school and the synagogue study chamber, while also attending courses at the local Bundist library where he learned Jewish history, literature, and political economy. In 1921 he immigrated with his parents to the United States. He graduated from public school and high school, later studying literature and psychology at City College. In 1936 he graduated from the Jewish teachers’ seminary in New York and from that point was employed as a teacher in the Workmen’s Circle schools. In 1952 he served as director of the Workmen’s Circle schools and kindergartens in Detroit; he later returned to teaching in New York. In 1930 he published for the first time a poem in Di vokh (The week), edited by H. Leivick. He went on to contribute work to: Di vokh, Laym un tsigl (Clay and brick), Di feder (The pen), Signal (Signal), Oyfkum (Arise), Inzikh (Introspective), Afn shvel (At the threshold), Der veg (The path), Kinder-zhurnal (Children’s magazine), Kinder-tsaytung (Children’s newspaper), Proletarisher gedank (Proletarian idea), and the collection Hemshekh (Continuation)—all in New York; Shikage (Chicago) in Chicago; Literarishe bleter (Literary leaves) in Warsaw; and Grininke beymelekh (Little green trees) in Vilna; among others. Aside from poetry, he also published children’s plays, such as: A perets-kholem (A dram of Perets); Lomir zindn likht (Let’s light candles); Kenig midas (King Midas); Gest in kinder-klub (Guests in the children’s club); Khane un di zibn zin (Hannah and her seven sons); Di khanike-likht detseyln (Chanukah candles stories); and Dovid un golyes (David and Goliath); among others. He co-edited Laym un tsigl (from October 1931) and Kinder-tsaytung (April 1945-October 1951). His book include: In shotn fun hunger (In the shadow of hunger) (New York, 1933), 94 pp.; Lider fun broyt un zalts (Songs of bread and salt) (Chicago, 1937), 132 pp.; Dos gezang fun iev (The song of Job) (New York, 1948), 158 pp.; Mit freyd un gezang (With joy and song) (New York: Workmen’s Circle, 1972), 64 pp., in Hebrew translation (by Yosef Alai) as Begila uverina (Tel Aviv: Perets Publ., 1980/1981), 38 pp.; Fun mayn tifn gloybn, lid un balade (From my deep belief, poem and ballad) (New York: Tsiko, 1974), 223 pp.; A moler in harbst (A painter in autumn) (New York: Workmen’s Circle, 1986), 120 pp. He was a member of the PEN Club from 1943 and a member of the pedagogical council of the Workmen’s Circle schools. He died in New York.
Sources: Moyshe Shtarkman, Hemshekh-antologye (Hemshekh anthology) (New York, 1945), pp. 340-48 (a bibliography with eighteen items); Y. Hesheles, in Vayter (New York) 8 (November 1953); Sh. Slutski, Avrom Reyzen-biblyografye (Avrom Reyzen’s bibliography) (New York, 1956), nos. 4763, 5027, 5580; Biblyografye fun yidishe bikher vegn khurbn un gvure (Bibliography of Yiddish books concerning the Holocaust and heroism) (New York, 1962); Arbeter ring, boyer un tuer (Workmen’s Circle, builders and leaders) (New York, 1962), p. 231.
[Additional information from: Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), cols. 362, 546.]