MOYSHE OYVED (September 18, 1885-September 16, 1958)
The pen name of Moyshe (Edward) Gudak, he was born in the town of Skampe (Skąpe), Vlotslavek (Włocławek) district, Poland. His father was a cantor and a ritual slaughterer in Aleksandrov, near Toruń (Thorn), near the German border. From age three to thirteen, he attended religious primary school and synagogue study chambers, as well as a Talmud lesson with rabbis. In 1902 he became watchmaker. In 1903 he made his way to London, England, where he worked in his trade while studying English. He returned to Poland in 1907. The next year he again went to London, where he opened a jewelry shop, took watches to repair, and did business as such. He later ran a large business of all manner of artwork and antiques, jewelry pieces, and amulets (his shop was known as “cameo corner,” just a few steps from the British Museum). English writers and artists (among them, George Bernard Shaw), politicians, and government people would come into Oyved’s shop. He was a personal friend of Sholem Asch, who incidentally helped him a great deal with antiques for his rich collections of antiquities. He began writing—Hebrew poetry—at age fourteen. He debuted in print in 1917 with a book entitled Aroys fun khaos (Away from chaos) (London: Naroditski), 55 pp. He later published poetry, non-fiction descriptions, legends, and stories in: the monthly Renesans (Renaissance), edited by Leo Kenig; the literary collection Yidish london (Jewish London), published by a group of writers in 1939; the almanac Vaytshepl lebt (Whitechapel lives) (London, 1951); Shtentsl-heftn ([A. N.] Shtentsl’s notebooks) (London); Loshn un lebn (Language and life) (London); Teater-shpigel (Theater mirror) (Paris); and Heymish (Familiar) (Tel Aviv); among others. He also contributed to the English-language journal Quest. In addition to his work with the Jewish art association Ben-Uri from 1916, for many years he also active participated in all Yiddish literary undertakings in London. He contributed to the London division of YIVO and directed the society to publish Old Yiddish texts. He was honorary chairman of the Jewish cultural society in London. In book form he published: Aroys fun khaos, poetry and prose in verse in the style of biblical prayers, permeated by a religious sensibility and enthusiasm for Jewishness and Jews; Lebens-lider (Poems of life), illustrated by Yitskhok Glitsenshteyn (London, 1924), 68 pp.; Vizyonen un eydelshteyner, oytobyografishes (Visions and gems, autobiographical), 2 parts (London, 1931), 224 pp., second edition with the addition of a third part, including chapters dedicated to Sholem Asch, Nokhum Sokolov, Max Nordau, and others (London, 1950), 315 pp.—also appeared in English (London: Ernest Benn, 1927), 173 pp.; In kheyder arayn (In religious elementary school), poetry (London, 1945), 129 pp.; In skhus fun di teg (By virtue of the days), prose (London: Y. Narodski, 1946), 58 pp.; Di geule-sho, a vizye (The hour of redemption, a vision) (London: Y. Narodski, 1950), 53 pp.; Zingende rayoynes (Singing ideas), poetry (London, 1950), 76 pp.; Yizker-menoyres (Remembrance candelabra), “lit every April 19th on the international day of introspection,” with illustrations of the author’s twelve sculptures, accompanied by poems (London: Eygns, 1951), 18 pp.; Tkhines un gezangen, geklibene lider un poemes (Prayers and songs, selected poetry) (London: Eygns, 1955), 78 pp.; Ḥezyonot veavne-ḥen (Visions and gems), translated by Avigdor hameiri (Tel Aviv, 1953/1954), 206 pp. He also translated into Yiddish the poem Nokhgeyogt fun himlishn (Pursued by the heavens [original: Hound of Heaven] by the English poet Francis Thompson. Translations of his own books appeared in English, Hebrew, and Esperanto. At the age of sixty, he began to work as a sculptor. He died in London. His remains were cremated.
Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 2, with a bibliography; Y. Bitsh, in Shtentsl-heftn (London) (February 15, 1943); Leo Kenig, in Loshn un lebn (London) (March 1945); Kenig, in Davar (Tel Aviv) (December 5, 1958); Loshn un lebn, issue dedicated to Oyved’s sixtieth birthday (October 1945); A. Falyushak, in Loshn un lebn (October 1946); A. Boymerder, in Loshn un lebn (December 1946); Sh. Shtentsl, in Loshn un lebn (June 1948); Meylekh Ravitsh, in Keneder odler (Montreal) (February 13, 1950); Avrom Shulman, in Loshn un lebn (July 1950); A. Toybenhoyz, in Loshn un lebn (September 1950); Toybenhoyz, in Der idisher zhurnal (Toronto) (December 13, 1955); Sh. Y. Dorfzon, in Loshn un lebn (September 1950); Y. H. Klinger, in Unzer veg (Paris) (October 1950); Y. H. Levi, in Loshn un lebn (November 1950); Levi, Gezamlte shriftn (Collected writings), vol. 2 (London, 1958); Y. Mastboym, in Nay-velt (Tel Aviv) (December 1, 1950); S. Palme, in Loshn un lebn (December 1950); Rikuda Potash, in Loshn un lebn (January 1951); Y. Rapaport, in Loshn un lebn (March 1951); Sh. Tenenboym, in Loshn un lebn (July 1951); Tenenboym, in Di shtime (Mexico City) (September 10, 1960); Y. Frankel, in Haboker (Tel Aviv) (1951/1952); Z. F. Finkelshteyn, in Hapoel hatsayir (Tel Aviv) (1953/1954); L. Sh. Kreditor, in Di idishe shtime (London) (October 8, 1954); B. Grin, in Morgn-frayhayt (New York) (October 19, 1958); Heymish (Tel Aviv) (December 1, 1958).