YOYSEF ELYOVITSH (1908-1943)
He was born in Perm, Russia, into a poor, working family. He was later one of the most qualified Yiddish bibliographers in Soviet Russia and the compiler of the first Yiddish thematic bibliographic literary “guide.” With the establishment of the Kiev research institute for Jewish culture in the Ukrainian Academy of Science, he became director of the bibliographic section at the institute. He also took part, together with Yoysef Liberberg (director of the institute) and others, in the so-called “library trips” through the cities and towns of Ukraine to collect and bring to Kiev rare books and manuscripts to help establish the academic library at the institute and its archive. In late 1933 the institute sent him to Birobidzhan, where he organized and led the central library of the Jewish Autonomous Region. He also organized the book collection for the Yiddish division of the central library named for Sholem Aleichem. According to a published correspondence from Moscow, WWII found him in Leningrad. He was manager there of the Yiddish division in the famed public library named for Saltykov-Shchedrin, which had a rich collection of Yiddish books and manuscripts. Just after the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union (June 1941), he volunteered for the Red Army and fell on the battlefield. Further biographic information about, regrettably, has not been made available. The following works by him were published: “Di ibervanderung-kampanye un di yidishe biblyotek” (The migration campaign and the Yiddish library), with Kh. Nadel, Ratnbildung (Soviet Education) (Kharkov) 3 (1929), pp. 52-56; Onvayzer fun retsenzyes un kritishe artiklen, 1922-1928 (Guide to reviews and critical articles, 1922-1928), with Kh. Nadel (Kharkov: Korolenko Central State Library, 1929), 72 pp.; Biblyografisher onvayzer (Bibliographic guide), with Kh. Nadel (Kharkov, 1930), 56 pp. (the bibliography includes books, journals, and articles in Yiddish, Russian, and Ukrainian); “Di leninyade” (The Leninade), in the bibliographic collection Oktyabr (October) (Minsk) 161 (1931).
Sources: M. Liberman, “Vegn onvayzer fun retsenzyes” (On guides to reviews), Oktyabr (Minsk) 229 (1929), p. 2; A. D., “Dos yidish bukh” (The Yiddish book), Ratnbildung (Kkarkov) 12 (1929); A. Terebover and Y. Kuzminski, “Biblyografisher tandet” (Bibliographical jerry-built), in Biblyografisher zamlbukh (Bibliographic collection), ed. Y. Liberberg (Kharkov, 1930), pp. 229-42; Y. Liberberg, “Di biblyotek un der prese arkhiv funem institut” (The library and the press archive of the institute), in Biblyografisher zamlbukh (Kharkov, 1930), p. 253; “Naye bikher” (New books), Literarishe bleter (Warsaw) June 5, 1931); “In institut far yidisher proletarisher kultur” (At the institute for Jewish proletarian culture), Visnshaft un revolutsye (Kiev) 1-2 (1934), pp. 155, 161, 172; Yoysef Beker, “Di yidishe sektsye fun der leningrader folk-biblyotek” (The Yiddish section of the Leningrad public library), Unzer fraynd (Montevideo) (January 6, 1945), p. 4; Kh. Nadel, “Oyflebn dos biblyografye-vezn” (Reviving bibliographic guides), Eynikeyt (Moscow) (July 5, 1947); Chone Shmeruk, comp., Pirsumim yehudiim babrit-hamoatsot, 1917-1961 (Jewish publications in the Soviet Union, 1917-1961) (Jerusalem, 1961), see index; Al. Pomerants, Di sovetishe haruge malkhes (The [Jewish writers] murdered by the Soviet government) (Buenos Aires, 1962), pp. 50, 51, 101, 387.
[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), p. 271.]