MASHE SHTUKER-PAYUK (October 5, 1914-1988)
She was born in Kartuz-Bereze (Kartuz-Bereza), Grodno district, Poland. In 1925, her family immigrated to Argentina and worked on the Montefiore agricultural settlement. It was there that she experienced all of the great hardships of pioneer life on the wide Argentinian steppes. Her first school years were spent in the old country in a Tarbut school in Kartuz-Bereza; later, in Argentina, she attended a local colony school at which her father, Benyomen Shtuker, was a teacher. She graduated from the Jewish teachers’ seminary in Buenos Aires in the early 1930s and became a kindergarten teacher at which she worked for some years. She published her first poem—written under the pen name “A meydl fun kamp” (A girl from camp)—at age sixteen in Penemer un penemlekh (Appearances, big and small), edited and published by V. Tshernovetski and Y. L. Gruzman. However, she made her true entrance into Yiddish literature in 1933. At that time she published a series of poems in Yidishe tsaytung (Jewish newspaper), edited by Yoysef Mendelson in Buenos Aires. From that point, she placed work in a great number of other literary publications, among them: Di prese (The press), Unzer tsayt (Our times), Der holts-industryal (The wood industry), Ilustrirte literarishe bleter (Illustrated literary leaves), and Argentiner beymelekh (Little Argentinian trees) in Buenos Aires; Folksblat (People’s newspaper) in Montevideo; Der veg (The path) in Mexico City; Di tsukunft (The future) and Kinder-tsaytung (Children’s newspaper) in New York. In general she wrote for children in a variety of literary journals: poetry, stories, and tales. Her stories and tales were included in a number of readers for Yiddish schools—such as the series Yidishe kinder (Jewish children) by Zalmen Yefroykin and Mendl Mark. From 1974 she was living in Israel. Her poetry was published in: Letste nayes (Latest news), Yidishe tsaytung, and Yerusholaimer almanakh (Jerusalem almanac), among others. She was the author of a number of books: Kinderlekh, kinder-lider (Little children, children’s poetry) (Buenos Aires, 1948), 115 pp.; Zingendik, kinder-lider (Singing, children’s song) (Buenos Aires: Writers’ and Journalists’ Association, 1951), 122 pp.; Farbike khvalyes (Colorful waves), poetry (Buenos Aires, 1954), 153 pp.; Gut yontef (Happy holidays), poems for children (Buenos Aires, 1957), 194 pp.; Der tsoyber-boym, mayselekh un lider (The magic tree, tales and poems) (Buenos Aires, 1961), 174 pp.; Tsu dir, lider un dertseylungen (To you, poems and stories) (Buenos Aires, 1966), 163 pp., also in Hebrew translation; Aheym (Back home), poetry (Buenos Aires, 1969), 199 pp.; Ban fun mayne teg (Train in my day), poems and stories (Tel Aviv, 1981), 189 pp. Her work was also translated into Spanish by Yisroel Tsaytlin, among others.
Source: Volf Bresler, Antologye fun der yidisher literatur in argentine (Anthology of Jewish literature in Argentina) (Buenos Aires, 1944), p. 553.
[Additional information from: Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), cols. 423-24.]