SIMKHE-BUNEM POLYAKEVITSH (POLAKIEWICZ) (b. May 14, 1913)
He was born in Drohitshin (Drohiczyn), on the Bug River in Poland. From six to fourteen years of age, he lived in the village of Lazeve (Łazów), later (until WWII) in Warsaw. When the Nazis took Warsaw, he left for Sokolov-Podolsk (Sokołów Podlaski), and until 1942 he was confined in the ghetto there. He was later sent to the death camp Treblinka. Miraculously, he escaped, returned to Warsaw and lived there with Aryan papers. The Nazis sent him to Germany and until liberation he worked in a coal mine. He subsequently lived in Paris. From September 1945 he was in Tel Aviv. He participated in the war of liberation for the state of Israel. He began writing in his early childhood and debuted in print (using the pen name A. Dorfman) in Naye folkstsaytung (New people’s newspaper) in Warsaw with a series of sketches entitled “Dorfishe motivn” (Village motifs). After the war he published a few reportage pieces and some of them in Tsanin’s Ilustrirte vokhblat (Illustrated weekly newspaper), Letste nayes (Latest news) in Tel Aviv, or Keneder odler (Canadian eagle) in Montreal, among others. A portion of his work concerning the Holocaust era was published in: Yoyvl-bukh fun sokolov (Jubilee volume for Sokołów) (New York, 1946); Seyfer hazikorn sokolov-podlyask (Remembrance volume for Sokołów Podlaski) (Tel Aviv, 1962), pp. 323-98; Sefer hazikaron lekehilat ostrov-mazovyets (Remembrance volume for Ostrów-Mazowiecka) (Tel Aviv, 1960). In book form: A tog in treblinke, khronik fun a yidish lebn (A day in Treblinka, chronicle of the life of a Jew), with a foreword by M. Turkov (Buenos Aires, 1948), 143 pp.; A shotn fun treblinke, khurbn sokolov-podlyask (A shadow of Treblinka, the Holocaust in Sokołów Podlaski), with a foreword by Rubinshteyn and an afterword by M. Tsanin (Tel Aviv, 1957), 168 pp.; In a fremder hoyz, af der arisher zayt in varshe (In a strange house, on the Aryan side of Warsaw), with a preface by N. Blumental (Tel Aviv, 1961), 191 pp.; Teg on likht (Days without light), “with Polish laborers in Nazi Germany” (Tel Aviv, 1963), 306 pp., winner in 1964 of the Diana Blumenfeld Prize from the World Jewish Culture Congress; Inem poylishn dzhungl (In the Polish jungle) (Tel Aviv: Perets Publ., 1977), 352 pp.; Der midber farshvindt, roman fun yisroel lebn (The desert disappeared, a novel of life in Israel) (Tel Aviv: H. Leivick Publ., 1982), 293 pp.; Baym oysgebrentn shayter, fun der khurbn-tkufe in poyln (At the burning bonfire, from the era of the Holocaust in Poland) (Tel Aviv: H. Leivick Publ., 1985), 236 pp.; Anusim in der natsi-tkufe, poylishe yidn af der arisher zayt (Secret Jews in the Nazi era, Polish Jews on the Aryan side) (Tel Aviv: H. Leivick Publ., 1988), 246 pp.
Sources: Meylekh Ravitsh, in Yorbukh (New York) 8 (1950); M. Gelbart, in Meksikaner lebn (Mexico City) (April 26, 1962); Y. Gar and F. Fridman, Biblyografye fun yidishe bikher vegn khurbn un gvure (Bibliography of Yiddish books concerning the Holocaust and heroism) (New York, 1962), see index; Froym Oyerbakh, in Tog-morgn-zhurnal (New York) (April 12, 1964); Y. Hirshhoyt, in Letste nayes (Tel Aviv) (February 18, 1965).
Khayim Leyb Fuks
[Additional information from: Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), cols. 425, 549.]