KALMEN FRIDMAN (b. 1924)
He was born in Warsaw, Poland. He studied in religious elementary school and took evening courses. In 1939 he was confined in the Sokołów ghetto. He later returned to the Warsaw Ghetto and took part in the uprising in April 1943. He was deported on the last transport to Majdanek and from there to concentration camps in Germany and Austria. In 1945 he was liberated. Until 1948 he lived in camps for survivors, and he was active in the illegal aliya movement to the land of Israel. From 1948 he was living in the state of Israel and participated in the war of independence. He began writing poetry in the Nazi camps. Together with Shame Rozenblum, he published the periodical Lan (Meadow) in 1947. He later published poems, notations, memoirs, and impressions of Jewish life and struggle in the years of the Holocaust in: Letste nayes (Latest news), Yidishe tsaytung (Jewish newspaper), Heymish (Familiar), Yisroel-shtime (Voice of Israel), Folksblat (People’s newspaper), Lebns-fragn (Life issues), Davar (Word), and Al hamishmar (On guard) in Israel; Undzer shtime (Our voice) in Paris; and Keneder odler (Canadian eagle) in Montreal; among others. In book form: Lukhes, shirim ureshimes (H. Luḥot, shirim ureshimot, Calendars, poems and lists), including forty poems in Yiddish, twenty-three in Hebrew, and forty-three pages of notations, with an introduction by Dov Sadan (Jerusalem, 1964), 160 pp. He was last living in Jerusalem and working for the culture wing of the education department of the city. “These are poems,” wrote Borvin Frenkel, “that follow from the depths of a sorrowful and pained heart. And, one is touched by their authenticity as one can only be in encountering a poem of the people…. His poems are charged with dreadful truths, with frightful nights and nightmarish experiences. And, although he does not speak of it in his poems, one senses therein the concentrated universe of Night and Fog, and what he composes is truthful. His word is justified. His chastising words are justified. His sorrow comes from what cannot and will not be forgotten.”
Sources: Dov Sadan, in Yisroel-shtime (Tel Aviv) (April 2, 1964); B. Levinski, in Dorem-afrike (May-June 1964); M. Shenderay, in Idishe tsaytung (Buenos Aires) (July 15, 1964); Borvin Frankel, in Undzer shtime (Paris) (July 24, 1964); Y. Emyot, in Tsukunft (new York) (February 1965).
Khayim Leyb Fuks