Wednesday, 8 May 2019


AVROM RADUTSKI (May 20, 1868-March 21, 1928)
            He was a poet, born in Rzhishtshev (Rzhyshchiv), Kiev Province.  In his youth, he was raised on his father’s estate in Shpole (Spola), in an environment of fields and forests.  He studied with private tutors.  In 1881 his family moved to Kiev where he studied the locksmith trade, later working in a factory.  In 1890 he made his way to Glasgow in the United Kingdom, and in 1906 he arrived in the United States.  There he took up a variety of jobs but without success.  He debuted in print with a poem in London’s Arbayter-fraynd (Worker’s friend).  Over the years 1892-1906, he published poetry and sketches also in other Yiddish journals in the U.K., such as Frayhayt (Freedom), Der idisher ekspres (The Jewish express), edited by Y. L. Dolidanski, Dos fraye vort (The free word), edited by Rudolf Roker, Der vanderer (The vagabond), Di naye velt (The new world), and Der idisher zhurnal (The Jewish journal), mostly under such pen names as Radiz, A. R., Ish Blazgo, A Glazgover Idene, and Moyshele.  He also contributed to Glasgow’s Der idenfraynd (The friend of the Jews) and Idishe tsaytung (Jewish newspaper) (1902-1903, initially a weekly, later a daily, edited M. Openheym).  After coming to America, he worked for Chicago’s Idisher kuryer (Jewish courier), Philadelphia’s Morgn tsaytung (Morning newspaper) (1907, existing for three months), Fraye arbeter shtime (Free voice of labor), Dos idishe folk (The Jewish people), edited by Yekhezkl Vortsman, Der idisher kempfer (The Jewish fighter), Varhayt (Truth), Tog (Day), Kibitser (Kibitzer), Kundes (Prankster), Lustige bleter (Cheerful sheets), Arbayter prese (Workers’ press) of Y. Khaykin, and Philadelphia’s Idishe velt (Jewish world).  He later wrote regularly for Gerekhtikeyt (Justice) and from time to time for Forverts (Forward) and Veker (Alarm).  He was a quiet and withdrawn person, and after literary activities spanning more than thirty years, he elicited no desire to publish another book.  He left a great many items in manuscript form, among them: the long stories “Baron hirshs milyonen” (Baron Hirsch’s millions) and “Di gute iden” (The good Jews).  His poetry appeared in Morris Basin’s Amerikaner yidishe poezye (American Yiddish poetry) (New York, 1940), Mani Leyb’s Nyu-york in ferzn (New York in verse) (New York: Inzl, 1918), and Nakhmen Mayzil’s Amerike in yidishn vort (America in Yiddish) (New York, 1955).  Radutski was one of the pioneers in Yiddish poetry in America.  “In his poems,” wrote Zalmen Reyzen, “he was for the most part an imitator of Morris Rozenfeld, and in his sketches he mainly described the lives of workers.”  “There was always a struggle going on within Radutski,” claimed Nokhum-Borekh Minkov, “between a quiet lyricist, a dreamer and an indignant, exasperated plaintiff…for social justice….  Truth be told, Radutski was more a lyrical poet than a fighter.”  He died in New York.

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 4; Nokhum-Borekh Minkov, Pyonern fun der yidisher poezye in amerike, dos sotsyale lid (Pioneers of Yiddish poetry in America, the social poem), vol. 2 (New York, 1956), pp. 105-35; Fraye arbeter shtime (New York) (January 13, 1956), autobiography; Yeshurin archive, YIVO (New York).
Yekhezkl Lifshits

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