MARK RAKOVSKI (RAKOWSKY) (June 5, 1890-April 5, 1982)
A writer, translator, and publisher, he was born in Malkin (Małkinia Górna), Lomzhe district. He studied in religious elementary school and Hebrew and Russian with a private tutor. After middle school, he turned to the study of foreign languages. Later, he moved with his parents to Ostrolenke (Ostrołęka). He lived for many years in Bialystok and later in Warsaw. He was ideologically close to Communism, and in 1937 he was deported to a Polish concentration camp in Kartuz-Bereze (Kartuz-Bereza). He was in the Soviet Union during WWII and returned to Warsaw afterward. From time to time, he wrote literary essays in Dos naye lebn (The new life) in Bialystok and Literarishe bleter (Literary leaves) and Moment (Moment) in Warsaw. In 1935 he brought out the serials Velt-iberblik (World survey) and Iberboy (Reconstruction). He took up publishing—“Biblyotek mark rakovski” (Mark Rakovski Library)—but his main contribution to Yiddish literature lay in the large number of his translations into Yiddish from world literature. Rakovski’s began translating in Bialystok for the publisher A. Albek (1921) with Yaponishe mayselekh (Japanese tales) (91 pp.), Kleyne mentshelekh (Little people [original: Gente minima]) and Der meylekh fun di lyalkes (The king of the dolls) by Edmondo De Amicis, edited by Peysekh Kaplan (27 pp.). Among his many other translations: Gabriele D’Annunzio, Dzhovani episkopo [Giovanni Episcopo] (Warsaw: Sh. Yatshkovski, 1923), 170 pp.; Guy de Maupassant, Der eltern-merder un andere (The adult murderer and others) (Warsaw: Sh. Yatshkovski, 1923), 89 pp.; Catulle Mendès, Der farloyrener gan-eydn un andere (The lost Garden of Eden and other [stories]) (Warsaw: Sh. Yatshkovski, 1923), 84 pp.; Jérôme Tharaud and Jean Tharaud, Leshono habo birusholaim (Next year in Jerusalem [original: L’an prochain à Jérusalem!]) (Warsaw: Sh. Yatshkovski, 1923); Alphonse Daudet, Tartaren fun taraskon (Tartaren from Taraskon [original: Tartarin de Tarascon]) (Warsaw: Biblyotek mark rakovski, 1926), 151 pp.; V. M. Doroshevich, Legendn un mayselekh fun orient (Legends and tales from the Orient) (Warsaw: Kh. Bzhoza, 1927), 246 pp.; Marcel Prévost, Mademuazel zhofr (Mademoiselle Jaufre) (Warsaw: Biblyotek mark rakovski, 1927), 327 pp.; Gustave Flaubert, Salambo, roman (Salammbô [a novel]) (Warsaw: Biblyotek mark rakovski, 1927), 448 pp.; Flaubert, Madam bovari, roman (Madame Bovary [a novel]) (Warsaw: Biblyotek mark rakovski, 1928), 495 pp.; Dray dertseylungen (Three stories [original: Trois contes]) (Warsaw: Biblyotek mark rakovski, 1929), 155 pp.; Flaubert, Dray hertser (Three hearts); Henri Barbusse, Milkhome (War [original: Clarté (Clarity)]) (Warsaw: Biblyotek mark rakovski, 1929), 223 pp.; Barbusse, Yeyshu hanoytsri (Jesus, the Nazarene [original: Jésus]), using the pen name B. Rozmarin (Warsaw: Biblyotek mark rakovski, 1930), 196 pp.; Barbusse, Di henker (The executioners [original: Les Bourreaux]) (Warsaw: Biblyotek mark rakovski, 1930), 252 pp.; Barbusse, Der vayser terror (The white terror [original: La Terreur blanche]); Vicente Blasco Ibáñez, Der froyen gan-eydn (The women’s paradise [original: El paraiso de las mujeres]) (Warsaw: Rekord, 1929), 341 pp.; Pierre Loti, Di fisher fun island (Iceland fisherman [original: Pêcheur d’Islande]) (Warsaw: Sh. Yatshkovski, 1924), 284 pp.; Claude Farrère, Markizin yarisaka, roman fun yapanishen leben (Marquise Yarisaka, a novel of Japanese life) (Warsaw: Sh. Yatshkovski, 1925), 263 pp.; Panait Istrati, Kira kiralina (Kyra Kyralina) (Warsaw: Biblyotek mark rakovski, 1926), 181 pp.; Ouida, A roman fun a hunt (A novel about a dog [original: A Dog of Flanders]) (Warsaw: Biblyotek mark rakovski, 1926), 216 pp.; Mikhail Zoshchenko, Nerveze mentshn (Nervous people [original: Nervnye liudi]) (Warsaw: Biblyotek mark rakovski, 1929), 158 pp. As noted, these and many other translations all appeared between 1922 and 1930 in Warsaw. Later, he brought out further translations in Warsaw: Nadezhda Krupskaya, Lenin, zikhroynes (Lenin, memoirs [original: Vospominaniia o Lenine]) (1930), 238 pp.; Pierre Louÿs, Di shpanerin (The [female] peeping Tom) (Grafia, 1938), 124 pp.; Leon Feuchtwanger, Di yidishe tokhter fun Toledo (The Jewish daughter of Toleda [original: Die Jüdin von Toledo]) (Yidish bukh, 1960), 2 vols.; Victor Jeremy Jerome, Lamtern far yerukhemken (A Lantern for Jeremy) (Yidish bukh, 1961), 326 pp.; Michael Gold, Yidn on gelt (Jew without money). He also published translations in newspapers, such as: stories by Oscar Wilde in Folkstsaytung (People’s newspaper) and by Miriam Harari in Haynt (Today). He often used the pseudonym: Meriman. He died in Warsaw.
Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 4; Yonas Turkov, Azoy iz es geven, hurbn varshe (That’s how it was, the destruction of Warsaw) (Buenos Aires, 1948); Ber Kutsher, Geven amol varshe (As Warsaw once was), memoirs (Paris, 1955); Yeshurin archive, YIVO (New York).